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Category: News

PMH to Open Behavioral Health Clinic

PMH to Open Behavioral Health Clinic

You have visited multiple medical professionals with no relief for your symptoms: headache or abdominal pain, insomnia, chronic fatigue, unexplained weight loss or gain. Often the only medical professional left to visit is a psychiatrist, but these symptoms are not all in your head. They are very real.

Reconsider visiting a mental health professional if you’ve had long term, unexplained symptoms. The reason is that depression or anxiety could actually be the explanation. Often people find relief from chronic, unexplained physical complaints by treating underlying conditions such as depression or anxiety, conditions that are historically overlooked and undertreated.

The mind-body connection is well established, but mental health treatment still suffers from stigma and misconception. The belief that one can just “snap out” of depression with a tug of the bootstraps is widely held, but incorrect. Depression and anxiety are medical conditions like diabetes. And like diabetes, it cannot be treated by a decision to just snap out of it.

In many cases, however, treating underlying depression or anxiety brings rapid relief of long-suffered aches and pains.

Depression and anxiety are very common in older adults, but not commonly diagnosed or treated. Research shows that the majority of older adults and their loved ones accept their symptoms of depression as a consequence of the many losses experienced as people age: retirement, loss of social contact and driving privileges, loss of friends, loss of spouse or other loved ones, loss of income. There also remains a strong stigma attached to mental health treatment that prevents many patients from seeking treatment, even when they know they need help.  It is particularly important for older patients or their families to recognize that depression is not normal at any age, and it is not just an acceptable fact of growing older.

Until recently, convenient access to this kind of treatment has not always been easily available. Now residents of Pocahontas County and surrounding areas can benefit from treatment under the care of a board-certified psychiatrist through Pocahontas Memorial Hospital’s soon to open Behavioral Health Clinic, an outpatient mental health service specifically for older adults. 

The program will begin January 2, 2020 and operate Monday through Friday. The clinic will be located in the former medical office of Dr. Soriano on Duncan Road.  Individuals may self-refer or their primary care or other provider can refer them by contacting the clinic.  Each referred individual will receive a free assessment from the program prior to beginning treatment, which will determine if they would benefit from treatment.

Angela Lester, a familiar face in the mental health field in Pocahontas County, has been selected as the Program Director for the new clinic and is excited to bring these needed services to the area.  She is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker with nearly 30 years of experience working in the behavioral health, substance abuse, geriatric, and medical fields.

“Once admitted to the program, patients participate in up to three group therapy sessions a day with physician management of their mental health medications, and may receive individual and/or family counseling as needed,” says Lester. The program coordinates medication management, therapy, and discharge planning with other medical providers as needed and appropriate. Participants may initially come daily, depending on their needs, with participation tapering off to fewer visits as their symptoms subside. The average individual generally spends an average of about 12 to 16 weeks in the program, which is typically covered by medical insurance.

The “other expense” of their personal time is also an investment toward reducing overall medical costs. Persons with untreated mental health conditions like depression average 50% higher overall medical expenses.

There are many benefits of treatment, and with today’s convenient access to it, there are hundreds of potential patients in the community who would otherwise fail to get the help they need.  For more information, contact the Behavioral Health Program Director Angela Lester at 304-799-7400 or arlester@pmhwv.org.

PMH and IGA Celebrate Diabetes Day

To celebrate National Diabetes Awareness Day Month, Pocahontas Memorial Hospital teamed with the Pocahontas IGA to host diabetes friendly “tasting stations” around the store last Tuesday. PMH staff manned the stations, offering free samples, recipes, and healthy tips. Recipes revolved around traditional Thanksgiving foods with a slightly more healthy twist. Stations included cranberry spinach salad in the produce section, pumpkin pie parfaits in the dairy section, orange roasted turkey in the meat section, and a very low carb cauliflower stuffing in the deli area.

The day was a fun event to raise awareness of diabetes and share a healthier way of cooking. Many shoppers immediately began looking for ingredients to prepare the recipes and commented that they would not need to cook dinner after they got home because they were having so much fun visiting the different stations. The day was possible through the work and collaboration of PMH and IGA, but was funded by a grant from the Snowshoe Foundation.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that Pocahontas County has one of the highest rates of diabetes in the state with almost 11% of our population aged 20 or older being told by a doctor that they have diabetes. Not included in this are the many folks who are at risk for diabetes or have pre diabetes or simply do not know that they have diabetes. Almost 26 million people in the United States have diabetes and it is estimated that as many as one in every three adults will have the disease by the year 2050.

PMH hosts a Diabetes Support Group on the 3rd Tuesday of each month. Join us on Tuesday, January 21 for our next meeting at 6:30pm. Meetings are a time of education and fellowship. For more information about the Support Group or diabetes education at PMH, contact Terry Wagner at 304-799-7400. You may also visit our website at www.pmhwv.org/pmhdiabetes to learn more about the many opportunities we offer for education and support.

PMH and IGA Celebrate Diabetes Day
National Breast Cancer Awareness Month Recognized at PMH

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month Recognized at PMH

PMH employees wore pink on October 9th in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Day and Month.

Pocahontas Memorial Hospital employees – men and women alike – wore pink on Wednesday, October 9 to raise awareness of breast cancer. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and at 10am on Wednesday, breast cancer survivor Cheryl Cain read a proclamation declaring it Breast Cancer Awareness Day at the hospital.

Cain who was diagnosed with breast cancer over two years ago and completed dozens of rounds of radiation before being declared cancer free, spoke about her experience and implored the women in attendance to get regular mammograms. Donna Lidel-Burley, a family nurse practitioner at the hospital, also spoke about her experience with breast cancer. A pink-bedecked wreath was hung on the front door and Barbara Campbell (a 29 year breast cancer survivor) distributed literature, cupcakes, and pink punch in the front lobby to hospital visitors, patients, and staff.

Overall rates of breast cancer occurrences are decreasing, but it is still the second leading cause of death among women, according to the American Cancer Society. One in every eight women has the chance of developing breast cancer sometime in her life. Over three-fourths of the breast cancers diagnosed each year occur in women who are 50 or older; this is why it is extremely important to get a mammogram every year after the age of 40. For women ages 20 to 39, mammograms are recommended every three years.

Regular mammograms are even more important for women who smoke. The National Cancer Institute recently reported that there is a direct correlation between smoking cigarettes and increased risks for developing breast cancer. In addition to causing lung cancer, tobacco use also increases one’s chances of developing cancers of the mouth, lips, nose and sinuses, voice box, throat, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, kidney, bladder, uterus, cervix, colon/rectum, and ovary, as well as acute myeloid leukemia. It also raises the risk of many other health problems, including heart and lung diseases.

Early detection can save your life – please schedule a mammogram today!

Greenbrier County Doctor Joins PMH

A Greenbrier County native has joined Pocahontas Memorial Hospital’s Emergency Department. Dr. John Johnson, or “JJ,” is now seeing patients as part of the Emergency team. PMH provides 24/7 emergency coverage and medical care for the Pocahontas County and surrounding areas.

Dr. Johnson has been a well-known and well-loved staple of the Greenbrier Valley medical community for over 30 years. He was born in the Greenbrier Valley and graduated from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine in 1985. PMH administration and staff are thrilled to have a physician with Dr. Johnson’s experience and commitment to community joining their medical team.

PMH’s Emergency Department is staffed with a professional, caring team whose goal is to provide high quality medical care as efficiently as possible. The Emergency Department is fully staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Ambulance service and inter-facility services are available, as well as emergency helicopter when needed. PMH is proud to be a Level IV Trauma Center.

Greenbrier County Doctor Joins PMH
Dry Needling an Exciting New Treatment Option

Dry Needling an Exciting New Treatment Option

Dry needling, a technique that found its beginnings in the early 1900s, is now an available treatment option at Pocahontas Memorial Hospital. Dry needling is a form of therapeutic treatment for the relief of pain. Extremely fine needles are inserted into trigger points of painful knots in muscles to cause them to relax, thus easing pain. PMH Physical Therapist Bevin Saul received intensive training and received certification by KinataCore, in Ashburn, Virginia in order to offer this important treatment to our patients.

Dry needling is an extremely effective treatment for both acute and chronic pain, rehabilitation from injury, and even pain and injury prevention. This technique is unequaled in finding and eliminating neuromuscular dysfunction that leads to pain and functional deficits. Dry Needling increases blood flow, decreases banding, decreases spontaneous electrical activity, and effects biochemical and CNS changes. Dry needling is not acupuncture. Acupuncture is based on traditional Chinese medicine with the goal of balancing energy (Qi). Dry Needling, however, follows evidence-based guidelines to alleviate pain. Staci Burns was the first patient to receive dry needling in the PMH location. Burns has had dry needling done in other locations outside of Pocahontas County and can speak firsthand of its benefits in treating her neck pain and headaches. Burns’ procedure began with her comfortably lying on a treatment table, with Saul carefully examining her neck and head area. Thin filament needles were inserted at various points while Saul held or massaged a specific muscle.

Burns’ treatment consisted of three total needles. She said she did not feel the first two needles at all. The third she likened to a slight bee sting. At the end of her procedure, Saul pointed out that one shoulder was already less tense and sitting lower than the other. Results can sometimes be felt almost immediately. Saul followed up the dry needling with some soft tissue massage work, which she said reinforces the needle work.

Dry needling is not covered by many insurances. But with a desire to make this procedure widely available to our patients, a flat fee of $20 has been established, in addition to any copay a patient may have with insurance. It may take multiple visits to resolve a problem, and it may not be performed at every session. An evaluation is completed at each appointment to ensure the procedure is needed and will be helpful.

To make an appointment or ask questions, please contact PMH’s Rehabilitation Department at 304-799-1015.

SERC Physical Therapy of Atchison now offers trigger point dry needling.

Dry needling is a form of therapy in which fine needles are inserted into trigger points or painful knots in muscles to stimulate a pain-inhibiting response. It has been shown to reduce pain related to trigger points and other muscular causes. Dry needling is a modern, evidence-based intervention and is not acupuncture or eastern medicine. It is a valuable treatment for nerve and muscle pain and for improving performance. Trigger point dry needling can be beneficial for many problems, including but not limited to pain of the low back, knee, shoulder, neck, or headaches.

New Art Display at PMH

A new art display is now housed at Pocahontas Memorial Hospital.  In early winter, PMH was approached by the Pocahontas County Art Guild about creating a rotating display of art in the Patient Care area of the hospital.  Cyla Allison, an active member in the Guild, recalled being a patient at the hospital and walking laps around the Patient Care wing.  Allison was convinced that patients might be more eager to walk those laps if there was something pretty and interesting on the walls.

Allison and Mary Dawson, another member of the Guild, met with PMH’s Public Relations Coordinator, Susan Wilkins to discuss the possibility of Guild members displaying their art work and changing them out periodically to keep things fresh.  Along the way, Pocahontas County Artisan Co-op members were invited to join in the project. PMH ordered and installed four hanging systems and on Monday, July 15 fourteen different pieces of artwork were hung.

Those involved in the months-long project hope that patients and staff alike will enjoy their efforts.  PMH staff is already excited about the beautiful additions to the hospital.  The cheeriness and warmth they bring to the Patient Care area is obvious.  “We are grateful to the Art Guild for bringing this idea to us.  We could never have done something like this on our own and we are excited to see where the project goes in the future,” says Wilkins.

All artwork is framed and under glass.  Art is available to be purchased through the Guild and contact information is posted with each display. 

New Art Display at PMH
Exciting News for our Patients!

Exciting News for our Patients!

Pocahontas Memorial Hospital is proud to be an important part of this community and provide healthcare for our citizens and visitors. We are continuously working to make our services better and we take our patients’ suggestions and comments very seriously. Thanks to your valuable feedback, we have been working to improve our patient experience and have made some changes to our business operation.

We are pleased to announce that we have partnered with an outside vendor to provide additional customer service representatives, resulting in expanded customer service hours. PMH billing staff will continue to be available at the hospital Monday through Friday 7:30am to 4:00pm. As an added convenience, patients are now able to contact our additional representatives at 304-799-6900, Monday through Thursday 8:00am – 7:00pm, Friday 8:00am – 4:30pm, and Saturday 9:00am – 1:00pm. These additional representatives are located offsite, but work as an extension of our Business Office.

We are also excited to roll out a new look for our patients’ billing statements and we hope you find that these changes make your statements easier to understand. The new statements include a summary of the charges for the services provided, and list any payments or adjustments to your account. This allows you to easily see the remaining balance due and provides a variety of payment options.

Most importantly, the statement includes information about how to contact our billing department if you would like to learn more about financial assistance options that may be available to assist you with paying your remaining balance.

Thank you for choosing Pocahontas Memorial Hospital – where your health is our priority.

PMH Welcomes Lynn Damico

Pocahontas Memorial Hospital is pleased to welcome Lynn Damico, PA-C, to its medical staff.  Damico will be assuming Hospitalist duties and seeing patients in Acute Care, which includes admitted inpatients, skilled rehabilitation (“Swing Bed”) patients, as well as those in observation.

Damico, originally from Baltimore, Maryland, obtained her degree as a Physician Assistant at Essex Community College and has almost 30 years of healthcare experience.  She most recently worked at Kingman Regional Medical Center, in Kingman, Arizona.  She has Critical Access experience, having been a PA-C at War Memorial Hospital, in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia for six years.

Damico describes herself as easy-going and enjoys working with people.  She is especially looking forward to working in a small town.  She is a little more apprehensive of the snow that Pocahontas County is notorious for.

Damico has already relocated to Marlinton and is eager to become a real part of the community.

PMH Welcomes Lynn Damico
PMH Spring Fling Only a Month Away

PMH Spring Fling Only a Month Away

Pocahontas Memorial Hospital’s 8 th Annual Spring Fling is quickly approaching and will be held Saturday, April 6th at the Marlinton Opera House. Tickets are available now and will NOT be sold at the door. Ticket prices are $40 for an individual or $75 for a couple.

The Spring Fling is a stand-alone event and is completely separate from the day to day operations of the hospital. All profits after expenses are paid for will be contributed directly to PMH’s campaign to renovate patient rooms at the hospital.

The Spring Fling is a fun opportunity to get dressed up, enjoy some delicious food and great music, spend time with old friends and make new ones. In addition, it’s a wonderful way to support PMH’s room renovations and help usher in a new era of healthcare. To buy a ticket, please call 304-799-7400 and speak with Cheryl Cain at ext. 1051 or Edwina Garber at ext. 1081.

PMH Now Providing Physical Therapy in Green Bank

Pocahontas Memorial Hospital is very proud to now offer Physical Therapy services in Green Bank on Tuesdays and Thursdays of each week. After months of planning and work, the first patient walked through the doors of the BFD VFD Green Bank Station to the new outlying home of PMH’s Physical Therapy team.

Two rooms have been outfitted for the team, with one serving as a Registration Office and the other a patient room with equipment. Green Bank resident Tom Melko, Physical Therapist, who worked for many years at PMH, will be returning to see patients in the new location, as well as Physical Therapist Bevin Saul, of Greenbrier County, and Director of Rehab/Physical Therapy Assistant Jason Riffe, of Marlinton.

PMH is extremely proud of its rapidly growing rehabilitation program. Rehabilitation services are available for anyone in need of treatment in the recovery of a surgery, injury (including sports injuries), illness, or other medical condition such as acute or chronic pain, vertigo, frequent loss of balance or falls, difficulty rising from a low seat, and/or difficulty with mobility in general. Physical therapy services have long been the hallmark of the hospital’s rehabilitation services, but occupational and speech therapies are also available, at PMH.

Services are available both on an inpatient and outpatient level. If your health care provider recommends that you seek one of these types of therapies, you can schedule an appointment with PMH’s program just like any other therapy office. You may decide to schedule your physical therapy appointments either at the hospital or at the Green Bank location.

If you have any questions about the Rehabilitation services at PMH or would like information on scheduling an appointment, please contact the department at 304-799-1015.

PMH Now Providing Physical Therapy in Green Bank