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The Medical Center at Bowling Green Joins Markey Affiliate Network

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Medical Center at Bowling Green announces a new affiliation with the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center, the state's first and only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center.

“The Medical Center is proud to become a member of the UK Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network as we enhance the high-caliber cancer services and programs we provide to Southcentral Kentucky,” said Connie D. Smith, president and chief executive officer of Commonwealth Health Corporation and The Medical Center. “With the support and guidance of the UK Markey Cancer Center, The Medical Center will have access to the latest clinical trials for patients, educational opportunities for physicians and staff and additional outreach and education resources for the community.”

The UK Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network was created to provide high-quality cancer care closer to home for patients across the region, and to minimize the effects of cancer through prevention and education programs, exceptional clinical care, and access to research.

The Medical Center is the regional referral center for cancer care in Southcentral Kentucky with nearly 1,000 cancer cases diagnosed at the hospital annually. The Medical Center provides the area’s only radiation oncology program through the Cancer Treatment Center. In addition to radiation therapy, the oncology-related services provided by the hospital include diagnostic imaging, surgery, chemotherapy, psychosocial support, rehabilitation, nutrition, patient navigation, survivorship care planning, and palliative care. The Medical Center operates a second radiation oncology practice, Barren River Regional Cancer Center, in partnership with TJ Samson Community Hospital in Glasgow, Ky.

By becoming a UK Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network member, The Medical Center will now be able to offer patients access to additional specialty and subspecialty physicians and care, including clinical trials and advanced technology, while allowing them to stay in their region for most treatments.

“The affiliation with UK Markey Cancer Center will further elevate our cancer program and provide tremendous benefit for our cancer patients,” said Sarah C. Moore, executive vice president for Commonwealth Health Corporation. “As an accredited cancer program through the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer, The Medical Center is dedicated to providing expert care for our cancer patients. Having access to clinical consultation services through the UK Markey Cancer Center ensures our patients receive the treatment services they need right here in Bowling Green, minimizing the inconvenience of travel.”

The UK Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network supports UK HealthCare's overall mission of ensuring no Kentuckian will have to leave the state to get access to top-of-the-line health care.

"UK HealthCare doesn't just serve Lexington and central Kentucky – our mission is to provide all Kentuckians with the best possible care right here in the state," said Dr. Michael Karpf, UK executive vice president for health affairs. "The Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network allows us to collaborate with community hospitals to provide top-notch cancer care much closer to home -- saving both travel expenses and time for the patients, in addition to keeping them close to their personal support system."

The UK Markey Cancer Center is one of only 69 medical centers in the country to earn an NCI cancer center designation. Because of the designation, Markey patients have access to new drugs, treatment options and clinical trials offered only at NCI centers.

Moving forward, the UK Markey Cancer Center is working toward the next tier of designation – an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. Currently, 45 of the 69 NCI-designated cancer centers in the country hold a comprehensive cancer center status. The UK Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network will play a large role in bringing that next level of cancer funding to Kentucky.

"Kentucky is home to some of the worst cancer rates in the country," said Dr. Tim Mullett, medical director of the UK Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network. "Collaborating with our affiliate hospitals across the state will enable us to make a positive impact on the dire cancer rates here in the Commonwealth."

The UK Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network began in 2006 and comprises 16 hospitals across the state of Kentucky:

• Clark Regional Medical Center, Winchester (candidate member)
• Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center, Danville
• Frankfort Regional Medical Center
• Georgetown Community Hospital
• Hardin Memorial Hospital, Elizabethtown
• Harlan ARH Hospital
• Harrison Memorial Hospital, Cynthiana
• Hazard ARH Regional Medical Center
• Methodist Hospital, Henderson
• Norton Cancer Institute, Louisville (Norton Healthcare-UK HealthCare partnership)
• Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital, Ashland
• Rockcastle Regional Hospital, Mt. Vernon
• St. Claire Regional Medical Center, Morehead
• The Medical Center at Bowling Green
• TJ Samson Community Hospital, Glasgow (candidate member)
• Tug Valley ARH Regional Medical Center, South Williamson

About The Medical Center
The Medical Center at Bowling Green is the flagship hospital for Med Center Health and Commonwealth Health Corporation (CHC). Located in Bowling Green, Ky., The Medical Center is a 337-bed, full service, not-for-profit hospital specializing in heart care, cancer care, obstetrics and neonatology, neuroscience and orthopaedic services. With a mission to care for people and improve the quality of life in the communities it serves, CHC and its entities including The Medical Center at Bowling Green contributed $68.8 million in community benefit in fiscal year 2015. The Medical Center treats patients regardless of their ability to pay and annually provides millions in community benefit through charity care for the uninsured and shortfalls in governmental reimbursements (Medicare and Medicaid). To learn more, visit www.TheMedicalCenter.org.

About University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center
The Markey Cancer Center was founded in 1983 and is a dedicated matrix cancer center established as an integral part of the University of Kentucky and the UK HealthCare enterprise. UK Markey is an NCI-designated center, receiving research funding and many other opportunities available only to the nation’s best cancer centers, and the only NCI-designated center in Kentucky and one of 69 in the nation. The clinical programs and services of the Markey Cancer Center are integrated with the UK Albert B. Chandler Hospital. Markey's cancer specialty teams work together with UK Chandler Hospital departments and divisions to provide primary patient care and support services as well as advanced specialty care with applicable clinical trials. All diagnostic services, clinical and pathology laboratories, operating rooms, emergent and intensive care, and radiation therapy services are also provided to cancer patients through UK Chandler Hospital.

Med Center Health Recipient of the 2016 Gallup Great Workplace Award

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Med Center Health has received the 2016 Gallup Great Workplace Award, which recognizes the best-performing workforces in the world. Only 35 organizations have received the 2016 award, and Med Center Health is the only recipient based in Kentucky.

“One of Med Center Health’s core strategic goals is to continuously improve our employee engagement,” said Connie Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer of Med Center Health. “This is a long-term process. Our focus has always been on providing the best possible healthcare for our patients – and employee engagement is a critical part of fulfilling that mission.”

Med Center Health began utilizing the consulting services of Gallup in 2008 and since that time has experienced significant gains in employee engagement. Results from a 2015 employee engagement survey of Med Center Health’s employees, combined with a demonstrated link between engagement and business outcomes, qualified Med Center Health to apply for the award.

A panel of Gallup workplace experts evaluates applicants and assesses them against criteria established by the most comprehensive workplace study ever conducted. The top organizations selected gain entry into an elite group of companies that have received the Gallup Great Workplace Award.

Med Center Health invests time, energy, and resources into employee engagement. Not only do these investments pay off in patient care, but in business outcomes, as well. Med Center Health has experienced higher retention of engaged employees, decreased patient complaints, increased employee donations to Med Center Health’s charity care programs, and improved financial performance.

“We first won the award in 2014, which was a very proud moment in our corporate history,” said Smith. “Because we run the survey in alternate years – such as 2013 and 2015 – we only apply for the award to reflect those years. To have won again demonstrates the dedication and quality of our employees.”

“The world’s top-performing organizations help lead the global economy by engaging their workforces,” said Jim Harter, Ph.D., Gallup’s chief scientist of workplace management and well-being. “Gallup’s Great Workplace Award winners understand and acknowledge the importance of employee engagement by making it a vital part of their organization while using it as a driving force to create real business outcomes.”

Med Center Health will be presented the award during the Gallup Spring Summit on May 10-12, 2016 in Omaha, Nebraska.

About Gallup

Gallup delivers analytics and advice to help leaders and organizations solve their most pressing problems. Combining more than 80 years of experience with its global reach, Gallup knows more about the attitudes and behaviors of employees, customers, students and citizens than any other organization in the world. Gallup works with leaders and organizations to achieve breakthroughs in customer engagement, employee engagement, organizational culture and identity, leadership development, talent-based assessments, entrepreneurship and well-being. For more information about the awards, visit http://www.gallup.com/opinion/gallup/190604/organizations-lead-world-creating-cultures-engagement.aspx or email GallupGWA@gallup.com.

The Medical Center Adds Breakthrough MR Scanner for Advanced Neurological Studies, Speed, and Patient Comfort

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Medical Center today announced that patients and physicians now have access to the first-ever digital broadband magnetic resonance imaging system: the Ingenia 3.0T from Philips Healthcare.

This revolutionary machine is designed to quickly perform high-quality MR scans with a high level of patient comfort. Ingenia 3.0T can significantly reduce exam time and has a wide opening to accommodate patients of varying size, age, and physical condition. This makes Ingenia less confining than 60cm MR systems and a more attractive noninvasive imaging option for patients at The Medical Center. In fact, most scans can be performed with the patient’s head entirely out of the opening, creating a better patient experience.

The Ingenia 3.0T incorporates a number of breakthrough technologies designed to deliver exceptional image clarity. It quickly provides radiologists and physicians with precise, detailed MR images needed to help confidently diagnose many different anatomical and structural problems in the body—including brain and nervous system disorders, cardiovascular disease, and organ disease.

“Ingenia 3.0T image quality is excellent and it’s fast. We can perform American College of Radiology recommended routine exams of the brain, spine, knee, ankle, and liver in less than 8 minutes, with superb image quality,” said Brian Wallace, MD, Radiologist with The Medical Center. “Access to higher quality images means more informed diagnoses and fewer rescans for our patients.”

Connie Smith, Chief Executive Officer of The Medical Center, said, “We are proud to be the first in the region to offer this new technology. We have expanded our MRI suite to include both the Ingenia 3.0T and Ingenia 1.5T scanners, providing our patients superior scanning and less wait time for appointments.”

“These two new MRI scanners will provide the region’s most state-of-the-art imaging,” said Clark Bernard, MD, Neurosurgeon with The Medical Center Neurosciences Services. “This will give us cutting edge information on diagnosing and treating disorders of the brain and spine in particular.”

To learn more about diagnostic imaging at The Medical Center, visit www.TheMedicalCenter.org.

Commonwealth Health Corporation Acquires Clinton County Hospital

Friday, April 1, 2016

Clinton County Hospital, which has served the residents of Clinton and surrounding counties since 1951, is now The Medical Center at Albany following the acquisition of the hospital by Commonwealth Health Corporation (CHC), parent company of The Medical Center. The Medical Center at Albany will continue to operate as a 42-bed, not-for-profit acute care hospital and provide needed access to healthcare for area residents.

CHC assumed management of Clinton County Hospital on February 4, 2016. In October 2015 CHC was asked by Clinton County Hospital to evaluate operations at the hospital to determine the feasibility of acquiring the hospital.

“CHC brings a tremendous amount of healthcare experience and resources to the Clinton County community,” said Connie D. Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer of CHC and The Medical Center. “The Medical Center at Albany will ensure that residents have access to quality care close to home through improved and expanded services.”

“Since assuming management of Clinton County Hospital for nearly two months, CHC has been welcomed into the community with open arms,” said Eric Hagan, Vice President of CHC, who is serving as Interim Administrator for The Medical Center at Albany. “The Clinton County community has a beautiful facility that is staffed by highly qualified, experienced and compassionate employees. We look forward to building upon what Clinton County Hospital established during its 65-year history by expanding services and enhancing quality of care.”

With the addition of The Medical Center at Albany to its family of hospitals, CHC now operates six acute care hospitals in Southcentral Kentucky including The Medical Centers in Bowling Green, Caverna, Franklin and Scottsville and Commonwealth Regional Specialty Hospital in Bowling Green. CHC employs over 3,500 healthcare workers with a medical staff that includes over 350 physicians.

UK College of Medicine Plans Expansion to Respond to Need for More Doctors in the Commonwealth

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Responding to the shortage of physicians in the Commonwealth, the University of Kentucky College of Medicine is planning to develop a satellite program in Bowling Green for four-year medical education and to expand the Rural Physician Leadership Program (RPLP) in Morehead to a three-year (year-round) medical education program.

The UK College of Medicine initiative - in partnership with Morehead State University, Western Kentucky University, St. Claire Regional Medical Center, King's Daughters Medical Center and The Medical Center at Bowling Green - will begin as early as 2018.

Currently, the UK College of Medicine is at its capacity at the Lexington campus and although there is a deep applicant pool for medical students, the college can’t expand enrollment without the help of regional partners.

"The Commonwealth of Kentucky has a shortage of physicians, and especially primary care physicians, throughout the state, but particularly in rural areas. This is an acute health care need and an economic one as well," UK President Eli Capilouto said in announcing the initiative Thursday. "As the university for Kentucky, we are working in close partnership with leading universities in our state and regional medical centers to directly respond to this need. Additionally, this collaboration will allow us to expand college of medicine enrollment in a manner that effectively and efficiently utilizes existing resources throughout the state."

While details of the broad-based initiative are still being ironed out, UK officials have signed memorandums of understanding with the partners.

"The UK College of Medicine is uniquely positioned to respond to the medical manpower needs in Kentucky in both primary care and subspecialty care," said Dr. Michael Karpf, UK vice president for health affairs. "This series of partnerships will benefit everyone across the Commonwealth."

Currently, the UK College of Medicine enrolls 521 students including 139 in the most recent admitted class ̶ the Class of 2019. With this new program, UK plans to increase its class size by approximately 30 percent through expansion to these satellite locations. Revenue generated by additional students in the college will offset costs associated with implementing the satellite programs. Local advisory committees will recommend students for admission to the program.

Basic science and early didactic training will be taught in conjunction with faculty at Morehead State and WKU on those respective campuses through both onsite and distance education modalities, according to UK College of Medicine curricular protocols.

“WKU is pleased to partner with the University of Kentucky and The Medical Center at Bowling Green to help facilitate the expansion of medical education into south central and western Kentucky,” said WKU President Gary A. Ransdell. “We have been working for many years in conjunction with The Medical Center at Bowling Green to address workforce demands in health care, most recently in nursing and physical therapy, and this collaboration will address a critical need that hospitals and communities throughout our region have for more physicians. WKU faculty will be fully engaged, and I’m pleased that our students will have even more opportunities to pursue a medical education here in Bowling Green.”

UK already has been partnering for several years with Morehead State University through a Rural Physician Leadership Program, where students complete their third and fourth years of medical training with rural-centered clinical experiences primarily at St. Claire Regional Medical Center.

“Our partnership with the University of Kentucky and St. Claire Regional Medical Center has helped many students from our region become physicians and physicians’ assistants,” said Morehead State University President Wayne D. Andrews. “Working with UK and St. Claire though our Rural Physician Leadership Program is a win-win not only for Morehead State University, but for our students and the communities we serve. We are delighted to extend these working relationships to expand our reach in helping meet the needs of East Kentucky.”

Mark J. Neff, president/CEO at St. Claire Regional Medical Center in Morehead added, “we are thrilled to be a part of the expansion and growth of the Rural Physician Leadership Program. Since the program began in 2012, St. Claire Regional has assisted 32 medical students to successfully graduate. Doing more to prepare for the shortage of rural health care providers only makes sense for us as we have continued to be dedicated to the training of medical providers in our region since our doors opened. We are proud to say that we have over 50 years of experience in training medical students, as a teaching affiliate of the University of Kentucky and we look forward to many more."

In addition to the didactic training, clinical education will occur in conjunction with the regional medical provider partners in Ashland, Morehead and Bowling Green.

"We are very proud to be a part of this collaborative effort and we are committed to building programs that support our communities and their future health care needs," said Kristie Whitlatch, president/CEO King's Daughters Health System. "We are also committed to retaining our local talent and providing them with the ability to remain in our communities for their educational experience and hopefully for their entire career as a physician. An alliance with the University of Kentucky College of Medicine will be beneficial in recruiting physicians of all specialties so we can keep our health care local and ultimately improve the health of the communities we serve."

Connie Smith, chief executive officer of The Medical Center at Bowling Green, added, “the establishment of a four-year satellite program at The Medical Center in Bowling Green is the first of its kind in Kentucky. This public/private partnership is an extraordinary means to address one of the most pressing challenges in health care today – the physician shortage. It is an amazing opportunity for area students wishing to pursue a career in medicine, and the entire Commonwealth will ultimately benefit from having greater access to well-trained physicians. This project will have a tremendous impact in south central Kentucky for years to come.”