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Novant Health Rowan takes on initiatives, goals

By Shavonne Walker
shavonne.walker@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — In the battle against cancer, there’s a big difference in fighting traffic to receive treatment 30 minutes away or just five minutes down the road.

Earlier this year, Novant Health Rowan Medical Center Foundation launched its $12 million campaign for a new Cancer Care Center. The campaign — Hope. Healing. Healthcare. — is just one of many initiatives the hospital has on the horizon before the year ends, said President Dari Caldwell.

Together, the Cancer Care Center represents a $24 million project, with parent Novant Health providing $12 million of the total.

Cancer Care Center
The center will be at the corner of Mahaley and Mocksville avenues, next to Rowan Diagnostic and across from Mocksville Avenue from the main hospital. The current site is a hospital parking lot.

The goals of the center are to increase accessibility, enhance the coordination of care, make patient care more personalized and provide leading-edge treatment.

The center will include medical and radiation oncology, PET imaging, an infusion center, palliative care; lab, imaging and screening; nurse navigation, integrative medicine, genetic counseling, and psychosocial support. In addition, there will be an onsite resource library, pharmacy, conference room, classroom and the Look Good, Feel Good Boutique.

Hospitalist & Intensivist

It wasn’t that long ago that many hospitals relied on physicians who consulted with a team of nurses, doctors and other medical staff to provide care for patients in the hospital’s intensive care unit. Many of those consulting physicians juggled office practices of their own.

Now as hospitals move toward 24/7 intensivist, physicians who are board-certified who can provide special care for critically-ill patients. Novant Health Rowan Medical Center now has an intensivist critical care physician onsite every day.

The doctor, Neil Patel, began in May and will be on hand 12 hours a day, seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. He’ll lead a team of caregivers who bring expertise in different specialties.

Rather than focusing on specific body systems, like a heart specialist, intensivists will take a comprehensive approach to care for ICU patients.

Dr. Syed Hyder, a neuro-hospitalist, starts Aug. 1 and will augment the hospital’s outpatient practice in providing patients with stroke care. Previously the hospital had doctors and other staff who completed rounds and saw patients in an outpatient capacity. 

Caldwell said Hyder will be able to see more patients in the hospital.

“It really gives you an advantage in the care of those patients,” said Novant President Dari Caldwell.

Intensive Care Unit

Novant has gone from 12 to 20 critical care beds over the last several years and have had 16 beds for a few years in the intermediate care unit.

Caldwell said essentially, it means someone will be there around the clock.

The acute care surgery program is one that will work in collaboration with general surgeons.

She said as the hospital is pursuing trauma designation, the hospital needs to have surgeons at the hospital all of the time.

The goal to have surgeons in-house is expected to be in place by October.

The hospital is pursuing Level III trauma status, meaning the facility would be able to provide around-the-clock assessment, resuscitation, stabilization and life-saving intervention to patients experiencing a traumatic injury. Until that time, patients with traumatic injuries are sent to a center that can provide that care. Injuries classified as traumatic include gunshot victims and those injuries received in traffic collisions.

Requirements for such designation goes beyond the care provided in the emergency department, Caldwell said.

She said nurses must be trained in treating trauma injuries and social workers must be trained to work with patients being treated for traumatic injuries.

The hospital has begin by collecting data regarding traumatic injuries. The facility has to demonstrate quality improvement, have 365 days of data that would have to be submitted to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Office of Emergency Medical Services. The data collection will begin in January 2019.

The hospital will have site visits and reviews and once approved by a committee then the facility can receive trauma designation.

“It’s all focused on quality of care. It’s an investment in the community,” Caldwell said.

She said they are doing to provide a service to the community because “that’s what’s needed.”

She said the hospital identified about 100 trauma cases where patients were sent to other facilities that, had Novant had an acute care facility, they could’ve been treated locally.

Women’s Health

Novant Health Carolina Women’s Health Associates will also have a second building located in China Grove where the services include a midwife. Certified nurse-midwife, Sharon Verner, joined the staff there. Verner will also be able to provide obstetric services.

Caldwell said midwifery isn’t new to the hospital. Years ago the hospital had a midwife who eventually retired.

Other Endeavors

Dr. Jason Connelly, who will provide primary care/family medicine, will join the new office in Cleveland when it opens next spring. Caldwell said they are currently working on building permits. The building will be located on U.S. 70.

Sarah Serrano, a palliative care nurse, works to make patients as comfort as possible as they continue treatments. Serrano began at the hospital in February.

Dr. Craig Robeson joins Novant Health Salisbury Urological Clinic this month and Dr. Paul Lichstem, a joint surgeon, joins Novant Health Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Sept. 1.

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.

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