Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Cox Branson’s Wound Care team urges caution when it comes to brown recluse spider bites

This picture shows how a person’s skin will appear within a short time following a brown recluse spider bite.

While most brown recluse bites happen in the fall and winter months, Branson Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine clinic’s Ray Marsh, RN, and Linda Clavin, LPN, warn that it is never a good time to let your guard down when it comes to these venomous spiders.

The brown recluse spider, also known as the violin spider, is brown in color with a characteristic dark violin-shaped marking on its head. They are usually found in dry, sheltered areas such as underneath structures logs, or in piles of rocks or leaves. If a brown recluse spider makes its way indoors, they may be found in dark closets, shoes, basements, in a pile of clothing lying in the floor or dark corners.

“They like to hide,” Clavin explained. “That is why they are called recluse.”

Although you may rarely see a brown recluse spider, Clavin said that doesn’t mean that the spiders are not there and people should exercise caution when cleaning out garages, crawl spaces, or rolling out their camping gear for the first time this summer.

“You just really have to be careful when you are getting your tents and other gear out if you’ve had it in storage,” Clavin said. “You never know where one spider could have built a nest.”

The brown recluse spider can only bite humans when some form of counter pressure is applied, such as someone slipping on a pair of hiking boots or crawling into a sleeping bag with a spider inside.

“They’ll bite on the foot, shoulder, arm and thigh, wherever they get pressured or feel threatened,” she said.

Bites may cause a stinging sensation with localized pain and a small white blister usually develops at the site of the bite. Marsh said people don’t always know when they’ve been bitten.

“If they are bitten, depending on how much venom they have, they could have physical signs, nausea, vomiting, muscle spasms, and it may be flu-like symptoms,” Clavin said. “If they notice a red spot, they need to watch it over the next few hours and if it becomes worse, they need to go to urgent care or their doctor. It may start out like a bite and then turn into a fluid-filled blister with redness around it.”

“It slowly kills the skin,” Marsh said. “It just eats the tissue basically.”

One of the telltale signs is when a blue ring forms around the red rash, Marsh explained.

“You need to go before that happens,” Clavin said. “It will just eat down into the skin and that is when Cox Branson’s wound care center comes in. They need to have specialized treatment and not try to take care of it themselves. It will help prevent tissue loss.”

“You just can’t put triple antibiotic ointment on it and think that it’ll heal,” Marsh said.

One thing a person can do if they are not able seek medical treatment immediately is to put baking soda on the bite, which will help neutralize the venom, Clavin said. Ice can help with the swelling.

“Don’t put any type of hydrocortisone or any type of steroid cream on it all,” Marsh said. “It will accelerate it.”

While a bite from a brown recluse is rarely fatal, the venom can kill a large area of flesh and leave permanent scaring. Cox Branson’s Wound Care Clinic and Hyperbaric Medicine can provide specialized care for patients who have been bitten by a venomous spider.

For more information about Cox Branson’s Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine clinic, call 417-335-7792.

Wound care is also available in Springfield at the CoxHealth Hyperbaric Medicine and Wound Care Center. For more information, call 417-269-9950.

This picture shows the damage a brown recluse spider bite can cause.

Monday, July 28, 2014

CoxHealth awarded grant to educate and enroll consumers in the Missouri Health Insurance Marketplace

CoxHealth is one of 18 organizations awarded funding by the Missouri Foundation for Health to continue guiding consumers signing up for health insurance through the Missouri Marketplace.

“The $400,000 grant over 18-months pays for full-time Certified Application Counselors (CACs), the licensing of several additional CoxHealth employees, outreach and education opportunities and necessary equipment,” explains Diane Rozier, Certified Application Counselor Manager, CoxHealth Network.

In addition, the Missouri Foundation for Health’s service area is divided into five regions, with one grantee in each region serving as a hub. CoxHealth was selected to serve as the hub for southwest Missouri.

“As a hub, we’ll bring the other grantee organizations in our region together for training, skill development and best practices,” says Rozier. “We will work as a group to provide the community coordinated enrollment opportunities and ensure counselors are able to best assist with enrollment and respond to questions surrounding the Health Insurance Marketplace.”

During the first enrollment period this year, 152,335 Missourians signed up through health insurance through the Marketplace. The Certified Application Counselors at CoxHealth Network are preparing now for the fall open enrollment, November 15, 2014.

“This grant will expand our efforts to include health and health insurance education,” says Rozier. “We will provide accurate and balanced information on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and its impact on the health system, the community and the individual.”

At the end of August, the CoxHealth Certified Application Counselors will have a new location, in the Kelley Plaza at 3318 S. National, Springfield, MO. For questions regarding fall open enrollment, contact the CACs at CAC@coxhealth.com or 417/269-2945.

CoxHealth class teaches kids about making safe choices when home alone

Your child is home alone and there’s a knock at the door, the phone rings, there’s a storm outside. Do they know how to handle these situations? CoxHealth’s In Charge at Home class is a great way for children ages 9-14 to learn how to make safe choices when home alone.

“You child will learn what to do in an emergency and how to handle other safety issues when you’re not home,” says Denise Vaughan, nurse educator, CoxHealth. “We’ll help parents determine when their children are ready to stay home and how to establish hose rules to keep your family safe.”

One mom, who had both of her children attend the class, said the class raised questions in her kids’ minds that led to deeper discussion at home regarding home-alone safety. “They’ve been taught the basics of safety, but my husband and I thought it would be good to have those lessons reinforced,” she says. “The information is presented clearly, in a way that kids can easily comprehend; the class walks them through some different scenarios to really help the kids understand not only what they should do, but why.”

The next class is August 12, 6-8 p.m. in Foster Auditorium at Cox Medical Center South. The cost is $5 per family and limited scholarships are available. Call 417/269-LADY to register.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Photos: Stuff the Bus 2014 at CoxHealth

James River's Stuff the Bus 2014 is underway Thursday afternoon at Cox South and Cox North!

If you’d like to donate to the project, but haven’t had time to gather supplies and a backpack, a limited supply of pre-packed backpacks will be available for purchase at the bus. The cost is $10 and at this time we can only accept cash.

Donate a backpack filled with needed school supplies at Cox South, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. and Cox North, 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.

• School box
• Crayons (24 count)
• Glue sticks (2)
• Glue bottle
• Scissors
• Pencils
• Eraser
• Spiral notebook
• Pocket folders (3)
• Composition Notebook

The bus will also visit eight Walmart Supercenter locations this weekend -- five in Springfield, as well as Ozark, Nixa and Republic. All events are 8 a.m.-noon.



Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Leaders tour Cox South ER at 'Get Connected' event

CoxHealth welcomed a large group of community and business leaders to the Cox South ER for our second Get Connected event on Tuesday morning.

Leaders heard from CEO Steve Edwards and Dr. Howard Jarvis before taking a tour of the department.

The Get Connected series helps us give community and business leaders an inside view of what's new at CoxHealth and in the health care landscape. You can see a column about the series from Public Affairs Manager Teresa Coyan here on the Connection blog.

The next Get Connected leadership event is scheduled for November at Cox Medical Center Branson.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Series reaches out to local leaders

CoxHealth is stepping up our efforts to reach out to local business leaders with the expansion of our “Get Connected” meeting series.

This series is exactly what it sounds like: an opportunity for CoxHealth to get connected and engage with our community. As the only not-for-profit health system based in Springfield, CoxHealth strives to be a community leader. Part of that effort includes communicating directly with community members and leaders, to keep everyone informed about happenings at CoxHealth and to seek their feedback.

We want to build relationships so leaders understand how CoxHealth serves our community and how we can work with them to improve the health of our region.

We held the first Get Connected meeting for community leaders on Wednesday, April 16, at the Meyer Orthopedic and Rehabilitation Hospital (above). More than 60 leaders joined us to hear president and CEO Steve Edwards discuss the state of health care. Steve discussed both the national picture of health care and the specific struggles and successes we’ve seen here at CoxHealth.

After the meeting, we surveyed participants and had overwhelmingly positive responses. Leaders felt the meeting served an important need to connect, and they shared some topics they want to hear about in the future, including how the Affordable Care Act will affect local institutions.

This month, we are preparing for the second meeting in the series on July 22. At that event, Steve will lead a visit to the Cox South ER and share with our guests how we care for the whole patient at our Level 1 Trauma Center. Also, he will discuss with this group cost savings associated with accessing care appropriately.

The Get Connected leader series will continue on a quarterly basis with content designed to address the issues that are most important to our community leaders. Plans for future events include the unveiling of the new patient tower as well as visits to our other campuses.

The Get Connected leadership series is just another way CoxHealth is working to reach out and show leaders how we are working to be their health care community partner, providing world-class care, with local control.

Engaging with our community
The Get Connected series for community leaders is the latest chapter in an effort by the CoxHealth Network to engage the public on issues related to community health. Health- and wellness-focused public events began in 2012, and in 2013 the series brought “Blue Zones” author Dan Buettner to speak about ways we can build a healthier city.

In the months after Buettner’s visit, the Get Connected: Healthy Community series highlighted each of the nine keys to longevity outlined in “Blue Zones.” CoxHealth also provided resources such as Sample Saturdays (free exercise classes for the community) and corporate challenges for area employers to take an active role in engaging their workforce in health and wellness initiatives. This series has continued to be a popular meeting for leaders to hear from CoxHealth about how their organizations can push for changes at the individual, company, city and regional level.

The Get Connected: Healthy Community series will continue to meet on a quarterly basis to work with local employers on empowering their workforce to live healthy lifestyles.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

U.S. News & World Report lists CoxHealth among Best in Missouri

CoxHealth has been ranked as one of the best hospitals for 2014-15 in three specialty areas and recognized in Southwest Missouri by U.S. News & World Report magazine. The annual U.S. News Best Hospitals rankings, now in its 25th year, recognizes hospitals that excel in treating the most challenging patients.

“This is an amazing honor to be named three years in a row and have three specialty areas named as high performing on this prestigious national rankings list,” says Steve Edwards, CoxHealth President and CEO. “We strive to be in the top ten percent in the nation in quality metrics, and in nearly every venue we are meeting or exceeding this goal. This is a tribute to our physicians and staff who take great pride in caring for the community they love and call home.”

For the third year in a row, CoxHealth is the highest ranked hospital in Springfield. Additionally, CoxHealth has more high performing specialties of any Springfield hospital; Gastroenterology & GI Surgery, Neurology & Neurosurgery and Pulmonology.

In addition, CoxHealth was among the Silver Award honorees. Just 12 percent of the nearly 5,000 hospitals that were analyzed for Best Hospitals 2014-15 earned the Silver Award – High Performing.

“The data tell the story – a hospital that emerged from our analysis as one of the best has much to be proud of,” says U.S. News Health Rankings Editor Avery Comarow. “A Best Hospital has demonstrated its expertise in treating the most challenging patients.”

U.S. News publishes Best Hospitals to help guide patients who need a high level of care because they face particularly difficult surgery, a challenging condition or extra risk because of age or multiple health problems. Objective measures such as patient survival and safety data, adequacy of nurse staffing levels and other data largely determined the rankings in most specialties.

The specialty rankings and data were produced for U.S. News by RTI International, a leading research organization based in Research Triangle Park, N.C. Using the same data, U.S. News produced the state and metro rankings.

The rankings are freely available at http://health.usnews.com/best-hospitals and will appear in the U.S. News “Best Hospitals 2015” guidebook, available in August.

Free educational seminar on getting more from Medicare

Many people find Medicare confusing, and with so many changes to Medicare in recent years it has only gotten more complex and hard to understand. That is why CoxHealth is offering a series of free educational seminars for people with Medicare in the Springfield/Branson area. After attending one of these seminars, you will leave with a clear understanding of all your coverage options and fully prepared to make a smart choice during the upcoming annual election period this fall.

During the one-hour seminar, learn practical strategies on spending less and getting more from Medicare, including:

· Why you may want to consider making a change to your Medicare coverage this fall.
· Pros and Cons of the various Medicare coverage options now available to you.
· Helpful tips on shopping for new Medicare coverage that could save you money and get you more benefits.


Tuesday, August 19
9 a.m. or Noon (chose one session)
Cox Medical Center Branson, Tree Rooms

Wednesday, August 20
9 a.m. or Noon (chose one session)
Meyer Orthopedic and Rehab Hospital, Ozark Room

Thursday, August 21
9 a.m. or Noon (chose one session)
Meyer Orthopedic and Rehab Hospital, Ozark Room

There is no cost to attend. Snacks and refreshments will be served. Space is limited. Reserve your seats by calling 417/269-INFO.

Monday, July 14, 2014

'Stuff the Bus' at Cox North and Cox South on Thursday, July 24

CoxHealth is again participating in the community project known as "Stuff the Bus" to provide backpacks full of school supplies to less fortunate children in the Springfield area. Stuff the Bus at CoxHealth will be held Thursday, July 24, at Cox South from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m., in front of the former ED; and at Cox North from 2-3 p.m., in the Robberson parking lot. Double-click on the image below to see the full list of items needed in each backpack for the drive:

CoxHealth earns 'Top Honor' in Business Class awards

CoxHealth was one of five Springfield area businesses and the only Springfield hospital recognized with a Top Honor in the 3rd annual Business Class Awards presented by the Springfield Business Journal. The awards honor businesses for outstanding financial performance, industry leadership and community involvement. CoxHealth was one of 10 finalists. The five top winners were announced at a luncheon Friday.