Page 1

Working together to save a life.

“I thought I wasn’t going to make it. The odds were not with me.”

REAL  LIFE,  REAL  HEALTH IN VENTURA COUNTY Christopher Grandpre – Aortic Dissection Survivor

FALL 2007

wilde thoughts Admiration for a “Whole” Team Effort

Gary Wilde President & CEO


For two weeks this past August, my pride swelled as rarely before. Facing the unique and daunting challenge posed by the temporary closure of St. John’s Regional Medical Center, Community Memorial Health System proved the cliché true: “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” From our physicians and nurses to the administration staff to technicians, receptionists and volunteers, everyone pulled together and worked as one to turn this unprecedented – and potentially disastrous – occurrence into a shining moment of accomplishment. Paramount to success was tireless preparation and collaboration that began fully four months before SJRMC closed to undergo fumigation with chlorine dioxide to address its ongoing mold issue. The potential closure of a major healthcare facility posed more questions than answers, so our Community Memorial Health System team instantly sprang into action to find the answers. The formation of a Contingency Planning Steering Committee was vital, as were the efforts of ten specialized sub-committees.

Michael Ellingson Vice President of Marketing and Development Mary McCormick Editor Jann Hendry Hana Sumalpong Photographers ZestNet Art Direction/Design

Amy Bentley John Cressy Stephanie Paul Lisa Snider Margie Stites Woody Woodburn Writers

Community Memorial Hospital Ojai Valley Community Hospital Centers For Family Health A not-for-profit organization. 147 N. Brent St., Ventura, CA 93003 ©2007 Community Memorial Health System For permission to reprint any portion of this magazine please call 805/652-5492. 2


I cannot underestimate the value and extent, of the collaboration that went on daily. Not only the collaboration between people at CMH, OVCH and the Centers for Family Health, but also between all of the hospitals; Ventura County Medical Center, St. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital, Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center, Santa Paula Hospital, and Simi Valley Hospital in our surrounding communities. As Dr. Douglas Woodburn, CMH Chief of Staff, noted: “All the hospitals in the area communicated with each other and supported each other.” In other words, here again the sum added up to a greater whole. In this issue you will read about how extensive this collaboration and how thorough these preparations were. Our cover story featuring the ordeal of Christopher Grandpre dramatically showcases how we seamlessly handled the greatly increased patient load, as he found his way to CMH - due to the St. John’s closure – and received the expert care that saved his life. We consider it not only our great responsibility but our great honor to care

for each of you in our community. The closure of St. John’s simply increased this honor by increasing the number of friends, co-workers and neighbors – patients – we were responsible for. Because we prepared for the worst-case scenario, we were able to provide our community with the best-care scenario. In these pages you will also be introduced to CMH Chief of Staff Dr. Douglas Woodburn and OVCH Chief of Staff Dr. Daniel Sommer through a Q & A discussion. While you will surely appreciate the insights our two Chiefs share, I appreciate the selfless commitment of time and energy they both put in to provide their valuable leadership towards ensuring that we continue to provide the highest quality care. Of course, as Drs. Woodburn and Sommer would both tell you, they are surrounded by colleagues who are just as dedicated and selfless. I have witnessed many remarkable efforts from healthcare workers during my career, and seeing the “whole” sum at Community Memorial Health System rise to the occasion during St. John’s closure truly moved me. But then they do that to me daily.

Community Memorial Health System 2007 Board of Trustees Gary L. Wolfe, Chair Martin A. Pops, M.D., Vice Chair Harry L. Maynard, Secretary Glen C. Farr, Treasurer Douglas Woodburn, M.D. Chief of Staff, Community Memorial Hospital Daniel Sommer, M.D. Chief of Staff, Ojai Valley Community Hospital Ralph R. Bennett Michael D. Bradbury, Esq. Trudy Cook Philip C. Drescher, Esq. Stanley Frochtzwajg, M.D. Timothy J. Gallagher

John J. Hammer William L. Hart, M.D. John V. Hill, M.D. Rabbi Lisa Hochberg-Miller Fritz R. Huntsinger Robert J. Lagomarsino, Esq. F. Ted Muegenburg, Jr., Esq. Erin A. Quinn John W. Russell Gregory H. Smith William Speitel, M.D. Kathryn M. Woodburn EMERITUS MEMBERS OF THE BOARD Ralph Busch, M.D. Leonard Ortiz Janice P. Willis

Gary K. Wilde, President & CEO, Community Memorial Health System


-Miller & Rabbi Lisa Hochberg

A Responsibility

to Care & Repair


Rabbi Lisa Hochberg-Miller deeply believes in the Jewish concept of Tikkun Olam – the religion’s teaching on the responsibility to care for others and to help repair the world. That compassion and humanity first brought her to Community Memorial Hospital years ago when she started making pastoral stops to visit members of the Jewish faith. Today, ‘Rabbi Lisa’ – as she is widely known – proudly sits on the Board of Trustees. “I was so honored to be asked,” she recalled of her appointment in 2005. “There is a tremendous

caliber of individuals on the Board who have a great love and passion for what they do.” Rabbi Lisa was first invited to be on the hospital’s Institutional Review Board, comprised of medical and local individuals whose insight and comments are used to evaluate research protocols and protects the rights of those participating. She still sits on that Board. “It’s fascinating work. We are always considering: is it in the Family best interest of the hospital and the community?” Recently celebrating 10 years at Ventura’s Temple Beth Torah, her pastoral work keeps the busy mother of three working six days and many nights a week for the large congregation. Yet, she still finds the time to be on a number of the Board of Trustee sub-committees, including Personnel, Operations, Audit and Compliance, and Quality Assurance. “The complexity of running a hospital is staggering,” she noted. “It’s been wonderful to learn about the administrative aspect. I am incredibly impressed by the skills of the Board members, and the vision and competency of the hospital’s leadership. It’s very inspirational.” Born in St. Louis, it was a male rabbi who first suggested that Lisa pursue a career in the faith. “I was only 16 at the time,” she recalled. “There were only maybe four women rabbis in the country. He was light years ahead, knowing he needed to cultivate women in this field.” Lisa first received her bachelors in journalism from the University of Missouri and spent some time in public relations before moving to Boston to work on a master’s degree in Jewish Continued on page 6


Saturday, January 12, 2008 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Center for Family Health – Citrus Grove 250 Citrus Grove Ln., Oxnard Info: 805/585-3090


contents TORN

COOL & COLLECTED Community Memorial Hospital’s “Heart Team” Excels Under Pressure




THE IMPORTANCE of Personal Health Records

HAND IN HAND CMHS Responds to a Local Hospital Closure

Upcoming Heart Symposium - February 2008

Symposium will feature leading community heart specialists speaking on heart related diseases, treatments and preventative options. Date to be announced. For more information return attached postcard or call 805/652-5385.

11 12

EXCELLENCE in Innovation




PHARMACIST CORNER Extending Your Healthcare Dollar


COMMUNITY @ Community


Acid Reflux - What You Need to Know (OVCH) Community Memorial Health System 2008 Seminar Series Saturday, January 26, 2008 Soule Park Banquet Room, Ojai Info: 805/640-2355





The CMH Emergency Department and Heart Team respond to a torn aorta and a 90% mortality rate.

More than two months after the fateful mid-August Sunday, Christine Grandpre still tears up at the memory. She knows how close she came to losing her 44-year-old husband, Christopher. And Christopher knows that without a speedy, accurate and difficult diagnosis of an aortic dissection – a tear in the inner layers of the aorta, the same medical emergency actor John Ritter died from – in the ED, followed by a six-hour operation by cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Lamar Bushnell and Community Memorial Hospital’s expert “Heart Team,” his wife would today be a widow raising their two young daughters by herself. “I thought I wasn’t going to make it. The odds were not with me,” says Christopher, who grew up in Westlake and has lived in Oxnard for the past eight years. “I’m not overly religious, but thank God for CMH and its outstanding doctors.” Dr. Alex Kowblansky, CMH’s Emergency Department Medical Director, was the first physician to see Christopher when he came through the ED doors. Though the life threatening dissection usually happens quite suddenly – in Christopher’s case – he had experienced symptoms for days which may have been due to very high blood pressure – a common finding in patients suffering aortic dissection. “With the extent of his dissection the mortality rate is probably close to 90 percent,” Dr. Kowblansky estimates. 4


“Off and on that month I had been tired, but didn’t think anything of it,” Christopher recalls. “The day before I was supposed to go surfing, but I didn’t because I had no energy, which is unusual for me.” Also unusual was the day he had at work on Friday. A land surveyor, Christopher found himself struggling to concentrate. “I was straining to do math. Easy things for me were suddenly giving me a hard time,” he shares. Sunday morning, despite still feeling lethargic, Christopher was on his hands and knees cleaning the hardwood floors for his wife when he felt a shooting pain in his neck. “It was intense,” he says. “My shoulders also hurt and I had some tightness in my chest.” Pausing to gather his emotions even in the retelling, he adds: “Thank God I wasn’t in the water surfing.” Christopher sat on the couch to rest, thinking the pain would pass. Christine, who had been upstairs with the couples two young daughters – Chase, 4, and Chelsea, 2 – thought differently. Because St. John’s Regional Medical Center was closed for fumigation for a mold problem, she drove Christopher to Community Memorial Hospital. “On the way to the ED the pain got worse,” Christopher says, including down in his right leg. “My wife was already scared, but I scared her even more when I said, ‘You need to hurry and start running red lights.’” “It was not the typical profile of a serious heart problem,” Dr. Kowblansky remembers. “He’s a very buff, fit guy in his early 40s with no risk factors.” An IV quickly brought Christopher’s plummeting blood pressure back up. His EKG was normal as was a chest X-ray. However, the pulse in his right leg was weak. “That raised a red flag,” Dr. Kowblansky explains. “Now it sounds like possible aortic dissection.” The gold standard for diagnosing aortic dissection – to confirm there is a tear in the aorta, and not a heart attack – has historically been an angiogram of the aorta but the diagnosis can now often be made much more rapidly with a CT Scan with contrast (dye). One problem: Christopher’s blood work came back and indicated his kidney function was not normal, and the contrast can pose a slight risk of renal failure. After discussing the situation with Christopher and Christine, it was decided to have the “study of choice” with CMH’s state-of-the-art CT Scan. It was a wise choice. “It showed a massive dissection,” Dr. Kowblansky notes. Christopher’s six siblings quickly arrived; his parents rushed up from San Diego; and more

than a dozen friends from work also showed up to lend support in the waiting room. Meanwhile, a call had already been made to Dr. Bushnell who rushed from the OR to the ED. “Alex’s diagnosis was right-on,” says Dr. Bushnell. “This was a surgical emergency.” As Dr. Bushnell explained to Christopher, without surgical repair of the torn aortic wall the mortality rate is twenty-five percent in the first 24 hours. Fifty percent die in the first week. “Most people panic in such a situation but he was incredibly calm,” Dr. Bushnell remembers. “He was like, ‘Let’s do it. Let’s go.’” “It was an easy decision for me,” Christopher says. There is nothing easy about the open-heart operation that includes cooling the patient to 18 degrees centigrade and turning off the heart-lung machine during the actual repair of the aortic arch. A quick-setting, high-tech bio-glue made of protein is used to put the split layers of the vessel together. Next, thin sterile Continued on page 6

It reminds you what Emergency Medicine is all about. This is what we do. We’re trained for this.

The Grandpre Family

Cool Collected

Community Memorial Hospital’s “Heart Team” Excels Under Pressure

Dr. Lamar Bushnell

The open-heart surgical procedure to repair an aortic dissection is pretty cool. Actually, it’s downright cold – 18 degrees Centigrade, to be precise. That is the temperature a patient’s blood is cooled down to during the deep hypothermic circulatory arrest (DHCA) portion of the operation. Because the aorta needs to be repaired without blood circulating through it, and because cross-clamping is not possible with an aortic dissection, the heart-lung machine is turned off and the patient’s head is packed in ice. By slowing the basal neurological metabolic rate, DHCA protects the brain and greatly lowers the risk of subsequent mortality. In addition to the deep cooling, medications are used to further slow down the patient’s metabolism. Dr. Lamar Bushnell, a cardiovascular surgeon at Community Memorial Hospital, successfully employed DHCA while performing a life-saving descending aortic dissection on 44-year-old Oxnard resident Christopher Grandpre this past August. Dr. Bushnell and the highly acclaimed CMH “Heart Team” also performed retrograde cerebral perfusion (RCP) – that is, they pumped blood backwards to Grandpre’s brain in order to provide further cooling and protection during the DHCA. Even with RCP and meticulous attention to cooling techniques, the hypothermic circulatory arrest portion of the operation – Grandpre’s entire surgery lasted over 6 hours – needs to be completed in less than 45 minutes, and ideally within 30 minutes. The time pressure is extreme, but unlike many heart surgeons, Dr. Bushnell is not a clock watcher – or listener. “I don’t have the minutes called out,” he explains. “I don’t want to hear it and be distracted. I just want to focus on what I’m doing and do it as quickly and perfectly as I can.” Only after he has finished the delicate vessel repair, and the heart-lung machine can be turned back on to start re-circulating the blood, does Dr. Bushnell want the time reading. During the Grandpre case, he was pleased with the final reading. “We finished in 29 minutes,” Dr. Bushnell says, “we” referring to assisting cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Dominic Tedesco and the other 10 members of the Heart Team in the OR. “It is always very much a team effort.” An experienced team effort. “We’ve all done this before,” Dr. Bushnell notes of DHCA.“ For example, our perfusionists are experienced with the technique, and that’s crucial. It’s important to know how fast to cool – and warm – the blood. Also, controlling the CO2 and acid/base balance in blood is tricky during cooling. All our Heart Team anesthesiologists are very experienced and extremely good at these techniques.” From the primary and assisting surgeon to the nurses and scrub techs, Dr. Bushnell proudly notes, “Experience and expertise runs through each member of the team.” And that is pretty cool. COMMUNITY MEMORIAL HEALTH SYSTEM | CARING


She just gave me the biggest bear hug in the world, I got teary eyed.

Dr. Alex Kowblansky



Continued from page 5 sheets of Teflon felt are sewn on the inside and outside to reinforce the aorta. Oftentimes the heart valve needs to be replaced, but Dr. Bushnell was able to save Christopher’s. Christopher doesn’t remember waking up later that evening or being visited by Christine the following day. However, Dr. Kowblansky remembers seeing Christine that next morning. And also this: “I remember the last thing I said to Christopher as he rolled out to go to surgery. I shook his hand and said, ‘I’ll see you tomorrow in the ICU.’” Monday morning, on his way to hopefully keeping his word, Dr. Kowblansky saw Christine in the hallway. “How did he do?” the anxious ED doctor asked. Christine was speechless. “She just gave me the biggest bear hug in the world,” Dr. Kowblansky continues. “I got teary eyed.” He pauses, thinks about the “extremely nice young man” facing the long odds, and adds: “It was a good save. I still get teary eyed thinking about it. A lot of things we do in the ED is small stuff really. Then something like this comes along. It reminds you what emergency medicine is all about. This is what we do. We’re trained for this – to make the right call and see that definitive care is received.” Mission accomplished. Christopher left Community Memorial Hospital after 10 days; within weeks was walking 30 minutes at a time; and only nine weeks later was given the medical clearance to go surfing. “To be able to tell him he can paddle out again is a wonderful feeling,” says Dr. Bushnell, an avid surfer himself. However, even better was when Dr. Bushnell told Christopher he could once again lift his young daughters high overhead, something they enjoyed and missed. “For more than two months I couldn’t pick them up on my shoulders,” Christopher shares, noting that his daughters call the 12-inch scar on his sternum “Daddy’s boo-boo.” “When Dr. Bushnell gave me the OK, I lifted Chase up, and she was so excited and happy. She said, ‘You can lift me again, Daddy!’ That was wonderful.” Daddy knows the story almost didn’t have a happy ending. “At one point a priest was brought in,” Christopher shares. “Like I said, I’m not overly religious, but I am so thankful. When I was in the ED, I honestly didn’t think I was going to make it. But I did because I had absolutely great docs. Thanks to them and the outstanding nurses and everyone else, I get a second chance with my girls.”

Rabbi Lisa Hochberg-Miller

A Responsibility

to Care & Repair Continued from page 3 education. She then continued with rabbinic studies at Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion. Rabbi Lisa was ordained in 1991 when there were only a small number of women clergy. Presently, there are approximately 600 women rabbis within the Reform Movement of Judaism – the largest denomination of Judaism in North America. Married for 19 years to Seth HochbergMiller, who is also an ordained rabbi, the couple has three daughters, Mara (16), Elisheva (14) and Hannah, (11). In addition to her countless volunteer hours at CMHS, Rabbi Lisa also sits on the board of Ventura County CLUE (Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice); and is active with the Ventura Interfaith Ministerial Association, where she co-created the annual interfaith gathering, the Women of Vision conference. “Every interaction I have with the hospital staff, the Administration and Board is amazing. They are such top-notch individuals and there is such a commitment to quality at every level, it isn’t difficult to devote my time to the hospital,” she added.

Helping CMH in its continuous effort to offer the best healthcare possible by consistently investing in the newest technology, education and training.


Community Memorial Healthcare Foundation

to our community


Memorial Hospital. rushed to Community s wa en etz Gi e sli Le , weeks premature. On a Sunday night d Anna were born, 10 an la El dips, curves, er, lat s ur ho r s just beginning. More Twenty-fou wa r, ve we ho s, ion ot e they were ride of em it was so risky becaus int The roller coaster po is th t “A d. ea ah worries lay here were so many lows and life -and-death me Ventura resident. “T gti lon a le, Da r he fat t the babies, so young,” stated their not only worried abou s wa I al. ion ot em ly me unknowns. It was extre wife.” my t ou ab spital, this potentially I was worried mmunity Memorial Ho Co at re ca of el lev h rnal Child Health Due to the hig skilled staff at the Mate e th by led nd ha y rtl a great NICU critical event was expe to know we have such g rin ssu rea s wa it s, it wa Center. “As stressful as ted. with their unity” Dale further sta mm co r etzen twins went home right here in ou Gi e th , hy alt he e on with every Two months later, le and Tanner. eir new brothers - Co th et me to ital is the county’s d da d an mom unity Memorial Hosp mm Co ar, ye a es eri liv el III Neonatal With over 3,000 de Pregnancy Unit, and lev isk -R gh Hi r Ou . th ich gives child bir el of perinatal care, wh lev number one choice for st he hig e th th wi s ovide familie n why the prestigious Intensive Care Unit pr r expertise is the reaso Ou . nd mi of e ac pe ed their parents a much need Memorial Hospital for ity un mm Co ted ec sel icine UC LA School of Med residency program. ery rg su l ming a financial gynecologica are is increasingly beco hc alt he of ery liv de e ople in our community However, th the generosity of the pe h ug ro th is it d an ls, mmunity challenge for hospita care and services at Co nt tie pa ing nc ha en e ntinu that we are able to co support is l. ita sp Memorial Ho spital in the area, your ho ed wn -o ity un mm endent, co unity Memorial As the only indep of healthcare that Comm ty ali qu h hig e th ing essential in maintain ided to our residents. n, and support Hospital has long prov unity this holiday seaso mm co ur yo in ce en a differ th Caring.” Please help make “Excellence Begins wi n. aig mp ca al pe ap al this year’s annu Best of Health,

n Kathryn M. Woodbur nt Preside Community Memorial n Healthcare Foundatio

Kathryn M. Woodburn, President Barbara C. Rose, Vice President Dorothy Jue Lee, Secretary Tommy Slater, Treasurer Gary Wilde, President & CEO Joanie Abou-Samra Trudy Bale Loye Barton Ralph R. Bennett Michael D. Bradbury Jim Butterbaugh Bonnie Carlton Trudy Cook Ray DiGuilio Philip C. Drescher Michael Ellingson Anthony P. Fowkes David B. Glyer John J. Hammer William L. Hart, M.D. Lydia Hopps Fritz R. Huntsinger Lynn Jacobs William J. Kearney John P. Keats, M.D. Gregory F. Lamp Sandra R. Masiel John Masterson Harry L. Maynard Barbara Meister Leonard B. Ortiz Dottie Pas Jeffrey D. Paul Jeanne Peters Mel Sheeler Carolyn Tedesco Dominic J. Tedesco, M.D. Norm Weitzel Stan Whisenhunt Douglas S. Wilkinson, M.D. Gary L. Wolfe James D. Woodburn II, M.D. James D. Woodburn III, M.D.

Gary K. Wilde President & CEO Community Memorial Health System




Jr. Volunteers Awarded Scholarships


Rebecca Kim

This year four outstanding high school seniors have been awarded the Maria Cavallo Scholarship for their work, as Junior Volunteers at CMH. Makena Heise, Scott Carr, Rebecca Kim and Lauren Ricketts are the recipients of the annual scholarship that was established in memory of dedicated volunteer, Maria Cavallo, who donated over 15,000 hours of her time to the hospital. Maria was a long-time member of the Auxiliary and contributed Makena most of her hours Heise in the gift shop.

Scott Carr

Lauren Ricketts 8


criteria. They must be seeking a career in healthcare, planning on attending an accredited college or university, have maintained a 3.0 GPA or better and have volunteered 100 hours or more at the hospital in the last two years. This year’s scholarship winners have been extensively involved in school and extracurricular activities. All four have participated in other service oriented programs in addition to Junior Volunteers. Makena Heise was honored with a $2,000 college scholarship this year. She has served in the Emergency Department since 2003 and contributed 844 hours as a Junior Volunteer. In addition, she was Junior Co-Chair of the Emergency Department for the past two years. Eventually Makena would like to “I want to go places and work in Public Health. find new things. Maybe “I want to go places and find new things.” work for the Peace Corps she says, “Maybe or the traveling nursing work for the Peace program.” Corps or the traveling nursing program.” Upon her death, her Scott Carr was also awarded family established a $2,000 college scholarship after the scholarships that contributing over 700 hours in in 2007 alone awardthe last two years to Junior Voled a total of $6,000 to unteers. He is currently working these college-bound in the Emergency Department students. They have and was the Junior Co-Chair of collectively given the Maternity Department. He over 1,700 hours now attends UC Irvine as a preduring their time med major and plans to become with the program. a research physician. Students are Rebecca Kim realized in eligible for this third grade that she loved helping scholarship by meetpeople and wanted to be a docing the following tor. After spending time in the

The Maria Cavallo Scholarship awards outstanding student volunteers seeking a career in healthcare Emergency Department at CMH as a Junior Volunteer, Rebecca has been awarded a scholarship to help her reach her goal of attending UCLA and becoming a pediatrician. “I love little kids,” says Rebecca, “I hope to help them.” Scholarship recipient Lauren Ricketts works in the Maternity Department and has also worked in the Emergency Department as a Junior Volunteer. Lauren makes the CMH complimentary birth certificates for each new mom. “It’s really great to see how happy the moms are.” says Lauren, “and the nurses are so appreciative.” She plans to run cross country at UC San Diego and become a physician. Maria Cavallo will always be remembered for her dedication and hard work. The students and adult volunteers at CMH appreciate the generosity of Maria’s family for the ongoing support their annual contribution brings to those interested in a career in medicine. The scholarship puts the doctors, nurses and medical technicians of the future one step closer to fulfilling their dreams.

Giving Back to the Community


Julia Durr, Barbara Meister and Evie Arauz

Inaugural Winners of the Annual Meister Family Foundation Nursing Scholarship are Chosen


Barbara Meister is not one to see a need in her community and leave it to someone else to come up with solutions. For decades Meister, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ventura’s Barber Automotive Group, has volunteered her time and made significant financial contributions to a variety of nonprofit organizations in Ventura County and to her temple. She also sits on a number of nonprofit boards. “It’s just the way I was brought up,” Meister said. “I was taught to always give back to the community.” So when Meister, a member of the Community Memorial Healthcare Foundation Board since it was formed in

1984, learned of a growing nursing shortage, she acted. She and her husband Larry Meister approached Community Memorial Hospital about establishing a scholarship for students in the Ventura College Associate Degree Nursing Program. The plans were put on hold, however, when Larry Meister, who purchased Barber Ford in 1968, was stricken with pancreatic cancer, and died in June 2005. Meister was moved by the caring treatment the nurses at CMH provided her husband of 52 years. She also marveled at their dedication, making her all the more determined to establish the scholarship. As Meister put

it, “It’s a great hospital with great nurses. This is something I’ve thought about doing for some time; it was just a matter of following through with it.” In June, Meister presented $5,000 checks to Julia Durr and Evie Arauz, the first recipients of the annual Meister Family Foundation Nursing Scholarship, named in memory of Larry Meister. The scholarship winners were chosen by a four-member CMHS nursing committee, based on criteria that included grade-point average, community service, financial needs, a letter of reference from a VC nursing faculty member and a 500-word personal statement focusing on their career goals. A condition of the scholarship is that winners commit to working for CMHS for one year upon earning their nursing degrees. Meg Larramendy, Clinical Manager of Nursing Resources for CMHS, said both winners provided inspiring reasons for being chosen.

For both Durr and Arauz, coming from families with medical backgrounds played major roles in wanting to be nurses. “I basically grew up around Community Memorial Hospital,” Durr said. Durr’s grandfather, Dr. Joseph Gstettenbauer, was formerly a staff physician at Community Memorial Hospital, and her mother, Carolyn Estrada, is Director of CMH’s Intensive Care and Critical Care Units. Durr has worked part-time at CMH for six years, and presently works as a surgical scrub technician in CMH’s Labor and Delivery Unit. She plans to be a surgical nurse. Arauz has been a medical assistant at CMHS’s Center for Family Health office on Telegraph Road in Ventura for five years. Her grandmother was a nurse and her mother provides homecare services for patients. Arauz would like to work in the Emergency Department. “This means a lot to me,” Arauz said. “A big financial weight has been lifted from my shoulders.”

We’re Always Looking for Volunteers! Auxiliary volunteers provide that special touch of comfort, compassion and assistance to patients and their families.

For More Information Call Community Memorial Hospital:



Tommy Slater

A Champion of Caring


Community Memorial Healthcare Foundation Treasurer Tommy Slater is surrounded by champions. His wife, Debbie, has championed her battle with breast cancer, and he owns a

“After the care Debbie received... I would do anything for the hospital.” champion show dog. The family, no doubt, feels very blessed and lucky on many levels. But behind the scenes at CMH, he’s our hero working to raise money for our tiniest 10

patients through the hospital’s annual golf tournament benefiting the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and as a dedicated and talented contributor to the Foundation Board. Several years ago, Tommy met CMHS Vice President of Community Relations, John Masterson. Knowing Tommy was an avid golfer, John suggested he become involved with the hospital’s golf tournament. That invitation led to his appointment to the Foundation Board in 2000. Last year, the well known local banker, was named the Foundation’s Treasurer. “My role is to work with the hospital’s finance office in the reporting of financial statements,” he explained. “I report to the Foundation Board, and carry through items that need to be


voted on regarding the finances.” Tommy’s talents also extend to working with the Foundation’s Executive Committee on strategic planning, and establishing policies and guidelines. Born in Pueblo, Colorado, Tommy and his family relocated to Goleta in 1965. He attended Santa Barbara City College and UCSB studying history and communications before turning his sights to banking. Tommy believes his sense of giving back to the community was instilled at an early age. “My parents were very involved in the church and my dad did a lot of volunteering after he retired. He was even named Volunteer of the Year,” he proudly added. In addition to his work with the hospital, Tommy is presently serving a two-year term as Board

President at the Ventura County Museum of History & Art. A past president of Ventura East Rotary, he is also very involved with the Big Brother program and is currently mentoring an 11-yearold boy. Married for 16 years, Tommy and Debbie are self-proclaimed museum nuts who spend their free time doting on an adorable pair of Clumber Spaniels, Brinkley (the champion), and the newest member of the household, Cooper. They also love to travel throughout the U.S. and overseas, and this year they enjoyed a three-week trip to Scotland to celebrate Tommy’s 50th birthday. Debbie, a senior accountant and financial analyst with Affinity Group, also donates time to the hospital as a member of the Gold Dust Gala committee. Proceeds from the yearly event help fund life-saving diagnostic services and care at the CMH Breast Center for women who lack the means to pay. Tommy’s dedication to the Foundation and the continued success of the hospital’s important fundraising events is as strong as his champion-sized heart. “After the care Debbie received… I would do anything for the hospital,” he emphasized.

CORRECTION The last edition of Caring magazine included a donor list acknowledging a gift listed in memory of Dr. Robert Warwar. This was in error. It should have been listed in honor of Dr. Robert Warwar.

Helping OVCH in its continuous effort to offer the best healthcare possible by consistently investing in the newest technology, education and training.


Ojai Valley Community Hospital Foundation

to our community


a community that pulls l soon see first-hand how wil nts ide res lley Va ai Oj Memorial Health rship with the Community tne par In s. ult res s get er emergency togeth able to see its wish for a new n bee s ha y nit mu com r System, ou ns for the facility are become a near reality. Pla room at our local hospital slated to begin sometime roval, and construction is currently awaiting state app next spring. seed money to ge and small provided the lar s on uti trib con ity un lley, as Comm . People throughout the Va ent vem pro im rity rio h-p hig jump start this benefit from a greatly simply pass through, will well as those who visit or space. dly ER and waiting room expanded, more user-frien d together since our she pli we’ve accom at wh of ud pro ly tru be We can institution in 2001. spital became a nonprofit Ojai Valley Community Ho ed. s, our work is far from finish Despite these achievement ng with changing alo gy, olo hn atment and tec tre al dic me in ces van Ad mple, to upgrade allenges. We need, for exa ch ing go on t sen pre s, hic services to demograp es. We need to strengthen liti abi cap and ent ipm equ our radiology ntinuing Care Center. ion by modernizing our Co our growing senior populat ing concern. aging facility are a never-end an in s ent vem pro im l ura Struct an ambitious in size, but our goals reflect t des mo be y ma tal spi ho seen that Our mitment to quality. We’ve com g on str a and ure fut vision for the y joins together. As we made when our communit remarkable progress can be -deductible financial ask you again for your tax we , son sea ay lid ho s thi enter t this progress continues. happy, contribution to ensure tha generosity and wish you a and e enc fid con ur yo e iat We apprec healthy holiday season.

Barbara Pops, Chair Gary Farr, Vice-Chair John Mothershead, Secretary Tim Wolfe, Treasurer Peggy Russell, Asst. Treasurer Don Anderson Dorothy Crossman Michael Ellingson James Halverson, M.D. Sue Horgan Don Law Martin Pops, M.D. John Russell Nita Whaley


Barbara Pops Chair

new Emergency the groundbreaking for the P.S. We hope to see you at . in 2008. Watch for details






Continuing Care in Ojai


On October 6th at Nordhoff High School, 200 runners, walkers and wheelers participated in the October Classic, a fundraiser for the Ojai Valley Community Hospital featuring a 5K, 10K, wheelchair course and kids’ relay. Dr. Fred Fauvre started the event in 2000 in an effort to raise money for the hospital shortly after it became a not-for-profit. Also an avid runner, Dr. Fauvre runs in the event each year. “One year, in 2005, I had heart surgery, so I walked the 5K with my wife and my dog. Now that I’m back in the saddle, I run the 10K. I did it in 64 minutes at age 64!” he said. All ages came out for the event, with the oldest a 5K participant in the 80-89 age division, and the youngest were babies in strollers going along for the ride. The day’s big winners of the 10K were Aaron Sharp of Port Hueneme and Mary Jones of Ventura, each taking home a cash prize of $200. Booth sponsors included

Curves, the Medicine Shoppe, The Manor and the Bryant Street Gym. “Our event is unique in that we have wheelchairs,” remarked Dr. Fauvre. Many of those participants came from the hospital’s Continuing Care Center as well as some of the local assisted living centers. Volunteers transported them to the event, and then took them around Nordhoff ’s track. And for the first time, a children’s relay was featured. Dr. Robert Skankey sought runners from local elementary schools, and, using rubber chickens as batons, got 40 kids teamed up to relay around the Nordhoff track in an effort to encourage children’s fitness. “The ultimate goal is to reduce obesity in children by increasing their physical activity,” said Dr. Skankey. For the seventh year in a row, the October Classic was hailed as a success, with funds raised going towards hospital equipment improvements.

The Only Skilled Nursing Facility in Ojai That is Connected to an Acute Care Hospital. The Center Features: • Recovery from post operative conditions, such as hip or knee replacement, complex medical conditions, neuro rehabilitation, including stroke and Parkinson’s. • 24 hour skilled nursing care. • Part of an acute-care hospital. One of three hospital based facilities in all of Ventura County. • Physician referral is not required. • Ratio of nurses to patients is double the state standard. • Planned off-site activities as well as regularly scheduled exercise classes.

Continuing Care Center 1306 Maricopa Highway • Ojai, California 93023



Smell the


The appearance is important - the outside reflects what goes on inside - Barbara Pops

Landscaping Project Wins Ventura County Beautification Award


A gorgeous new award-winning landscape project is now on display at the Ojai Valley Community Hospital, featuring lush plants, shady trees and bright beautiful colors. Transforming what was once an ordinary and underwhelming sense of arrival, the design has breathed new life into the hospital’s façade, giving it a fresh and distinguished look. “The appearance is important - the outside reflects what goes on inside,” said Barbara Pops, chair of


the Ojai Valley Community Hospital Foundation, whose organization funded the project. “Looking to create a pleasant place for patients, visitors and staff to come to, the Foundation decided to pursue a landscaping project, which would allow their dollar to go a long way toward making a positive impact on the hospital. Incorporating color into the design was a priority. “We knew we wanted color all year round and plants that


were bright and cheerful,” said Pops. With that, the Foundation turned to an expert landscape designer in Ojai: Lisa Phelps Irrigation and Landscaping, whose firm’s motto is, “You dream and we create.” Phelps’ plans called for low maintenance, little watering and a lot of impact. According to Phelps, “The hospital needed drama!” Drawing from her signature style of cottage jewel tones, she refers

to her design for the project as, “loud, colorful and beautiful!” After several months of preparation, due in large part to the need to replace outdated irrigation equipment and remove aging overgrowth, including old trees whose roots were disrupting the hospital’s plumbing, the long anticipated planting began. The Ojai Garden Club donated money toward trees, which include Redbud Forest Pansy trees, Fruitless Olives, and a Japanese Maple. Red Ribbon Roses and Blackeyed Susan’s provide bold colors at ground level. The end result is an elegant and inviting setting for all who visit the hospital. Realizing the project’s successful outcome, Phelps decided to enter the hospital in the California Landscape Contractors Association 2007 Ventura County Beautification Awards. Her firm took away two honors for excellence at the June awards ceremony: the Excelsior Award, given to a first time entrant, as well as first place in the commercial category. The next time you find yourself at the Ojai Valley Community Hospital, take time to smell the flowers!

The Importance of Personal Health Records

PHR Why is your personal health information so important?

You will never know when you will need it, but when you do, it can be for a vital reason. The more complete and accurate your health information, the better tool you have to help you play an active role in your own quality healthcare.

What is the definition of a Personal Health Record (PHR)? It is a collection of important information about your health, or the health of someone you are caring for, such as a parent or child, that you actively maintain and update. To begin your personal health record, you will simply need to start with your next doctor’s appointment. Contact your doctors’ offices or medical records staff at each healthcare facility where you received treatment. You most likely don’t need your entire record. Ask your physician or health information management professional to help you determine what you need. Most facilities may charge for copies of medical records. This is another reason why it is important to ask your provider or health information management professional to assist you, as requesting the entire record could be expensive. What if you need information from a physician who has moved, retired or died? His or her estate still has an obligation to retain your records, including immunization records, for a period defined by federal and state law. In California, the rule is seven years for an adult patient. For a minor, the rule is to retain the record until the patient reaches age 19 or seven years, whichever is greater. So, if you are having trouble, you may be able to locate your records by contacting:

• Your physician’s partners. • The Health Information Manager at a nearby hospital where the physician practiced. • The local medical society. The telephone number for the Ventura County Medical Society is 805-484-6822. • The state medical association. The California Medical Association can be contacted at 916-444-5532, or An Advance Directive tells your doctor what kind of care you would like to have if you become unable to make medical decisions. Your local healthcare facility can probably assist you if you wish to complete an Advance Directive. Durable Medical Power of Attorney means that you assign someone to make your healthcare decisions for you in the event that you become incompetent or otherwise unable to make your own decisions. Once you have gathered the information, there are different ways to maintain your PHR. You can keep the information in a file folder, transfer it to a computer disk or use an internetbased service. Keeping your own complete, updated and easily accessible health record means you can play a more active role in your healthcare.

What You Need In Your Personal Health Record 3 A problem list – what conditions you are being treated for. 3 Current medications and dosages, including over-the-counter medications and nutritional supplements. 3 A list and dates of significant illnesses and surgeries. 3 Immunizations and their dates. 3 Allergies. 3 Important events, dates, and hereditary conditions in your family history. 3 A recent physician examination. 3 Records from visits to specialists. 3 Important test results. 3 Eye and dental records. 3 Correspondence between you and your provider. 3 Permission forms for release of information, operations, or other medical procedures. COMMUNITY MEMORIAL HEALTH SYSTEM | CARING


Hand in Hand F

CMHS responds to a local hospital closure

“Failing to prepare,” an old maxim warns, “is preparing to fail.” By combining a commitment to preparation with new levels of collaboration, Community Memorial Health System successfully rose to the occasion during the recent twoweek closure of St. John’s Regional Medical Center. Four months before SJRMC underwent mold fumigation with chlorine dioxide to address an ongoing mold issue, Community Memorial Health System sprang into action to be fully prepared for this unprecedented situation. “When we first learned that St. John’s closure was going to occur, our entire team of professionals pulled together to make sure we would be able to meet the needs of each and every extra patient,” says Gary Wilde, President & CEO of Community Memorial Health System. “The level of collaboration and cooperation that followed was remarkable. I am humbled “We already had an existing and extremely proud of how everyone here collaborative environment, dedicated themselves to making sure our entire community was cared for.” but this challenge took Dr. Douglas Woodburn, CMH Chief that collaboration and of Staff, echoes Wilde’s praise. “Frankly, I not be more proud of how this turned cooperation to a new level.” could out. Everybody, from the medical staff and nurses and administration to the volunteers downstairs at the reception desk, all worked at it and pulled together. The reason it looked so smooth was because we prepared ahead of time for the worst case scenario.” 12


“Our mission is to take care of our community,” adds Rhonda Spiegel, CMHS Vice President of Patient Care Services. “We knew with St. John’s closed we would be faced with the challenge of caring for an even larger community.” To gear up for this expanded challenge, CMH held a series of meetings among medical staff and management to identify the impact SJRMC’s closure would have on Community Memorial Hospital. A measure of just how large, and unique, the challenge promised to be: Homeland Security, the Environmental Protection Agency and FBI were all watching and in contact with SJRMC – particularly regarding the use of Chlorine Dioxide. The answer was readily summed up afterwards in an in e-mail from Michael Murray, President of St. John’s Regional Medical Center, to Gary Wilde: “You and your staff were absolutely super! I can’t thank you enough! … If you ever need anything from me, I’ll be there! Thanks for everything!” This “absolutely super” performance required an absolute collaborative effort. As Dr. Woodburn notes: “The medical staff along with the coordinated effort of the administration, hospitalists, nursing staff and everyone else worked to identify where the problems might arise – and then worked together to prepare for them. The success was truly a communal effort.” The planning stage began with the creation of a Contingency Planning Steering Committee. This “Steering Team,” comprised of a cross section of hospital and medical staff, met with the other area hospitals and their administrators, as well as with Emergency Medical Services. “We needed to get a sense of the number of patients we’d need to prepare for,” Spiegel explains. This entailed not just talking to the Emergency Department at SJRMC to get an idea of how many ED patients could be expected from its surrounding community, but to the Emergency Departments at all of the surrounding hospitals – Ventura County Medical Center, St. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital, Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center, Santa Paula Hospital, Ojai Valley Community Hospital, and Simi Valley Hospital – to get an idea what portion of this overflow from the loss of the 265 beds at St. John’s Hospital each might be capable of handling. “The capacity from St. John’s would have to be made up by the rest of us,” explained Spiegel. “It was vital to look at historical trends, not just the volume at each Emergency Department but the historical patient volume in all departments. We needed to diagnose any deficiencies in the

CMH staff prepare to respond.

county, and in turn what resources we would need to bring in to deal with them.” “Importantly,” adds Adam Thunell, CMHS Vice President of Operations & COO, and a co-chair of the Contingency Planning Steering Committee along with Spiegel and Dr. Woodburn, “this information was used to create a best case scenario and a worst case scenario. We had to prepare to respond instantaneously to however many extra patients flooded through our doors.” Indeed, the entire team at 242-bed Community Memorial Hospital was ready for the flood. “Whenever we asked people to plug holes, they were more than willing to step up,” says Dr. Woodburn. “Not just the physicians – it was everyone at the hospital. And, frankly, all the hospitals in the area communicated with each other and supported each other. I think

we already had good relationships between area hospitals, but this definitely furthered these relationships and made them even better.” This improved relationship did not happen by chance. CMH’s Steering Team took a leadership role in the county by initially meeting with the other hospitals every two weeks to share information and plans. When the August 14th closure date for SJRMC arrived, CMH initiated daily conference calls to discuss such things as how many open beds in different departments each area hospital currently had available. “We really felt an urgency, and quite honestly a responsibility, to be a leader and be proactive because we felt certain that the most cases would be coming to us at CMH,” says Spiegel. “And, in fact, that is proportionally what happened.” While the Steering Team looked at the

Excellence in Innovation Community Memorial Hospital was recently honored by the Voluntary Hospital Association with its 2007 Innovation Award for the collaboration measures CMH developed and employed during the temporary two-week closure of St. John’s Regional Medical Center. CMH stood out for the way everyone pulled together and worked hard to find solutions in order to rise to the challenge of seamlessly caring for an increased flow of patients caused by a neighboring hospital being closed. One of CMH’s many key innovations was the expansion of its “Patient Flow Bed Huddle.” Held three times a day, the 15-minute Huddle

greatly improved communication between nursing departments, and also between nursing and other clinical departments. The result was to improve patient outcomes. One personal story told to the VHA highlights, better than statistics can, the positive effects of this collaborative measure. A supervising nurse shared that at the very first evening Huddle, the night shift nurses were excited to meet each other. It seems that even some nurses who had worked at CMH for more than 10 years had never met each other fact to face! Just the fact that these nurses now personally know each other improves team building, which in turn improves patient care.

big picture, CMH created 10 subcommittees to focus on specific concerns. Each subcommittee had two co-chairs – one from Medical Staff and one from management in order to maximize harmony and collaboration. “We already had an existing collaborative environment,” says Spiegel, “but this challenge took that collaboration and cooperation to a new level.” One vital component to this collaborative effort was “The Daily Huddle” that took place three times a day at the beginning of each new shift at 8:45 a.m., 4:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. About two dozen frontline staff – such as the Patient Flow Coordinator, Hospitalist Coordinator, charge nurses and key management personnel – met to discuss admissions, discharges, current census, staffing and more in order to improve patient flow and care. All of this was accomplished within 15 minutes. Furthermore, CMH used innovation to increase its surge capacity in many departments. For example, it created an additional 22 monitoring beds by bringing in more telemetry equipment. Also, the staff studied Cedars-Sinai Medical Center’s patient flow methods that decreased its time for bed turnaround from an average of 6 hours to just 88 minutes. “We anticipated the largest impact would be felt in the Emergency Department, OB, Cath Lab and Critical Care Unit,” Spiegel shares. “This proved true.” What also proved to be true was that every department was ready for the surge. The Emergency Department, for example, went from caring for an average of 120 patients daily to an average of 150 during the twoweek span – and as many as 200 on a couple of days. To handle this rush, physician coverage was increased along with the nursing staff and hospitalists. While CMH’s physicians and staff regularly undergo emergency disaster drills, Spiegel emphasized: “This wasn’t a drill. This was live. This was the real thing. Everyone – docs, staff, nurses, administration – did an unbelievable job!” An unbelievable job with believable lasting benefits. “It was an excellent dry run for if we had a real disaster,” noted Dr. Woodburn. “It prepared us and makes us more capable for future events.” Indeed, under trying and unique circumstances, Community Memorial Hospital’s proud motto “Where Excellence Begins With Caring” took on a new twist: “Where Excellence Begins With Preparation And Collaboration.” COMMUNITY COMMUNITY MEMORIAL MEMORIAL HEALTH HEALTH SYSTEM SYSTEM || CARING CARING

13 13


With Community Memorial Health System’s Chiefs Of Staff


Between them, Dr. Douglas Woodburn and Dr. Daniel Sommer have nearly 50 years of combined experience practicing medicine on staff at Community Memorial Hospital and Ojai Valley Community Hospital. This year, they are putting their vast experience and commitment to the community to further use as the Chiefs of Medical Staffs at the two hospitals. Dr. Woodburn, Chief of Staff at Community Memorial Hospital, joined the CMH staff 19 years ago after completing a five-year General Surgery residency at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center in 1988. He graduated from New York Medical College in 1983 after receiving his undergraduate education at the University California at Santa Barbara. Woodburn belongs to the California Medical Association and Ventura County Medical Society. He is certified by the American Board of Surgery and is also a Fellow with the American College of Surgeons. Woodburn and his wife Caryn have been married for 27 years. The couple has three children: Jeanette, 23, Sharon, 21, and Doug, 18. Dr. Sommer, Chief of Staff at Ojai Valley Community Hospital, joined the staff at CMH in 1978



“President & CEO Gary Wilde has been really incredible at orchestrating this team effort. He is not just bringing everybody together, he’s bringing the best out of everybody.” and then joined the OVCH staff in 2002 where he has served as the chief of the radiology department ever since. After graduating from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, Sommer attended Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. He then completed a radiology internship and residency at UCLA Harbor General Hospital before serving two years as a radiologist in the U.S. Air Force at Castle Air Force Base Hospital in Merced. Next, Dr. Sommer did a fellowship in interventional radiology at the University of California at San Diego before moving to Ventura in 1978. Dr. Sommer, a board-certified radiologist, has lived in Ojai for the past 20 years. He and his wife Edie have been married for 35 years. The couple has two children: Justin, 35, and daughter Jamie, 32. Caring recently caught up with the two Chiefs of Staff for a wide-ranging, hour-long discussion. Dr. Sommer: We’re adding some exciting things up in Ojai. Our Foundation has been very active in raising money, and that together with the union with Community Memorial Hospital as part of the Community Memorial Health System, I think, is resulting in good things for Ojai Valley Community Hospital. For example, it’s going to bring us new state-of-the-art equipment as well as some much-needed upgrades to almost every department at Ojai. Dr. Woodburn: One of the exciting things that’s going on at Community Memorial Hospital right now, in my mind, is the development and maturing of the Hospitalists program. I’m also enthusiastic about the assimilation of the two hospitals, and also of the Board of Trustees. One of the really great things to come out of the union of the two hospitals is we’ve gotten some really, really great board members from Ojai. Beyond that, just the interaction with the medical staffs here in Ventura and up there in Ojai is a plus – we’ve all known each other for a long time and now we’re really on the same team together.

CARING: What are some specific challenges ahead that you are really focused on? Dr. Sommer: In general the physical plant up in Ojai needs a lot of work and we’re starting to act on that. The new Emergency Room expansion is coming up, which is going to be tremendous. And we’re getting new X-ray equipment as well a PACS (Picture Archiving and Communication System) like CMH already has for the computerized storage and retrieval of images and medical information. Dr. Woodburn: A specific challenge we have in the future in Ventura is building a new hospital. It’s an exciting concept. It’s a big challenge, it’s a doable challenge, and it’s a motivating challenge. But it’s going to require a lot of concerted effort, not just of the community but on the part of the Medical Staff and Administration and Board. Fortunately, I think we’re in a unique situation here because we have such a unified Medical Staff and such a supportive Administration and supportive Board, that working together I believe we’re going to be able to overcome the challenges that will be involved. [President & CEO] Gary Wilde has been really incredible at orchestrating this team effort. He is not just bringing everybody together, he’s bringing the best out of everybody. CARING: What are your assessments of the new push for “paper performance” where various groups come out with “report cards” for hospitals and physicians? Dr. Sommer: It’s a little daunting at first. We may get used to it, but it’s going to be a drastic change, and honestly I think it’s going to be difficult to implement, at least to do so fairly and effectively so it has true meaning. What makes it so difficult is there are so many variables in medicine that play a part in patient outcomes and so forth. Dr. Woodburn: There’s kind of a healthy cynicism amongst physicians because we’re not convinced at this point of the merits of “paper

“It’s going to bring us new state-of-the-art equipment as well as some much-needed upgrades to almost every department at Ojai.”

Daniel Sommer, M.D.

performance.” We’re cynical about whether the information is accurate and whether it’s meaningful. Don’t get me wrong – there is no question we are very interested in quality care, and improving that quality care. For instance, we have a Quality Assurance Committee that is looking at quality issues all the time.

Douglas Woodburn, M.D.


CARING: Do you feel there is a real sense of family at our hospitals because it truly is neighbors taking care of neighbors? Dr. Woodburn: Very much so. Patients aren’t a number here; they’re people we know, people we live with. In fact, that’s one of the things we’ve been discussing at the medical staff level – we need to provide a high quality of care because the people we’re taking care of are our friends and our neighbors. So there’s a great connection here. Dr. Sommer: I wholeheartedly agree. “Neighbors caring for neighbors” is not just a nice phrase, it’s the truth. When you walk through our doors, you are more than a patient; you are our friends and our neighbors. We consider it a privilege to provide you the highest quality healthcare.

Community Memorial Health System is here to help. Physician referrals are available at no charge.

Physician Referral Service (805) 652-5600 COMMUNITY MEMORIAL HEALTH SYSTEM | CARING



CORNER by Gary Metelak

nonprofit group that tells us what cars, TV’s, and probably, what beer is the best. Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, has established a web site to guide consumers and doctors in making more cost-effective prescription drug choices. Drugs are rated on cost and effectiveness. The information is free, but you need a computer and internet connection to access the information. The drug ratings use evaluations developed by the Drug Effectiveness Review Project (DERP). The project provides an independent and comprehensive review of the scientific evidence and literature on the effectiveness, safety, and adverse effects of drugs for a given medical condition. Consumers Union translates this information into language the average person can understand and adds cost comparisons. Reports can be printed and discussed with your physician. It is important to understand that the information is not a substitute for a doctor’s judgement but is intended to help your doctor give you the most value for your healthcare dollar. Why hasn’t this been done sooner? Currently, the site lists “best-buy” drug recommendations for 33 medical conditions including Alzheimer’s, depression, diabetes, high

Extending Your Healthcare Dollar


Which would you prefer to watch on television: drug or beer commercials? Probably neither, but while beer advertising is clearly more entertaining, both types of commercials are obviously biased toward their product. Now there is an unbiased source of drug information from the

blood pressure, high cholesterol, insomnia, pain, and so on... a total of 33 in all. The site also lists medications by trade and generic name so cost and effectiveness comparisons can be made with similar acting drugs. Utilizing an equally effective “best-buy” drug could result in savings of thousands of dollars each year for uninsured individuals. Those with insurance coverage can save by selecting a drug that will have the lowest out-of-pocket cost under their insurance plan. The site states that drug and cost reports are updated regularly to reflect new research and changing markets, and e-mail updates are available for those who sign up. Finally, the site provides prescription advice for those on Medicare, and critiques the biased information in recent TV advertisements (for drugs, not beer). And remember, it’s all free. For years, understandable and unbiased drug information has been nearly impossible to find. I commend Consumers Union for taking the initiative to provide this information in a manner that everyone can understand. It has been long overdue. Even if you don’t take one of the drugs listed, the web site makes for informative reading. The site is

Every month, Community Memorial Health System offers a variety of support and informational meetings. Please verify meeting date and location with the contact person listed. Sometimes meetings may be cancelled or rescheduled. Meetings & Support Groups at CMH 147 N. Brent St., Ventura

Amputee Support Group 6:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Call for meeting dates. Contact: Meg Larramendy (805) 652-5341

Better Breathers

American Lung Association 3:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m., 2nd Wed. Contact: Juanita Trine (805) 652-5346

Bariatric Surgery Seminar 6:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m. Selected Mondays Contact: Nancy Barber (805) 648-2227, ext. 111

Bariatric Support Group

Diabetes technology update for patients who take insulin. Call for class dates. Contact: Jacquie Berg (805) 636-3016

Hepatitis C Support Group

Weight Management Classes

6:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m., 1st Tuesday Contact: Janeen Lyche, RN, FNP (805) 641-6536

Living with Cancer

3:30 p.m.–5:00 p.m., Wednesdays Contact: Carrie Sundberg, LCSW (805) 652-5010

Lymphedema Support Group

Caregivers Support Group

Mended Hearts

5:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m., every other Friday Contact: Quin Rex, RN (805) 797-3676

Diabetes & Weight Management Classes Nutritional management classes. 5:15 p.m.–6:15 p.m., Tuesday’s Contact: Heather Gilliam, Registered Dietitian (805) 652-5061

Support group & relevant seminar topics. Meets quarterly on the 3rd Sunday at 1:30 p.m.–3:30 p.m. Contact: Dave Hennerman (805) 766-2035

Stop Smoking Class

Insurance Help for Seniors. 1:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m., 3rd Mon. Contact: Katharine Raley (805) 477-7310, press 4

6:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m., 3rd Wed. Contact: Melissa Stoen (805) 644-9620

Diabetes Education Program

Restless Leg Syndrome


7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m., 3rd Thurs. Contact: Nancy Barber (805) 648-2227, ext. 111 3:00 p.m.–4:30 p.m., 2nd Fri. Contact: Marilyn Beebe (805) 445-1181


Diabetes Update

American Heart Association 6:30 p.m.–9:00 p.m., 1st Tues. Contact: Dick Hiser, President (805) 646-4636

Prostate Cancer Support Group

Man to Man Group / American Cancer Society 6:30 p.m.–8:00 p.m., 2nd Thurs. Contact: May Lee Berry (805) 278-6100, ext. 17


10:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m., Monday’s, OR 6:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m., Thursday’s Contact: Kathy Cook (805) 652-3231 Overcoming barriers to weight management. 5:15 p.m.–6:15 p.m., Tuesday’s Contact: Heather Gilliam, Registered Dietitian (805) 652-5061

Meetings & Support Groups at OVCH 1306 Maricopa Hwy., Ojai

Meetings at Maternal Child Health House

129 N. Joanne St., Ventura Contact: 658-BABY (2229) or go to and click on the Maternal Child Health logo.

• Early Pregnancy, Prepared Childbirth Refresher Classes • Maternity Tours, Sibling Class, Pediatric CPR Class • Prenatal Yoga Babysitting 101

Children 11 years and older learn to be responsible babysitters and how to administer CPR to an infant or child.

Baby & Me, Bittie Baby (Newborn to 3 months), Bigger Baby (3-7 months):

Various weekly discussions and breastfeeding support.

Stop Smoking Class

Call for class dates. 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Contact Erika Mendez (805) 640-2203

Community Memorial Hospital of San Buenaventura 147 N. Brent St. Ventura, CA 93003

Non Profit Org US Postage PAID Community Memorial Hospital of San Buenaventura

CARING Fall 2007  

TORN p.4 COOL & COLLECTED Community Memorial Hospital’s “Heart Team” Excels Under Pressure p.5 FOUNDATION NEWS p.7 THE IMPORTANCE of Persona...

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