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Commonwealth Health Corporation Recipient of the 2014 Gallup Great Workplace Award

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Commonwealth Health Corporation (CHC), parent company of The Medical Center, has received the 2014 Gallup Great Workplace Award which recognizes the best-performing workforces in the world. CHC is one of 36 organizations to receive the prestigious Gallup award this year.

“Employee engagement is one of CHC’s core strategic goals. It is not a one-time initiative but a culture that is woven throughout all aspects of our corporation,” said Connie Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer of Commonwealth Health Corporation. “We at CHC recognize that a highly engaged workplace means a better place for our employees to work and a better place for our patients to receive quality care.”

CHC began utilizing the consulting services of Gallup in 2008 and since that time has experienced significant gains in employee engagement. Results from a 2013 employee engagement survey of CHC’s employees, combined with a demonstrated link between engagement and business outcomes, qualified CHC to apply for the award.

“In order to maintain long-term growth and profitability, we must invest time, energy and resources into engaging our employees,” said Smith. “We have found that engaged employees improve overall patient care and help in managing the impact of declining reimbursements and financial challenges due to the disproportionate share of government subsidized care provided by our hospitals and other facilities.” Over the past six years, CHC has experienced reduced employee turnover, decreased patient complaints, increased employee donations to CHC’s charity care programs, and improved financial performance.

CHC will be presented the award during the Gallup Spring Summit on May 13-15, 2014 in Omaha, Nebraska. During the summit, Great Workplace Award winners including CHC will present the best practices they applied to their workplace and the improved business results they achieved through building an engaged workforce.

“These award-winning organizations set a new standard for workplace excellence,” said Dr. James Harter, Chief Scientist with Gallup. “They have proven track records for improving lives along with performance. The management tenets they practice have proven value in both thriving and struggling economies overall.”

About the Gallup and the Gallup Great Workplace Award

Combining more than 75 years of experience with its global reach, Gallup delivers forward-thinking research, analytics, and advice to help leaders solve their most pressing problems. Gallup knows more about the attitudes and behaviors of the world’s constituents, employees, and customers than any other organization. Gallup’s 2,000 professionals deliver services at client organizations, through the Web, and in nearly 40 offices around the world.

The Gallup Great Workplace Award recognizes the best-performing workforces in the world. Only organizations who meet specific criteria may apply for the award. Applicants’ results are compared across a workplace research database composed of millions of work teams in more than 100 countries. A panel of workplace experts assesses each application and selects the winners.


Kohl’s Grant Supports The Medical Center’s Newborn Care & Safety Program

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Kohl’s Cares® has once again awarded Commonwealth Health Foundation a grant to enable The Medical Center to reach expectant parents with vital obstetrics education classes. This year’s grant totaling $23,712 will be used for The Medical Center’s Newborn Care and Safety Class which teaches expectant parents essential baby care skills.

“Having a baby can make parents feel apprehensive. They want to know the proper way to do everything from diapering, to feeding to comforting their newborn,” said Cindy Gilliam, OB Educator for The Medical Center. “The Newborn Care and Safety Class provides all this information and much more. It is one of our most attended classes. By teaching parents the basic skills they want and need to know, they feel much more comfortable and confident in caring for their new infant.”

The Newborn Care and Safety Class is a free, hands-on class where participants use baby dolls to practice swaddling and holding a newborn, diapering and giving the baby a bath. A variety of safety issues are addressed, and a CPR demonstration shows parents what to do in an emergency. Last year 33 classes were held with 675 total participants, and 34 classes are already scheduled for 2014.

The Kohl’s grant also funds the purchase of items such as “The Joy of Parenthood” publication on baby care and safety, DNA identification kits, infant CPR refrigerator magnets, and baby safety gift sets, are provided to parents at no cost. A baby monitor is also given out in a drawing at every class.

The Medical Center is the local Kohl’s Cares® beneficiary. Since 2006, Kohl’s has donated $188,221 to The Medical Center to support its health and wellness programs including construction of two community walking trails at local elementary schools.

Kohl's commitment to Commonwealth Health Foundation and The Medical Center is made possible through the Kohl's Cares® cause merchandise program. Through this initiative, Kohl’s sells $5 books and plush toys where 100% of net profit benefits children’s health and education programs nationwide, including hospital partnerships like this one. Kohl's has raised more than $231 million through this merchandise program. In addition to the merchandise program, Kohl's features the Kohl’s Cares® Scholarship Program, which last year recognized more than 2,300 young volunteers with more than $400,000 in scholarships and prizes. Through Kohl's Associates in Action volunteer program, more than 669,000 associates have donated more than 2.2 million hours of their time since 2001, and Kohl’s has donated more than $63 million to youth-focused nonprofit organizations. Kohl’s also offers fundraising gift cards for schools and youth-serving organizations. For more information, visit
www.Kohls.com/Cares.


About Kohl’s

Based in Menomonee Falls, Wis., Kohl’s (NYSE: KSS) is a family-focused, value-oriented specialty department store offering moderately priced, exclusive and national brand apparel, shoes, accessories, beauty and home products in an exciting shopping environment. With a commitment to environmental leadership, Kohl’s operates 1,155 stores in 49 states. In support of the communities it serves, Kohl’s has raised more than $231 million for children’s initiatives nationwide through its Kohl’s Cares® cause merchandise program, which operates under Kohl's Cares, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Kohl's Department Stores, Inc. For a list of store locations and information, or for the added convenience of shopping online, visit www.Kohls.com or join the discussion on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/kohls or Twitter http://twitter.com/Kohls or get inspired on Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/kohls/) and instagram (http://instagram.com/kohls).


About Commonwealth Health Foundation

Commonwealth Health Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Commonwealth Health Corporation (CHC). Commonwealth Health Foundation helps build relationships and partnerships across Southcentral Kentucky that will inspire charitable giving by individuals, foundations, corporations and organizations. These gifts help support the mission of CHC to care for people and improve the quality of life in the communities it serves. For more information about the Foundation, please visit www.commonwealthhealthfoundation.org or call 270-796-5543.


About The Medical Center

The Medical Center at Bowling Green is the flagship hospital for 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, cancer care, obstetrics and neonatology, 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 $67.1 million in community benefit in fiscal year 2013. 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.


The Medical Center Offers Lung Cancer Screening with Low-dose CT

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

For the early detection of lung cancer in high risk individuals, The Medical Center now offers a lung cancer screening using low-dose computed tomography (CT). Screenings using low-dose CT can detect cancer early when it is most treatable.

A draft recommendation from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force suggests that adults who have no signs or symptoms of lung cancer but who are at high risk for developing lung cancer should be screened every year with low-dose CT. High risk is defined as people who meet the following criteria:

  • Are between 55 and 79 years old, and
  • Have a history of heavy smoking, and
  • Are either current smokers or who have quit within the past 15 years.

Heavy smoking is defined as a smoking history of 30 “pack years” or more. A “pack year” is smoking an average of one pack per day for one year. For example, someone is considered a heavy smoker if they smoke one pack per day for 30 years or smoke two packs per day for 15 years. Adults who meet the criteria above should also be asymptomatic for lung cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, the symptoms of lung cancer include:

  • A cough that does not go away or gets worse
  • Chest pain that is often worse with deep breathing, coughing, or laughing
  • Hoarseness
  • Weight loss and loss of appetite
  • Coughing up blood or rust-colored sputum (spit or phlegm)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling tired or weak
  • Infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia that don’t go away or keep coming back
  • New onset of wheezing

A low dose CT scan is a test which utilizes x-ray technology to scan the body. CT uses low doses of radiation to produce a series of detailed pictures of the lungs. Unlike traditional x-ray, CT can more accurately identify early stage cancer when it is most treatable.

The cost of the scan is $125 and currently not covered by insurance companies. The fee is payable at the time of service. Only individuals who meet the criteria should be screened using low-dose CT. To check eligibility for the screening, individuals can call The Medical Center at 270-745-1199 or 1-800-231-9621 or talk with their physician. Low-dose CT scans can be scheduled at The Medical Center in Bowling Green, Scottsville, or Franklin, or at Western Kentucky Diagnostic Imaging. A physician order is required for the screening.

About Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States and in Kentucky. According to the Kentucky Cancer Consortium, Kentucky’s death rate from cancer is 46% higher than the national rate. Over 3,500 people died from lung cancer in 2010. It is estimated that over 4,500 cases of lung cancer are diagnosed each year. Of those cases, 80% are diagnosed at a late stage.

The number one risk factor for lung cancer is smoking. It is estimated that about 85 percent of lung cancers are caused by smoking. In the United States, Kentucky has the highest rate of smoking.

The risk of developing lung cancer increases with age, with most cancers occurring in people age 55 and older. The risk of lung cancer also increases with the amount and length of time someone smokes.


The Medical Center Maintains Chest Pain Center Accreditation with PCI

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Medical Center received full accreditation with PCI from the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care (SCPC) on September 13, 2013. This the fourth accreditation cycle The Medical Center has completed since 2004. The Medical Center is the only Chest Pain Center in Southcentral Kentucky accredited with PCI. Percutaneous coronary intervention, referred to as PCI, is the use of cardiac catheterization to treat the narrowed coronary arteries of the heart.

“Receiving the highest level of accreditation by the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care demonstrates that The Medical Center is providing the national standard of care right here in our community for a heart attack patient,” said Connie D. Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer of Commonwealth Health Corporation, parent company of The Medical Center. “The use of PCI allows our interventional cardiologists to go directly to the source of a blockage to preserve heart muscle and potentially reduce mortality.”

According to guidelines established by the American College of Cardiologists and the American Heart Association, when done in a timely fashion, PCI is the preferred treatment option for patients suffering from acute myocardial infarction, or a heart attack. The Medical Center operates its Cardiac Catheterization Lab 24 hours a day, seven days a week to ensure that PCI can be performed by an interventional cardiologist when indicated.

“The rigorous standards we meet in treating heart attack patients are reflected in our accreditation by the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care,” said Bart Spurlin, M.D., Medical Director of The Medical Center Emergency Department. “Our team of healthcare professionals from Medical Center EMS, Emergency Department, Cardiac Cath Lab, Nursing and various ancillary departments works tirelessly to ensure the most appropriate, evidence-based care is provided in the most efficient and timely manner to save lives and reduce the damaging effects of heart attacks.”

Heart attacks are the leading cause of death in the United States, with 600,000 people dying annually of heart disease. More than five million Americans visit hospitals each year with chest pain. SCPC’s goal is to significantly reduce the mortality rate of these patients by teaching the public to recognize and react to the early symptoms of a possible heart attack, reduce the time that it takes to receive treatment, and increase the accuracy and effectiveness of treatment.

“We have seen some amazing outcomes as a result of the work we are doing at The Medical Center,” said Dr. Spurlin. “Many are returning home to their families who would not have survived a few years ago.”

The Accredited Chest Pain Center’s protocol-driven and systematic approach to patient management allows physicians to reduce time to treatment during the critical early stages of a heart attack, when treatments are most effective, and to better monitor patients when it is not clear whether or not they are having a coronary event. Such observation helps ensure that patients are neither sent home too early nor needlessly admitted.

With the increase in chest pain centers came the need to establish standards designed to improve the consistency and quality of care provided to patients. SCPC’s accreditation process ensures that centers meet or exceed quality-of-care measures in acute cardiac medicine.

The Accredited Chest Pain Center at The Medical Center has demonstrated its expertise and commitment to quality patient care by meeting or exceeding a wide set of stringent criteria and undergoing an onsite review by a team of SPCP’s accreditation review specialists. Key areas in which an Accredited Chest Pain Center must demonstrate expertise include the following:

  • Integrating the emergency department with the local emergency medical system
  • Assessing, diagnosing, and treating patients quickly
  • Effectively treating patients with low risk for acute coronary syndrome and no assignable cause for their symptoms
  • Continually seeking to improve processes and procedures
  • Ensuring the competence and training of Accredited Chest Pain Center personnel
  • Maintaining organizational structure and commitment
  • Having a functional design that promotes optimal patient care
  • Supporting community outreach programs that educate the public to promptly seek medical care if they display symptoms of a possible heart attack

The Medical Center-WKU Health Sciences Complex Opens

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Medical Center-WKU Health Sciences Complex officially opened today with a Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce Ribbon Cutting. The 73,471 square foot, three-story facility was constructed at a cost of $15.6 million dollars.

“It is rewarding to see a project that will have such a significant impact on healthcare come to fruition,” said Connie Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer of Commonwealth Health Corporation, parent company of The Medical Center. “The Medical Center-WKU Health Sciences Complex will benefit the hospital and university with much needed educational space. The community will also reap the benefits as this facility will help advance healthcare in Southcentral Kentucky by providing highly educated and trained healthcare professionals.”

The Health Sciences Complex will provide space for The Medical Center to offer advanced training with sophisticated technology for its clinical staff. Twenty percent will be used by the hospital for a conference center and bed labs. The bed labs will utilize patient simulators including an iStan virtual patient. This electronic, interactive patient has pupils that dilate, vital signs that respond to anesthesia, and other life-like responses. Training and education with state-of-the-art equipment such as iStan assures a high standard of skills and knowledge of the hospital’s clinical staff.

Western Kentucky University will benefit from much needed space that will house its nursing and doctorate of physical therapy programs. Eighty percent of the facility will be used by the university to accommodate assembly, training, classroom and business functions for WKU. The university has doubled its enrollment for the nursing program with 80 students scheduled to start the fall 2013 semester on August 26.

"It is our responsibility to ensure a well-trained workforce to meet the needs of the region's healthcare providers," said Dr. Gary A. Ransdell, President of Western Kentucky University. "Thanks to The Medical Center, we now have an exceptional space in which to expand our programs and double the number of nursing students at WKU. This building is also home to our new Doctor of Physical Therapy program, which opened to 30 students earlier this summer. We are grateful for this partnership with The Medical Center, and we applaud the city and county for the visionary leadership to expand the Tax Increment Financing district to include this project."

The Medical Center issued bonds to pay for construction. WKU will lease the facility from The Medical Center for 25 years, income from which will be used toward debt service and operating expenses.

The facility is located at 700 First Avenue on the edge of the hospital’s campus that borders 31W Bypass. Stengel Hill Architecture designed the facility to allow for future expansion. Scott, Murphy & Daniel, LLC served as the general contractor.