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County Health Department and MooreHealth, Inc.
Release 2013 Community Health Assessment
Posted Thursday December 5, 2013 3:30 PM
The Moore County Health Department and MooreHealth Inc. have released the 2013
Community Health Assessment (CHA). The CHA is a systematic collection, assembly,
analysis, and dissemination of information about the overall health of Moore County. The
purpose of the CHA is to identify priority health issues and to identify the availability of
resources within the community to plan interventions that will adequately address these
factors. The CHA is required by the North Carolina Division of Public Health of all health
The selected health priority issues that were determined through the CHA process in
2013 are obesity, substance abuse, and aging issues. In the spring of 2014, the Health
Department and MooreHealth, Inc. will continue to collaborate with FirstHealth of the
Carolinas and other community partners to develop action plans, explore available resources
including funding opportunities, and guide the work for each selected health priority issue.
MooreHealth Inc. is a volunteer community organization made up of nearly 20 member
agencies that is committed to developing cooperative planning that promotes health and
improves the quality-of-life for the residents of Moore County.
To view the 2013 CHA, please visit the health department website at:
For more information or to learn how you can become involved with MooreHealth Inc.,
please call the Moore County Health Department at (910) 947-4512 or FirstHealth of the
Carolinas, Community Health Services at (910) 715-1925.
Rabies Precautions Stressed
During Small Game Hunting Season
Posted Monday November 18, 2013 2:25 PM
In February of this year, authorities identified several organ recipients from 4 separate
states who were infected with rabies. The organ donor was found to be a North Carolina
hunter and trapper of small game animals who had been bitten on two occasions by raccoons
but decided not to seek medical attention for either bite. This was the first North Carolina
human rabies case identified since 1955.
This tragedy was preventable and underscores the importance of seeking prompt medical
attention for any animal bite. Of the animals sent to the North Carolina State Lab of Public
Health during the first eight months of 2013, 155 raccoons, 17 bats, 36 skunks, 57 foxes, and
15 cats have tested positive for rabies.
These animals were tested because there was an exposure or potential exposure of rabies
to a human or domestic animal. Quite often, these animals appear sick or act strangely, but it
is very important to remember that an animal can be shedding the rabies virus before
developing outward signs of rabies infection.
Also important to remember is that, although rabies is spread mainly through bites, it can
also be spread by scratches from an infected animal and by contact of infected saliva with
open wounds, skin breaks, and mucous membranes (thin layers of tissue lining the eyes, nose
During small game hunting season, it is especially important for hunters to recognize that
contact with wild carnivores and bats increases the possibility for exposure to rabies infection.
If you are bitten by a wild or stray animal, or by a pet: wash the wound immediately with
warm, soapy water and call your health care provider right away. Report the bite by calling
Moore County Animal Control at (910) 947-2858.
Dry Eye Disease: A Treatable Condition
By John Miller, O.D.
Posted Sunday November 17, 2013 6:45 PM
Dry eye is one of the most prevalent ophthalmic conditions seen by primary eye care
physicians. It may range from a mild irritation while blinking to sight- threatening severe
discomfort. Although it is most likely related to insufficient activity of glands around the eye, it
can also be a symptom of systemic disease.
Dry eye syndrome affects approximately 10-30 percent of the population. Women are
twice as likely to have the condition as men. There are an estimated 3.23 million women and
1.68 million men affected. The majority of the men are older than 50 and the women older
than 40 years of age.
Two possible causes of dry eye are diminished volume of tears (called aqueous
deficiency, from decreased water production), and evaporative dry eye (due to a lack of oil
secreted into the tears by glands lining each eyelid). The two types often occur in combination.
There are approximately 25 meibomian glands on the rim of each eyelid located just behind
the lashes. If the secretion from these meibomian glands is not sufficient, then the tears have no
outer (or surface) oil layer which results in rapid evaporation. Ironically, this results in
excessive tearing due to the attempt to lubricate the eye with poor quality tears. However,
these tears are simply water resulting in inadequate lubrication. It’s comparable to putting
water on chapped lips; it just doesn’t work.
The most common form of dry eye disease is where the quantity of tears is adequate,
but the quality of the tears is lacking due to inactivity of the meibomian glands. Testing for lipid
deficient dry eye in the past was limited to looking for blocked meibomian glands. Recent
technology allows us to assess the amount of oil in the tears facilitating more customized
A new instrument called the Lipiview® has the ability to analyze the lipid content of the
tears. Observation of meibomian function, combined with the Lipiview® analysis can confirm
if someone would benefit from the Lipiflow® treatment. This treatment utilizes heat and
pulsation to rejuvenate the meibomian glands. It allows previously nonfunctioning glands to
again produce the lipids needed. This greatly increases the quality and longevity of the tears.
Anti-inflammatory agents and antibiotics such as doxycycline may also be beneficial in
increasing the secretions from the meibomians.
In summary, we are better equipped than ever to diagnose the deficiency causing dry eye
disease and to customize treatment either addressing the water deficiency by the use of
lubricants, medications, and tear duct plugs or to enhance oil production by utilizing the
Lipiflow® system to enhance tear quality.
Miller, a doctor of optometry specializes in primary eye care and surgical comanagement
at Carolina Eye Associates, can be reached at 910-295-2100 or www.carolinaeye.com
This article contributed courtesy OutreachNC Magazine. Look out now for the latest
free issue of the magazine now on newsstands or visit them 24 hours a day at
Reid Heart Team Does
Area's First-of-Its-Kind Valve Procedure
Posted Tuesday November 12, 2013 2:55 PM
On Oct. 8, a Moore County World War II veteran became the first person in the
Sandhills area to have a lifesaving transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR).
A FirstHealth TAVR team headed by Steven J. Filby, M.D., an interventional
cardiologist; and Peter I. Ellman, M.D., a cardiothoracic surgeon, performed the procedure at
Reid Heart Center at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital.
The patient, 88-year-old Samuel Richardson of Carthage, had previously been told that
he was not a candidate for open-heart surgery or traditional aortic valve replacement.
Following the procedure, he showed immediate improvement and was able to return to his
home - where his condition continues to progress - three days later. He is, he says, “100
Patients who are TAVR candidates are too high-risk for open-heart surgery or traditional
aortic valve replacement and are, for all practical purposes, dying, according to Drs. Filby and
“Once patients start to show symptoms of aortic stenosis, their life expectancy is typically
on the order of two to three years,” says Dr. Filby, an interventional cardiologist. As an
interventional fellow at the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Filby was part of the PARTNER Trial, a
seminal 2010 study that demonstrated TAVR’s benefits for U.S. patients.
For eligible patients, who are usually elderly and/or very sick, TAVR is the only treatment
option and not just the best one.
“TAVR is one of the most important innovations we’ve seen for cardiovascular therapy in
the last 10 or 20 years,” says Dr. Ellman, a cardiothoracic surgeon. “It offers people who are
prohibitively risky or very high risk an alternative to fix their valve that is much less invasive
and can give them a longer and better quality of life.”
Approved in 2011 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for high-risk and
non-operable patients, TAVR can be a lifesaving procedure for patients with severe aortic
stenosis, a valvular condition affecting about 3 percent of the American population over age
65. Caused by a thickening of tissue in the aortic valve that restricts arterial blood flow from
the heart to the rest of the body, the condition can cause chest pain, shortness of breath,
dizziness and fatigue. Left untreated, it is fatal.
“Although this is a new program for FirstHealth, this procedure is not new to Dr. Filby,”
says John F. Krahnert Jr., M.D., FirstHealth’s chief medical officer. “He comes from one of
the top TAVR sites in the U.S. and brings unrivaled experience to our program. This blends
nicely with Dr. Ellman’s experience in minimally invasive aortic valve surgery for a great
combination that gives our program a real advantage.”
During a TAVR procedure, the faulty aortic valve is replaced by a tiny balloon-
expandable device that is inserted by catheter through a small surgical incision in the groin area
of the leg or through a small incision in the chest wall at the tip of the heart.
“The balloon catheter gets inflated across a patient’s native heart valve, which gets
pushed aside by a prosthetic valve that takes its place.” Dr. Filby says.
The TAVR procedure, unlike anything else in the specialty of cardiovascular medicine,
requires a large team that must collaborate to deploy the stented valve successfully. Dr. Filby
performed the first TAVR procedure at Reid Heart Center with the help of two cardiologists:
interventional cardiologist Peter L. Duffy, M.D., who aided procedurally; and Steven Kent,
M.D., who provided imaging support.
Dr. Ellman and cardiovascular surgeon Art Edgerton, M.D., helped with vascular access;
and David Chandler, D.O., provided support with anesthesia. Other members of the TAVR
team include radiologist Samuel Wahl, M.D., who provides preoperative imaging
interpretation; and Dona Baker, R.N., who helps to coordinate patient testing and follow-up.
Surgical perfusionists, technologists from the operating room, echo technologists and cath lab
technologists are also key players on the team.
For more information on the TAVR procedure at FirstHealth's Reid Heart Center, call
FirstHealth Adds Pediatric Care
to FirstHealth Neurosurgery
Posted Saturday November 2, 2013 5:20 PM
FirstHealth of the Carolinas has expanded its neurosurgical collaboration with the
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with the addition of pediatric neurosurgical
services to its Pinehurst neurosurgical office.
Scott Wentworth Elton, M.D., a pediatric neurosurgeon, and pediatric nurse practitioners
Gretchen Lee Delametter, CPNP, and Melody Ann Watral, CPON, CPNP, are now
available to see patients for first and follow-up appointments at FirstHealth Neurosurgery. The
office is currently located in the Pinehurst Surgical building at 5 FirstVillage Drive, Pinehurst,
but will move to 10 Aviemore Drive, Pinehurst, in early January 2014.
Like Dr. Elton and the two nurse practitioners, the four adult practice neurosurgeons who
currently staff FirstHealth’s Pinehurst neurosurgery office - Carol Wadon, M.A.; Bruce
Jaufman, M.D.; Larry Van Carson, M.D.; and Charles Haworth, M.D. - are also UNC
“We are very happy to collaborate with UNC-Chapel Hill to offer this unique service to
the area,” says John F. Krahnert Jr., M.D., chief medical officer for FirstHealth of the
Carolinas. “Pediatric neurosurgery is a medical specialization that is rarely offered outside
large hospitals or medical teaching institutions, so we regard the availability of this service in
Pinehurst as a benefit to young patients and their families who previously had to travel
considerable distances for their initial and follow-up neurosurgical care. This is a wonderful
addition not only to Moore County but also to the surrounding communities.”
Dr. Elton received a B.A. degree from Brandeis University, Waltham, Mass.; and an
M.S. degree from Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., before earning his medical
degree from the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania.
He completed an internship in general surgery and a residency in neurosurgery at Ohio
State University Medical Center, Columbus, Ohio, and a fellowship in pediatric neurosurgery
at Children’s Hospital of Alabama in Birmingham.
Board certified in both neurosurgery and pediatric neurosurgery, Dr. Elton is currently a
clinical professor and director of Pediatric Neurosurgery in the Department of Neurosurgery
at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Pediatric nurse practitioner Gretchen Lee Delametter, R.N., MSN, CPNP-AC, earned
an associate degree in nursing from Alvin Community College in Alvin, Texas, a bachelor’s
degree in nursing from Texas Woman’s University in Denton and a master’s degree in nursing
from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
A member of the Association of Child Neurology Nurses, she is a pediatric acute care
nurse practitioner/clinical instructor of pediatric neurosurgery in the Department of
Surgery/Division of Neurosurgery at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Melody Ann Watral, CPNP, CPON, is a certified pediatric nurse practitioner and a
certified pediatric oncology nurse. She earned a B.S. degree in biology from Pacific University
and a B.S. degree in nursing from the University of Miami in Florida before receiving a
master’s degree in nursing and a post-master’s certificate, pediatric nurse practitioner, from
the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
She did a post-master’s fellowship in pediatric hematology/oncology at Texas Children’s
Hospital. A Fellow of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Associates and
Practitioners, she is a pediatric acute care nurse practitioner/clinical instructor of pediatric
neurosurgery in the Department of Surgery/Division of Neurosurgery at the University of
North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
To make an appointment with the pediatric neurosurgery providers at FirstHealth
Neurosurgery in Pinehurst, please call (919) 843-4609.
Healthy Habits, Healthy Families with WIC
Posted Wednesday October 16, 2013 1:30 PM
More families than ever are finding it hard to put healthy food on their dinner tables. For
young children, a lack of good nutrition can put them at risk for health problems and problems
school. North Carolina’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and
Children (WIC) helps low income families meet the nutritional needs of pregnant and
women, infants and children up to age 5.
“While adding more fruits and vegetables to these families’ diets is an important part of
program, participants get more than food from WIC,” said Health Director, Robert Wittmann.
“WIC offers families nutrition education and counseling, breastfeeding promotion and support,
supplemental foods, and healthcare referrals.”
The North Carolina WIC Program currently serves an average of 270,000 participants
month. Studies show that children who participate in WIC are more likely to receive regular
preventive health services and are better immunized than other children who did not
WIC participants receive helpful one-on-one counseling with a nutrition professional.
nutrition classes may also be offered by trained staff on topics ranging from healthy drink
choices to grocery shopping on a budget.
Breastfeeding promotion and support is an important part of the WIC Program. All WIC
agencies have trained staff ready to assist moms in making informed decisions about how they
feed their babies. WIC also teaches moms the basics of breastfeeding.
“To Protect and Promote Health through Prevention and Control of Disease and Injury.”
Better educated moms mean healthier babies. Medicaid beneficiaries who participated in
had lower infant mortality rates than Medicaid beneficiaries who did not participate in WIC.
participation also decreases the incidence of low birth weight and pre-term births.
“WIC is so much more than people realize.” said Robert Wittmann. “The nutrition
education and healthy foods that WIC provides really give children a healthy start in life, which
is so important.”
The WIC Program is available at the Moore County Health Department. You may apply
for WIC Monday through Friday from 8:00 am - 5:00 pm. For more information about WIC
or to make an appointment please visit the Moore County WIC office at 705 Pinehurst
Avenue in Carthage or call (910) 947-3271. You may also visit the WIC website at
www.nutritionnc.com. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
Alzheimer’s Care Giver & Spouse
Support & Education
Posted Saturday October 12, 2013 7:30 AM
Fox Hollow Senior Living and Aging Outreach Services would like to invite anyone who
is a caregiver, spouse, or are diagnosed with Alzheimer's to learn more about Alzheimer's as
we come together for support and education. Meetings will be held at Fox Hollow Senior
Living, 190 Fox Hollow Ct. Pinehurst. Starting Tues. Nov. 5 - Dec. 17 (7week session) at
This is for caregivers and or those who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Jennifer
Tyner, with Aging Outreach and Lisa Allen, Memory Care Director LPN of Fox Hollow will
provide support, education and address questions about the disease. There will be some
presentations from local professionals such as hospice, home care and end of life decisions.
If you are interested in attending call Elizabeth Ragsdale or email Eragsdale@5sqc.com
for further details.
Physician Assistant Joins FirstHealth
Neurosurgery in Pinehurst
Posted Friday October 11, 2013 1:51 PM
A certified physician assistant with a background in surgery, practice medicine and
emergency medicine has joined FirstHealth Neurosurgery. Currin L. Bender, P.A.-C, serves
as physician assistant to neurosurgeon Larry Van Carson, M.D.
A native of Statesville, Bender earned a bachelor’s degree from Hollins University in
Roanoke, Va., before receiving her physician assistant certificate from the three-year training
program at LeMoyne College in Syracuse, N.Y She is certified by the National Commission
on Certification of Physician Assistants.
The team at FirstHealth Neurosurgery specializes in the treatment of diseases and
disorders of the brain, spinal cord and spinal column, and peripheral nerves within all parts of
the body. Bender works in the practice’s Pinehurst office, which is located in the Pinehurst
Surgical building at 5 FirstVillage Drive (across from the main entrance of FirstHealth Moore
Regional Hospital). The office can be reached by calling (910) 295-0215.
Full-time Physician & Wound Nurse
Join First Health Wound Care Program
Posted Tuesday October 8, 2013 6:15 PM
Jeffrey Gibbons, M.D., (pictured left) has been named the first full-time wound care
physician for the FirstHealth Wound Care and Hyperbaric Centers at Moore Regional
Hospital and Richmond Memorial Hospital.
Dr. Gibbons, who has an extensive background and training in the care and treatment of
chronic non-healing wounds, had previously worked one day a week at the centers. Certified
by the American Board of Emergency Medicine, he received his medical degree from
Oklahoma University College of Medicine and completed his residency at York Hospital,
New to the Wound Care and Hyperbaric Centers staff is family nurse practitioner Ann
Poplin, FNP-C, R.N (pictured right). Poplin earned her associate degree in nursing from
Cabarrus Memorial Hospital School of Nursing, her B.S. in nursing from Wingate College and
her M.S. in nursing from Duke University. She has also received a Certificate of Completion
in wound, ostomy and continence (WOC) nursing from Emory University.
With their full-time employment with the Wound Care and Hyperbaric Centers, Dr.
Gibbons and Poplin now provide clinic days as well as inpatient consultations at Moore
Regional and Richmond Memorial to offer a continuum of care for patients at both hospitals.
For more information on the FirstHealth Wound Care & Hyperbaric Center at
FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital, call (910) 715-5901. For more information on the
FirstHealth Wound Care & Hyperbaric Center at FirstHealth Richmond Memorial Hospital,
call (910) 417-3636
Author/Breast Cancer Survivor/Caregiver To
Speak at FirstHealth Program October 24th
Posted Wednesday October 2, 2013 12:20 PM
Almost 20 years after breast cancer took the life of her 45-year-old mother, Heather St.
Aubin-Stout got a breast cancer diagnosis of her own. A year later, she got another.
“I was scared,” she says. “But I told family and friends, asked for help and asked for
prayers. It was a more psychological and emotional journey than I thought it would be, I
guess, because of the experience with my mom. My goal was to get past my one-year mark
(when my mom's had metastasized). Well, that's when mine recurred.”
St. Aubin-Stout could have allowed breast cancer to take over her life. Instead, she
decided to live the best life possible, which meant sharing her story with others.
Her book, “Not My Mother's Journey,” was released in January 2011 and within six
months had been awarded a Reader's Favorite five-star review and The Catholic Writer's
Guild Seal of Approval. On Thursday, Oct. 24, she will talk about her experience during the
annual breast cancer awareness event hosted by The Foundation of FirstHealth and the
Cancer CARE Fund.
The program will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Clara McLean House at FirstHealth, 20
FirstVillage Drive, Pinehurst. Heavy hors d’oeuvres will be served. Part of St. Aubin-Stout's
program will focus on the need for personal support.
“I was so moved by the people who helped me through those years of diagnosis and
treatments, and I felt like I was able to recover because of my network support,” she says. “I
wanted to do the same thing for others. A bucket list item of mine had always been to write a
book, so this seemed like a good jumping-off point.”
According to Laura Kuzma, coordinator of FirstHealth's CARE-Net program, St.
Aubin-Stout brings a fresh perspective to what it means to be both cancer caregiver and
“Through her journey, we learn of medical advancements, important support systems and
effective coping mechanisms,” Kuzma says. “By sponsoring this annual event, the Cancer
CARE Fund and The Foundation of FirstHealth hope to bring valuable information to patients,
families and interested community members throughout the area.”
After her initial book tour throughout North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida
and Michigan, St. Aubin-Stout took another step in her journey by partnering with non-profit
breast cancer groups and helping raise money for them.
Now, she also speaks to hospital support groups and at American Cancer Society
events, talking about her experiences as her mother's caregiver as well as her own cancer
journey and encouraging women to open themselves up by sharing and developing a personal
She also advocates for early detection, awareness, breast self-exams and, when the
timing is appropriate, yearly mammograms.
“I am excited that we are offering this wonderful event to our community,” says Margie
Thomas, clinical director of Radiation Oncology at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital.
“Heather combines humor with tips on how to maneuver through the twists and turns a cancer
diagnosis can bring. This promises to be both an inspirational and an educational evening.”
There is no charge to attend the Heather St. Aubin-Stout event, but registration is
necessary and can be made by calling (800) 213-3284. For more information on St.
Aubin-Stout, visit her website at www.sharingmystory.com
Inspired by National Tragedies
AED Movement Makes Moore Safer
Posted Friday September 20, 2013 3:20 PM
Phyllis Magnuson, R.N., sometimes feels physically ill when she hears that sudden cardiac
arrest has claimed the life of another student athlete on an American practice or playing field.
She believes many of these deaths could have been prevented. “These children could
have been saved if an AED had been close by,” she says.
Magnuson is a registered nurse and the manager of FirstHealth’s School Nurse Program.
For the better part of the past decade, she has been active with a group of Moore County
residents from various walks of life who saw the need to place automated external
defibrillators (AEDs) in public places throughout the county. The devices automatically
diagnose life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias and then deliver an electric therapy to shock the
heart back into rhythm.
Inspired by several incidents of sudden cardiac death in school athletic programs
throughout the nation, HeartSafe Moore County began its lifesaving efforts in the county’s
public schools by placing AEDs in the three high schools - as well as an elementary school
with an identified need - in January 2008.
Every school now has at least one device. Not a single machine has ever been used, but
Magnuson believes it’s just a matter of time until one is needed. “It will happen,” she says,
“but we’re ready, and we’re prepared.”
Moore County’s AED movement was driven by a relatively small group that also
included a former heart surgeon (Robin Cummings, M.D.), the then-superintendent of schools
(Dr. Susan Purser) and the director of the FirstHealth Centers for Health & Fitness (John
Caliri). Its goal quickly captured community support as Magnuson and others took their story
on the road.
Local Rotary and other civic clubs were early partners. So were The Foundation of
FirstHealth and the Moore County Community Foundation. Individual donations rolled in to
honor or memorialize loved ones. “When we walked out (after speaking to groups), the
donations began,” Magnuson says.
After deciding to focus initial efforts on schools, which are often hubs of community
activity, the HeartSafe group started to investigate available technology and eventually decided
on equipment produced by the Washington state-based Cardiac Science. Several factors
influenced the choice, but chief among them was an “auto-read” component that automatically
checks the patient’s heart rhythm and delivers a stabilizing shock (or shocks) as the machine
dictates basic lifesaving and CPR instructions. “All you have to do is open the lid,” says
A Cardiac Science representative joined Magnuson on a walk-about of each school
campus to determine the best locations for the AEDs. The two considered American Heart
Association “Chain of Survival” protocols in their deliberations and based each decision on a
standard that it should take no more than a three-minute turn-around to get a device to the
person in distress.
There are now 52 AEDs in the 23 schools in the Moore County system. North Moore,
Pinecrest and Union Pines High schools have three mounted machines each plus a mobile unit
carried by a team trainer to away games.
Every school has a machine mounted on a wall just outside its office area, and schools
with a gymnasium have a second device.
“Not only the school system, but also the community at large owes a debt of gratitude to
the folks involved with HeartSafe Moore County,” says Moore County Schools
Superintendent Dr. Aaron Spence. “In addition to the students and staff in our schools, these
devices are close at hand throughout our schools for anyone who may be visiting our
campuses, including the thousands of people who attend athletic events and other school
functions. Certainly, these devices are a key component in helping us ensure that we have safe
Now that all schools have AED coverage, the school system provides funding for
replacement supplies and two part-time Moore County EMS employees check batteries and
pads while conducting fire inspections in the individual schools.
FirstHealth-provided school nurses - all certified first aid and CPR instructors - conduct
annual faculty training sessions, and every school has designated and nurse-trained first
According to Scot Brooks, deputy director of public safety/emergency manager, Moore
County Public Safety, who has been involved with the HeartSafe program from the get-go,
more than 330 AEDs are currently positioned in strategic locations throughout the county.
Some are in movie theaters, workplaces and churches while others are mounted outside
businesses and public buildings throughout various downtown areas.
Both Southern Pines and Pinehurst have embraced the AED movement as have many
neighborhoods, especially those built on or around golf courses. One hundred grant-funded
devices have since been placed in law enforcement vehicles.
“It fits perfectly in our mission in EMS,” Brooks says. “Our mission is to improve the
standard of care and make citizen access to care countywide. This fits that purpose perfectly.”
FirstHealth’s John May Wins
Hospital Association Trustee Award
Posted Thursday August 29, 2013
A volunteer leader with more than two decades of service to FirstHealth of the Carolinas
has received the Trustee Merit Award that is presented annually by the North Carolina
Pinehurst resident John M. May was recognized for his participation in statewide health
care activities as well as for his unique contributions to FirstHealth. An attorney with Robbins
May & Rich LLP in Pinehurst, he served several terms on the FirstHealth Board of Directors
that also included service as the board’s chair. He is currently serving his third year on the
NCHA Board of Trustees.
According to Steve Lawler, president of Vidant Medical Center in Greenville and former
NCHA board chair, May was especially recognized for his guidance in amending the AC-3
Policy created to exempt teaching hospitals from traditional Certificate of Need approval
“One of the examples of John’s thoughtful and quiet leadership was the work we did as a
collective looking at the academic exemption for teaching hospitals and the AC-3, which gives
teaching hospitals the opportunity to invest in high-end technology and services to better meet
their mission as teaching institutions,” Lawler said. “At the end of the day, there was a shared
appreciation that we need great physicians and we need to train them in a way that allows not
only the teaching hospitals to have what they need but also allows those other community
hospitals that happen to be within the same market or same geography to be successful as
well. John was really masterful in bringing people together in a non-threatening way to get that
During May’s volunteer tenure with FirstHealth, his insights were especially helpful during
the 1995 merger of Moore Regional Hospital in Pinehurst and Montgomery Memorial
Hospital in Troy that created FirstHealth of the Carolinas. The combined affiliation put him in
the unique position of leading both the FirstHealth and Moore Regional Hospital boards at the
He also chaired the FirstHealth board that oversaw a management agreement and then
the 2001 acquisition of Richmond Memorial Hospital in Rockingham.
A native of Spring Hope in North Carolina’s Nash County, May is a graduate of the
Wake Forest University School of Law. He recently resigned from his volunteer position with
FirstHealth to become the organization’s corporate counsel. With this new role, he provides
general legal services and advice to FirstHealth boards and management and oversees outside
FirstHealth’s John May (center) is pictured with NCHA President, Bill Pully and NCHA
Board Chair Laura Easton, CEO of Caldwell Memorial Hospital in Lenoir, after he received
the NCHA Trustee Merit Award.
Gallbladder Surgery Now Performed
Robotically at Moore Regional
Posted Wednesday August 28, 2013
Of the 700,000 or so people who will have their gallbladder removed in the United
States this year, more than 90 percent will have laparoscopic surgery, a technique that
involves several tiny incisions instead of the conventional long, open cut.
At FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital, patients having their gallbladder removed now
have another option in robot-assisted surgery, a technology that offers the same benefits of
laparoscopy but with even more surgical precision.
Unlike traditional laparoscopy, “The robot allows you to have a wristed-type movement
like a natural motion on the inside of the body,” says David Grantham, M.D., a general and
bariatric surgeon with Moore Regional and Pinehurst Surgical.
With robot-assisted surgery, the surgeon sits at a console a few feet away from the
patient and guides the movement of surgical instruments at the end of the robot’s arms.
Despite the intimidating presence of the equipment, the surgeon is completely in charge,
“It’s a misconception that the robot is going to do anything independently,” Dr. Grantham
says. “There is no independent action from the robot. The surgeon controls every aspect of
Moore Regional’s da Vinci Si is a third-generation robotic surgical system that features
three-dimensional high-definition vision of the surgical area with up to 10 times the
magnification of earlier technology. Benefits of robotic surgery include less pain, blood loss
and scarring and shorter hospital stays and recovery times.
Robotic surgery was introduced at Moore Regional in early 2006 with the radical
prostatectomies (prostate removals) performed by urologists Robert Chamberlain, M.D., and
Greg Griewe, M.D. A year later, Walter Fasolak, D.O., and Stephen Szabo, M.D., added
gynecological procedures to the hospital’s list of robotic surgical resources.
The recent addition of robotic cholecystectomy (gallbladder surgery) opens the door to
even greater robotic use - from hernia repair and bowel resection to procedures involving
solid organs such as the adrenal gland, pancreas, liver and spleen. The anticipated progression
to single-incision robotic surgery (accomplished by way of one tiny incision in the patient’s
navel) offers the additional cosmetic benefit of a procedure that is essentially scarless with
even less pain and an even lower risk of complication. “Robotics are here to stay and have a
place in general surgery,” says Dr. Grantham.
For more information on robotic surgery at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital, call
Moore Regional Hospital
Recognized for Quality in Cardiac Care
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina has recognized FirstHealth Moore Regional
Hospital as one of the first hospitals in the nation to receive a Blue Distinction Center+SM
designation in the area of cardiac care. The designation is part of the Blue Distinction Centers
for Specialty Care program.
Blue Distinction Centers are hospitals shown to deliver quality specialty care based on
objective, transparent measures for patient safety and health outcomes that were developed
with input from the medical community. The new Blue Distinction Centers+ designation level
recognizes hospitals that deliver both quality and cost-efficient specialty care.
“We are especially pleased to be recognized by BCBSNC for meeting the rigorous
cardiac care selection criteria set by the Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care program,”
says John Krahnert Jr., M.D., FirstHealth’s chief medical officer.
“As a cardiothoracic surgeon, I am keenly aware of the tough quality and safety measures
that are involved with the delivery of high-quality cardiac medicine. Moore Regional’s
program has been nationally known for its successful outcomes for more than two decades
now, but the successes of the past aren’t enough. We are committed to the continued delivery
of compassionate patient care supported by the advanced technology of state-of-the-art
medicine recognized in the Blue Distinction Centers program.”
The Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care program was developed in 2006 to help
patients find quality providers for their specialty care needs while encouraging health care
professionals to improve the care they deliver. To receive a Blue Distinction Center+ for
Cardiac Care designation, a hospital must demonstrate success in meeting both general quality
and safety criteria (such as preventing hospital-acquired infections) and cardiac-specific
quality measures (related to lower rates of complications and death following cardiac surgery;
and non-surgical procedures, such as cardiac stent placement). They must also show better
cost-efficiency relative to their peers.
Because quality is key, only facilities that first meet Blue Distinction’s nationally
established, objective quality measures are considered for designation as a Blue Distinction
Center+. Research shows that Blue Distinction Centers+ demonstrate better quality and
improved outcomes for patients, with lower rates of complications following certain cardiac
procedures and lower rates of health care-associated infections, compared with their peers.
They are also 20 percent more cost-efficient for those same procedures.
For more information about the Blue Distinction Centers program and for a complete
listing of the designated facilities, you can visit www.bcbs.com/bluedistinction. For information
on FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital and its Reid Heart Center, visit www.firsthealth.org.
Moore Regional Offering
Low-Dose CT Screening for Lung Cancer
As the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women in the United States, lung
cancer claims more than 160,000 lives annually.
Even though most of these deaths are related to the effects of cigarette smoking, there had
not been until recently a proven method for early lung cancer detection. As a result, most lung
cancers were being diagnosed in later stages when they are more difficult to treat.
Today, patients with a history of cigarette smoking can benefit from reliable screening for
early lung cancer detection in the form of the low-dose computed tomography (CT) scans
now being offered in the Outpatient Imaging Department at FirstHealth Moore Regional
“We are very excited to finally have a screening test for a disease that takes the lives of so
many people,” says Michael Pritchett, D.O., a board certified pulmonologist at Moore
Regional and Pinehurst Medical Clinic. “The current data from studies shows that we can
avoid some lung cancer deaths through screening. This could potentially cure 20,000 deaths
per year if these screenings are widely implemented. However, that’s still only 13 percent of
the 160,000 people who die yearly from lung cancer.”
A lung CT screening works basically the same way as a CT screening for any other body
part. The patient lies beneath the scanner, which captures high-resolution images of the lungs.
The image is then read by a board certified radiologist, and the results are shared with the
patient in a written report.
A scan, which is done without the use of dyes or contrasts, is painless and takes only a
few minutes. Patients get only slightly more radiation than they would get from a traditional X-
An influential group of government advisers recently endorsed the use of CT lung cancer
screenings for certain current and former smokers. To be considered for a screening, says the
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, people should:
· Be 55 through 74 years of age
· Have smoked a pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years or the equivalent, such as two
packs a day for 15 years
People who should not be screened include:
· Those younger than 55 or older then 74
· Those who smoked less or less often than those previously described
· Those who quit smoking 15 or more years ago
· Those too sick or frail to tolerate lung cancer treatment
· Those who have had a chest CT sometime in the previous 18 months
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force also recommends that the best way to evaluate
the scans is through a multidisciplinary approach, such as the one offered by FirstHealth’s
Chest Center of the Carolinas, which is located in Reid Heart Center.
According to Dr. Pritchett, who serves as Chest Center medical director, 75 percent of
lung cancers are found at an advanced stage (III or IV) when the prognosis is not good.
“When found early, the cure rate can be as high as 92 percent,” he says.
A physician referral is not required for a lung cancer screening, but the patient must have
an established relationship with a primary care provider who can receive the test results.
Insurance plans do not currently cover the $180 screening cost, which is payable at the time
of the exam.
For more information on the lung cancer screening program currently being offered at
FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital, call (910) 715-2258.