FirstHealth Magazine - Fall 2016

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Fall 2016

the magazine from FirstHealth of the Carolinas


Healing and Hospitality

CEO Message

The fine art of caring for people


David J. Kilarski Chief Executive Officer FirstHealth of the Carolinas

s is the case with much that is related to health care, you may not be familiar with the Clara McLean House unless you’ve experienced its services. For lack of a better term, it’s a hospitality house, a place where patients undergoing extended treatment at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital or the families of patients in the hospital or FirstHealth Hospice & Palliative Care can go for rest and “downtime.” The spacious, lovely house sits almost Tara-like on a hill across the street from the hospital and, except for its proximity to the hospital and neighboring medical offices and outpatient facilities, it might be – and occasionally has been – mistaken for a beautiful personal residence. Since it opened in the spring of 2012, the facility – more familiarly known as Clara’s House – has welcomed hundreds of people from throughout the United States and several foreign countries. In comfortable accommodations that include a kitchen, library and playroom in addition to several bed/bath suites, they have found respite from the rigors of treatment or the sometimes oppressive clinical environment of medicine. They are considered guests and, thanks to the continuing support of our generous community and The Foundation of FirstHealth, they contribute financially toward their “room and board” as they are able. In its own way, Clara’s House is a form of health care, a special form that is rare in medicine, even unique among organizations the size of FirstHealth. While Moore Regional and our Hospice House attend to the body’s physical needs, Clara’s House meets the equally important emotional needs of the heart and the soul. In so doing, this special place becomes a perfect illustration of whole-body medicine, epitomizing the “high-touch” that is as essential to healing as the “hightech” of medications and medical technology. In this issue of FirstHealth magazine, you will learn about several families who have come to FirstHealth seeking help with various critical medical issues. They have found nationally ranked medical care as recognized by U.S. News & World Report, Truven Health Analytics, Becker’s Hospital Review, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and North Carolina Blue Cross and Blue Shield among others. With the comfort and accessibility of the Clara McLean House and the alwaysgracious welcome of its warm and caring staff, families have also found that “to care for people,” as articulated in FirstHealth’s mission, is not just a four-word phrase, but is at the heart of our work – authentic and real and compassionate.

(800) 213-3284 • 1

Fall 2016

the magazine from FirstHealth of the Carolinas

155 Memorial Drive P.O. Box 3000 Pinehurst, NC 28374 FirstHealth is published by the Communications Department of FirstHealth of the Carolinas in conjunction with StayWell


Brenda Bouser

Contributing Writers

Brenda Bouser, Ellen Cooper

Contributing Photographers Eric Baker, Don McKenzie

Departments 1

CEO’s message


New Providers

Mr. Hew Fulton, Chair Mrs. Carolyn D. Helms, Vice Chair Mr. Sherwood Blackwood, Corporate Secretary Mr. Robert E. Tweed, Treasurer Mr. Jimmy Preslar Van “Beaux” Slaughter, M.D. William L. Stewart, M.D. Mr. Gary VonCannon Raymond Washington, M.D. Mrs. Rusti Welch

Corporate Officers Chief Executive Officer, FirstHealth of the Carolinas President, FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital. . . . . . Mr. David J. Kilarski Chief Financial Officer, FirstHealth of the Carolinas. Chief Medical Officer FirstHealth of the Carolinas .

. . Mrs.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . John


F. Krahnert Jr., M.D.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mr.

Daniel F. Biediger

Chief Operating Officer FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital. . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mr. Brian T. Canfield Vice President, Finance & Support Services FirstHealth of the Carolinas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Chief Information Officer FirstHealth of the Carolinas .

. . . . . . . . Mr.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mr.

Vice President, Strategy & Innovation FirstHealth of the Carolinas . . . . . . . . .


A Tale of Two Babies Clarke NICU


The Big White House on the Hill


A Welcoming Place for Weight-Loss Support

Jeffrey A. Casey David B. Dillehunt

. . . . . . . . . . . . . Mrs.

Amy Graham

President, FirstHealth Richmond Memorial Hospital . Mr. John J. Jackson Vice President, Quality FirstHealth of the Carolinas .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mrs.

Cindy McNeill-McDonald, R.N.

Chief Nursing Officer FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital. . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mrs. Karen Robeano, DNP, R.N. President, Foundation of FirstHealth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mrs. Kathleen Stockham President, FirstHealth Montgomery Memorial Hospital. . Mrs. Beth Walker, R.N. The not-for-profit FirstHealth of the Carolinas is headquartered in Pinehurst, North Carolina, and comprises Moore Regional Hospital, Montgomery Memorial Hospital, Richmond Memorial Hospital, Moore Regional Hospital-Hoke Campus, The Foundation of FirstHealth, FirstCarolinaCare Insurance Company, and the FirstHealth Physician Group. Comments on FirstHealth magazine or changes of address should be directed to or to (910) 715-4278.

StayWell 407 Norwalk St. Greensboro, NC 27407 (336) 547-8970 President . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bill Moore Creative Director. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jan McLean Managing Editor. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Terri Poindexter Smith Production Director. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Traci Marsh © Copyright 2016 by StayWell, an operating company of StayWell/MediMedia USA, and FirstHealth of the Carolinas, Inc. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission from StayWell. Articles in this publication are written by professional journalists who strive to present reliable, up-to-date health information. However, personal decisions regarding health, finance, exercise and other matters should be made only after consultation with the reader’s physician or professional adviser. All editorial rights reserved. Opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of StayWell or FirstHealth of the Carolinas. Models are used for illustrative purposes only.

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On the cover: This issue of FirstHealth magazine takes its inspiration from “Summer in the Sandhills,” the Jeffrey Hanson painting donated to The Foundation of FirstHealth for a recent fundraiser for FirstHealth’s Cancer CARE Fund and Clara McLean House. That fundraiser and other events are featured in this magazine, which focuses on patients and families who have experienced the hospitality of the Clara McLean House during the medical treatment process.

When “Generosity Begets Generosity”

President, Moore Regional Hospital-Hoke Campus. . Mrs. Susan K. Beaty, R.N. Vice President, Human Resources FirstHealth of the Carolinas . . . . . .


Lynn S. DeJaco

President, FirstHealth Physician Group . . . . . . . . . . . . Daniel R. Barnes, D.O.

Healing and Hospitality

20 Letters

Board of Directors FirstHealth of the Carolinas

David M. Cowherd, M.D. John N. Ellis, M.D. Mr. David J. Kilarski Mr. Julian W. King Ms. Tracy A. Leinbach Mr. Brian McMurray


10 Good Fun for Good Causes! 12 From Reid Heart to Clara’s House 14 Proven outcomes and a Great Place to Stay 16 Clara’s House Brightens Christmas For more information on any of the programs or services offered by FirstHealth of the Carolinas, please call (800) 213-3284 or visit

The Clara McLean House at FirstHealth, Pinehurst, North Carolina

When “generosity begets generosity” Artist Jeffrey Hanson is just 23 years old, but he learned long ago that “generosity begets generosity.” Although visually impaired, Hanson – with the help of his parents, Hal and Julie – discovered a rare talent for painting and turned it into a successful business and philanthropic endeavor that has supported numerous cancer-related Summer in the Sandhills, charities throughout the country while inspiring others to do the same. by Jeffrey Hanson Community generosity laid the foundation for FirstHealth’s Clara McLean House and Cancer CARE Fund, programs whose continued operation depends upon the support of that generous community. Earlier this year, the Hansons shared their story of generosityinspired generosity with The Foundation of FirstHealth, which followed up with an “I’ll See You in September” fundraiser for the two FirstHealth You, too, can help support programs. A few weeks earlier, The Foundation hosted the 1 in 8K the work of the Clara McLean Moore for the Cure, with proceeds supporting the Cancer CARE Fund, House and the Cancer CARE Fund. mammography scholarships for the Moore Free & Charitable Care Clinic For more information, visit and the Susan G. Komen Foundation. A Hanson piece donated for the “I’ll See You in September” event, helped raise more than $55,000 for Clara’s House and the Cancer CARE call (910) 695-7500 or refer to the Fund. The 1 in 8K raised another $20,000–plus. Images from both events envelope insert in this magazine. can be found on pages 10 and 11 of this magazine, and one of Jeffrey Hanson’s paintings is reproduced for its cover.

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A tale of two babies


hen Judi Russell was discharged from FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital after an 18-day stay that included the Caesarean section delivery of her too-early twins, her husband convinced her to leave the babies in the capable hands of the hospital’s Clarke Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) staff and go home to Hamlet for the night. What seemed like a good idea at the time didn’t take into account the new mother’s bond with her two tiny preemies, though. “I think I called the hospital six times,” she says. The next night and for several days following, Judi and Dustin Russell slept at the Clara McLean House after spending their days in the Clarke NICU with son Jace and his two-minutes-younger sister, Ella.

referred many people to the welcoming accommodations of Clara’s House, but had never been there herself. However, when it became apparent that the Twins Brynn and Sean Agrali (NICU Class facility would offer of 2012) met Batman and Spiderman a great alternative to during the NICU Reunion. Their mom, Amy, stayed in the Clara McLean House the prospect of a daily during the twin’s three-week NICU Hamlet-to-Pinehurst hospitalization. A video about the Agrali round trip, she knew family’s Clara’s House experience can be found at exactly what to do. “I asked a nurse to get the paperwork and call (the house) for me, and she did,” she says.

"The Clara McLean House is a valuable tool in the management of our youngest patients, allowing families to remain on campus and obtain the support they need while providing support for their babies. We are making an increased number of referrals recently due to the widening of our service area, with more patients from Fayetteville, Asheboro and the surrounding counties." –Nicholas Lynn, M.D., Medical Director, Clarke Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

They basically followed the same daily schedule: Get up in the morning and have breakfast, often with freshly baked goodies provided by the Clara’s House staff or volunteers; spend the day in the NICU with the babies; grab a take-out meal for a quick dinner at Clara’s House; and go back to the NICU for several hours before returning to Clara’s House for the night. Sleep came easily. “I had enough peace of mind,” Judi says. “I knew I could get to the hospital quickly.” An Army veteran who now owns his own automotive and diesel repair service, Dustin Russell was born in Michigan but moved to Hamlet when he was in the ninth grade. Judi was born and raised in Rockingham. As a registered nurse at Moore Regional Hospital for six years, five in the Intensive Care Unit and the past year in the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit, she had

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For a week in late June and early July, the facility that Judi now describes as “gorgeous” became a home away from home for her and her husband. Because of the time they spent at the hospital, they didn’t have the opportunity – as do many others – to get to know other Clara’s house guests, but everyone seemed to know who they were. “Are you the ones who just had twins?” became a frequent greeting for Judi. Although the babies arrived six weeks early and tiny, both are now fine and, despite a bit of gastric reflux, have steadily gained weight. At 9 pounds, Ella had more than doubled her 3 pound-14 ounce birth weight by mid-September, and Jace was up to a hefty 13 pounds from his original 5 pounds 13 ounces. Except for their mom’s first day back at work after a 12-week maternity leave, all has gone very well. “I cried all day,” says Judi.

Clarke NICU When a baby needs special care, the Level III Clarke Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital is available to treat premature and sick newborns. Staffed by specially trained nurses and physicians, the 13-bed NICU is family-centered to ensure Elizabeth C. Turney, M.D. that infants requiring more than routine Sarah Williams (NICU Class of nursery care can still have 2009) with her dad, Phillip their families close by. This summer, Elizabeth C. Turney, M.D., joined medical director Nicholas Lynn, M.D., as neonatology specialists in the NICU Nicholas Lynn, M.D. program. A 2003 graduate of Wake Forest University with a B.A. in chemistry and German, Dr. Turney earned her medical degree from the University of Utah School of Medicine in Salt Lake City in 2010. She did her Maternity Services internship and residency in pediatrics at FirstHealth Moore at the University of North Carolina Regional Hospital has been designated a Blue Hospitals, where she completed a fellowship in neonatal-perinatal medicine Distinction Center+ by earlier this year. North Carolina Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

Maternal-Fetal Medicine Neonatologist Nicholas Lynn, M.D., with Rowan Cox and his mom, McLean

Ella and Jace Russell couldn’t attend FirstHealth’s annual reunion of Clarke Neonatal Intensive Care Unit “graduates” on Sept. 25 at the Fair Barn in Pinehurst, but lots of others did. More than 350 children, moms, dads, brothers, sisters, grandparents and others joined members of the NICU caregiving team for a fun-filled afternoon of fellowship that included visits from “Superheroes” Batman, Wonder Woman and Spiderman.

FirstHealth UNC Maternal-Fetal Medicine is located in the FirstHealth Specialty Centers Building at 35 Memorial Drive in Pinehurst. The program offers obstetrical care for women whose pregnancies are considered high risk because of such complications as maternal disease, including diabetes and hypertension, or problems with the fetus, such as congenital abnormalities. Julie M. Johnson, M.D. Medical director Julie M. Johnson, M.D., earned her medical degree from the Wake Forest University School of Medicine. She completed a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Palmetto-Richland Memorial Hospital/University of South Carolina School of Medicine and a fellowship in maternal-fetal medicine at Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island/the Warren Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University. She is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology.

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The “big white house” on the hill


Th Cl

option – the Clara McLean House, Lindsey’s first thought was of an airport lounge, a place with coffee and water, a couple of semicomfortable chairs and little else. “I’m thinking waiting room,” she recalls. What mother and daughter found instead was “the big white house” on the hill across the street from the hospital. They had assumed it was someone’s home. “It’s going to be your home,” they were told. Judy Lineberger eventually decided that she wanted to sleep in her own bed, in her own home near her husband who is also in fragile health. Since she and her daughter would be making the daily 45- to 50-minute (depending on traffic) drive from Hamlet to Pinehurst, they would need a place to unwind between treatments, though. They found that Clara’s House was still an option. “Every Monday, we loaded our stuff in ‘our Since a cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming to patients and families, room,’” Kim says. “It was ‘our house’ and ‘our FirstHealth of the Carolinas provides a multidisciplinary team that assists room.’ This is where we ‘lived’ for three weeks – the patients through the treatment process and introduces them to a wide difference it made in our lives, not to be looking for variety of available cancer services. somewhere to go.” • Patient navigators Lynn Lanier, R.N., and Bobbi Clark, R.N., guide According to Kim, her mother got through and support newly diagnosed cancer patients and their families as the initial three weeks of radiation, plus another they access cancer care. They also coordinate and streamline care couple of days of another week, “fabulously.” She while identifying local resources and appropriate support as needed. tolerated a round of chemotherapy at the FirstHealth • Licensed Clinical Social Worker Beth Dietrich, LCSW, is available to Outpatient Cancer Center well, too. assess each patient and family situation and recommend effective “But to be able to take her out of that hospital ways of coping and adjusting during or after treatment. atmosphere for a good part of the day, just • An oncology-dedicated nutritionist who understands the common moving out of that environment, just made her challenges related to cancer treatment and recovery, Gayla Comer, do better,” says Kim. R.D., makes dietary recommendations for patients who are Judy Lineberger will eventually need a twoundergoing treatment. week series of prophylactic radiation to the brain, a • A recent addition to this team is financial navigator Tenasha Goins, common area for lung cancer to metastasize. When a health care professional with a background in case management that time comes, she and her daughter will resume and social work, who helps patients and families work through the the daily Hamlet-to-Pinehurst commute – or maybe often-overwhelming financial concerns of cancer care. decide to spend their nights at Clara’s House. Whatever the case, “they’ve invited us back with “Our navigation team serves as a ‘GPS’ for our cancer patients,” says open arms,” Kim says. Matt Sherer, administrative director of FirstHealth Cancer Services. “They are available when our patients don’t know where to turn.” hen Judy Lineberger learned she had lung cancer, her radiation oncologist advised hitting her small cell carcinoma hard and fast. That would mean squeezing the usual six weeks of radiation into three weeks of two daily treatments delivered seven hours apart. “Can you work this out?” he asked. Kim Lindsey, Lineberger’s daughter and only child, didn’t hesitate. “If it’s best for my mother, we’ll work it out,” she replied. As Kim recalls, she and her mother had two options for making the situation workable: They could make the daily drive from their home in Hamlet, or they could find hotel/ motel accommodations close to FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital. When a FirstHealth social worker offered a third

The cancer support team

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, u o y k han House s ’ a r la Dear Clara McLean House, Myself, family, Pleasant Hill A.M.E. Zion Church and St. John Missionary Baptist Church collectively would like to thank each and every one of you for your love, caring and help through this difficult time. Your patience and assistance was and is most appreciated. We thank you for being there and giving support to the extended family in our time of need. It takes special people to be used in this capacity, so we say again “thank you.” In this small way, we would like to extend our appreciation that’s coming from our hearts filled with love. Words can’t express how our hearts feel, but please keep on keeping on and know that you all touched many lives in so many ways. Love, Tyechia Tillman

Tyechia Tillman (at center) delivered Cancer has given Tyechia a pantry-stocking donation of Tillman a very hard time. household staples and packaged In 2014, when Tillman was just snack foods to the Clara McLean House in gratitude for the hospitality 21, she was diagnosed with ovarian shown her and her family following cancer. Now 23, she experienced a her cancer diagnosis. The donations recurrence earlier this year. She was came from pantry drives conducted in Tillman’s name by Pleasant Hill three months pregnant at the time. A.M.E. Zion Church in Rockingham Despite surgery in January and and St. John Missionary Baptist Church in Derby. chemotherapy from March until May, she gave birth to a healthy baby girl on July 14. With the care of FirstHealth’s Michael Sundborg, M.D., the region’s only gynecological oncologist, Tillman is doing well. With the availability of the Clara McLean House, she and her family had a comfortable place of respite during her treatment. The Tillmans were so grateful that they arranged a giving opportunity through two area churches to provide household staples for the Clara’s House pantry. According to house manager Patricia Wallace, the donation of paper towels, dishwashing soap, toilet paper, hand soap, wipes, aluminum foil and other goods, as well as a quantity of individually packaged snacks, was the largest single pantry donation the house has ever received.

Clara McLean House director Rebecca Ainslie (at far left) was so impressed with the Sour Cream Pound Cake that guest Kim Lindsey shared during her mother’s stay at the Clara McLean House that she all but pleaded for the recipe. Lindsey agreed, and Ainslie (shown with Clara’s House manager Patricia Wallace; Pam Hudson, of Foundation Stewardship; and Laura Kuzma, Foundation volunteer coordinator) has since made her own version of the “really delicious” cake. Because Lindsey says her award-winning recipe isn’t for beginners, she graciously agreed to share it and the recipe for another cake that is “almost as good” with readers of FirstHealth magazine. Go to for both recipes.

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A welcoming place for weight-loss support

Katharine Vess appreciates the hospitality of the Shadowlawn Room at the Clara McLean House, the location for various activities related to FirstHealth’s surgical weight-loss program.


hree years ago, Katharine Vess walked into the Shadowlawn Room at the Clara McLean House hoping for answers to her questions about surgical options for the chronic weight issues that had plagued her since adolescence. She found them in an information session, one of two held at Clara’s House each month, on FirstHealth’s Surgical Weight-Loss Program. Bariatric surgeon Raymond Washington, M.D., who alternates leading the sessions with fellow surgeon David Grantham, M.D., confirmed what Vess’s own Motivational speaker Bob Davies, author of “The 1.2% Factor,” brought his research had led her to believe—that sleeve gastrectomy message of change and accountability to the third annual “Celebrate Your Success” reunion. would be the best approach for her. During the evening, Vess also met several members weight-loss tool kit. She would also need help with diet of the surgical weight-loss team. Others, she would and exercise compliance and the support of family, encounter later. Patient navigator Melissa Herman, R.D., friends and other surgical weight-loss patients to meet LDN; nurse education liaison Christi Embler, R.N.; and her goals. behavioral health coach Alexis Elliott, LCSW, would She found new friends and shared experiences become valuable resources in a successful weight-loss in two monthly support groups – one open only to journey that began with that first information session. patients who have come through the FirstHealth “I found it very helpful,” says Vess, a FirstHealth program and the other open to anyone with a surgicalIS employee assigned to the team implementing the weight loss background. organization’s move to new information systems “I’m a very independent person and I like to do technology. things for myself,” Vess says. “I was astonished at how Like others who attend information sessions, Vess helpful it was to sit in a room and talk with people who learned that surgery is only one tool in the surgical

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Welcome to Clara’s House To date, not a single weight-loss surgery patient or family member has needed an overnight stay in the Clara McLean House. Like cancer, heart, orthopaedic and other patients, they would certainly be welcome, however. If you think you may need the caring and affordable accommodations of Clara’s House, ask your physician for a referral, speak to a nurse or social worker involved with your or your loved one’s care, or directly contact a member of the Clara’s House staff by calling (910) 715-4220. To learn more about the facility and its many services, visit The Clara McLean House is conveniently located at 20 FirstVillage Drive in Pinehurst, just across Memorial Drive from the main entrance to FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital.

had gone through exactly the same thing I was going through and to hear their experiences.” In September 2014, Vess attended her first “Celebrate Your Success” reunion for surgical weight-loss patients. It, too, was held in the Clara McLean House’s Shadowlawn Room, where Vess also attended the 2015 and 2016 celebrations. She sees the evening as more than a party, since both bariatric surgeons attend along with the rest of the surgical weight-loss team. A guest speaker focuses on a related topic, and a guest chef provides a cooking demonstration featuring bariatric-friendly foods and serves a bariatricfriendly meal. Vess has found the camaraderie of the support groups (now held in the Renaissance Room at nearby Pinehurst Surgical), the weight-loss celebration and the three special friends she’s made through them as key to her weight-loss success. “Any time I’ve gotten off track, I’ve had this incredible group of people that will be with me 100 percent and help me,” she says. ““Having friends to hang out with who understand and encourage you and don’t try to pull you off track is just incredible.”

Taking a team approach Lynn and Rich Wainwright have been a team for a long time so it was only natural that they would approach her surgical weight-loss experience with the same outlook. When his wife of 31 years decided to consider surgery as an alternative to the weight issues that she had experienced since the birth of their children, Rich accompanied her to a weight-loss information session at FirstHealth’s Clara McLean House. “Having him with me and listening to the information was good for him as a support person,” says Lynn, a registered nurse with FirstHealth UNC Maternal-Fetal Medicine. “They need to know as much about the surgery as the patient, because the program is intense, especially the first month following Rich Wainwright has accompanied his surgery. I feel that having an informed wife, Lynn, to every information session support person is vital to the success of and support group meeting she has attended since the beginning of her the weight-loss process.” surgical weight-loss journey. When Lynn attended her first “Celebrate Your After her October 2015 surgery, Success” reunion of surgical weightLynn started attending weight-loss loss patients at the Clara McLean support group meetings and Rich went, House (as shown in this photo), Rich too. He also accompanied her to her was with her again. first “Celebrate Your Success” weightloss surgery reunion in September of this year. “He attends all meetings and doctors’ visits,” Lynn says. “He goes to everything with me. It really has been a team effort, and I couldn’t have done it without him and my family support.” According to Lynn, the availability of the Clara McLean House adds to the supportive environment. “It’s so welcoming and comfortable there,” she says.

Weight-loss surgery information and support • Weight-Loss Surgery Information Sessions are held at 6 p.m. the first Thursday and third Tuesday of each month in the Shadowlawn Room of the Clara McLean House • Bariatric Support Groups meet the second Thursday of each month, from 7 to 8 p.m., and the fourth Monday of each month, from 6 to 7 p.m., in the Renaissance Room of Pinehurst Surgical. The Thursday meeting is a closed group for FirstHealth patients only while the Monday group is open to the public. There is no charge for either. For more information on FirstHealth’s Surgical Weight-Loss Program, visit

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Good Fun for Golf icon Donald Ross, actually his 21st century alter ego Rod Harter, showed up for one event. A gifted young artist observing his 23rd birthday was guest of honor for the other. Although the Sept. 10 1 in 8K Moore for the Cure and the Sept. 30 “I’ll See You in September” fundraisers kept the staff of The Foundation of FirstHealth and dozens of volunteers busy throughout the month, the worthy causes at the heart of each made everything worthwhile. In the Village of Pinehurst, a dapper Ross/Harter strolled among race participants and onlookers clad in T-shirts of signature breast cancer pink for the 1 in 8K that raised money for The Foundation of FirstHealth’s Cancer CARE Fund, the Moore Free & Charitable Care Clinic and the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Two weeks later, Clara McLean House and Cancer CARE Fund supporters filled the Grand Ballroom of Pinehurst’s Carolina Hotel for an inspirational presentation by the Hanson family and the lessons they learned about dealing with adversity, generosity and philanthropy. The images on these pages illustrate the good will and fellowship of both events.

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Good Causes!

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From Reid Heart to Clara’s House: care for matters of the heart

Cheryl Spears refused to leave her husband of 31 years when Pat Spears entered FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital for heart surgery. The hospitality of the Clara McLean House allowed her to be close by.


umberland County resident “I love FirstHealth. he was admitted to the hospital two Pat Spears had always been Clara’s House was more weeks later. relatively healthy – until “We live about an hour away,” she 2011, that is. than I ever thought it says. “The bottom line is that I was not That’s when his primary care going to leave him as long as he was physician found something in his heart would be. It was more hospitalized.” she didn’t like and began to monitor than comforting – it Because the couple lives in him. That continued for four years – Fayetteville, a Reid Heart Center nurse was my home away until Spears’ physician told him it was suggested that Cheryl Spears stay at the from home.” time to have his heart looked at and Clara McLean House, the FirstHealth referred him to the FirstHealth Valve —Cheryl Spears hospitality house that became her Clinic at Reid Heart Center. “home away from home” during Pat’s The problem was with Spears’ aortic more than a week of hospitalization. valve, which needed to be replaced. There, she says, the staff went above and beyond to assist Because the valve had hardened and was 70 percent her, even arranging for transportation to and from the blocked, there was no time to waste. heart center on the opposite side of the hospital campus. “They said they would need to act as quickly as “While I was worried about him, I didn’t have to possible,” Spears says. worry about much more, because I was so well taken Cheryl, Spears’ wife of 31 years, was with him when care of by the nursing staff and the Clara’s House staff

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A visible sign of philanthropy

The Clara McLean House weaves hospitality into the continuum of care and recovery provided by FirstHealth of the Carolinas. Designed with Southern hospitality in mind, Clara’s House focuses on the needs of families and caregivers with loved ones in FirstHealth Moore Regional

A recent addition to the campus of FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital – the new exterior sign on the Reid Heart Center – serves as a visible reminder of the nearly nine decades of community philanthropy supporting FirstHealth of the Carolinas. It also reflects the generosity of Betty and the late Walter Reid. The FirstHealth family observed the installation of the large sign, a first for a FirstHealth building in Pinehurst, on June 30, which would have been Walter Reid’s 102nd birthday. The Reids’ contributions provided not only the financial means to build the state-of-the-art heart center but also the foresight to implement and expand several other FirstHealth programs including Physician Enrichment, the Physician Leadership Academy, the Office of Provider Wellbeing, Nursing Enrichment and Clinical Trials.

Hospital or FirstHealth Hospice or of outpatients undergoing treatment.

and volunteers,” says Cheryl. “They continuously asked me if there was anything they could do for me.” As for Pat, he has nothing but praise for his surgical team – interventional cardiologist Steven Filby, M.D., and cardiothoracic surgeon Peter Ellman, M.D. – and for all of his FirstHealth care. “They (Drs. Filby and Ellman) are the best team there is,” he says. “I can’t even put into words how excellent, professional and compassionate everyone at FirstHealth – from Reid Heart to the Clara McLean House – was and still is.” To read more about Pat and Cheryl Spears’ health care journey, visit

New cardiologist joins FirstHealth John H. Brooks, M.D., has joined the FirstHealth team of heart specialists as a cardiologist, primarily serving the Hoke County community. A native of Robeson County, Dr. John H. Brooks, M.D. Brooks graduated from West Robeson High School and earned a B.S. degree in chemistry from Davidson College and later a B.S. degree in pharmacy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After working as a registered pharmacist for several years, he entered the East Carolina University School of Medicine, where he earned his M.D. in 2002. After completing his internship and residency in internal medicine at Charleston’s Medical University of South Carolina, he completed a fellowship from the Division of Cardiology at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University. Dr. Brooks is board certified in both cardiovascular disease and internal medicine.

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Proven outcomes and a great place to stay


A friend-tested and The Rev. Alan Arnold got his first introduction to the Clara McLean House in January 2015, when he visited a member of his church who was staying there following knee replacement surgery. He became even more familiar with the facility when the same parishioner had her other knee replaced David Casey, M.D. almost exactly one year later. By the time he had his own knee replacement surgery on April 7 of this year, he knew the Clara’s House routine pretty well and he’s grateful to Catherine Evans and her husband, Malloy, for the introduction. “I did not know about the Clara McLean House and would have had no way of knowing, but I visited Catherine when she was there following surgery,” Arnold says. “She was a really good resource as to what to expect.” A resident of Cheraw, South Carolina, where he is pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Arnold says he came to Pinehurst and FirstHealth Moore Regional because of the reputation of the hospital and orthopaedic surgeon, David Casey, M.D. The availability of the McLean hospitality house offered a welcome alternative to the hour-plus drive from Cheraw. “I’m just very appreciative of that resource,” he says. Between them, Arnold and his wife, Penny, spent 17 days as Clara’s House guests – she alone for the two nights of his hospitalization

teven Burney’s insurance company checked around to find an orthopaedic surgeon with proven outcomes in a successful joint replacement program before sending him to Jason Guevara, M.D., and FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital. There’s nothing terribly unusual about that, except for the fact that Burney lives in Summerville, South Carolina, just outside of Charleston. Jason Guevara, M.D. While the more than three-hour drive presented logistical problems for Burney and his wife, Mary Ann, FirstHealth’s Clara McLean House provided a solution. The Burneys stayed in the facility together the night before his March 8, 2016, surgery, and she stayed there alone during his hospitalization. They were so grateful that, when they returned to Pinehurst in July for his surgical follow-up, they came bearing gifts – coffee, dried foods, paper towels and the like – for the Clara’s House pantry. Before his surgery, Burney and his wife had been told about the facility’s convenience to the hospital and had heard “good reviews” from people who had stayed there, but they weren’t fully prepared for the comfort of the accommodations and the hospitality of the staff. “The people there were just so nice,” Burney says. “The rooms were just excellent. We really enjoyed it.” The Burneys also appreciated the fact that they were invited to help themselves to the food in one of the kitchen’s two large refrigerators. “We had some cheese cake there, and it was really good,” Burney says. “We were welcome to anything in the refrigerator, and that was a late-night snack.” Burney describes Clara’s House as “very nice, a pretty place,” and says his wife “really loved the place, too.”

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much-appreciated resource and the two of them throughout his two weeks of physical therapy in the nearby Moore Rehab program at FirstHealth Fitness-Pinehurst. “I really appreciated the fact that I was a couple of minutes from the physical therapy office in Pinehurst,” he says. “The therapists there were excellent, very knowledgeable and very accommodating.” Arnold calls Clara’s House a “good place to recuperate,” not only because of its proximity to Moore Regional but also because of its many amenities. “All of the common space is very gracious and comfortable,” he says, “and we especially appreciated the

kitchen, which is very spacious and well-equipped. My wife did a lot cooking so we felt right at home.” Arnold’s favorite spot was the sunroom, where he could prop up his leg and enjoy the view of the Healing Garden just outside. The home-like atmosphere provided by Clara’s House volunteers was an added pleasure. “One evening, especially, there was a group of high school students all of whom are considering Since returning to his South Carolina home vocations in health care fields,” he recalls. “They after a 17-day stay at the Clara McLean got together and prepared a meal in the kitchen House, the Rev. Alan Arnold has continued and served it to all of the guests. They were just his recovery with physical therapy at FirstHealth Richmond Memorial Hospital delightful, fresh and very hopeful and bright. It was in Rockingham. His care team includes (as just very, very delightful.” pictured) physical therapy assistant Michelle Spencer. Despite his role as a pastor, Arnold was happy to leave pastoral work to others for a time while he and his wife just enjoyed being “guests.” “It was good to visit with the other guests,” he says. “Most of the people were coming in for various rigorous treatments and would have family members with them. It was so good to talk with them and hear how appreciative they were of the McLean House, as well.” Everyone seemed to consider the facility a very special place. “I felt that staying at the McLean House was like staying at a deluxe lodge,” Arnold says. “It was as close to being on vacation as knee replacement could possibly be.”

FirstHealth Orthopaedics

FirstHealth offers a full spectrum of orthopaedic care that includes diagnostics, surgical services, an orthopaedic nursing unit, physical therapy, home care, pain management and a medically supervised fitness center. With one of the highest success rates in the country, FirstHealth’s joint replacement program has been recognized by Business North Carolina magazine and U.S. News & World Report and has been designated as a Blue Distinction Center+ for knee and hip replacement surgeries by North Carolina Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

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Clara’s House brightens Christmas for far-from-home patient

Melissa Moore and her family were delighted to find that the Clara McLean House was beautifully decorated for the holidays, much as it appears in this image, when they arrived in Pinehurst for her brain surgery in late December 2012.


elissa Moore didn’t care for the “live with it” response she got about her arachnoid cyst diagnosis even though it had come from a neurosurgeon at one of North Carolina’s most prestigious medical centers. Instead, she began researching possible treatment options for her condition and found hope with a neurosurgeon at FirstHealth Neurosurgery. Moore traveled to Pinehurst from her home in Marion, in western North Carolina’s McDowell County; spent time with the FirstHealth neurosurgeon that her search had identified; and left the appointment convinced that the surgical treatment the now-retired physician suggested was the right way to go. She had the surgery, to place a fluid-draining shunt, the day after Christmas 2012. Given the more than three-hour drive from Marion to Pinehurst, Moore and her family had inquired about accommodations near the hospital and were told about the Clara McLean House.

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“It was so incredible to find out about the house,” Moore says. “We thought it would be like a motel or something, but when we got there, WOW!” Having the convenience of FirstHealth’s hospitality house “took the pressure off” Moore; her mother, Barbara Tillison of Wilmington; and her husband and sister. And being in the house, which was decorated for the holidays, took some of the sting out of being away from home during the Christmas season. “The people, the whole staff felt so bad for us, because it was Christmas,” Tillison says, “but the house was beautiful. It was like being on vacation. We’d come back after a day at the hospital, and the staff would have dinner fixed for us. You don’t have to worry about anything.” In addition to taking advantage of the hospital shuttle that ferried her family from the house to the hospital and back, Tillison also felt comfortable about leaving her then-16-year-old younger daughter at Clara’s House without her. With the house’s computers, Wi-Fi, televisions and library, she would have plenty to keep her occupied in a place where her mother knew she would be safe.

Neurosurgeons bring experience, expertise to FirstHealth program

A generous community sustains the services, patient support and advocacy of the Clara McLean House by way of contributions to The Foundation of FirstHealth.

“I didn’t have to worry about her,” Tillison says. “That was a big help.” Both Moore and Tillison have stayed at Clara’s House several times since, returning for checkups Cynthia Z. Africk, M.D. and, in February of this year, for another procedure – this one performed by FirstHealth Neurosurgery’s Dennis Campbell, M.D. They always feel welcome and at home. “We absolutely love it there,” says Moore, “and we like the hospital a lot.” Tillison, who has posted a picture of the house on Dennis Campbell, M.D. her Facebook page, agrees, describing the facility and its staff as “amazing, absolutely amazing.” “It’s not like you’re alone,” she says. “There are people there who are going through similar situations, but there also are rooms where you can go and be alone.”

Patients can seek assistance at FirstHealth Neurosurgery with the assurance that they will be cared for by specialists with a total of 47 years of combined experience to their credit. The latest addition to the FirstHealth Neurosurgery team is Michael D. Fromke, M.D., who earned his medical degree, with high honors, from the University of TennesseeCollege of Medicine in Memphis. After completing an internship in the Department of Surgery, he served Michael D. Fromke, M.D. a residency, as chief administrative resident, in the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Tennessee-College of Medicine. Dr. Fromke is certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery and is a member of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons. The two other members of the FirstHealth Neurosurgery team are Cynthia Z. Africk, M.D., Dr. Fromke’s former colleague at the Clinical Neurosciences Institute in Dayton, Ohio; and Dennis Campbell, M.D. A native of California, Dr. Africk earned her medical degree from the Loyola University of Chicago-Stritch School of Medicine in Maywood, Illinois. She completed an internship in general surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, a post-doctoral fellowship in neurosurgery at the UCLA School of Medicine and a residency in neurosurgery at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Peoria. In addition to her position with The Clinical Neuroscience Institute, Dr. Africk served as a clinical professor of surgery and an assistant clinical professor of neurology at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. Dr. Campbell earned his medical degree from the Wake Forest University School of Medicine in WinstonSalem. He completed an internship in general surgery at Wake Forest Baptist Health before completing his neurosurgical residency, as chief neurosurgical resident, also at Wake Forest Baptist Health. He is a resident member of the Tumor, Cerebrovascular, and Stereotactic and Functional sections of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons. The physicians at FirstHealth Neurosurgery specialize in the treatment of diseases and disorders of the brain, spinal cord and spinal column. For more information, call (855) 535-8700 toll-free or visit neurosurgery.

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N E W P ROV I DE R S Anesthesiology

Rebecca Estes, M.D.; Oban Anesthesia Consultants; Richmond Memorial Hospital


Kendall B. Leonard, D.O.; Pinehurst Anesthesia Associates; Moore Regional Hospital, Moore Regional Hospital-Hoke Campus


Colin E. Nabb, M.D.; Pinehurst Anesthesia Associates; Moore Regional Hospital, Moore Regional Hospital-Hoke Campus

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John Brooks, M.D., FirstHealth Cardiology; Moore Regional Hospital, Moore Regional HospitalHoke Campus

Convenient Care

Kara Gehan, PA-C, FirstHealth Convenient Care

Emergency Medicine

Jay B. Baker III, M.D.; Sandhills Emergency Physicians; Moore Regional Hospital, Richmond Memorial Hospital, Moore Regional Hospital-Hoke Campus

Emergency Medicine

Jason T. Barter, M.D.; Sandhills Emergency Physicians; Moore Regional Hospital, Richmond Memorial Hospital, Moore Regional Hospital-Hoke Campus

Emergency Medicine

Daniel H. Reed, M.D.; Sandhills Emergency Physicians; Moore Regional Hospital, Richmond Memorial Hospital, Moore Regional Hospital-Hoke Campus

Family Medicine

Taressa Bryan, FNP; FirstHealth Family Medicine-Troy

Family Medicine

Zena Kobaissi, PA-C, FirstHealth Family Medicine-Teal Drive, Raeford

Family Medicine

Tricia L. Reich, FNP-C; FirstHealth Family Medicine-Raeford

Hospitalist Service

David Brown, FNP; FirstHealth Hospitalist Service; Moore Regional Hospital, Richmond Memorial Hospital, Moore Regional HospitalHoke Campus

Hospitalist Service

Prakash Khanal, M.D.; FirstHealth Hospitalist Service; Moore Regional Hospital, Richmond Memorial Hospital, Moore Regional HospitalHoke Campus

Hospitalist Service

Alexey B. Melkumov, M.D.; FirstHealth Hospitalist Service; Moore Regional Hospital, Richmond Memorial Hospital, Moore Regional Hospital-Hoke Campus

Hospitalist Service

Hospitalist Service

Moushumi R. Shumi, M.D.; FirstHealth Hospitalist Service; Moore Regional Hospital, Richmond Memorial Hospital, Moore Regional Hospital-Hoke Campus


Alexander T. Page, M.D.; Pinehurst Nephrology Associates; Moore Regional Hospital


Michael D. Fromke, M.D.; FirstHealth Neurosurgery; Moore Regional Hospital


Christopher Richberg, M.D., MPH; Southern Pines Women’s Health Center, a FirstHealth clinic; Moore Regional Hospital


Richard B. Phinney, M.D.; Carolina Eye Associates; Moore Regional Hospital


Meredith Stanton, M.D.; FirstHealth Behavioral Services; Moore Regional Hospital, Richmond Memorial Hospital, Moore Regional Hospital-Hoke Campus


Do you need help in finding a primary care provider or medical specialist? If so, visit Nishith R. Patel, M.D.; FirstHealth Hospitalist Service; Moore Regional Hospital, Richmond Memorial Hospital, Moore Regional HospitalHoke Campus

Elizabeth C. Turney, M.D.; FirstHealth Neonatology; Moore Regional Hospital

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Clara’s House made hard time “a little easier” Reid Heart Center provided “exemplary”care My husband was a patient on CSU of the Reid Heart Center in April. The care that he received was exemplary. Everyone on the nursing staff was efficient, attentive and understanding. The hospitalist, Dr. Saul Salvador, was thorough in his exams and kept us informed. We have high praise for my husband’s cardiologist, Dr. Ker Boyce. I appreciate the kindness shown to me as I stayed with my husband. We extend our heartfelt gratitude. We in this area are so blessed to have such outstanding personnel and facilities.

Albert Randy Martin Jr. Williamson, Georgia

Jean L. Slate Pinebluff, North Carolina

Our heartfelt gratitude to FirstHealth Hospice We, the family of Christine Boyd, wish to express our deep gratitude to the employees and volunteers of FirstHealth Hospice & Palliative Care for assisting us in helping make the final years of our sister more loving, tender, kind and meaningful than they surely might have been in your absence. It was a very difficult transition for Christine from the very beginning of her residency in the skilled nursing center (of a non-FirstHealth facility). Then Hospice came on board, and gradually we were able to detect a boost in her spirit, especially on those days she was anticipating a visit from someone. Heartfelt gratitude to (licensed clinical social worker) Robin Patterson for initiating us and keeping things on a steady keel; to nurse Kathy Koon for her special care and vigilance toward the end of Christine’s days; to Deacon Jerry Nelson for his welcome visits, tackling the Pilot Word Jumbles and long entertaining conversations, which always got her laughing; and especially for volunteer Joanne Lentz for being such a kind and dependable friend, sharing many hours with Christine each week in supportive conversation, loving care and introducing her to what became an intriguing challenge – Sudoku. She always looked forward to your time together. We are particularly grateful to Hospice for acting as liaison between ourselves and Christine’s care team. Your professional intervention assisted us and her in so many valuable ways. We shall be forever grateful. Stephen D. Boyd and family Southern Pines, North Carolina

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My sister was a patient in your hospital and at the Hospice facility (earlier this year). My family and I were granted lodging at your Clara McLean House. I don’t know where to start. The only suggestion I can make is for you to line up all of your employees who cared for my sister and my family members, then simply go down the line and let each one of them know what a great impression that they made. The care and compassion they individually and collectively gave to my sister and my family members was simply outstanding. I don’t know where you found these employees, but you did a good job in your selection. Thank you very much for making a hard time in our lives a little easier.

Exercise is Medicine “improved my health” I want to take this opportunity to thank you for the Exercise is Medicine program at FirstHealth FitnessPinehurst. I just returned from Israel and traveled for 10 days like a teenager although I am now 80 years old. If I had not participated in the Exercise is Medicine program, I would not have been able to travel non-stop. I first heard (FirstHealth Fitness director) John Caliri speak about this program several years ago. I took one of the forms that he passed out after his talk and gave it to (primary care physician) Dr. David Hipp. I increased my swimming from two or three days a week to four or five days a week with Dr. Hipp’s permission. This program has greatly improved my health. My attitude about exercise changed completely. The benefits are beyond words. Vivian R. Jacobson Pinehurst, North Carolina

Would you like to give KUDOS! to a FirstHealth physician, nurse, employee or volunteer? If so, visit and recognize a deserving person.


155 Memorial Drive P.O. Box 3000 Pinehurst, NC 28374

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