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County Commissioners Unanimously Approve Funding for Erlanger

utcom123876Chattanooga, Tn – As we previously announced, the federal Public Hospital Supplemental Payment (PHSP) was approved last month by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).  In order for Erlanger to receive these federal funds, several steps still need to be completed.  An important step in securing these funds occurred this morning.

The Hamilton County Commission unanimously approved the funding arrangement for Erlanger to draw down tens of millions of dollars from the federal funding pool for public hospitals.

Today’s action is an important step in securing a stronger financial foundation for Erlanger.  While work remains to be done in obtaining these funds, this unanimous vote by the County Commission, along with the work of the Tennessee Congressional delegation, places Erlanger in a stronger position to receive PHSP more quickly.

Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger and his staff have played a critical role in Erlanger being able to access these federal funds.

The Commission’s action today signals the community’s support for the work performed by Erlanger employees every day in providing critical health care to this region.  We are extremely pleased at the outcome of this important vote and should all be proud of this recognition by our county commissioners.

Erlanger hosts Seventh Annual Trauma Symposium on May 14

Gonzalez2_editedErlanger Health System will host the Seventh Annual Trauma Symposium on May 14 at the Chattanooga Convention Center, featuring keynote speaker Dario Gonzalez, MD, FACEP, Medical Director of Bronx/EMS Division 2. Dr. Gonzalez previously served at Medical Director of the Office of Emergency Management, City of New York, during the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.

Dr. Gonzalez will discuss “Explosion Mechanics and Injury Patterns” and share accounts of his experiences on September 11, 2001, during his keynote address. A pioneer of urban search and rescue tactics, he has served in many capacities within the Fire Department New York and has vast EMS experience, including FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Task Force Leader.

Other local, regional, and national experts in trauma care will speak at the symposium and share their medical expertise with other medical professionals. Topics of discussion at this year’s event range airway control and treatment trends in spinal cord injuries to hidden trauma injuries and drug abuse symptoms.

The May 14 symposium at the Chattanooga Convention Center runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Online registration and secure payments for the symposium are available at http://www.erlanger.org/traumasym14. For more information, email patricia.lewis@erlanger.org or call 423-778-7695.

About Erlanger Health System

The Erlanger Health System has five Tennessee-based medical campuses, including the region’s only children’s hospital and Level 1 Trauma Center, providing the highest level of trauma care. Affiliated with the University of Tennessee College of Medicine Chattanooga, Erlanger is also the region’s only academic teaching center and treats more than a quarter million patients every year.

CLICK HERE to Register for the 7th Annual Trauma Symposium!

CLICK HERE for the Conference Brochure.

Erlanger raises “Donate Life Flag”; honors donors and families during National Donate Life Month

Erlanger Health System President and CEO, Kevin M. Spiegel, FACHE, members of Erlanger’s transplant team, organ donors’ family members, transplant recipients and representatives from Donate Life and Tennessee Donor Services pause for a group photo after the ceremony.

Erlanger Health System President and CEO, Kevin M. Spiegel, FACHE, members of Erlanger’s transplant team, organ donors’ family members, transplant recipients and representatives from Donate Life and Tennessee Donor Services pause for a group photo after the ceremony.

Chattanooga, Tenn. – Erlanger Health System officials, Tennessee Donor Services and Donate Life representatives and attendees whose lives were changed by organ donation raised the “Donate Life Flag” in front of Erlanger campus yesterday honoring 36 Erlanger patients who saved 145 lives in 2013. The annual flag raising event recognizes April as National Donate Life Month.

The Donate Life Flags across America program honors the hundreds of thousands of donors, recipients, and their loved ones symbolizing the uncountable lives touched by organ, eye and tissue donation. Organizers also hope the recognition will motivate other people to consider the benefits of organ donation and join the Donate Life Tennessee Donor Registry.

“We are pleased to join together with our hospital partners to honor those who provided the unselfish gift of life to others through donation,” said Bridgette Fredenberg, Community Services Director for Tennessee Donor Services.

“One person can save or enhance the lives of over 50 individuals. Through education on organ and tissue donation, we have the opportunity to save more lives through transplantation.”

When Lynn Johnson was tested to donate a kidney to his mother for polycystic kidney disease, tests revealed he had the same disease. For approximately 20 years he lived with the disease until his kidney function began to decline. In January 2013, Lynn received a kidney transplant at Erlanger that has given him a new lease on life.

“As of today, all I know is the donor was a male, 28 years old and worked as a welder,” said Johnson. “However, I know in my heart he was a wonderful person who made an important decision with his family when he registered as a donor. He gave me a second chance at life.”

The local organ recipient looks to the future with a more positive outlook and has returned to many of the activities he enjoyed before his health began to decline.

Lynn Johnson speaks to reporters about his life changing experience as a kidney transplant recipient at Erlanger.

Lynn Johnson speaks to reporters about his life changing experience as a kidney transplant recipient at Erlanger.

In 2013, 421 Tennesseans gave the gift of life, saving 796 lives. Tragically, the need far exceeds the number of those who give. While most Americans are in favor of donation, many believe they are too old or unhealthy to donate, and others simply don’t take the steps required to sign up. Almost everyone can be a donor. There is no age limit to organ donation and very few diseases preclude donation.   Currently in the United States, more than 120,000 people are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant, over 2,600 of those live in Tennessee. Every 18 minutes a patient on the waiting list will die, and every 10 minutes a new name will be added.

In 2001, 25-year-old Kevin Yates passed away from traumatic injuries he received from an incident involving a drunk driver. A few years prior to the accident, he spoke to his mother, Tiki Finlayson, about his choice to become an organ donor. At the time of Kevin’s death, his family members knew what had to be done. Kevin’s organ donation saved four other lives through liver, kidneys, pancreas and heart transplants.

At yesterday’s ceremony, Finlayson said “I want to encourage people to make that choice to be an organ donor.” Kevin’s story is a true testament that it is not only important to make that choice, but to also express that decision with family members so they will know what your wishes are.

:  Tiki Finlayson speaks to reporters about her son, Kevin Yates, and his wish to be an organ donor before his untimely death in 2011.

: Tiki Finlayson speaks to reporters about her son, Kevin Yates, and his wish to be an organ donor before his untimely death in 2011.

“Organ donation is an integral part of Erlanger’s mission to patients, family members and the community,” said Kevin M. Spiegel, FACHE, president and CEO of Erlanger Health System. “As the region’s only Level One trauma center, Erlanger is also one of the most active hospital systems for organ harvest. We have such an unbelievable team of specialists from nurses and physicians at our Kidney Transplant Center, who take transplantation to the next level, to partnerships with other agencies such as Donate Life and Tennessee Donor Services. The agencies provide Erlanger and the community with resources for education, awareness and the opportunity to save more lives. Today’s event is Erlanger’s way of encouraging the community to embrace life and make the choice to become an organ donor to give the gift of life.”

Erlanger Health System President and CEO, Kevin M. Spiegel, FACHE, raises the Donate Life flag at the Baroness Campus in honor of organ donors and transplant recipients.

Erlanger Health System President and CEO, Kevin M. Spiegel, FACHE, raises the Donate Life flag at the Baroness Campus in honor of organ donors and transplant recipients.

As of March 2014, over 1,890,000 Tennesseans have signed up on the Donate Life Tennessee Organ & Tissue Donor Registry either online or through the Department of Safety. On average nearly 3,500 people are added each week. While the rate falls far short of the nationwide goal to register 50% of each state’s licensed drivers, Tennessee’s registry is growing quickly. Tennesseans can register to be organ donors by simply checking YES when applying for or renewing their driver’s license. A small red heart is placed on the driver license. Residents can also sign up online by visiting www.donatelifetn.org.

Jae Yu accompanies Derek Yates, Kevin Yate’s brother, as he sings a tribute to those who have given their life so others can live.

Jae Yu accompanies Derek Yates, Kevin Yate’s brother, as he sings a tribute to those who have given their life so others can live.

Tennessee Hospital Association Recognizes Erlanger’s Labor & Delivery Teams

IMG_6127Erlanger’s Women’s Services has been recognized by the Tennessee Hospital Association’s (THA) Tennessee Center for Patient Safety for its leadership in reducing the number of babies born electively between 37 and 39 weeks. There is a greater risk of complications associated with births prior to 39 weeks, and waiting allows for better growth and development of vital organs such as the brain, lungs and liver.

Erlanger successfully met its goal of decreasing the number of babies delivered electively between 37 to 39 weeks gestation to 5 percent or less and has maintained this goal for a minimum of six consecutive months. The hospital has awarded a congratulatory banner to recognize its team’s outstanding effort by the Tennessee Center for Patient Safety, shown here in the photo with the Baroness Labor & Delivery team.

Erlanger is part of a statewide Healthy Tennessee Babies Are Worth the Wait initiative launched less than two years ago to increase awareness of the benefits of full-term delivery. In May 2012, nearly 16 percent of all Tennessee deliveries that occurred prior to 39 weeks gestation were considered elective. Today, that number has been reduced by almost 85 percent. Among other activities, Erlanger adopted a strict hard-stop policy that prohibits early elective deliveries before 39 weeks unless there is a clear medical risk to the mother or the baby.

 

 

State’s First Emergency Medicine Fellowship begins at Erlanger

IMG_1299 - all faculty with UT logoChattanooga, TN – The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education recently approved the first Emergency Medicine Fellowship in the state of Tennessee for the UT College of Medicine Chattanooga (UTCOMC), based at Erlanger. The program will begin operations on July 1, 2014, for the upcoming academic year.

Erlanger and UTCOMC is also the home base for the first Emergency Medicine residency program within the UT system, serving as a model of emergency medicine education programs throughout the state and region. “The addition of the state’s first Emergency Medicine Fellowship at Erlanger showcases our commitment to the pre-hospital environment and trauma care,” said Kevin M. Spiegel, FACHE, Erlanger President and CEO.

Mr. Spiegel, Erlanger Chief Medical Officer Jim Creel, MD, and UTCOMC Dean David C. Seaberg, MD, presented white coats to the new faculty of the Division of EMS under the Department of Emergency Medicine during a recent ceremony at Erlanger. The EMS Faculty and Fellows, pictured above, include Paul Arnold, NRP; Rick Boatwright, EMT-IV; Robert Brooks, EMT-P, FACHE; Ron Buchheit, MD; James H. Creel, Jr., MD, FACEP; Paul Courtwright, MD; Joseph Holley, MD; Mark King; Patrick McDougal, MD; Tony Sylvester, EMT-P; Robbie Tester, NRP, FP-C, CMTE; and Ken Wilkerson, EMT-P, CEMSA.

 

Erlanger awarded highest recognition for complex stroke care

GoldSeal_4colorChattanooga, Tenn. – Erlanger’s Southeast Regional Stroke Center has been awarded the Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification by The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. This certification recognizes hospitals offering the highest level of care for those with the most severe and challenging types of strokes and cerebrovascular disease.

“I am extremely proud that Erlanger’s stroke team has been recognized as part of an elite group of providers focusing on complex stroke care,” said Erlanger President and CEO Kevin M. Spiegel, FACHE. “We are now one of only 68 hospitals in the nation with this distinction, and the only one in this region,” he noted.

“Not only was Erlanger awarded the region’s only complex stroke care certification, but our cardiovascular center team just earned Joint Commission’s Certification for Acute Myocardial Infarction – making Erlanger the second hospital in Tennessee to earn this prestigious accreditation.” Spiegel said. “Both these advanced certifications set Erlanger apart as an industry leader in the treatment of strokes and heart attacks.”

Health care systems awarded the Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification are recognized for having state-of-the-art infrastructure, staff and training to receive and treat patients with acute to the most complex stroke cases.

To achieve this certification, Erlanger’s stroke center team underwent a rigorous onsite review. The Joint Commission surveyors reviewed Erlanger’s compliance with the Comprehensive Stroke Center standards and requirements, including advanced imaging capabilities, 24/7 availability of specialized treatments and staff with the unique education and competencies to care for complex stroke patients.

“By achieving this advanced certification, Erlanger has thoroughly demonstrated the greatest level of commitment to the care of its patients with a complex stroke condition,” said Mark R. Chassin, M.D., FACP, M.P.P., M.P.H., President of The Joint Commission. “Certification is a voluntary process, and The Joint Commission commends Erlanger for successfully undertaking this challenge to elevate the standard of its care for the community it serves.”

For more information on The Joint Commission and American Heart Association’s Advance Certification for Comprehensive Stroke Center visit http://www.jointcommission.org/ or www.heart.org/myhospital.

New hotline available to assist with Affordable Care Act Enrollment

operatorDue to an overwhelming response from local residents enrolling in health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, Erlanger Health System officials are providing a new free telephone hotline. 

With two weeks until the March 31 deadline, representatives with Erlanger and American Exchange are encouraging area residents to call 1-888-995-1674.  Representatives are available Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. to provide assistance in applying for or selecting the best health insurance plans.

For residents who are self pay or have individual coverage, they may find insurance under the Health Insurance Marketplace can be more affordable by enrolling under the Affordable Care Act.   In fact, low-to-mid-income families can also qualify for tax credits to help cover the premiums.  In the last two weeks, over 1,500 people have enrolled through this partnership.  

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