Browse Author: Paul Hackbarth

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PCRMC Will Be Renamed Phelps Health in 2019

Phelps County Regional Medical Center (PCRMC) will change its name to Phelps Health effective January 1, 2019. The change will affect all of PCRMC’s facilities.

The PCRMC Board of Trustees voted unanimously today (October 24, 2018) at its monthly meeting to rename the healthcare organization.

The decision to change the name was made to better define PCRMC, which has experienced significant growth over the past several years.

“Especially during the last 10 years, we have grown beyond just a hospital or a medical center,” says PCRMC President and CEO Ed Clayton. “So our name, Phelps County Regional Medical Center, does not accurately describe us anymore.”

The scope of services offered throughout the PCRMC organization, including both primary and specialty care, has expanded greatly. In addition to the main campus in Rolla, PCRMC has clinics and offers a variety of exceptional care services throughout Rolla as well as in surrounding communities.

However, each location often is identified in a different manner, and many of PCRMC’s service lines also are referred to by various names.

“By changing our name, the goal is to clarify that our different clinics and facilities in our six-county service area are all tied together under one integrated healthcare organization,” Clayton says.

“Whether you are at our Forest City Family Practice in St. James or our Dent Medical Clinic in Salem, we want people to know that when they walk into one of our locations, they are walking into Phelps Health,” Clayton says. “We hope this name change will make us more recognizable in the communities where we offer care.”

Over the coming months, the public may notice new signage being installed to reflect the new name. In addition to the name change, PCRMC’s logo will change in 2019. Plans are underway to finalize the logo before it is unveiled.

The name change will not affect patient care or existing services. “Renaming PCRMC to Phelps Health in no way changes the commitment to the patients and communities we serve,” Clayton says.

Changing the name to Phelps Health not only offers clarification for the community but also provides a clearer description to potential physicians and clinical staff who may want to work for this organization.

“When choosing a new name, we wanted to retain the term ‘Phelps’ somehow,” Clayton says. Phelps County’s generous and giving community founded PCRMC, so that part of the name was important to keep, he says.

However, as this region’s healthcare needs grew, PCRMC now offers services in the surrounding areas so patients do not have to travel far for care. While about half of the patients who receive care at PCRMC are from Phelps County, the other half come from surrounding counties.

“We are structured as a county hospital, but we offer more services than a typical county hospital does,” Clayton says.

The process of changing the name to Phelps Health involved input from several community stakeholders as well as consumer testing. PCRMC leadership and staff worked with an independent healthcare marketing consultant throughout this rebranding process.

This name change also will affect the Phelps Regional Health Care Foundation, which will be renamed Phelps Health Foundation starting in 2019.

There is no change in ownership with the organization being renamed. Phelps Health will remain its own independent, nonprofit healthcare facility serving south-central Missouri.

PCRMC has a rich history in the community. Construction of the hospital, known then as Phelps County Memorial Hospital, began in 1949 and opened in March of 1951 on land donated by the Rolla Lions Club.

As the hospital grew, more buildings, services, equipment and technology were added, and in the early 1980s, the hospital’s board authorized the hospital to be renamed Phelps County Regional Medical Center.

For more information on the name change to Phelps Health, including frequently asked questions, visit

Ribbon cutting

PCRMC Auxiliary Donates $220,000 for New Ambulance, Equipment

Phelps County Regional Medical Center (PCRMC) Emergency Medical Services (EMS) staff have a new ambulance thanks to the generosity of the PCRMC Auxiliary and Volunteer Services.

The PCRMC Auxiliary raised $220,000 and donated the funds to go toward the purchase of a new Ford F-350 ambulance as well as additional specialty equipment for the new vehicle.

PCRMC leaders and employees as well as Auxiliary members, volunteers and ambulance crews celebrated October 22, 2018, with a ribbon cutting held for the new ambulance. Attendees also received tours of the new ambulance and learned about its features.

“On behalf of the entire Ambulance Department, we truly appreciate this donation,” says Ray Massey, director of ambulance and transportation services at PCRMC.

The new ambulance is equipped with a Stryker cot loading system to help transport patients. The loading system weighs about 175 pounds itself, with no patient on it, and can hold up to 700 pounds.

The ambulance also has a gel ride system to help provide a ride as comfortable as possible for patients.

The idea to raise money for a new ambulance began during a discussion between PCRMC President and CEO Ed Clayton and Auxiliary Director Tina Pridgeon. Auxiliary President Jayne Stites championed the project for approval by the Auxiliary board.

“We were looking for another project where the Auxiliary could really have an impact,” Clayton says. “We started talking about the Ambulance Department and how it has grown along with the need for EMS in our community.

“While we have a good fleet of ambulances, certainly, a new one is very beneficial for patients,” Clayton says. “We’re so very thankful to the Auxiliary today to have donated $220,000 for the ambulance project.”

In some cases, an ambulance is the first interaction patients have with PCRMC, and that is why “having state-of-the-art capabilities is so important,” says PCRMC Senior Vice President of Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer Keri Brookshire-Heavin. “This is a great way to take care of our community.”

The new ambulance is not only beneficial for patients but also the staff who use the ambulance and its equipment, she says.

The ambulance donation is one of many contributions that the Auxiliary has made to PCRMC. Over the last several years, the PCRMC Auxiliary has donated funds for renovations to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), furnishings for the Comprehensive Breast Center, medical equipment for orthopedics and the large digital sign next to Interstate 44 on the main PCRMC campus in Rolla.

“PCRMC does so much for the community, and the Auxiliary is fortunate to be able to give back to this healthcare organization,” Pridgeon says.

To learn more about the PCRMC Auxiliary, or for information on how to become a volunteer, call (573) 458-7939 or (573) 458-7947.


Patients Share Positive Experiences at PCRMC Comprehensive Breast Center

Robin Wisdom had not had a mammogram in nearly 20 months.

So her primary care provider, Barbie Fulton, a family nurse practitioner (FNP) with the Phelps County Regional Medical Center (PCRMC) Medical Group who practices at the Dent Medical Clinic, helped Wisdom schedule a mammogram at PCRMC’s Comprehensive Breast Center.

That turned out to be an important decision, as Wisdom’s care team at PCRMC discovered “something” during her mammogram. She was urged to get an ultrasound and a core needle biopsy, which confirmed that she has breast cancer.

“I remember a nurse named Tiffany…she held my hand through the core biopsy and consoled me,” says Wisdom, a Dent County resident. “I was treated with nothing but excellence at the Breast Center.”

The Tiffany she refers to is Tiffany Henry, RN, who serves as PCRMC’s Comprehensive Breast Center coordinator.

Henry credits not only the innovative technology and wide variety of services offered at PCRMC’s Comprehensive Breast Center but also the caring staff that makes the clinic such an exceptional facility.

“From start to finish, like our names says, we are a comprehensive breast center,” Henry says.

PCRMC’s Comprehensive Breast Center, with convenient locations at the Medical Office Building in Rolla and at the Waynesville Medical Plaza, offers both screening and diagnostic mammograms, bone density screenings as well as stereotactic breast biopsies, which are less invasive than surgical biopsies.

In addition to traditional 2D mammograms, PCRMC’s Comprehensive Breast Center has offered 3D digital breast tomosynthesis (or 3D mammograms), a state-of-the-art breast imaging technology, since the summer of 2016.

3D mammograms help decrease false-positive results, offer an increased rate of cancer detection when compared with traditional 2D mammography and allow radiologists to better visualize breast tissue, particularly in the case of dense breasts.

When Wisdom came in for her appointment at PCRMC’s Comprehensive Breast Center in Rolla, in July 2018, she had a 3D mammogram. After her diagnosis of cancer was confirmed, her treatment plan began quickly. She first underwent a lumpectomy, a procedure to surgically remove a lump from the breast tissue. She also had two lymph nodes removed. PCRMC General Surgeon Dana Voight, MD, performed her surgery.

Wisdom is now under the care of Becky Witham, FNP, who specializes in medical oncology/hematology, at the PCRMC Delbert Day Cancer Institute (DDCI).

Wisdom says she felt her care team went above and beyond for her, whether it was during her surgery or while she has been receiving treatments at the DDCI, but nowhere was that more true than at PCRMC’s Comprehensive Breast Center.

“I’m thankful we have care this close, and I don’t have to travel to Springfield, Columbia or St. Louis,” Wisdom says. “I would highly recommend anyone go to PCRMC’s Breast Center and the DDCI.”

Lisa Green, a Pulaski County resident and PCRMC patient, had a similar positive experience. Like Wisdom, Green says she likes that she does not have to travel far for care.

“I had been going to the Breast Center in Rolla for years, and after I saw that the Waynesville Medical Plaza was built (in 2015), I called to make an appointment,” Green says. She was told that she could have her screening mammograms take place at the Waynesville Medical Plaza.

Green has been going there ever since. “It’s just so convenient,” she says.

Green says her sister has had breast cancer twice, so Green was encouraged to get a mammogram because of her family history of the disease.

“The people are so nice and friendly,” Green says of the staff. “And they’re so thorough. They really take the time to explain things to you.” Green also says PCRMC’s Comprehensive Breast Center is flexible with her schedule.

In addition to being caring, the staff at PCRMC’s Comprehensive Breast Center are highly-trained and qualified.

“We even have a radiologist on-site who can consult with patients if they are experiencing issues,” says Henry.

In addition, the Phelps Regional Health Care Foundation, the philanthropic arm of PCRMC, provides mammograms and other services recommended by PCRMC’s Comprehensive Breast Center at no cost to women who financially qualify through the Breast Center Mammography Fund. In 2017, that fund helped 115 patients.

The American College of Radiology recommends yearly mammograms for women starting at age 40.

Patients do not need a physician referral for a screening mammogram at the Comprehensive Breast Center. To make an appointment, please call Centralized Scheduling at (573) 458-7737.

To learn more about mammograms, breast self-exams and general breast health, call PCRMC’s Comprehensive Breast Center at (573) 458-3100 or visit

Dylan Vanormer

Family Shares Appreciation for Phelps Regional Homecare’s Hospice Services

Rolla teenager Dylan Vanormer enjoyed art. He made pencil drawings and created pieces using oil paints and spray paint.

However, when he lost mobility due to a brain tumor that eventually spread to his spine, he did not want to give up his passion. So, he got innovative.

“Dylan was in a wheelchair, and he would roll over tubes of acrylic paint to make designs,” said his mother, Michelle Opalio.

In 2007, about a month after Dylan’s 7th birthday, he was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a type of cancerous brain tumor that starts in the back of the head, near the base of the skull. He was treated at St. Jude’s Children Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.

However, the cancer came back in 2012 and spread to his spinal cord. He underwent more treatments and surgery, but he had another recurrence in 2014. When it became clear that Dylan’s tumor was inoperable, Opalio began considering hospice care for her son.

Opalio wanted a hospice program for Dylan that was close to home in Rolla. Opalio, who previously worked for a nursing home, had previous experience with two hospice providers in the area, including Phelps Regional Homecare, a division of Phelps County Regional Medical Center (PCRMC).

“It was the St. Jude’s care team that actually chose the hospice program through Phelps Regional Homecare,” Opalio said.

Dylan was admitted into hospice care in August 2016, and Monica Link, RN, with Phelps Regional Homecare, cared for him.

“Monica initially saw Dylan on a weekly basis. She would work around his schedule and sometimes come on a different day of the week, if needed,” Opalio said.

“She worked with St. Jude’s throughout his care,” Opalio said. “Anytime there was a hiccup with pain management or whatever, she would check with St. Jude’s.”

Opalio and her significant other, Max Tohline, said they felt like Link became part of the family and noted that she went above and beyond for Dylan. Link gave him balloons on one of his birthdays and often brought him energy drinks when visiting him.

“Dylan wanted to go to prom, and Monica was willing to go with him,” Opalio said. While the two ended up not attending prom, Link brought Dylan a boutonniere and dressed up for pictures with him.

“Their bond was very special,” Tohline said of Dylan and Link. “There were no lengths that she wouldn’t go to, at least that we could tell.”

A celebration of life was held for Dylan while he was still living so he could be a part of it. “It was called a ‘game-over party,’” Opalio said, and Link stayed with Dylan for most of the event.

In January 2018, his care team at St. Jude’s discontinued his therapies and expected him to live for only another two months. Dylan passed away in June 2018 at the age of 18.

In addition to Link, Opalio and Tohline said other care members with Phelps Regional Homecare, including social worker Anna Tucker and chaplain Rod Farthing, visited Dylan while in hospice care.

Phelps Regional Homecare staff also helped Opalio with some of her bills and followed up with her and her family after Dylan’s passing.

The goal of Phelps Regional Homecare’s hospice program is to maintain the individual’s highest quality of life and dignity to the greatest extent possible. Hospice responds to people’s needs for comfort, empowerment, self-directed care and supports the patient’s loved ones both during the illness and after death.

Phelps Regional Homecare team members not only provide medical and nursing care but also offer emotional, spiritual and bereavement support for individuals and their families.

In addition to hospice, Phelps Regional Homecare offers a variety of home health and in-home services to the Phelps County community and surrounding areas.

For more information about Phelps Regional Homecare, call (573) 364-2425 or visit


Volunteer Opportunities for College Students Available at PCRMC This Fall

Local college students looking for volunteer opportunities are invited to help the Phelps County Regional Medical Center (PCRMC) Auxiliary & Volunteer Services Department, Nursing Administration Office and Acute Rehabilitation Unit through two programs this fall. Student volunteers can help PCRMC staff provide non-nursing assistance to patients at PCRMC.

Safe Send-Off

The first way students in area colleges and universities can help is through the Safe Send-Off College Student Volunteer Program, in which volunteers will assist PCRMC staff with safely escorting discharged patients from their room to their ride home. Volunteers will be trained on proper wheelchair procedures.

For students interested in this program, three-hour volunteer shifts need to be filled from 1:30-4:30 pm and 4:30-7:30 pm seven days a week.

Acute Rehab

The second way college students can volunteer at PCRMC this fall is through the Acute Rehab College Student Volunteer Program, in which students will help staff with activities for patients.

Activities may include music, games, crafts and movies. Student volunteers also may spend time talking with and reading to patients or assisting staff with non-nursing errands and duties.

For the Acute Rehab program, three-hour volunteer shifts need to be filled from 4:30-7:30 pm Mondays through Fridays. There are no weekend opportunities for this volunteer program at this time.

How to Apply

College students who want to volunteer for either program must first apply. Applications are due Wednesday, September 5, 2018.

Volunteers also must attend one of two orientations. These orientations have been scheduled for Monday, August 27, 2018, from 1-3 pm or Wednesday, September 5, 2018, from 3-5 pm in Private Dining Room 1 at PCRMC, 1000 West 10th Street, Rolla.

In addition, online learning modules are required prior to volunteering.

Both of these college volunteer programs will start Monday, September 10, 2018.

For a volunteer application or for more information, contact Franz Kindel at 573-458-7553 or or visit