BCH Diabetes Support Group Calendar for 2017

Bertrand Chaffee Hospital will coordinate monthly diabetic support group meetings for Type I and Type II diabetics and their loved ones in 2017. Interested individuals are invited to participate in this group to share recipes, coupons and information about topics related to diabetes and health in a supportive and welcoming environment. The group will meet at Bertrand Chaffee Hospital on the first Monday of each month from 6-7 p.m. A Certified Diabetes Educator will facilitate the group, and meetings are free of charge. This group is part of the BCH diabetic education program, which is accredited by the American Association of Diabetes Educators. For more information, call (716) 592-9643. Meetings will be canceled when Springville-Griffith Institute schools are closed for a snow day. The topic for the first meeting of the year on January 2 is Sugar Substitutes. Suggested monthly topics going forward include: February 6, The Diabetic Eye; March 6, Label Reading; April 3, Long-term Risks (film); May 1, Diabetic Sharps; June 5, Herbs and Vitamins; July 3, Alcohol; August 7, The Diabetic Foot; September (closed for holiday); October 2, Being Active (film); November 6, Holiday Eating; December 4, New Year’s Resolutions.

BCH Introduces Leg Vein Ablation Procedure

Cardiology Team and Imaging Services collaborate to bring clinical care option to community 

Thomas P. Smith, Jr., MD, FACCBertrand Chaffee Hospital has introduced leg vein ablation for patients seeking treatment for symptoms related to varicose veins and chronic venous insufficiency (CVI).

Though fewer than 10 percent of people with vein disease – including varicose veins – seek treatment, left untreated this condition can lead to CVI. This disease affects about 190 million people worldwide and more than 30 million Americans. CVI is a progressive disease that can cause leg pain, swelling, restlessness, discoloration, skin damage and ulcers.

The addition of this procedure is a collaborative effort between the hospital’s Imaging Department and cardiology team in the Heart Center and Leg Pain and Vascular Center. BCH offers this treatment as an outpatient procedure, and began scheduling screening visits in December.

“We are treating symptomatic vein disease and CVI as part of a patient’s overall health. It deserves an accurate medical diagnosis and appropriate treatment and plan,” said cardiologist Dr. Thomas Smith. “It is not just as a cosmetic issue, but one that can have important health implications for the future.”

Leg Vein Ablation Venous DiseaseIn describing the procedure, Dr. Smith continued, “A physician inserts a single-use catheter into a patient’s leg vein, and uniform heat is applied to seal off the problem vein and allow blood to reroute to healthy veins.”

“This is a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure where patients can have a comfortable recovery and generally return to normal activities after just a few days,” said Darlene Schrantz, RN, director of patient care services. “Our providers were great advocates for bringing this procedure to our facility, so our patients don’t have to travel outside the area to access this treatment.”

Varicose veins and CVI occur when valves in leg veins that direct blood from the legs back toward the heart no longer function properly. This causes blood to pool in the legs. Although this can occur at any time, there are factors that increase the risks of developing this condition. These include increased age, women who have been pregnant, a family history of CVI, and people who stand at their job for a great deal of time. Leg vein ablation may be an option for individuals who have leg pain, a heavy feeling in their legs, or a family history of chronic vein insufficiency or venous reflux.

“We encourage our primary care and cardiology patients to make this part of their conversation with their providers,” said Primary Care Center Practice Manager Reid Gunnersen. “Minimally invasive intervention like leg vein ablation now may prevent larger health complications in the future.”

For a screening and consultation, call the BCH Heart Center at (716) 592-9644.


A Familiar Face in Pharmacy at BCH

Lynn Hodson and Dr. Heather HodsonEvery family has traditions. And within the family of employees at Bertrand Chaffee Hospital in Springville, the name “Hodson” represents a strong tradition in the past, present and future of the pharmacy department.

Pharmacist Lynn Hodson came to Bertrand Chaffee Hospital in 1977 after meeting then-BCH CEO Roger Ford in Buffalo – he was her neighbor there. Her career in pharmacy up to that point had been in a wide range of settings. She trained in one of the first PharmD programs in the nation, at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.

Hodson started her Pharmacy Residency at Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh. She subsequently worked on the medical teaching unit there. Then, Buffalo General Community Mental Health Clinic recruited her to the Buffalo area to work in the new Lithium clinic. There, as she put it, she “built a pharmacy department starting with just four walls.” She moved on to the Buffalo Psychiatric Center as regional director of psychiatric pharmacy in the mid-1970s. Hodson belongs to the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), which has rigorous accrediting criteria for members.

With 60-hour weeks and odd hours in Buffalo, Lynn was drawn to the new challenge of establishing a pharmacy department at BCH. “The pharmacy at BCH started as a cabinet,” said Hodson. And so it began; Hodson has been a familiar name and friendly face at BCH since 1977.

After working full-time at BCH for 25 years, she took early retirement in 2002 and continued at area retail pharmacies as a consulting pharmacist for the next several years. Lynn returned in 2007 as interim director of pharmacy at then-CEO Mary Kwiatek’s request. She has remained as a consultant and pharmacist ever since.

That included stepping in during a 10-week period over the summer when BCH searched for a new pharmacy director. “We’ve had great luck having pharmacists stay here for years at a time,” said Darlene Schrantz, RN, BSN, director of patient care services. “In a rural hospital, recruiting pharmacists, providers and nursing staff takes a great deal of effort – but once they’re here, they tend to stay.”

During the search process, a familiar name rose to the top of the pile: Dr. Heather Hodson, the elder Hodson’s daughter. Her experience at BCH started when her mother brought her in as an infant while she worked. By the time Heather was in high school, she was volunteering at BCH and working as a pharmacy technician during the summer while she attended D’Youville College as a pre-med/biology major.

After graduating in 1999, Heather worked as a pharmacy tech in Williamsville and at Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo (WCHOB). A few years later, she moved cross country to San Francisco, where she continued as a pharmacy tech in the Castro District of San Francisco. A manager there encouraged her to apply to pharmacy school for further education.

That manager did not expect what happened next. Heather took her PCATS (similar to MCATS, for pharmacy school) and ended up enrolling at a school on the East Coast: the University at Buffalo.

“No one was more surprised at that than I was,” said the elder Hodson. Heather’s familiarity and family history in the pharmacy field was a great source of strength as she worked, again, at WCHOB, on pediatrics floors while earning her doctorate of pharmacy degree.

Heather stayed with WCHOB after graduation, working as a pharmacist for nine years. She then spent a year at Mercy Hospital in a more clinical capacity, rounding with physicians, making recommendations for drug therapy, and working in a more direct role with practitioners and patients. There she gained experience with adult patients facing cardiac and geriatric conditions.

The opening in fall 2016 at BCH came at just the right time for Heather. “I was on an intense schedule at Mercy,” she explained. “The thought of being the pharmacist for a hospital that I know so well – it feels like home to me.”

At BCH, the younger Dr. Hodson now handles the daily administration of a pharmacy department that supports the hospital’s 24-bed acute care floor and emergency department. Dr. Hodson is on-call for hospital needs and requests. She also advises policies on reducing medical errors and improving processes related to medications.

As she looked ahead in the pharmacy field, Heather realized that many pharmacists had little knowledge about the natural and homeopathic substances. “Patients are taking these treatments to manage or try to prevent medical conditions,” said Heather. “We have to pay attention to that as pharmacists.”

Acknowledging that need for more detailed information, Heather pursued a certificate in herbal medicine on her own over nine months to build her understanding the over-the-counter supplements, vitamins and herbs. Combined with her pharmacy experience and medical awareness, Heather can draw from two deep pools of knowledge when participating in patient care.

“There’s a team aspect to what we do as pharmacists,” said Lynn, a sentiment that her daughter echoed. “There’s the daily administrative aspect to our department,” said Heather. “But I’m part of a team here with providers and physicians, all focused on finding the right medications at the right doses at the right time for our patients.”

Department Spotlight: Registration

The Bertrand Chaffee Hospital lobby sees a cast of constantly changing characters. Family members sit with snacks from the coffee shop, employees pass through, and patients wait for their turn to check in with one of the most visible parts of hospital administration: the Registration Department.

The registration desk at Bertrand Chaffee Hospital is the first department many patients encounter when visiting our facility. From a steady stream of patients to constant phone calls, the BCH registration desk manages a flurry of activity from seven in the morning until seven at night.

Our mission is to investigate and solve medical script dilemmas for patients at Bertrand Chaffee Hospital. No patient will get past us without paperwork.
Periods of intensity – a full waiting room, phones ringing non-stop, and patients streaming in – are punctuated by an occasional lull. And each registration visit is completely different. On a busy day, the team might register 160 people – and there are many busy days. Countless more patients and community members come in with questions and information requests.  “There’s no such thing as a typical day here,” said Maryann Vanderkarr, registration department manager.Vanderkarr heads a 10-person team that registers patients for lab work, imaging tests, emergency care, inpatient stays and surgical procedures. She has been with BCH for about four years, two of them as a manager.
As the clerks work with patients and family members, they also coordinate with provider offices, medical records, billing and insurance companies to make sure the information is up-to-date.

It takes accuracy, a strong sense of customer service, and a willingness to be flexible to be a hospital registration clerk. “We do everything we can to make our patients’ time in registration as easy, quick and painless as possible,” Vanderkarr shared.

BCH Enhances X-Ray Technology

Digital radiography equipment installed in Imaging Department

Digital X-ray at BCHBertrand Chaffee Hospital made a significant investment in its Imaging Department at the end of 2016. The facility remodeled one of the radiographic (“x-ray”) rooms and installed a new digital radiography (DR) machine.

This equipment represents the leading technology in an effort to lower patient dose while capturing high image quality and detail. DR images show finer detail that will help in the diagnosing of injuries and medical conditions.  This new technology will assist in the treatment that patients receive from emergency medicine providers, orthopedists, surgeons, physical therapists and other specialists.

“The images we take with this machine show incredible detail,” said Lisa Smith, imaging department manager. “We can use lower doses of radiation to produce images, and they’re available immediately with no waiting.”

“Our shift to digital radiography also factored in the room design,” Smith continued. “The table helps us comply with the Safe Patient Handling Act, with the height adjusting from one-and-a-half to three feet,” Smith continued. “That makes the process of getting an x-ray much more comfortable and safer for patients.”

Bertrand Chaffee Hospital continues to make investments in its clinical technologies. “To have this available for emergency, inpatient and outpatient use means that patients do not have to travel out of the area to receive standard of care for imaging services,” said CEO Nils Gunnersen. “That’s a strong consideration, especially when a patient is dealing with pain or discomfort.”

For more information about the Imaging Department at BCH, call (716) 592-8169. The hospital also offers digital mammography, nuclear medicine, ultrasound, MRI, CT and bone density testing.