Hospital Facing Challenges

Like every rural healthcare organization, Bath Community Hospital is currently facing a financial challenge.  Not only with the looming COVID19 surge, but federal mandates have forced the facility to cancel surgeries, close the wellness center and cafeteria as well as cancel appointments throughout the facilities. While these events have helped BCH to preserve personal protective equipment for their employees and prevent exposure to staff and patients, it has created a business challenge. Other hospitals and health systems in the surrounding area are experiencing this as well.   “People are self-isolating and overall that’s good for the communities.  Unfortunately, it’s not good for the overall finances for our facility,” said Kathy Landreth, CEO.

Last week, Bath Community Hospital began identifying employees, including managers and leaders, who will be furloughed on a temporary basis. Those impacted by this will still be eligible to retain their core benefits which include their insurances. “It is our hope that these actions, along with the support from recently passed federal legislation, will minimize the financial impact to our employees and Bath Community Hospital during this difficult time,” said Cara Major, Executive Director of Human Resources and Support Services.

Landreth stated, “Our staff is the reason why people choose Bath Community Hospital. During this time, protecting their health, safety, and jobs is paramount so we can continue providing great care in the future.  As conditions are changing quickly, we are prioritizing some operations to place resources where they are needed most. We must respond to these financial challenges while taking care of our people and protecting our future.”

In addition, the facility is closing their walk-in clinic hours at both the Hot Springs and Covington locations.  They will continue to schedule acute patients at both clinics and continue to ask that patients call before coming to the facility so they can screen patients and prepare for their arrival.     Also, the Hot Springs Pharmacy will now be closed on Saturdays starting April 11th until this pandemic is over.

“Our communities are relying on us to be steady and focused. Our staff is prepared to respond to this crisis as cases increase in the area. Our employees and patients wellbeing are a top priority and our overall goal is to remain here to service this community,’ said Landreth.

Bath Prepares for COVID-19

Screening tentBath County and Bath Community Hospital have been working closely with the Virginia Department of Health, Centers for Disease Control, and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management to ensure our county is prepared to respond during this national emergency.

Bath Community Hospital activated its Incident Command Team on Monday, March 16th, to prepare for what’s to come.   Andy Seabolt, the Bath County Emergency Manager, has been attending as well to keep the lines of communication open with the county and local EMS agencies.

A new screening process was implemented last week for all patients entering the facility.  The screening questionnaire asks specific symptoms related to the COVID-19 virus and provides those patients with symptoms mask and gloves to protect staff from potential exposure.   If the patients have symptoms, they are required to wait for a provider for an assessment or sent directly to the Emergency Room if severe symptoms are present.  “It is very important that if patients suspect they have COVID-19 they contact their primary care provider or the Emergency Room before arrival at our facility.  We need to make sure the staff is prepared with the proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) before a patient walks into the facility.  A COVID -19 patient can infect the entire ER staff if we’re not prepared,” said Dr. Jeff McCray, Medical Staff President.

The screening tool is also being utilized by the 911 dispatchers to help protect the EMS personnel as well.  “Our local EMS agencies have been educated on the proper precautions to take when a call is a possible COVID-19 patient and we’ve worked with our regional agency, Central Shenandoah EMS Council to customize the protocols to service our rural location,” said Andy Seabolt.

Several new policies went into place last week, including a Visitors Restriction Policy to prevent potential exposures to our inpatients as well as our staff.     Kathy Landreth stated, “We are a small facility with minimal reserve for staffing.  We need to protect our staff so they can continue to care for this community”.  She continued, “The majority of our patient population are those who are at greater risk for this virus, and we need to make sure we are diligent in protecting those folks from coming in contact with a carrier.”

 

Also, Bath Community Hospital is canceling elective surgeries to prevent potential exposures and to preserve Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the staff to utilize.  There is a nationwide shortage of PPE for all healthcare facilities, and Bath Community Hospital is no exception.  “We are currently ok with our supply, but we are being conservative and no longer providing masks and gloves to patients who leave our facility as our front line healthcare workers will need these over the next few weeks,” said Cynthia Terry, Infection Control Nurse at BCH.

In the Rural Health Clinics, patients who have wellness and preventive visits are being called individually to reschedule their appointments and make sure they are ok with their current prescriptions.     The clinic providers are still scheduling sick patients for appointments daily, and walk-in clinic hours are continuing at this time.  However, if patients are planning to utilize the walk-in clinic, they are asked to please call ahead of time to discuss their symptoms over the phone before arrival.   Clinics can be reached at 540-839-7197 (Hot Springs) and 540-962-1122 (Covington).  At this time, we have closed the Millboro Clinic location due to the lack of space and being able to isolated patients appropriately.

“We understand the fear and concern that our community is facing, and we are working hard to provide you with a safe place to receive the healthcare you and your family need,” said Landreth.    For more information, visit the hospital website at www.bathhospital.org for guidelines from the CDC and Virginia Department of Health.

Hot Springs Pharmacy Moving 2021

Bath Community Hospital has announced that the Hot Springs Pharmacy, currently located at 2833 Main St., Hot Springs, will be moving to a new location by January 2021.  The site of the new pharmacy will be on a piece of property located in Mitchelltown across from the Summit Community Bank, formerly known as the Lucille Black residence.  

 “Due to limited parking availability, it was time to look for another location to better serve our community,” said Amy Simmons, Executive Director of Health, Wellness and Business Development.  “The new location will provide onsite parking as well as a retail pharmacy with a drive-thru for customers to pick-up their prescriptions,” she stated. 

 Deb Shipman, CFO stated “We have just this week closed on the property and are in the planning phase for this project.  Our hope is to be in the new location by January 2021.  Until then, the Hot Springs Pharmacy will remain open on Main St. to serve the community.” 

 The Hot Springs Pharmacy is open and staffed with a Pharmacist to fill prescriptions, Monday-Friday, 9am – 6pm and open Saturday from 9am-2pm for customers to pick up prescriptions. 

CEO Landreth Announces Retirement

On Friday, October 25th, Tim Pistell, Chairman of the Bath Community Hospital Board of Directors, announced the receipt of Kathy Landreth’s notice of Retirement.  Mrs. Landreth joined the Bath Community Hospital team in 2014 as the Chief Nursing Officer and was appointed the CEO in January 2015. Before joining BCH, Landreth spent 26 years at Carilion Clinic in various capacities from which she retired from in 2014.

“Kathy has grown into a superb leader and a strong ambassador for BCH. She has taken the lead in BCH’s goal to ensure that anyone who comes to BCH for any reason has a “premier patient experience.” During her tenure, BCH’s total visits have grown from 19,500 in 2014 to 32,300 in 2018.  We have added critical new services, including Behavioral Health and General Surgery, and expanded to serve our neighbors in Covington. While her official retirement date will be next summer, she has agreed to continue to serve as necessary on any transitional issues. ”

Landreth stated, “I have found working at Bath Community Hospital extremely fulfilling yet pleasantly challenging. I consider my work here as the pinnacle of my career, and I wish the staff, leadership, and medical providers continued success.” She continued, “I would also like to thank the entire Board of Directors for the support and guidance over the past five years, and I am available to make this as smooth of a transition as possible for the organization.”

Landreth has given the hospital eight months’ notice as she plans to retire the end of June 2020 to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where her husband accepted a teaching position earlier this year.  In addition to her hospital responsibilities, she also serves on the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association, the Virginia Rural Health Association, Dabney S. Lancaster Community College Foundation Board as well as the Covington & Hot Springs Rotary Club.

Elizabeth Armstrong, FNP joins BCH

 

Bath Community Hospital announced that Elizabeth Armstrong, FNP joined the medical staff on January 2nd, 2019.  Armstrong comes to BCH fromAlliance Xpress Urgent Care in Covington, VA.

Armstrong is originally from Covington, VA.  A graduate of Alleghany High School, she received her Bachelors, Masters and Doctorate Degrees from Radford University in Radford, Virginia.   As a Graduate student, she spent clinical rotations with the providers of Bath Community Physicians Group.

“I am excited to start at Bath County to provide healthcare to the community I reside in and call home. I look forward to offering family care including children and women’s health’” said Armstrong.

Kathy Landreth, Bath Community Hospital CEO stated, “We are excited to have Elizabeth join our team in our Covington Clinic.  Our volumes continue to grow at this location and it was time for us to add an additional provider to meet the needs of the community.  Elizabeth comes to us with great experience in a variety of care settings along with a connection to the community that we serve.  She is a great addition to our growing medical staff team.”

Elizabeth and her husband Michael, along with their three children reside in Covington. In her spare time, she enjoys church activities, reading, and spending time with family.  Elizabeth will be accepting new patients at the Bath Community Physicians Group Covington Clinic located on Riverside Street.  To schedule an appointment, contact their office at 540-962-1122.

General Surgeon Joins Medical Staff

 

Today, Bath Community Hospital announced Dr. Charles B. Lovelady, board certified General Surgeon is joining the medical staff in December.  Dr. Lovelady comes to BCH with 30 years of experience having most recently been at Carilion Clinic in Rocky Mount, Virginia.  Before joining Carilion Clinic, Dr. Lovelady was employed with Bon Secours Chesapeake Medical Group – Surgical Services in Kilmarnock, VA. Dr. Lovelady is also a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons (FACS).

At Bath Community Hospital, Dr. Lovelady will develop a general surgery program to meet the needs of our community.  Dr. Lovelady’s expertise is on procedures of the abdomen, and he has extensive knowledge of diseases involving skin, breast and soft tissue, hernias and anti-reflux surgeries. He is experienced in laparoscopic minimally invasive surgeries, including EDGs and colonoscopies.

Dr. Lovelady completed his medical doctorate education at University of Alabama School of Medicine in Birmingham, Alabama. His General Surgery residencies included East Tennessee State University, Baptist Medical Center in Alabama as well as Greenville Memorial Hospital in South Carolina.

“This is a great opportunity to develop a surgical program to meet the needs of this rural location.  My wife and I are both happy and excited to be joining this welcoming and beautiful community” said Dr. Lovelady.  Kathy Landreth, Bath Community Hospital CEO, added, “Having Dr. Lovelady here full time means we will have the capacity to meet the general surgery needs of our patients which means less travel for them in addition to better continuity of care here at Bath Community Hospital. His outstanding experience, education, and peer references are very impressive, and I know he will be an excellent addition to our medical team.”

Bath Community Hospital is currently upgrading their exciting Operating Room to meet the specifications necessary to provide General Surgery services and plan to have it operational by mid-January.  Services will include upper and lower endoscopy, skin and soft tissue/breast lesion removal, minimally invasive laparoscopic hernia, gallbladder, appendix, and other minimally invasive or open procedures appropriate to general surgery at Bath Community Hospital.

Dr. Lovelady and his wife Susan will be relocating to the area, and they both enjoy outdoor activities including motorcycling and exploring the back roads.  In his free time, Dr. Lovelady enjoys track driving at VIR, Summit Point, Dominion Raceway and others, restoring old cars and is an all-around car enthusiast.  He will begin seeing patients in the Bath Community Physicians Group in December.  Appointment scheduling will start November 12th by calling the Physicians Group at 540-839-7197 or 540-962-1122.

 

BCH AWARDED AMBULATORY HEALTH CARE ACCREDITATION FOR THEIR SLEEP STUDIES PROGRAM

Today, Bath Community Hospital announced it has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for Ambulatory Health Care Accreditation, in addition to the Hospital Accreditation received in the spring of 2018, by demonstrating continuous compliance with its nationally recognized standards for the Sleep Studies program. The Gold Seal of Approval® is a symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to providing safe and effective patient care.

Bath Community Hospital underwent a rigorous, onsite survey on September 17th & 18th, specifically focused on the Sleep Studies program. During the review, a team of Joint Commission surveyors with expertise in ambulatory health care, evaluated compliance with ambulatory care standards related to a variety of areas, including coordination of care, monitoring for procedures that involve use of sedation or anesthesia, infection prevention and control, management of medications, and patient education and training.

Established in 1975, The Joint Commission’s Ambulatory Health Care Accreditation Program encourages high-quality patient care in all types of freestanding ambulatory care facilities. Today, the Ambulatory Health Care Accreditation Program serves 2,100 ambulatory care providers, with more than 8,500 sites of care, which, in turn, serve more than 83 million patient visits annually.

“Joint Commission accreditation provides ambulatory care organizations with the processes contributing to improvements in a variety of areas from the enhancement of staff education to the demonstration of leading practices within the ambulatory setting,” said Pearl Darling, MBA, executive director, Ambulatory Care Accreditation Program, The Joint Commission. “We commend Bath Community Hospital and its staff for achieving this pinnacle demonstrating a commitment to patient safety and quality. Your passion, dedication and tenacity can ultimately improve patient care. Thank you for your commitment to patient safety and entrusting The Joint Commission to assist you.”

“We are pleased to receive accreditation from The Joint Commission, the premier health care quality improvement and accrediting body in the nation,” added Kathy Landreth, CEO for BCH. “Staff from across the organization continue to work together to develop and implement approaches and strategies that have the potential to improve care for the patients in our community.”

The Joint Commission’s ambulatory health care standards are developed in consultation with health care experts and providers, measurement experts, and patients. The standards are informed by scientific literature and expert consensus to help organizations measure, assess and improve performance.

Millboro Clinic Opens

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After several months of renovations, the Bath Community Physicians Group opened its new clinic at 432 Church Street in Millboro on Tuesday. Earlier this year, Bath Community Hospital finalized a lease agreement with Bath County to occupy their property located adjacent to the Millboro Elementary School. The County will be leasing the property for $1.00 per year for the next 10 years with the right for Bath Community Hospital to renew or purchase the property at the end of those 10 years. Bath Community Hospital was forced to close the prior location in June of 2017.

“We are extremely excited about returning to Millboro community,” said Kari Lightner, Executive Director for Ambulatory Clinics at BCH. Patients will be able to see the same provider in Kim Rexrode, FNP, who’s been the sole provider in that area for several years.
The clinic is open on Tuesday and Thursday to provide primary and preventive health care services for people of all ages as well as comprehensive treatment of acute and chronic illnesses. The clinic is also able to provide the necessary lab draws for their patients at this location.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 540-997-1447 or 540-839-7197.

 

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BCH awards local students with scholarships

 

Bath Community Hospital has awarded three local students scholarships to continue their education in a health care field.    Scholarship recipients were required to complete an application, provide their high school transcripts and references from their high school principal, teachers and/or supervisors to be eligible for consideration.

The Lucy Linkenhoker Memorial Nursing Scholarship ($1,000 one-time scholarship) was awarded to –

Sarah Colaw, a 2013 Bath County High School graduate studying nursing at Dabney S. Lancaster Community College.  After earning her RN license she plans to continue her education at Liberty University and work towards her Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing.

Bath Community Hospital Non-Nursing Scholarships ($500 one time scholarship) was awarded to –

Jessica Ryder, a 2016 Bath County High School graduate, who’s attending Virginia Western Community College where she is studying to become a radiology technician.  After gaining a few years of experience she plans to become certified in CT, MRI, or Ultrasound.

Baylei Alphin, a 2018 Bath County High School graduate, who plans to attend Virginia Western Community College and study to become a radiology technician.  She then plans to further her education to become a Radiologist.

Bath Community Hospital accepts applications for their scholarship opportunities each year.  Scholarship packets are available in the high school guidance department.  For more information, contact Cara Major, Executive Director of Human Resources and Support Services at 540-839-7092.

Providers join BCH

 

 

 

For many rural areas in the country finding qualified providers to care for their communities can be a challenge. However, over the past few months, Bath Community Hospital has added four physicians to their Emergency Room providers, one general surgeon and two primary care providers in their Rural Health Clinics.
Dr.’s Crosby, Biglow, Benbow, and Carmack are now employed physicians at BCH and will support Dr.’s McCray and Hummel in providing consistent emergency room care to the community. Each specializes in emergency medicine and offers a combined experience of 70+ years. “We are very fortunate to have these providers join our team in the ER. This will allow us to no longer use contracted providers to provide the 24/7 coverage necessary at BCH,” said Kathy Landreth.
Also, BCH added a new General Surgeon Dr. Blake McKibbin in the spring. McKibbin has a private practice in Augusta County and is currently seeing patients in Hot Springs and completing procedures in the hospitals Operating Room. “Dr. McKibbin has been very busy since coming to Bath. So much that we are looking to add additional days to his schedule so he will be able to see more patients,” said Landreth. Currently, Dr. McKibbin is performing Endoscopies, screening Colonoscopies and minor procedures that can safely be performed at BCH.
In their Rural Health Clinics, Bath recently added Ann May, FNP, with 19 years of experience to see pediatric patients. Currently, Ann is located in the Covington location but will start seeing patients in Hot Springs in September. John Stapleton, FNP joined the practice this week. John spent time at BCH during his clinical rotations for his Master’s Degree and is looking forward to being a family practice provider to our communities. These new providers join the primary care team of Dr. Stall, Kim Rexrode, and Pam Crance in the Hot Springs office located on the 2nd floor of Bath Community Hospital as well as Dr. Monroe and Kim Moyers in the Covington office on Riverside Street. “Our main focus is meeting the primary care and wellness needs of the community we serve. We were certainly sad to see Dr. Rizk relocate to Northern Virginia last week. However, we are currently evaluating physician staffing needs in the clinic to determine the feasibility of an additional physician at this time,” said Kathy.
The clinic has also expanded their Behavioral Health program. Providers Donna Mauck and Pari Baker are now available at both locations. Donna primarily sees adult patients and is a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor. Pari is a licensed clinical social worker, and her focus is on the children and adolescent populations.