OCH Center for Breast Health & Imaging Adds Surgeon, Expands Access to Care


OCH Regional Medical Center is pleased to announce Charles “Chip” Wall, MD, FACS, to its medical staff and the OCH Center for Breast Health & Imaging.  Dr. Wall is a breast-health specialist and will provide increased access to care as he joins Travis Methvin, DO, and Dana Brooks, FNP-C. 

“My family and I are so excited to be coming home to Mississippi and joining the team at OCH,” said Dr. Wall.  “Being able to come to an established breast center that’s affiliated with a hospital that offers so much to its community is an incredible opportunity. I love getting to know my patients, and I look forward to continuing the excellent care Dr. Methvin, Dana and the entire staff provide to the Center’s patients.” 

Fellowship trained in surgical breast oncology, Dr. Wall most recently worked at the Alabama Breast Center in Montgomery. He received his bachelor of arts degree from the University of Mississippi and his medical degree from the University of Mississippi School of Medicine.  He completed his internship and surgical residency at Mercer University School of Medicine, where he became a member of Alpha Omega Alpha honorary medical society and received the Resident Achievement Award for both surgical resident of the year and overall resident of the year in 2006.  After practicing as a general surgeon in Hattiesburg for seven years, Dr. Wall moved to Dallas, Texas, to pursue fellowship training in surgical breast oncology at the University of Texas Southwestern, which he completed in 2015.

“We are really excited to be adding Dr. Wall to our practice,” said Dr. Methvin.  “Dr. Wall comes with high recommendations and is highly respected in his field. We look forward to being able to continue to care for the breast health needs of this region in a compassionate and timely manner.”

The Center for Breast Health & Imaging provides digital mammography, breast ultrasound, stereotactic breast biopsy, breast MRI, and other such breast health services.

Dr. Wall is certified by the American Board of Surgery and is a member of the American Society of Breast Surgeons, Sealy Surgical Society, and American College of Surgeons.  He also holds the honor of being a Fellow of American College of Surgeons.  He and his wife, Rachel, have three children.

For additional information or to make an appointment with Dr. Wall, call (662) 615-3800.



OCH Job Shadowing Day Offers Students a First-Hand Look at Careers in Healthcare

          OCH RegiDSCN3791onal Medical Center is excited to announce a career shadowing opportunity on Wednesday, July 26 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Students who are at least 16 years-of-age and have completed the 10th grade level or higher are welcome to participate.

            This experience is observation-only and will include following a healthcare professional for the day and learning the responsibilities and rewards of a career in healthcare. Opportunities are available in clinical and non-clinical areas, with DSCN3786spots filled on a first-come, first-served basis. 

            Lunch will be provided for attendees.  Those interested in the shadowing program should contact the human resources department no later than Wednesday, July 19 by calling 662-615-2507 or 662-615-2511 Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

OCH to Host American Lung Association’s Asthma Educator Institute

OCH Regional Medical Center will host the American Lung Association’s Asthma Educator Institute Thursday, July 20 and Friday, July 21 from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. each day. This is a two-day preparatory course for those qualified to take the National Asthma Educator Certification Board (NAECB) examination.

Developed in January 2003, the Asthma Educator Institute was recently updated to reflect the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program Expert Panel Report 3: Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma. The curriculum covers the content outlined in the NAECB Candidate Handbook and includes case reviews, hands-on skills demonstration and practice. The course is delivered by asthma experts in the community, including Certified Asthma Educators (AE-C).

“This course is a top-notch program that we are so happy to bring to OCH and our community,” said OCH Respiratory Therapist and Certified Asthma Educator Eddie High. “The material covered over the two-day period will not only increase the participants’ knowledge about asthma, but it will also build confidence in asthma educators so that they can better care for their patients.”

This course will take place at OCH located at 400 Hospital Road in Starkville. The course is funded by the Mississippi State Department of Health Asthma Programs and is free to participants; however, registration is limited to 40 and is on a first-come, first-served basis. Registration deadline is Friday, July 14.  To register, visit action.lung.org/aei-starkville.  Attendees must participate in the full two day course to receive the continuing education hours.


OCH Receives Gold Standard of Excellence in Nursing Award

Hurst Ratings and Analytics has recognized the nursing staff at OCH Regional Medical Center with The Hurst Gold Standard of Nursing Award for achieving excellence in quality nursing, which significantly contributes to the hospital’s overall patient satisfaction rating. 

“Being recognized with The Hurst Gold Standard of Nursing Award is an honor for our nursing staff and hospital,” said Richard Hilton, Administrator/CEO of OCH. “Receiving this award demonstrates the level of dedication and commitment to quality patient care that our patients, their families, and the community can expect at our Medical Center.”DSCN4749

Nurse communication directly impacts outcomes and hospital patient satisfaction ratings. Hurst Ratings and Analytics reviews key quality indicators from HCAHPS surveys specific to hospital nursing services in the categories of nurse communication, staff responsiveness, medication communication, pain management, discharge information, and care transition. 

The Hurst Gold Standard of Nursing Award is given to hospital nursing staffs that achieve top tier weighted scores, significantly above the national average on these performance measures.

“Nurses make up the majority of hospital staff and are the primary providers of patient care in our hospital,” said OCH CNO Martha Fulcher, DNP, MSN, RNC.  “Around the clock, they not only attend to patients’ clinical needs, but they also provide emotional support for patients and their families. It is wonderful that nurses are being celebrated, and we are grateful to Hurst for honoring our staff with this special award.”

DSCN4756“As experienced nurses, we know the hard work and dedication it takes to achieve the highest standards of patient care,” said Marlene Hurst, RN MS CCRN ANP-C, founder of Hurst Review Services. “Our congratulations to the nursing staff, and we hope to see the great work continue.”

  For more information about Hurst Ratings and Analytics, visit www.hurstratings.com



OCH Receives an “A” for Patient Safety in Spring 2017


hss-grade-a-2016            The Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit organization committed to driving quality, safety, and transparency in the U.S. health care system, today released new Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades, which assign A, B, C, D and F letter grades to hospitals nationwide. OCH Regional Medical Center was one of 823 hospitals nationwide and one of 13 in the state to receive an “A” for its commitment to reducing errors, infections, and accidents that can harm patients.

            “This ‘A’ rating from Leapfrog is a reflection of the hard work by our entire staff,” said OCH Administrator/CEO Richard Hilton. “Patient quality and safety is an on-going process, and we believe in continually monitoring performance in order to improve patient care and outcomes.  When benchmarked with larger Mississippi hospitals, OCH performs very well, and we are proud of the safe, quality care we provide to our patients every day.”

            “Hospitals that earn top marks nationally in the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, ‘have achieved the highest safety standards in the country,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “That takes commitment from every member of the hospital staff, who all deserve thanks and congratulations when their hospitals achieve an ‘A’ Safety Grade.”

            Developed under the guidance of an Expert Panel, the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade uses 30 measures of publicly available hospital safety data to assign A, B, C, D and F grades to more than 2,600 U.S. hospitals twice per year. It is calculated by top patient safety experts, peer-reviewed, fully transparent and free to the public.


MSU Researchers Partner with OCH to Reduce Hospital Readmissions with Freezer Meals

Mississippi State University and OCH Regional Medical Center are working together to find out if freezer meals could help reduce hospital readmission rates. The purpose of the study, “Meals Enhancing Nutrition after Discharge” or “MEND”, evaluates the efficacy and feasibility of a frozen meal program designed to improve nutritional intake and reduce hospital readmissions for older adults who have been recently discharged from the hospital and are at a higher risk for poor nutritional status. While some might find it strange and even a bit far-reaching to connect freezer meals with fewer hospital readmissions, MSU researcher Dr. David R. Buys and OCH Registered Dietitian Nicky Yeatman, RD, LD, CDE, believe it’s worth a try.

“The most critical time after discharge are those first few days back at home,” said Dr. Buys.  “Research shows when older adults go home from the hospital, many are living on a fixed income and having to make the decision to either get their prescriptions filled or purchase food. These meals are intended to bridge the gap from the hospital to the later phase of recovery,” explained Dr. Buys.

The program begins with OCH Registered Dietitians identifying patients who fit the criteria for the study, and those patients are given the opportunity to voluntarily participate or opt out. Participants are then contacted by a researcher from the university who conducts further assessments at the bedside and continues to track the patient’s progress over 45 days.  A total of 24 older adults will be selected for the study, with half of the group receiving standard of care nutrition education and the other half receiving the education plus 10 frozen meals provided by Morrison Health Care.

“In the first two days of this study, Nicky called with two patients who were willing to participate,” said Dr. Buys.  “OCH is a very friendly environment and logistically, the employees there have made it very easy to conduct this study. We could’ve partnered with a larger hospital, but we wanted to work with our hometown hospital.”

“Being involved in this study is a great opportunity not just for our hospital but also for our patients,” said Yeatman.  “So often, this population of people with medical conditions return home from the hospital without much family support, and they don’t feel like cooking a healthy meal so they eat canned soups and meats with a high sodium content.  These frozen meals are not only nutritionally balanced and low in fat and sodium, but they also taste good so patients will actually eat them.”

This program may not only prove beneficial for patients, but it could also keep hospitals from losing reimbursement.  In October 2012, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services began penalizing hospitals with excessive readmissions by reducing Medicare payments. Excess readmissions are measured by dividing a hospital’s number of “predicted” 30-day readmissions for heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, hip/knee replacement, and COPD by the number that would be “expected,” based on an average hospital with similar patients.  While OCH Regional Medical Center’s readmission rates are lower than other hospitals in the area, Yeatman said it’s important to identify and address contributing factors for readmissions.

“Studies show poor nutrition is a significant risk of hospital readmissions within 30 days of discharge, so we’re hoping this program can intervene and help decrease those numbers. If this study proves beneficial for patients and lowers readmission rates, hospitals may be willing to invest in this type of frozen meal program,” explained Yeatman.

Dr. Buys explained this study is considered a feasibility trial and services by Morrison and OCH have been provided “in kind.”  He said if this study proves to be successful, further research will be conducted.

“I wanted to find out if this program is even feasible before requesting the funds for this type of project at a larger scale,” said Dr. Buys.  “Sending patients home with meals is not a magic bullet, but it does address one of a cadre of issues. With hospital stays being shorter than ever before, our goal is to send patients home with the resources they need to make a full recovery.”


OCH Wound Healing & Hyperbaric Center Recognized with National Award

             The OCH Wound Healing & Hyperbaric Center has been recognized as a Center of Distinction, aIMG_6268 national award for clinical excellence, given by Healogics, the nation’s leading and largest wound care management company. 

            “This award was achieved by our entire team working together to provide advanced, personalized care to our patients,” said Caroline Hearnsberger, program director.  “Our focus is not just on healing wounds, but also providing a better quality of life for our patients.”

            In its first full year of operation, the OCH Wound Healing & Hyperbaric Center provided over 3,000 treatments to more than 350 patients. The Center achieved outstanding clinical outcomes for 12 consecutive months, including patient satisfaction higher than 92% and a wound healing rate of at least 91% in less than 31 median days. Out of 630 Centers eligible for the Center of Distinction award, 334 achieved this honor in 2017.

            “Receiving this prestigious award is further evidence of the quality care that our patients consistently receive,” said Richard Hilton, OCH Regional Medical Center Administrator/CEO.  “By providing this program that’s the only one of its kind in our area, we are empowering patients to take control of their health and receive the care they need right here at home.”

            The Center is a member of the Healogics network of nearly 800 Centers, with access to benchmarking data and proven experience treating approximately 2.5 million chronic wounds.  Located inside OCH Regional Medical Center, the Wound Healing & Hyperbaric Center offers highly specialized wound care to patients suffering from diabetic ulcers, pressure ulcers, infections and other chronic wounds which have not healed in a reasonable amount of time. Some of the leading-edge treatments offered at the Center include negative pressure wound therapy, debridement, application of cellular-based tissue or skin substitutes to the wound, offloading or total contact casts and hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

            Patients do not need a referral from a physician to make an appointment.  For more information, call 662-615-2791 or visit the web page


OCH One of Two Hospitals in Southeast Chosen for Pharmaceutical Pilot Program

OCH Regional Medical Center has been selected by Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. as one of only two hospitals in the Southeastern U.S. to participate in a pilot program that supports the continuity of care for patients as they move from the hospital to home.

Sunovion Pharmaceuticals is the manufacturer of Brovana, a long acting bronchodilator used for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD), including chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

“The program consists of a voucher for a free two week supply of Brovana upon discharge from the hospital,” said OCH Respiratory Therapist Eddie High RRT, AE-C.  “Physicians may write a prescription for a patient, and an OCH Respiratory Therapist will secure the voucher for the patient. The voucher can be used at any participating pharmacy,” High continued.

High explained that the Medical Center was selected for the program as a direct result of the respiratory therapy department’s initiation of the reversible obstructive airway disease (ROAD) program last year.  Through the ROAD program, hospitalized COPD patients receive individualized treatment plans, one-on-one education, specialty-care referrals, pulmonary rehabilitation and access to a respiratory therapist who has been specially trained in COPD case management. The goal is to prevent emergency room rebounds and hospitalizations.

“Based on an informal survey by Sunovion Pharmaceuticals, OCH is one of the more progressive hospitals in our region when it comes to proactively working to better the health of our community,” explained High, who led the training course for the ROAD program. “We are proud to be recognized for our hard work and pledge to continue improving healthcare for the people of the Golden Triangle,” stated High.

Initial data indicates that the ROAD program is decreasing the length of stay in the hospital, sending patients home healthier and better equipped to stay home and not suffer a re-admission.  These outcomes are directly in line with the mandates of the Affordable Care Act. In October 2012, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services began penalizing hospitals with excessive readmissions by reducing Medicare payments. Excess readmissions are measured by dividing a hospital’s number of “predicted” 30-day readmissions for heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, hip/knee replacement, and COPD by the number that would be “expected,” based on an average hospital with similar patients. A ratio greater than 1.0000 indicates excess readmissions.

OCH Director of Respiratory Services Wes Andrews said, “Much-needed medications are not getting in the hands of patients because they cannot afford them.  This is one of the reasons we see readmissions within 30 days of discharge.  Through this pilot program with Sunovion, our team is able to implement another initiative to reduce hospital readmissions, and ultimately, help our patients live a better quality of life.”

Patients prescribed Brovana are eligible for up to two vouchers, which would yield a one month supply.  High said if a patient’s insurance won’t cover the medication beyond the 30 days, there are alternative medicines available. The pilot program runs through March 2017.  For more information about the OCH Respiratory Department, visit och.org/respiratory-care.

  HIMSS Analytics Honors OCH Regional Medical Center with Stage 6 Recognition

HIMSS Analytics recently announced OCH Regional Medical Center has achieved Stage 6 on the Electronic Medical Record Adoption ModelSM (EMRAM). This Model was developed in 2005 as a methodology for evaluating the progress and impact of electronic medical record systems for hospitals in the HIMSS Analytics® LOGIC™. OCH is one of only 23 hospitals in the state and among 29% of all hospitals in the United States to receive Stage 6 recognition.

“We recognize the strategic value of improving patient care by reaching the Stage 6 on the EMR Adoption Model,” said OCH Administrator/CEO Richard Hilton. “OCH has made significant commitments and investments to reach this stage in order to effectively utilize information technology to improve the patient safety environment.”

“OCH Regional Medical Center achieving Stage 6 certification is testament to the commitment the Medical Center has to patient care,” stated Todd Smith, MD, OCH Chief Medical Officer. “These certifications in Electronic Health Record (EHR) shows this hospital is not only keeping current with governmental recommendations, but also exceeding them.”

Reaching Stage 6 demonstrates a near paperless medical records and is well positioned to provide data to key stakeholders, such as payers, the government, physicians, consumers, and employers in order to support electronic health record environments and health information exchanges.

As a Stage 6 hospital, OCH also has achieved a significant advancement in IT capabilities and is that positioned to successfully address many of the current industry transformations, such as meaningful use criteria in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, claims attachments for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, pay for performance, and government quality reporting programs.

OCH ITS Meaningful Use Manager Marcia Thomas, who worked diligently to help OCH achieve Stage 6, said this certification raises the standard of care that the Medical Center provides to its patients.

“Some of the requirements to achieve Stage 6 certification include the ability to view radiology images from within a patient’s chart so that the physician can make faster, more accurate decisions about the patient’s plan of care,” explained Thomas, adding that the hospital’s electronic medical record system must have reminders that encourage specific treatments for patients with certain diagnosis that are proven to improve patient care.
“We have worked very hard, and it has taken the whole Medical Center to make this happen,” said Chamath Wijewardane, CITO/Director of Information Technology Services at OCH Regional Medical Center. “While our department facilitated the integration of these systems and processes to achieve Stage 6, receiving this recognition was a team effort achieved by physicians, clinical and nonclinical staff working together to create an environment conducive to meeting ‘meaningful use’” said Wijewardane, noting that the Medical Center is making strides to meeting Stage 7.

By tracking their progress in completing eight stages (0-7), hospitals can review the implementation and utilization of information technology applications with the intent of reaching Stage 7, which represents an advanced electronic patient record environment.

“HIMSS Analytics congratulates OCH Regional Medical Center for making significant progress towards achieving advanced health IT adoption,” said John H. Daniels, CNM, FACHE, FHIMSS, CPHIMS, Global Vice President, HIMSS Analytics.  “Stage 6 represents a level of sophistication that can lead to innovative healthcare transformation.”           HIMSS Analytics is a global healthcare advisor, providing guidance and market intelligence solutions that move the industry forward with insight to enable better health through the use of IT.  As a trusted healthcare research and advisory firm, the industry depends on HIMSS Analytics’ resources, benchmarks, predictive models and assessment tools to improve decision making regarding their IT strategic roadmap and market strategy.

HIMSS Analytics, a wholly owned subsidiary of HIMSS, is the healthcare research and advisory firm for healthcare delivery organizations, IT companies, governmental entities, and financial, pharmaceutical, consulting and emerging technology solution partners worldwide.  Visit himssanalytics.org for more information.


OCH Earns ‘A’ Grade for Patient Safety from Leapfrog

OCH Regional Medical Center has received an “A” rating for patient safety by The Leapfrog Group, making it one of 798 of the nation’s safest hospitals and one of 12 in the state to reach this top level. The Leapfrog Group is a national patient safety watchdog and assigns A, B, C, D and F letter grades to hospitals nationwide based on their record of patient safety, helping consumers protect themselves and their families from errors, injuries, accidents, and infections.

“This ‘A’ rating from Leapfrog is a reflection of the hard work by our entire staff and our commitment to making patient safety a priority,” said OCH Administrator/CEO Richard Hilton.  “Our Medical Center is the only facility in Northeast Mississippi that holds the prestigious International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001:2008 certification, which demonstrates, through continuing quality process improvements, how we strive daily to minimize risk of injury and to deliver safe, effective high-quality patient care,” continued Hilton.

Developed under the guidance of Leapfrog’s Blue Ribbon Expert Panel, the Hospital Safety Score uses 30 measures of publicly available hospital safety data to assign A, B, C, D and F grades to more than 2,500 U.S. hospitals twice per year. It is calculated by top patient safety experts, peer-reviewed, fully transparent and free to the public. For the first time, the Hospital Safety Score includes five measures of patient-reported experience with the hospital as well as two of the most common infections, C.diff and MRSA.

“Avoidable deaths in hospitals should be the number one concern of our health care leaders. Hospitals that earn an ‘A’ from Leapfrog are leaders in saving lives, and we commend them and urge their continued vigilance,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group.


Layout Image