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Category: Health Beat

“Love Your Heart” Potluck Luncheon to be Held February 10th

“Love Your Heart” Potluck Luncheon to be Held February 10th

February is National Heart Health Month. If you have a heart, you could have heart disease. Learn more about this deadly disease and what you can do to keep your heart healthy at a “Love Your Heart” Potluck Luncheon on February 10th at the McClintic Library beginning at 12 noon.

Hosted by the WVU Extension Service and Pocahontas Memorial Hospital, men and women are invited to join us for an hour of fellowship, education, giveaways, door prizes, and good food. Special local guest speakers will share their personal stories in hopes of raising awareness. Please wear red to show your support and bring a healthy “red” dish to share. Invite your friends to join us! RSVP by 10am on February 10th to the Extension Office at 304-799-4852.

Heart and blood vessel disease is our nation’s Number 1 killer. About half of the deaths from heart and blood vessel disease are from coronary heart disease, which includes heart attack. According to the American Heart Association, about 325,000 people a year die of coronary attack before they get to a hospital or emergency room. West Virginia ranks 4th among all states in the nation for heart disease death rates.

Please join us for this very important event!

Make it Your Resolution to Live Healthy in the New Year

Another year has begun and with it, the annual ritual of making New Year’s Resolutions. This year, take charge of your health with a few of our suggestions:

  1. Eat more fruits and veggies.  We’ve heard time and again that we need at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that the average American consumes a little less than three servings each day and in West Virginia, only 2 ½ servings per day.
  2. Drink more water. Our bodies need water for functioning.  Headaches, drowsiness, lack of energy, dry skin, and illnesses can all be attributed to a lack of water.  Aim for at least 8 cups of water each day.
  3. Quit smoking. The leading cause of death and disease in West Virginia is tobacco use, with the majority from smoking and chewing tobacco. Almost 4,000 West Virginians die each year from tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure. Smoking hurts you, your family, and your friends. If you need help quitting, call the WV Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW. You can also find the Quit Line on the web at: http://www.bebetter.net/wvquitline_home.html. The Quit Line offers free patches, gum, lozenges, and counseling to help you quit.
  4. Find a healthcare provider.  All adults need to visit a healthcare provider from time to time, even if they are healthy. A yearly exam will screen for diseases, assess your risk for future medical problems, update your vaccinations, and help maintain a relationship with a provider in case you are ever ill. If you need a healthcare provider, Pocahontas Memorial Hospital’s Rural Health Clinic offers healthcare for the entire family, including pediatric care and women’s health services. Give the clinic a call today to schedule an appointment at 304-799-6200.
  5. Move more. Everyone can benefit from more exercise. Even if you regularly workout, incorporate more activity into your daily routine. Do you work in an office? Walk down the hall to speak with a co-worker instead of phoning.  Going grocery shopping? Park in the farthest space from the store.
  6. Cook more meals at home. While it may be easier and faster to bring home a pizza or bag of fried chicken for dinner, preparing fresh meals at home is a lot better for you.
Make it Your Resolution to Live Healthy in the New Year
Flu Officially in Pocahontas County

Flu Officially in Pocahontas County

Pocahontas Memorial Hospital Rural Health Clinic providers have seen dozens of confirmed flu cases over the last several days and Dr. Neal Rehberg, DO stresses the importance of all folks taking the necessary precautions to avoid the flu. Pocahontas County is not alone with its high flu numbers; according to the West Virginia Bureau of Public Health, there is widespread activity throughout the state. An epidemiologist with the Bureau said last week that this is the “earliest it’s been this bad in five years.”

It is not too late to get the flu shot this year and PMH encourages everyone to get vaccinated if you have not already. Because of the rapid mutations of this year’s flu viruses, the flu shot may not completely prevent you from getting the flu, however it will help in lessening the length and severity of illness. In addition, there are daily steps you can take to help protect your health and the health of your family. For example:

  • Wash your hands often and the right way. Use soap and water for twenty seconds. If soap and water is not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. This is how germs are spread.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Take preventative action – get lots of sleep, exercise daily, stay hydrated, and eat healthily.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • If you do get sick with a flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine.

Many people mistakenly think that the flu must involve stomach nausea and vomiting, however the flu actually more closely mimics the common cold. Flu symptoms include cold chills, body aches, fever, cough, and/or sore throat. While not usually life threatening, sometimes the flu can lead to pneumonia, bacterial infections, or hospitalization.

Dr. Rehberg cautions that health care workers and family members of health care workers are at additional risk for exposure. Anywhere that groups of people gather offer a bigger chance of obtaining and spreading the flu. Communities with large transient populations also are at risk. While Pocahontas County does not have a large population, we do have over one million visitors annually!

Call Pocahontas Memorial Hospital’s Rural Health Clinic to schedule an appointment to receive a flu shot at 304-799-6200.

Rural Health Clinic Advice on CDL/DOT Exams

In May 2014, new procedures were mandated by the West Virginia Department of Transportation requiring physicals for all CMV drivers (Commercial Motor Vehicles) to be performed by a “Certified Medical Examiner.” In addition, new recommendations and guidelines were put in place regarding certifications. Pocahontas Memorial Hospital’s Rural Health Clinic understands that driving is many people’s livelihood in this area and wants to keep you in your job, on the road, and providing for your family. To help you understand the new procedures, here are some frequently asked questions.

What are the changes to the exam process?

CDL/DOT examinations must now be conducted by a Certified Medical Examiner. Your regular provider who has conducted the exam in the past may no longer be able to provide this service. A Certified Medical Examiner has taken an 8-hour course and testing to become certified by the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners, Federal Motor Safety Administration, and the West Virginia Department of Transportation.

Who do the new changes apply to?

The new exam requirements apply to anyone trying to obtain or renew a license to operate a Commercial Motor Vehicle—bus drivers, log truck drivers, trailer truck drivers, etc.

Where can I find a “Certified Medical Examiner”?

PMH’s Rural Health Clinic has two providers currently certified to perform these exams. Dr. Neal Rehberg, DO and Valarie Monico, PA-C are two of only three certified providers in Pocahontas County.

How soon in advance should I schedule an exam?

We HIGHLY advise you to schedule an appointment well before your current certification expires—at least thirty days prior. Do NOT wait until your certification has expired. The medical provider may be required to obtain additional testing, specialist referrals, and/or past medical records before you can be granted medical clearance to drive. This can be a lengthy process which may take several weeks or even months to complete.

How long will my certification last?

Certification periods range from three months, six months, one year, or two years depending you’re your specific health conditions. According to new guidelines, some chronic health conditions will now limit a medical provider to approving a driver for certification for periods less than two years.

Will conditions like high blood pressure affect my certification?

They could. In the past, as long as the blood pressure reading at the time of examination was normal and no other health conditions were present, two year certification was typically granted. Now, under new requirements, even if high blood pressure is controlled by medication and it is normal at the time of the exam, you may be given a shorter certification period. This is a case by case situation to keep you and other drivers on the road safe.

How do I make an appointment for an exam?

Please call the Rural Health Clinic at 304-799-6200. Appointments can be made Monday through Friday 8:30am—6:30pm, as well as the first Saturday of each month from 8:30am—3:30pm. Same day appointments are available. The Rural Health Clinic wants to work with you to obtain and maintain your certification. Do not hesitate to reach out to the clinic if you have any questions about the new certification procedures.

Rural Health Clinic Advice on CDL/DOT Exams
Healthy Cooking Night Held at PMH

Healthy Cooking Night Held at PMH

To celebrate American Diabetes Month, Pocahontas Memorial Hospital Diabetes Support Group hosted a Healthy Cooking Night on November 18. Those in attendance received dozens of new recipes to try, sampled some healthy desserts prepared by PMH staff, and came away with tips and tricks for healthier holiday eating. The event was made possible with the help of the Snowshoe Foundation.

Great tips to make holiday cooking and baking healthier include:

  • Substitute evaporated skim milk for cream;
  • Substitute light cream cheese for regular;
  • Substitute non-fat plain yogurt for sour cream;
  • Omit the butter when preparing packaged or homemade stuffing (you’ll never miss it!);
  • Use half the butter you normally do in mashed potatoes;
  • Use egg whites in place of whole eggs.

If you have diabetes, the key is to plan ahead and count your carbs. Foods high in carbohydrates like bread, tortillas, rice, crackers, cereal, fruit, potatoes, corn, and sweets raise your blood glucose levels the most. If you choose to eat a small serving of dessert, cut back on the other carb-containing foods at the same meal.

This week may wrap up our American Diabetes Month activities, but help for diabetes is always available at Pocahontas Memorial Hospital. Check out our Diabetes Educationpage or contact Terry Wagner at 304-799-1032.

The www.diabetes.org website is a great resource for tasty recipes that are lower in carbs or sugar – like the recipe included below. These no-bake peanut butter balls were the hit of the Healthy Cooking night!

No-Bake Peanut Butter & Chocolate Balls

Yield: 24


1/3 cup light sugar & Stevia blend (or similar)

1/3 cup skim milk

½ cup peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups rolled oats

3 tablespoons mini chocolate chips


In a small saucepan, combine sugar and milk over medium heat. Stir well and bring to a boil for 1 ½ minutes. Stir in peanut butter and vanilla. Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients. Stir well. Scoop out mixture into 1 tablespoon balls and place on waxed paper. Let cool and refrigerate.

2 balls = 75 calories, 9 grams carb, 4 grams sugar, 1 gram dietary fiber

New Option for PMH Patient Identity Theft Protection

Pocahontas Memorial Hospital is partnering with CrossChx, a leader in healthcare intelligence solutions, to offer patients an advanced new option to protect against personal medical identity theft. The system works by scanning a patient’s finger, instantly verifying their medical identity and linking them to their medical benefits so no one else can use them. In addition, the new program will eliminate duplicate records and improve patient outcomes.

Nationwide, medical identity theft is on the rise, and it is estimated that Americans spend $40 billion annually on medical identity theft. On a personal level, it is possible for someone to find or steal your health insurance card and use it to get treatment, all while posing as you. This new option at PMH will prevent that from happening because your medical identity will be instantly verified at registration through your finger print.

In two years, this new technology from CrossChx has protected over 6 million patient identities at other health care systems. PMH staff is working hard to offer this additional safeguard for patients, but the program is ENTIRELY voluntary and NOT required to receive care. This new protection will be available beginning Tuesday, November 18.

New Option for PMH Patient Identity Theft Protection
Should I be Worried about Ebola?

Should I be Worried about Ebola?

When you turn on the TV these days you hear multiple reports about Ebola. People are starting to talk about this virus everywhere. What does all this mean to people in Pocahontas County?

Ebola is a serious viral disease that does not occur naturally in the United States, but travelers who are exposed in another part of the world can become ill after they have arrived back in the U.S. Large outbreaks are occurring in the West African countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Early symptoms of Ebola include fever, nausea and vomiting, muscle pain, headache, weakness, sore throat, conjunctivitis, abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea. Some patients have slow pulse rates, rapid breathing or a rash. After several days, patients may have bleeding gums, nose bleeds, bruising, or blood in the urine, stool or vomitus. Symptoms generally develop between two and 21 days after exposure.

How do people get Ebola?

Ebola can spread if you come into direct contact with the body fluids of someone who has symptoms of Ebola. Body fluids include blood, urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, breast milk and semen. Direct contact would occur when there is a break in the skin or bodily fluids are splashed into the eyes, nose or mouth. Ebola is not spread through the air, by water or through food. This viral disease does not spread through casual contact like passing someone in a hallway.

How likely is it that people in West Virginia would be exposed to Ebola?

This is extremely unlikely. It is possible that a traveler could bring Ebola into the state from somewhere else. Hospitals in the United States, with more doctors, nurses and supplies such as gowns, gloves, goggles, masks and private rooms, are much better equipped than African hospitals.

Preparations are underway at Pocahontas Memorial Hospital to quickly detect, identify and care for any patient who would be suspected of carrying the Ebola virus. PMH has participated in multiple conference calls with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and has a plan of action. Among recent change to standard processes are additions to the patient screening procedure such as questions focused on travel outside of the U.S. or exposure to someone who has recently traveled outside the country or had contact with a suspected carrier of the virus.

PMH is initiating mock drills planned to aid in donning the appropriate safety equipment and simulating the procedure of caring for a patient suspected of carrying the virus that presents to the ED until assistance from the CDC would arrive. In addition, we currently have masks available at entrances, personal protective equipment available for staff and new procedures are being put into place as they become available to PMH.

The greater concern to the public this time of year is the flu virus. That is why it is extremely important to be vaccinated against the flu, use good handwashing hygiene and cover the mouth when coughing or sneezing. Thousands of people die each year in the United States due to complications from the flu.

Ebola information adapted from the WVDHHR

Swing Bed Program Allows You to Recuperate Close to Home

The Skilled Rehabilitation Program, more commonly referred to as “Swing Bed”, is a great service offered by Pocahontas Memorial Hospital that many folks are unaware of. Swing Bed is a skilled nursing program that you can be admitted to after any qualifying illness or surgery to receive rehabilitation therapy or special medical treatments. PMH offers physical, occupational, or respiratory therapies. Treatments would include wound care or IV antibiotics.

Patients may qualify if they have been in a hospital on acute care for three days and require further skilled services. For example, a person may be hospitalized with congestive heart failure or pneumonia and need additional care because they are weak or debilitated. They could then transfer into the Swing Bed program. Or, maybe you have joint replacement or surgery done at a hospital away from here and need additional physical therapy and recovery. Rather than stay at that particular hospital, you can request to be transferred to PMH for the very same services. On average, a patient is enrolled in the program for three to six weeks.

The best part is: Medicare will pay 100% of the cost for the first 20 days of service. After 20 days, the patient must pay a co-pay, which secondary insurance will often cover.

Pocahontas Memorial Hospital has a dedicated and caring staff ready to carry out a comprehensive plan of care for each individual patient that includes dietary, case management, and other activities, as well as physical, occupational, or respiratory therapies as needed. If you have any questions about this program, please contact Edwina Garber at 304-799-7400 ext 1081.

Swing Bed Program Allows You to Recuperate Close to Home
PMH Rural Health Clinic Welcomes Julie Hare, MD

PMH Rural Health Clinic Welcomes Julie Hare, MD

Pocahontas Memorial Hospital’s Rural Health Clinic is extremely excited to introduce the newest member of their health care team. Dr. Julie Hare began working at PMH on September 2nd and is now seeing patients. Dr. Hare will also be working as a hospitalist and treating emergency department patients.

Dr. Hare is a graduate of Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, DC and completed her residency at Lynchburg Family Medicine, an affiliate of Centra Health, in Lynchburg, Virginia. Dr. Hare’s specialty is family medicine and she will be seeing patients of all ages in the Rural Health Clinic. She particularly enjoys caring for newborns and young children and also has a background working with hospice patients.

Dr. Hare and her family live in Marlinton and she is looking forward to becoming a part of the community and meeting the people of Pocahontas County.

The PMH Rural Health Clinic is a full family practice offering illness and chronic disease management, vaccinations and immunizations, and physical examinations, in addition to women’s and children’s health services.

The clinic is open to anyone and located inside the hospital, which allows patients easy access to lab and x-ray services. You may make an appointment with Dr. Hare or one of our other providers by calling 304-799-6200. The clinic is open during the following hours: Monday thru Saturday 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Sunday 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Registration for the clinic is at the front desk of the hospital. Same day appointments are available.

Free Dining with Diabetes Classes to Begin

Diabetes is a common, serious, and costly disease. Luckily, many complications of diabetes can be controlled and even prevented by making lifestyles changes. The Dining with Diabetes program helps people make these lifestyle changes through clinical testing, nutrition information, recipe demonstrations, exercise, and group support.

A new year of Dining with Diabetes classes will begin in October sponsored by Pocahontas County WVU Extension and Pocahontas Memorial Hospital with financial assistance from the Snowshoe Foundation. The classes will be held on Mondays, October 6, 13, 20, and 27 at the Marlinton Presbyterian Church from 5:30 – 7:30 pm.

The classes are free and open to people with diabetes and their family members or those interested in learning how to cook in a diabetes-friendly manner. Participants will learn how to cut fat, sodium, and sugar from their diets without sacrificing taste! Attendance at all four classes is required, as well as a Reunion Session to be held in January. Please register by calling the Extension Office 304-799-4852. Registration deadline is October 1.

Try this diabetes-friendly recipe!

Apple Spice Cake

cake: 1/4 cup canola oil, 3/4 cup Splenda Granular, 1 Tbs. molasses or brown sugar, 1 large egg, 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. allspice

Topping: 1 Tbs. Splenda Granular, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, Nonstick spray

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray an 8 X 8 inch baking pan with nonstick spray. In a large bowl, stir together the oil, Splenda, and molasses or brown sugar, egg, applesauce, and vanilla.

In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and allspice. Stir the dry mixture into the wet mixture, mixing just until blended. Spoon batter into prepared pan.

In a small bowl, combine Splenda and cinnamon for topping and sprinkle evenly over batter. Bake for 20 minutes until the center of the cake springs back lightly when touched.

Yield: 12

1 serving = 130 calories, 18g carb, 2g sugar, 5 g total fat

Free Dining with Diabetes Classes to Begin