All 6 Valley Health Hospitals receive national recognition

All six Valley Health hospitals have earned top safety grades and top hospital awards from the Leapfrog Group.

The Leapfrog Group is the only hospital ratings program based exclusively on hospital prevention of medical errors and harm to patients.

The group awards an A, B, C, D, or F grade to nearly 3,000 hospitals across the country.

The grades are based on 30 evidence-based patient safety performance measures reflecting errors, injuries, accidents, and infections and the systems in place to prevent harm.

According to a Valley Health email both Winchester Medical Center and Warren Memorial Hospital have received an A Grade in Safety.

Shenandoah, Page, War, and Hampshire Memorial Hospitals all received Top 100 Hospital Awards from the Chartis Center for Rural Health.

Warren Memorial was also named to the top 100 list of Rural and Community Hospitals in the country.

Mark Nantz President and CEO of Valley Health noted that the national recognition speaks to the dedication of the healthcare teams at all the hospitals in the Valley Health systems.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Winchester man dies in traffic accident

lorenzo wheeler homicide

A Winchester man has died as the result of a car accident on Meadow Branch Avenue on Thursday, March 21st.

At 2:25 pm, the Winchester Police Department and Winchester Fire and
Rescue Department (WFRD) responded to a traffic accident at Mahone Drive and Meadow Branch Avenue.

Upon arrival, WFRD personnel began CPR and then transported the victim to Winchester Medical Center where he later succumbed to his injuries from the crash.

Terry Fauver, 65, of Winchester, suffered a medical emergency while driving, causing him to leave the road and collide with a tree. T

he Virginia State Police assisted with the investigation with crash

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

SU expands online options for pharmacy program

shenandoah university admission tests

Shenandoah University’s Bernard J. Dunn School of Pharmacy is expanding it’s Pharm.D. program to include online options to provide flexible options and “on demand” learning for students in the 4 year program.

The new online hybrid pathway will begin this fall.

SU is just one of ten schools in the country offering online Pharm.D. pathways and was the first School of Pharmacy to offer the online option through its nontraditional program.

The university will continue to offer in-person options at the Health Professions Building on the Winchester Medical Center campus of Valley Health.

Students in the online hybrid option will only need to visit Shenandoah 3-5 days twice a semester.

Online students are eligible for the same scholarships and aid offered to in-person students.

The application deadline for all pharmacy pathways for the fall semester is June 1st.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Valley Health announces new partnership for rehabilitation services

Valley Health announced a new partnership with Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation, one of the most comprehensive rehabilitation providers and one of the largest not-for-profit independent rehabilitation hospitals in the country.

This partnership will expand access to high quality acute rehabilitation services and implement industry best practices in specialized physical medicine and rehabilitation.

The transition to Mary Free Bed will begin on March 3rd and include 60 current inpatient rehabilitation team members currently located at the Cork Street Rehabilitation Center.

The change will not impact other Valley Health outpatient or inpatient staff at other facilities.

Mark Nantz, president and CEO of Valley Health said, “We are excited to welcome Mary Free Bed and add their expertise to our rehabilitation operations. Both organizations share a strong commitment to creating excellent patient experiences and this strategic partnership further supports Valley Health’s mission to serve our community by improving health.”

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Valley Health and Anthem announce five year agreement

Valley Health and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield announced a new agreement that will keep Valley Health physicians and hospitals in Anthem’s provider networks.

The new agreement allows Anthem customers uninterrupted access to Valley Health through 2028.

Anthem is the largest health insurer in Virginia and serves thousands of community members.

The negotiations focused on the implementation of digital connectivity to simplify system requirements, streamlining business processes, and focusing on value-based care options with an emphasis on quality care at affordable rates.

Valley Health President and CEO Mark Nantz said, “We are pleased to announce a new long-term agreement with Anthem that ensures in-network access to the physicians and caregivers our patients know and trust.”

Additional details on the agreement were not disclosed.

Valley Health encourages patients to call the Customer Service team at 1-866-414-4576 or the Member Services number on the back of their Anthem card if they have any questions on the new agreement.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

WMH and WMC earn an “A” in hospital safety

heart attack treatment

Valley Health’s two acute care hospitals, Warren Memorial Hospital and Winchester Medical Center, earned an “A” Hospital Safety Grade from the Leapfrog Group.

This makes them the highest graded facilities in the Northern Shenandoah Valley/Eastern Panhandle region.

Grades reflected in the 2023 review are the first since the pandemic and represent WMC’s 8th straight A rating and fourth for WMH.

The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade is based exclusively on hospital prevention of medical errors and harm to patients utilizing 30 different safety performance measures.

The grading system is peer reviewed and open to the public for additional transparency.

Grades are updated each fall and spring.

Tonya Smith, president of Winchester Medical Center and senior vice president of acute care for Valley Health said, “I’m extremely proud to work alongside a team of caregivers who prioritize patient safety- every day, on every shift, throughout the hospital.”

A link to the full announcement with Fall 2023 Hospital Safety Grades is available here.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

WMC nurses recognized for excellence

heart attack treatment

The Winchester Medical Center attained its fourth Magnet recognition for its commitment to nursing excellence.

The American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Magnet Recognition Program awards healthcare organizations that meet rigorous standards to determine high-quality nursing.

Only 10% of hospitals throughout the country, including 27 in Virginia, have earned the Magnet designation.

Some of the components used to gauge an organization include the quality of nursing leadership, coordination and collaboration across specialties, as well as processes for measuring and improving the quality and delivery of care.

To achieve initial recognition, healthcare organizations must pass a rigorous and lengthy electronic application, written patient care documentation, an on-site visit, and a review by the Commission on Magnet Recognition.

Organizations must reapply every 4 years.

Winchester Medical Center was first designated in 2008 and redesignated in 2013 and 2018.

Organizations with the recognition have shown to have higher patient satisfaction with nurse communication, lower risk of 30-day mortality and lower failure rescue rates, higher job satisfaction among nurses, and lower nurse reports of intentions to leave.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

FCSO charge a New York man after fatal crash

The Frederick County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) reports that charges have been filed against a New York man involved in a fatal crash July 20.

While on his way to work a Frederick County Sheriff’s Deputy witnessed a silver Toyota Corolla traveling recklessly at a high rate of speed down Berryville Pike.

The Corolla ran a stop light at Woods Mill and T-Boned another vehicle attempting to cross from eastbound Route 7.

The vehicle struck was a Honda Accord driven by Joseph Shane Stephens of Taylor Court which is less than a mile from the crash site.

The 24-year old Stephen’s Honda suffered major damage on the passenger side from the high impact collision.

When first responders arrived, they found Stephens unresponsive and transported him to Winchester Medical Center (WMC) where he succumbed to his injuries.

The driver of the Corolla Frances Rotondo of Brooklyn New York appeared confused both on where he was and having just been in a crash.

Rotondo was escorted by Law Enforcement to WMC for observation and medical evaluation.

FCSO investigators found further evidence that warranted a warrant to be issued for Rotondo’s being held without bond pending his medical release.

Rotondo appeared before a magistrate via video and will make another appearance before a judge upon his hospital release.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Community Health: A Conversation About Lung Cancer Awareness

Lung Cancer awareness

On The Valley Today this afternoon, host Janet Michael had a conversation with Dr. Shalini Reddy, Thoracic Surgeon and Medical Director of Thoracic Surgery at Valley Health’s Winchester Medical Center. November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. As part of a community health partnership with Valley Health, the conversation this month focused on lung cancer screenings, the importance of having them BEFORE symptoms appear and the changes to who “qualifies.” Click here to listen to the conversation.

The American Cancer Society estimates that about 236,740 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2022. Lung cancer remains the number one cancer killer, accounting for more cancer deaths than breast, colon and prostate cancer combined. The ACS estimates that more than 4,600 people in Virginia and West Virginia combined will die of lung cancer in 2022.

Dr. Reddy explained that in February 2022, Medicare expanded coverage for lung cancer screening for qualifying beneficiaries. Plus the screening criteria was expanded. Screening is recommended for adults without symptoms who are at high risk for developing lung cancer. Screening eligibility criteria include:

  • Adult smokers and ex-smokers age 50 and older (previously, eligibility began at age 55)
  • Current smokers with a 20-pack year history (previously 30 pack years) of tobacco smoking
  • Former smokers who have quit within the past 15 years

Low dose CT screenings are available at all six Valley Health hospitals. It is one of the easiest screening exams to have, and it takes less than 10 minutes to perform. If criteria for a low dose lung CT screening are met, Medicare and most insurance plans will pay for yearly screenings. Financial assistance may be available for individuals who meet screening criteria but do not have insurance to cover this screening. For more information about lung cancer awareness screenings:

The discussion included information about Valley Health’s Lung Cancer Program. In 2019, Winchester Medical Center was the first hospital in VA to be designated a Care Continuum Center of Excellence for lung cancer care by the GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer. Valley Health has one of the most comprehensive pulmonary/thoracic programs in the region for the diagnosis and minimally invasive treatment of lung cancer. The program’s multidisciplinary team includes specialists in thoracic surgery, radiology, interventional radiology, pathology, pulmonology, interventional pulmonology, medical oncology, radiation oncology and thoracic patient navigation.

Lung Cancer Screening – Valley Health hopes to find lung cancer at its earliest, more treatable stage and work towards eliminating late-stage lung cancer. Low dose CT lung screening is available at all Valley Health hospitals for adults with a history of smoking who are at high risk of lung cancer. The screening program also includes patients who have an incidental lung nodule found during routine or emergency imaging.

Valley Health’s multidisciplinary Lung Nodule Clinic specializes in expediting care for patients with lung nodules or lesions and provides assessment and options for further testing and follow-up. The clinic’s team of pulmonary and thoracic specialists also includes specialists in diagnostic radiology, interventional radiology, radiation oncology and medical oncology.

Advanced Diagnosis – WMC interventional pulmonary specialists use robot-assisted technology combined with endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) for diagnosis and staging in one procedure. This technology is also used to accurately mark lung lesions for more targeted radiation therapy as well as surgery. In 2019, WMC was the first facility in the broader region to acquire Intuitive Surgical’s ION™ Endoluminal System to perform robotic-assisted bronchoscopy. The ION system enables minimally invasive biopsy in difficult-to-reach peripheral areas of the lung. The Valley Health team has completed more than 250 ION cases.

Minimally Invasive Surgery – The hospital’s thoracic surgeons are experienced in minimally invasive video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) and robot-assisted techniques using the da Vinci® XI™ Surgical System. Coupled with remarkable improvements in post-operative pain management and enhanced recovery protocols, these techniques help patients feel better and return home sooner. Dr. Reddy and the Valley Health team have completed 685 robot-assisted thoracic procedures since the surgical robotics program started at WMC six years ago.

Cancer Treatment and Support – Patients who receive treatment for lung cancer at the Valley Health Cancer Center at WMC will have the personal support of a thoracic patient navigator and access to treatment options such as advanced chemotherapy, radiation therapy and interventional radiology if indicated.

The best way to prevent lung cancer is to stop smoking, and Valley Health provides resources to help. For information:

Camping for Hunger: A Conversation About Community Health

community health needs assessments valley health

Today’s conversation on The Valley Today with host, Janet Michael about Valley Health’s Community Health Needs Assessments was pretty eye-opening and insightful. It is part of a community health partnership with Valley Health where Janet talks each month with administrators, physicians, and other Valley Health staff about health topics, events, and the community. Click here to listen to the conversation.

Joining Janet today was Jason Craig, Director of Community Health for Valley Health. He highlighted his professional journey which includes direct experience in social service, education, behavioral health, and healthcare.

They discussed the value of Community Health Needs Assessments to identify and address all the needs surrounding community health. Every three years Valley Health conducts Community Health Needs Assessments for each of their hospitals, identifying priority health needs in the communities they serve. They work with health departments, United Way and other nonprofit agencies, local government officials and other key community stakeholders to learn where gaps in services exist and to identify priorities for action. Each hospital then develops implementation strategies for addressing the identified needs. The draft is expected to be finalized in the coming weeks at which time it will be made public. The results from previous CHNAs can be found by clicking here.

Jason gave examples of the many partnerships they’ve formed with nonprofits, Shenandoah University and other organizations across our communities. He talked of programs focused on workforce development, mental health, substance use, homelessness, and food insecurity. He highlighted a recent $1 million grant awarded to Page Memorial Hospital from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Emergency Rural Health Care Grant Program to remediate the impact of COVID-19 and improve health and access to care in Page County.

The pair also spent some time discussing all the social determinants that play a major role in community health. He spoke of a University of Wisconsin study that highlighted social determinants such as access to healthcare, health behaviors (tobacco use, diet and exercise, alcohol use); physical environment (access to healthy foods, quality of housing, crime and violence); and socioeconomic (education, job status, social support, family support, income, community safety.) He explained that those social determinants can be broken down into five major areas: neighborhood and build environment, health and healthcare, social and community context, education and economic stability.