Treat Your Feet Well this Winter

treat-your-feet

Winter can be just as tough on your toes as it is on cars and houses. Don’t neglect ‘em just because they are hidden away! Good foot health contributes to your overall health, no matter the season.

Below, podiatrist Kory Miskin, DPM, shares a few tips on how to be sweet to your feet during the cold weather:

  • DON’T IMPROVISE WINTER SPORT SHOES: If you snowboard or ski, it’s important to only wear boots specifically designed for that purpose. Make sure they fit properly. This means that you should be able to wiggle your toes and the boots should immobilize the heel, instep, and ball of your foot. You can use orthotics (support devices that go inside shoes) to help control the foot’s movement inside ski boots or ice skates.

 

  • BE “SIZE-SMART” WHEN BUYING NEW: It may be tempting to buy pricey specialty footwear (like winter boots or ski boots) for kids in a slightly larger size in hope that they’ll be able to get two seasons of wear out of them. Unlike coats that kids can grow into, footwear needs to fit properly right away. Properly fitted skates and boots can help prevent blisters, chafing, and ankle or foot injuries. Likewise, if socks are too small, they can force toes to bunch together, and that friction can cause painful blisters or corns.

 

  • KEEP YOUR TOES COZY, BUT NOT TOO COZY: Boots are must-have footwear in winter climates, especially when dealing with winter precipitation. Between the waterproof material of the boots themselves and the warm socks you wear to keep toes toasty, you may find your feet sweat a lot. Damp sweaty feet can chill more easily and are more prone to bacterial infections. To keep feet clean and dry, consider using foot powder inside socks and incorporating extra foot baths into your foot care regimen this winter.

 

  • IT’S OKAY TO RUN IN THE COLD: If you’re a runner, you don’t need to let the cold stop you! A variety of warm, light-weight, moisture-wicking active wear available at most running or sporting goods stores helps ensure runners stay warm and dry in bitter temperatures. Try and shorten your stride to help maintain stability during icy conditions instead of altering the way your foot strikes the ground. Always remember to stretch during the cold!

 

  • KEEP YOUR FEET HYDRATED: Remember to keep your feet moisturized on a daily basis, but do not moisturize in between your toes. After bathing and/or showering, make sure to dry your feet in between your toes to avoid cracking/fissuring which can lead to bacterial infections.

As a final winter safety-reminder, remember not to tip-toe through winter snow, ice, and temperatures in summer footwear.  Choose winter footwear that will keep your feet warm, dry, and well-supported to avoid exposing your feet to frostbite or injury.  The good news is, there are plenty of options out there that meet THE criteria (and are fashionable as well).

Dr. Kory Miskin joined the OCH Health System in December. He is available to see patients Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the OCH of Gravette facility. Dr. Miskin can provide medical diagnosis and treatment of foot and ankle problems. He received his education from Brigham Young University – Provo and from Kent State University College of Podiatric Medicine. He is currently is a member of the American Podiatric Medical Association and American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. To contact the OCH of Gravette Specialty Clinic, or schedule an appointment, call the office at 479-344-6870 or fax 479-344-6865.

Advertisements

Back-to-school health isn’t just for kids

Back to school pinterest

The dog days of summer are at their tail’s end and fall is rapidly approaching; families are flocking to Wal-Mart to purchase back-to-school supplies and wardrobes, teachers rush to prepare for the influx of students, and fall health & flu prevention begins.

Each year, around 50,000 people in the United States die from vaccine-preventable diseases according to Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS.gov). Influenza, pneumococcal pneumonia and hepatitis B, diseases with available vaccines, account for over 250,000 hospitalizations on an average year.

The good news? Medicare covers vaccinations for each of these diseases. Medicaid and CHIP covers the influenza vaccination along with other vaccinations needed for children.

But it’s not just for kids. Influenza claims an average of 36,000 lives a year. People 65 and older make up a large amount of that statistic. The same goes for invasive pneumococcal disease. Of all the deaths caused by the bacterial pneumonia, greater than half are 65 years of age or older.

This fall, schedule a “time-out” from watching fourth-string scrubs play football or visiting shopping rallies at the mall and take the first step. Contact your health care provider or a local clinic to find out more about vaccines and immunizations.

Image

For more information on vaccines and preventable diseases, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac. For more information on what vaccinations are covered by Medicare and Medicaid, visit http://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Prevention/Immunizations/.

OCH Community Health Worker Shares Some Love with the Community

VenrunYou don’t have to work in direct patient care to impact patients’ lives in a big way. Ciara Day’s job is testament to that. While a medical degree helps doctors attend to medical conditions, Ciara works to mend the heart. Her entire job is based on the OCH mission of offering assistance in an atmosphere of compassion, respect and dignity. The stories that make up her every day speak to the passion OCH employees have for its patients.

As a Community Health Worker in OCH’s Integrated Care department, Ciara works to empower patients and give them the tools to improve their lives. “Everyone is different,” Ciara says. She says patients need help that is not just limited to healthcare visits with providers: sometimes patients need a ride to the appointment, a shower to clean off the fleas so the patient can address real problems with providers, or basic needs like nutritious food, or a safe place to call home. “It’s my job to check in and make sure those voices are heard.”

When considering healthcare, the Integrated Care department works as a team to look at overall well-being, not just an exchange of symptoms and healthcare solutions. “Everything is a lesson,” Ciara explains. It could mean providing patients with lessons on meal prepping for a chronic illness and what your refrigerator should look like. “You have to meet them where they are. If a patient doesn’t have access to food stamps or their Medicaid gets shut off, we connect them to resources that can help them get access to those things and show them how to work what they have.” Sometimes this means working with patients for a long time, and that’s okay. Changes do not happen overnight and Ciara is dedicated to working long term to better patient lives.

“I’m not afraid to call a patient up and be like, ‘Your provider is worried about you and part of the process for following up is a home visit. When are you available?’” And that’s just what she does. Understanding where a patient is now helps her figure out what the next steps are.

I’ve been doing this in the community for nearly a decade. I was initially hired to help the highest utilizers of the ER. But those aren’t the people screaming for help. It’s the silent ones who need it the most.

Within the first two weeks of joining OCH, Ciara started compiling a pantry for patients. Her office has boxes filled with supplies and walls covered in clean clothes, hygiene products, towels, and now, diapers. “I’m so excited! We just got a partnership approved with the Diaper Bank and now we can get diapers and wipes whenever we need them. We haven’t even started getting food in yet.” Ciara and others in the Integrated Care department do whatever it takes to share a little love.

It’s all a learning process, for Integrated Care and the patient. It is a process of bettering lives and strengthening communities. Community events like HOPE Connection and Everyone Counts in Springfield are integral to the mission. “Getting that access is huge. It’s invaluable to provide access to healthcare and information about how to get signed up for the programs people need.”

Sometimes that learning process takes a long time, like in the case of Allison*. Allison started going to a provider at OCH for over a decade. A  few years ago, she incurred a major life event and a variety of severe health issues that left her on disability and Medicaid, unable to care for herself. The medication she was taking was not working which resulted in chronic pain and a distrust of the medical system. When she moved in with friends, she had a limited food supply and limited quality of life. Ciara worked with her to get her food and looked at housing options. Every trip to the grocery store or produce distribution center was a lesson. “Again, you work with what they have. You shop within their budget. You show them nutritious options they can afford.”

After working with multiple agencies and with the help of Ciara, Allison found an apartment. Ciara helped her move out of her friend’s house and into her first “home” in four years. She showed Allison how to cook the food she has. “Sometimes you just need to let them know what they can do. Boil a potato and don’t add too much butter or cream and you have mashed potatoes.” Teaching patients to have the confidence to take care of themselves is one of Ciara’s favorite parts of her job. “[Allison] called me earlier this week saying she worked for hours cooking onions and potatoes and she was running around her apartment like a crazy person with joy.” It’s always a learning process. One day you boil potatoes; the next, you fry them up with some onions. During the interview, Kristen, the Integrated Care manager ran in the room exclaiming, “I found Allison a couch!” It’s the little successes that show the Integrated Care department and Ciara’s dedication to the patients.

Ciara summed it up perfectly when talking about her own children. “I have three rules. One is care about others. Hold the door open for everyone, not just girls. Always be a degree better of yourself than where you are now.” Always treat others the way you want to be treated. You have to share the love.


Qualifications for the Integrated Care program simply include being a patient at Ozarks Community Hospital. To be eligible for the Primary Care Health Home program, the patient must be a current patient, have Medicaid as a primary or secondary insurance and have one (or more) chronic condition(s). If you or someone you know is an OCH patient and in need of assistance, contact Integrated Care. For more information about the Community Health Worker position, email Ciara Day at cday@OCHonline.com.

*Patient names and health information have been changed to protect patient confidentiality.

Winter Health and Safety Tips

With the New Year and winter in full swing, now is a great time to remind yourself of how to stay safe and healthy with the cold conditions. OCH provider Angela Standefer, FNP-C offers some tips to make it through the winter:

  • Get IMMUNIZED! Anyone over the age of six months should get vaccinated against influenza. If you have a history of asthma, COPD or smoking it is recommended you also get your pneumonia and Prevnar vaccines. Talk to your doctor about vaccines for you.
  • Dress for the weather. A key to staying healthy this winter is knowing the forecast. Check the weather before getting dressed for the day to ensure you are prepared. Choose warm clothing. If it is wet, it is a good idea to wear a pair of water resistant shoes, hat and gloves, and a coat to avoid frostbite.
  • Don’t FALL victim to icy terrain. Watch your step when walking on wet and icy surfaces. The risk of falls can be greatly reduced by choosing appropriate footwear and using salt (or another kind of ice melting material) on the ground. Choose shoes that have traction so your feet are equipped.
  • Humidity isn’t always a bad thing. While humidity can wreak havoc on your hair, it can also prevent dry skin and nose bleeds. Use a humidifier in your home to avoid dry air. If you do catch the sniffles, humidifiers help your body stay hydrated.
  • Have an emergency kit in your car. Traveling even short distances can be hazardous in winter weather conditions. It is crucial to be prepared in case this happens. This includes:
    • Make sure your cell phone is charged so you can call for help.
    • Have a first aid kit in case you get hurt on ice.
    • Keep a blanket or extra coat in the car to keep yourself and the kids warm. While keeping the car running might sound like a good idea at the time, your battery could be depleted before help can arrive, causing further problems.
    • Munchies may be obvious for a long car trip, but they are also a good idea to keep in your emergency kit.
    • Kitty litter can give your car traction when stuck in ice or snow. Keep a cheap bag in your trunk to help you escape the conditions.
    • Keep an ice scraper in your car so if you get into unexpected bad weather, you can keep your windows clean for safe travel.

Depending on the conditions, it may take a long time for a tow truck to get to you in severe weather. Being prepared will allow you to survive the frigid conditions.

  • Carry a medication list with you. Include what medicines you are currently taking, medical allergies and emergency phone numbers on a small piece of paper in your wallet so it can be easily located. If you suddenly fall ill having this information will be helpful.
    • iPhone Hack: You can add your medical information to your iPhone that can be accessed without unlocking your phone.
      • To set up your Medical ID, open the “Health” app. Along the bottom menu, click Medical ID (far right). In the top right corner, click Edit and enter your health information. You can include Name, DOB, Medical Conditions, Medical Notes, Allergies & Reactions, Medications, Blood Type, Organ Donation status, Weight, and Height. Before hitting save, make sure to allow Emergency Access.
      • Your Medical ID can be viewed when the phone is locked by tapping Emergency, then Medical ID.
    • Wash your hands. Good hand washing is one of the most important things you can do to avoid colds and the flu. Covering your cough can also help from spreading germs to your family and friends.
    • Space heaters are convenient, but dangerous. While having a space heater may seem like a good alternative to cranking up the heat, they can also cause house fires or burns on both children and adults. Follow manufacturers’ directions. The safest options for space heaters have a safety mechanism in place that will turn the heater off if it falls over or gets too hot.
    • Chimney sweeps aren’t just for Mary Poppins. If you have a chimney, have it checked by a professional each year before use to make sure it is clean and safe.
    • Carbon monoxide isn’t just in car exhaust. If your home or apartment is heated with natural gas, make sure to have a carbon monoxide alarm to alert you if carbon monoxide levels are dangerously high. If it goes off, leave the home to get fresh air and call 911 from a neighbor’s home.
    • Don’t forget the sunscreen! The cold weather can trick us into thinking we are safe from sunburns. However, snow is a great reflector for the sun and you can still get a nasty sunburn in the winter.

Angela Standefer, FNP-C sees patients for family practice and hepatitis in Springfield in the OCH Medical Offices Clinic and in Bolivar at the OCH Polk County Clinic. She collaborates with Jackie Beene, MD and seeks to bring better health to the community.

#TransformationTuesday: OCH upgrades radiology equipment to better serve patients

Ozarks Community Hospital has transformed radiology equipment systemwide to better serve patients and offer increased services. OCH of Gravette in northwest Arkansas, OCH of Springfield and OCH Christian County Clinic in southwest Missouri have added new updated equipment to increase options for physicians, better evaluate patient conditions and provide further health direction.

As a health system, OCH continues to provide the same quality care but with greater capabilities. The OCH mission is to provide a high quality of care to everyone, regardless of insurance coverage. In fact, more than 80% of patients have governmental insurance or are self-pay. The ability to provide high-quality and technologically advanced radiology services will help OCH better serve its patient population and the surrounding communities.

Springfield & Nixa

OCH of Springfield and the OCH Christian County Clinic also received upgrades to their equipment. The OCH of Springfield hospital received a new SOMATOM Perspective 64-Slice Scanner and ACUSON S2000 ultrasound. With these updates, OCH of Springfield hospital now has radiology equipment directly comparable to nearby hospitals. The OCH Christian County Clinic in Nixa upgraded its CT Scanner to a SOMATOM Emotion 16-Slice CT Scanner.

The new equipment at OCH of Springfield provides expanded services including:

  • Coronary Computed Tomography Angiography (CCTA): A heart imaging test that helps determine if plaque buildup has narrowed a patient’s arteries.
  • Low Dose Lung Screening: This screening meets CMS guidelines for a lung cancer screening. These are recommended annually for high risk populations/patients and have shown to contribute to a 20% reduction in mortality.
  • Cardiac Calcium Scoring: This is a quick, painless, noninvasive procedure to accurately determine the degree and severity of hard plaque within the coronary arteries. These are recommended for anyone at risk of coronary artery disease, including healthy males over the age of 40 and females over the age of 45.

 AR before after

Gravette

The new equipment makes OCH of Gravette the only all-digital radiology department in its region. OCH of Gravette received massive upgrades and updates including a new SOMATOM Perspective 64-slice CT Scanner, a Siremobil Combact L (C-ARM), a Multix Select and Multix Fusion x-ray machines, a portable Mobilett Mira x-ray machine, and ACUSON S2000 and ACUSON Freestyle Ultrasound System.

The new equipment offers additional testing capabilities including:

  • Coronary Computed Tomography Angiography (CCTA): A heart imaging test that helps determine if plaque buildup has narrowed a patient’s arteries.
  • Low Dose Lung Screening: This screening meets CMS guidelines for a lung cancer screening. These are recommended annually for high risk populations/patients and have shown to contribute to a 20% reduction in mortality.
  • Cardiac Calcium Scoring: This is a quick, painless, noninvasive procedure to accurately determine the degree and severity of hard plaque within the coronary arteries. These are recommended for anyone at risk of coronary artery disease, including healthy males over the age of 40 and females over the age of 45.
  • QCT Bone Density Test: This is a CT scan with special software used to diagnose or monitor low bone mass. Bone density testing is recommended for anyone at risk of or with evidence of osteoporosis.

In January 2015, the Association for Medical Imaging Management (AHRA) announced that OCH of Gravette was one of six recipients of the AHRA and Toshiba Putting Patients First grant to improve the safety, understanding and comfort of pediatric radiology procedures. This KidSTRONG pediatric safety program at OCH of Gravette is a coinciding compliment to the comprehensive technology upgrades. The radiology department has been completely renovated due to the state of the art radiology equipment, with an emphasis on pediatric-friendly facilities and a comforting experience for families.

“The KidSTRONG pediatric safety and education component paired with the complete overhaul of our radiology department in Gravette increases community resources,” says Ronda Kruetzer, radiology manager at the hospital. “These upgrades have enabled OCH to provide safe, quality and worry-free care for the region’s residents right in their hometown,” says Ronda.

Quick Video Recap: What are Health Insurance Marketplace penalties?

In 2014, most Americans will be required to have health insurance. As a part of this mandated process, the Affordable Care Act has created a new type of online resource for purchasing health insurance coverage. This online resource is called the “Health Insurance Marketplace.”

OCH is a Certified Application Counselor site in Springfield, MO and has counselors located throughout Missouri and in Gravette, Ark. As a healthcare facility, we know there are a lot of questions surrounding the insurance changes scheduled for Fall 2013, and we’re here to help!

In order to provide a resource for our patients and the community OCH is answering frequently asked questions about the Health Insurance Marketplace. For additional info visit http://www.OCHonline.com or email info@ochonline.com.

To start, we’ve created the following video (above) explaining the penalties associated with not signing up for the Marketplace. Stay tuned for additional videos!

Remembering Dr. Billy V. Hall (1926-2012)

Dr. Billy V. Hall of Gravette, Ark. passed away this week. Dr. Hall spearheaded efforts to build a hospital facility in Gravette in 1955, and later built the current 3-story building chartered in 1975. He retired in 2006 from the health system that he created. Ozarks Community Hospital of Gravette continues to serve the surrounding communities today.

Dr. Hall’s impact on healthcare in the Gravette community remains unmatched, and OCH providers & staff wish to express deep gratitude for both his vision and drive to bring quality and compassionate care to the area. Dr. Hall was a teacher, a friend and an inspiration; we will forever remember him with respect and admiration.

Image

Pictures are courtesy of the Gravette News Herald (images published on October 3, 2001).

Image

Image

Ozarks Community Hospital of Gravette will be participating in the 2012 Springdale Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Dr. Hall’s honor on Saturday, September 22. If you or someone you know is interested in joining our team, please contact Morgan in Communications (479-344-6464).  

Visitation for Dr. Hall will be on Saturday, July 14, 2012 at Heritage Baptist Church (307 Fourth Ave SE) from 12 to 2pm. The funeral service will start at 2pm. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate contributions be made to the Gravette Community Foundation or the Alzheimer’s Association of Arkansas/Oklahoma.

Please feel free to share memories, well wishes and other comments in memory of Dr. Bill V. Hall: