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444A7808

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 pcrmc.com.

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 pcrmc.com.

Dr Bass Father

PCRMC Family Medicine Physician James Bass, MD, Has Been Serving Patients for Over 35 Years

James Bass, MD, family medicine physician at the Phelps County Regional Medical Center (PCRMC) Bass Medical Clinic in Rolla, remembers as a young boy going to his father’s office.

His father, Billy Jack Bass, MD, was a general practitioner in Salem, and Dr. James Bass credits his dad as to how he first became interested in healthcare and medicine.

“I remember him evaluating and treating patients,” Dr. Bass says about his father. “I would watch him, and it was so interesting how he put all the pieces of the puzzle together to arrive at a diagnosis. I decided that I wanted to do the same since I love science and I also enjoy people.”

Dr. Bass graduated from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine in 1979. He completed an internship at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan, and later completed his residency training in emergency medicine in Oklahoma City. He is certified by the American Board of General Practice.

He began his career practicing medicine in the emergency room at St. Joseph Hospital in Kansas City. However, after a short time, he decided to focus on family medicine as his specialty. This change allowed Dr. Bass to build relationships with his patients and care for them over the years.

In 1983, Dr. Bass and his wife, Annie, now a local Realtor, moved to Rolla, where he began a private practice with offices in Rolla and Salem, where he grew up and went to high school. After the Salem office closed, he continued to practice medicine in Rolla, offering both inpatient and outpatient care.

In 2013, Dr. Bass joined the PCRMC Medical Group and continues to see patients at the Bass Medical Clinic on Hauck Drive in Rolla. He also offers senior care at two nursing homes in Salem, including the Salem Care Center and Seville Care Center.

Meeting new patients and following up with their care throughout their lives are among the things he enjoys the most about being a family medicine doctor. “The continuity, the relationship and the knowledge of the patient and the family make being a family medicine doctor so special,” Dr. Bass says.

Because Dr. Bass is part of the PCRMC team, his patients have access to a variety of services at PCRMC, including many specialists.

“I’ve been working at the Rolla hospital for years, and I’ve seen it grow,” he says. “It seems we’re always adding new things, and that means patients don’t have to travel far to see a specialist or access quality services.”

Staff at the Bass Medical Clinic describe Dr. Bass as very thorough and straightforward with his patients. In cases where patients need a referral to see a PCRMC specialist, often times, Dr. Bass will personally call the specialist himself to make arrangements.

Since Dr. Bass is a family medicine physician, he sees patients of all ages and with all types of conditions. “I do some pediatric care for children ages 10 and up, and I also do geriatric care for seniors living in nursing homes,” he says.

Dr. Bass offers sports physicals and other general care to patients as well as encourages screenings and other services to prevent illnesses.

“The best health advice I would give my patients is to eat a good diet and get some form of exercise at least four to five times a week,” he says. “Diet and exercise can make all the difference in the world when it comes to your health.”

Dr. Bass can help patients with colds and the flu or more serious diseases, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. In fact, Dr. Bass has a special interest in cardiovascular disease, which includes problems with the heart and blood vessels.

Dr. Bass says PCRMC Cardiologist James Spadaro, MD, was a significant influence on his decision to work at PCRMC. “He has helped me with my own health and education,” Dr. Bass says of Dr. Spadaro.

Dr. Bass has served Rolla and surrounding communities for 35 years. “I like having a job where I still enjoy going into work every day. I like my patients and practice here in Rolla,” Dr. Bass says.

Dr. Bass is accepting new patients at the Bass Medical Clinic, located at 1201 Hauck Drive in Rolla. For more information, visit pcrmc.com, or to make an appointment, call 573-364-8818.

Stroke Award

PCRMC Receives Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award

Phelps County Regional Medical Center (PCRMC) has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

PCRMC earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients at a set level for a designated period. These measures include evaluation of the proper use of medications and other stroke treatments aligned with the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients. Before discharge, patients should also receive education on managing their health, get a follow-up visit scheduled, as well as other care transition interventions.

“Phelps County Regional Medical Center is dedicated to improving the quality of care for our stroke patients by implementing the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Stroke initiative,” said Keri Brookshire-Heavin, senior vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer at PCRMC. “The tools and resources provided help us track and measure our success in meeting evidenced-based clinical guidelines developed to improve patient outcomes.”

PCRMC additionally received the association’s Target: StrokeSM Elite award. To qualify for this recognition, hospitals must meet quality measures developed to reduce the time between the patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with the clot-buster tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat ischemic stroke.

“We are pleased to recognize Phelps County Regional Medical Center for their commitment to stroke care,” said Eric E. Smith, M.D., national chairman of the Get With The Guidelines Steering Committee and an associate professor of neurology at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada. “Research has shown that hospitals adhering to clinical measures through the Get With The Guidelines quality improvement initiative can often see fewer readmissions and lower mortality rates.”

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds and nearly 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

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About Phelps County Regional Medical Center

Phelps County Regional Medical Center (PCRMC) is one of Missouri’s leading regional referral centers, serving over 200,000 residents in south-central Missouri. PCRMC is a non-tax supported, county-owned, 242-bed hospital with more than 1,800 employees, 100-plus providers and a five-member elected board. PCRMC serves a six-county area, with its main campus located in Rolla, Missouri. PCRMC has clinics in Salem, St. James, Vienna and Waynesville, Missouri.

About Get With The Guidelines®

Get With The Guidelines® is the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s hospital-based quality improvement program that provides hospitals with tools and resources to increase adherence to the latest research-based guidelines. Developed with the goal of saving lives and hastening recovery, Get With The Guidelines has touched the lives of more than 6 million patients since 2001. For more information, visit heart.org.

444A9975

PCRMC Nearing Completion of Updates to Operating Rooms

A large renovation project of the surgery unit at Phelps County Regional Medical Center (PCRMC) is expected to be completed by the end of this summer.

PCRMC is partnering with McCarthy for the $4.4 million project to update three operating room suites and the pre-operative and post-operative areas. One of the operating rooms was expanded to make room for the new da Vinci Si surgical system, which uses robotic technology.

The renovations began in July 2017 and include an updated HVAC (heating, ventilating and air conditioning) system, better lighting and other upgrades. PCRMC’s new surgery waiting area will be more comforting and accommodating to patients and their families. Upgrades include new furniture as well as areas to charge phones, tablets and laptops.

“The upgrades are meant to make the patient flow seamless and the workflow process more streamlined,” said Jennifer Bechtel, director of surgical services at PCRMC. “This will allow our patient care teams to work much better together.”

“At PCRMC, we are constantly working to improve the patient experience,” says PCRMC Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Jason Shenefield. “We strive for patient-centered care in everything we do.”