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Therapy Dogs Provide Comfort for Patients

Read this article by Cheryl Burke on how Carteret Health Care's patients benefit from visits with therapy dogs. 

Wound Care Awareness Week

The Wound Care Center at Carteret Health Care, a member of the Healogics network, is helping raise awareness of chronic wounds. The third annual Wound Care Awareness Week is being held from June 6 to June 10.  One of nearly 800 Healogics-managed Centers; Carteret Health Care’s Wound Healing & Hyperbaric Center offers advanced therapies to patients suffering from chronic wounds. 
Carteret’s Wound Care Center will be offering several in-services for clinical staff during the week as well as offering education to the community. Program Directors across the nation will dedicate the entire week to educating physicians, patients and the general public about the chronic wound epidemic and the advanced wound care solutions.

“We see patients living with non-healing wounds for a prolonged amount of time due to the lack of awareness of advanced wound care options,” said D. Scott Covington, MD, FACS, Chief Medical Director for Healogics. “We work to educate community physicians about which of their patients can benefit from advanced wound care, and then provide coordinated care to heal that patient’s wounds.”
Carteret’s Center is staffed with a unique team of doctors, nurses and therapists all dedicated to healing chronic wounds that have resisted traditional treatment. The causes of wounds are complex, and the Center’s team represents expertise in all the major areas necessary to handle varied circumstances and challenges. 

It is estimated that chronic wounds affect 6.7 million people in the U.S. and the incidence is rising, fueled by an aging population and increasing rates of diseases and conditions such as diabetes, obesity and the late effects of radiation therapy.  If left untreated, chronic wounds can lead to diminished quality of life and possibly amputation of the affected limb. 

People with wounds that have not improved with traditional methods of treatment may benefit from a visit to CHC Wound Healing Center & Hyperbaric. Visit www.woundcareawarenessweek.com to learn more about Wound Care Awareness Week and to hear from patients about how wound healing changed their life. To schedule an appointment, please call 252-808-6450 or visit www.carterethealth/woundcare.org 


Recognized as a Top 100 Rural & Community Hospital in Nation

Carteret Health Care was recently named a Top 100 Rural & Community Hospital in the United Statesby iVantage Health Analytics. For several years iVantage has ranked the Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals, but this is the first year they have separately named the top small hospitals of 200 beds or less. 

“Frequently our patients express their appreciation for the care they receive,” shared Carteret Health Care CEO, Dick Brvenik. “Being honored as one of the first Top 100 rural and community hospitals in the United States further validates to us that our staff and medical staff provide safe, high quality care for our patients every day.”

Across the nation, there are 2,078 hospitals operating 200 beds or less and Carteret is one of four North Carolina hospitals named to the 2016 Top 100 Rural & Community Hospitals in the nation by iVantage Health Analytics. Other state hospitals recognized include Sentara Albemarle Medical Center, Johnston Health and Northern Hospital of Surry County.

Carteret Health Care’s performance was assessed through the lens of iVantage’s Hospital Strength INDEX, an objective standard for benchmarking rural, community and Critical Access Hospital performance in an increasingly complex environment.

Carteret Health Care earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement pillars. These nine measures assess the strength and vulnerabilities of hospitals including inpatient share ranking, outpatient share ranking, population health, costs, charges, quality, clinical outcomes, patient satisfaction and perspectives and financial stability.  Most data used is available from public sources, primarily the federal government, through the Center for Medical and Medicaid Services.

The distinction from iVantage further validates Carteret’s commitment to the community in providing high-quality, cost effective care which is available locally.  As a sole community hospital, Carteret remains focused on growing essential services to better serve its increasing population. To prepare for these escalating healthcare needs, Carteret Health Care recently opened a new multidisciplinary Cancer Center along with space for 73 private inpatient replacement rooms. The hospital will continue these efforts by opening a new Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory this summer offering residents access to the highest quality, affordable cardiac care from specially trained cardiologists.

Dr. Donald Pocock, the Vice President of Medical Affairs at Carteret Health, noted that this is a focused look at the smaller facilities in the United States.  These facilities, despite being rural, perform extremely well in objective measures related to Quality, Outcomes, and patient care.  “There is tremendous focus locally on improving our performance and meeting patient needs”, he pointed out.

For Carteret Health Care, this new recognition comes after other achievements such as being recognized with an “A” safety score from the Leapfrog Group, and being recognized by Truven Health Analytics as improving over the most recent five years more rapidly than 98.5% of hospitals nationwide. Equally notable announcements include American Heart Association’s recognition for four service areas: Heart Failure Gold Plus and Heart Failure Honor Roll, Stroke Silver Plus and Target Stroke Honor Roll, AFib Silver and Resuscitation Silver.

Brvenik concludes, “Our staff are so much more than experts in their specialties, they are amazing team members who truly care about our community and patients.” 

Cathy Bittner, RN Recognized with Nursing Excellence Award

Cathy Bittner, RN of Carteret Health Care’s Second Medical and 3rd Surgical departments received the Lewis Excellence Award during National Nurses Week and Hospital Week.  Named in honor of Georgia Lewis, RN, the award recognizes the special impact and importance of nursing on patient care. 

Ms. Bittner was one of many individuals nominated from hundreds of nurses at Carteret Health. She received numerous nominations from her co-workers who wanted to recognize her for her superior patient service and dedication to the hospital.  

Cindy Jones, Vice President of Patient Care Services, presented the Nursing Excellence Award to Ms. Bittner in front of her clinical peers along with members of her family. 

Ms. Jones congratulated her and shared, “She was selected because she is a true model of a nurse leading the way. Ms. Bittner is compassionate, careful, observant and confident in her clinical care.”

Every day she goes the extra mile to see that patient’s and co-workers’ needs are met. A co-worker shared that Ms. Bittner often comes in to offer extra helping hands and recently, she left her own wedding anniversary dinner to work when the team needed her.

Tara Anderson, Clinical Director noted, “Cathy practices the profession of nursing as an art. She has an innate ability to touch the lives of patients, families and her co-workers she serves alongside.”

Patients frequently acknowledge Ms. Bittner’s kind and comforting ways by sharing how Ms. Bittner held their hand, answered their questions and tenderly responded to their concerns.

Ms. Bittner is always looking for ways to ensure patients have the most positive health care experience no matter their needs or length of stay. Patients frequently give full credit to Ms. Bittner’s care and encouragement for their full recoveries.

The Professional Excellence Council at Carteret Health Care facilitated the nominations and selection process for the Georgia Lewis Nursing Excellence Award. The Council is made up of staff nurses and nursing leaders from each of the nursing departments. This group promotes professional certification and advanced education; researches best practices and supports the Hospital culture of accountability through Nurse Peer Review.

As a recipient of the Nursing Excellence Award, Ms. Bittner receives an expense paid trip to a national nursing convention of her choice, her name will be submitted to the North Carolina Nursing 100, and $500 cash.  She will also be challenged to continue to display excellence in nursing, act as a role model for nursing at Carteret Health, and serve on the Recognition Committee for one year.

The Lewis Award is named in honor of Miss Georgia Lewis who was a staff nurse at the original, downtown Morehead City Hospital. She worked in all patient care areas including the Emergency Room, Medical, Surgical, and Obstetrics – her special love. When Carteret General, the former name of Carteret Health Care, opened its doors in 1967, Miss Georgia was a member of the original hospital staff. Her diverse skills were continually used in multiple areas of the Hospital, but she expanded her critical thinking skills in the house supervisor role, a position she held until her retirement in March 1991. She served as a mentor for staff, peers, and physicians – always proud to represent the Department of Nursing.

Carteret Health Care recognizes nursing excellence twice per year in October for the Mildred Clapsadl Award and May for the Georgia Lewis Award.  The Clapsadl & Lewis Nursing Excellence Awards are open to all clinical RNs and LPNs at Carteret Health Care who have a minimum of three consecutive years of employment at Carteret Health and a minimum of 1000 hours worked each of these years. 

Nominations for Excellence Awards may be submitted by letter describing how the individual demonstrates excellence in nursing and are due 30 days prior to the announced presentation date.  

Hospital Week Spotlights Carteret County

A hospital is more than a place where people go to heal, it is a part of the community that fosters health and represents hope. From providing treatment and comfort to the sick, to welcoming new life into the world, hospitals are central to a healthy and optimistic community. That’s the message Carteret Health Care is touting with the 2016 National Hospital Week theme “Health Care from the Heart.” 

The event theme is the centerpiece of a promotional campaign aimed at uniting nearly 5,000 health care facilities across the country during the May 8–14 celebration. 

“National Hospital Week, first and foremost, is a celebration of people,” Dick Brvenik administrator of Carteret Health Care, said. “We’re extremely proud of each member of our staff and we recognize the important role they play in extending a sense of trust and care to our patients and our communities.” 

Health Care from the Heart also means our staff and Carteret Health Care focus on restoring and promoting the health and well-being of our community, friends and neighbors. In this regard, Carteret Health will be opening a new Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory in late July, along with expanded capabilities in interventional radiology. Patients also have new technology and services available to them such as InQuicker which makes it easier for patients to schedule times for non-urgent visits to the Emergency Department.

Carteret Health Care kicked off this year’s celebration with a series of health care screenings for the community on Monday. Staff enjoyed an extra option for lunch when the Dank Burrito Food Truck parked on site and night staff ware saluted with breakfast served by the Administration Team. Special festivities are scheduled each day to recognize staff including Blessing of the Hands, music in the main lobby, picnic on the lawn, a Derby Day contest, ice cream social and a reception for several staff members who are being recognized for being an exceptional Face of Compassion honoree. Carteret’s end of the week will conclude the same as how it began the week, with another opportunity to give back to our community. Baskets will displayed and raffled on Friday to benefit American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life efforts. 

For more information on Carteret Health Care, visit www.CarteretHealth.org. 


Safety at Carteret Health Care Reaffirmed with A Rating

Safety at Carteret Health Care Reaffirmed with A Rating

An announcement released today by an elite national ratings program, The Leapfrog Group, shows Carteret Health Care received another top ranking for safety. Carteret Health Care received a Hospital Safety Score of 3.24 which is an “A” in the latest release for hospitals across the county.  

“Patient safety is a top priority at Carteret Health and today we celebrate our team’s efforts in receiving another A for their persistence in patient safety,” announced Dick Brvenik, Carteret Health Care CEO. “This score is a powerful reflection of our continuous commitment to quality and safe care and is an impressive accomplishment for each and every staff member associated with Carteret Health Care that includes our hospital staff, medical staff and our board.”

For Carteret Health Care, this comes after other achievements such as being recognized for improving more rapidly over the most recent five years than 98.5% of hospitals nationwide by Truven Health Analytics. Equally notable announcements include recognitions by The Joint Commission for our Advanced Primary Stroke Center Disease Specific Certification Program and for Total Hip and Total Knee Disease Specific Certification Programs.

The Leapfrog Group is a not for profit organization that provides free information for the benefit of the public on hospital compliance with process measures, structural measures and outcome measures to help patients make best choices in selecting hospitals.  The report uses some readily available data such as the CMS core measures, data from the American Hospital Association, and the Leapfrog Group’s own surveys. 

The Leapfrog Group website was updated on April 25 with these new Safety Scores. The community is encouraged to visit the website at www.hospitalsafetyscore.org to review this fully transparent information in greater detail. The hospital’s website at www.carterethealth.org/quality also contains other quality and safety information regarding Carteret County’s sole community hospital.

Brvenik concludes, “Our Board of Directions, staff and physicians, all take great pride in these independent awards, accomplishments and recognitions, because ultimately it is our patients that benefit from our team’s efforts to preserve and renew a safety first culture for our community.”

About Carteret Health Care

Carteret Health Care is an independent, 135-bed hospital serving Eastern North Carolina. Carteret Health Care leads the way to healthier lives through innovations in safety, quality, service and superior value.  As a not-for-profit Medical Center, we offer a full range of acute care, diagnostic and outpatient services at a level that you would only expect at a larger facility.  While providing quality health care with exceptional compassion and respect, Carteret Health Care achievements and awards include being ranked as one of the Best Hospitals by Business North Carolina in 2015. For additional information about Carteret Health Care, visit our website at www.CarteretHealth.org.

Dr. Victoria Selley Physician of the Year

Victoria Selley, DO has been selected as the 2016 Physician of the Year at Carteret Health Care. She was honored during a celebration on Friday, March 25th at A Pierless Vista, during a celebration of National Doctors Day.

Dr. Selley is the Medical Director of Emergency Medicine Physicians at Carteret Health Care and spearheads numerous programs and committees including the Advanced Primary Stroke Care Program. As a Physician Champion for stroke patients, emergency patients and patient satisfaction, she constantly raises the bar for excellent, quality care.  She received her medical degree from Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed her residency at Lehigh Valley Hospital. She is certified by the American Osteopathic Board of Emergency Medicine.

Dr. Selley grew up in a similar coastal community of Okeechobee, Florida. While in medical school, Dr. Selley served as the Student Government President and met her husband, Dr. Jeremy Selley at an Osteopathic Convention. 

Scholarships lured her to Southern College for undergraduate studies but her alma mater did not prevent her from cheering on the Florida Gators. While there, she was a member of the Zeta Tau Alpha Sorority and served as the president one year.

Those who nominated Dr. Selley cited her tremendous dedication to safe patient care first and described her as an amazing, compassionate doctor. Other comments include:

·        She is a true patient advocate who started the AIDET initiative to increase patient satisfaction. Direct patient care begins with the very basics, which the AIDET principle reinforces.  It is an upmost concern of hers that all patients are treated with the greatest compassion, respect and quality of care...done consistently.  She has taken this message house wide, well beyond the Emergency Department.

·        She is always available to answer questions from patients and family members. She is one who listens and does everything to make sure the patient is okay.

·        Provides caring and compassionate care all the time. She is a role model for others in scripting and managing up nursing and other providers. 

·        Dr. Selley will give the shirt off of her back to any patient she comes in contact with regardless of their social situation or ability to pay. 

·        Dr. Selley is an excellent provider, always doing what is best for her patients. In today's healthcare, due to the economy, insurances, lack of insurances, etc., many times the patient ultimately suffers despite a healthcare team trying to help. Dr. Selley is very conscious of the restraints and limitations that many patients face and goes above and beyond making sure patients have what they need to recover in the best way before allowing them to leave.

·        Dr. Selley not only staff's the ED, but also leads the other providers to ensure high quality, safe patient care is provided.   Her bedside manner exemplifies the values and mission of CHC.

·        Always willing to assist nursing staff with patient care. Consistently going the extra mile for patients and their family members.

·        Dr. Selley goes above and beyond patient expectations every time.  If she can figure out what is wrong with them, even in complicated cases that require specialists, she certainly will.  She is reassuring and takes charge of an otherwise bad situation resulting in the best outcome possible. 

·        Dr. Selley sits with patients and families to express her compassion for them.  She treats patients as she would her family member and expects the same from all providers. If she is contacted regarding a patient, who feels we missed their expectations, she will call them and answer questions or provide any guidance that they need to facilitate community care.  She follows through on all patient concerns regardless of which physician saw them initially. She is kind, caring, compassionate and always has a smile.

·        She is genuine in her approach to the patients and families; she takes the time necessary to answer their questions and concerns. She assesses their level of understanding and goes the extra steps to bridge the gap.

·        Dr. Selley is personable and engages each patient and family member at THEIR level of understanding.  She is a natural teacher and empathetic healer.

·        Dr. Selley gives each and every patient that she has her full and undivided attention and ensures their needs are not just met but satisfied. From the triage toothache to working a code her empathy and compassion make her the doctor each of us would want.

Dr. Donald Pocock, Vice President of Medical Affairs shared, “Dr. Selley sets the bar high for all medical staff members. She exemplifies the caring and compassion that distinguish so many remarkable physicians.”

Pocock concludes, “She is very deserving of this honor and I offer her sincere congratulations and appreciation for her dedication to Carteret County and our hospital.”

Wait From Home, Not the ER with Online Waiting Service

Check-in for a projected treatment time with the free online waiting service

Carteret Health Care has found a solution for you to avoid lengthy wait times in the emergency room. Using an innovative online service called InQuicker, patients can choose to wait in the comfort of their homes instead of at the emergency room. 

Beginning March 8, patients can check-in with our emergency room, hold their place in line until the projected treatment time at Carteret Health Care, arrive at the emergency department at the designated time, and be promptly seen by a health care professional. 

“Our patients deserve more respect and options for their time in the emergency room,” explains Dick Brvenik, CEO and President at Carteret Health Care. “Once a prospective patient receives a projected treatment time in our emergency department, he or she can wait at home rather than sitting in the emergency waiting room. Once they arrive, it’s our commitment to make sure that the patient is promptly seen by a health care professional.”

InQuicker is not an appointment or reservation service, as the nature of ER triage does not allow for the scheduling of medical treatment. InQuicker estimates treatment times based on facility conditions and allows its users to wait from the comfort of home, rather than the waiting room.

InQuicker users do not skip the ER wait, nor will they be seen ahead of individuals in the waiting room. In the event of a projected treatment time delay, InQuicker users are sent real-time notifications via phone call and email so they can continue waiting at home.

“InQuicker is intended only for individuals with non-life-threatening or debilitating medical conditions,” Dr. Victoria Selley, Director of Emergency Services added. “It’s a simple and convenient way for people with busy lives and busy families to conveniently access care for minor medical needs. If you’re in doubt about the severity of your condition, you should always seek immediate care.”

The InQuicker system is designed to filter certain symptom keywords that may indicate a life-threatening or debilitating medical condition, in addition to a review of a user’s symptoms by a health care professional at Carteret Health Care. Those indicating such medical conditions are prompted to dial 911 or go immediately to the nearest emergency room.

For more information about the InQuicker online check-in system, please visit www.CarteretER.org.  

Wound Care Center Recognized with National Award for Excellence

For the third year, Carteret Health Care physicians, leaders, and clinicians celebrated the Center of Distinction Award, which was given to Carteret Health Care’s Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Center, by Healogics, Inc. The Center achieved outstanding clinical outcomes for twelve consecutive months, including patient satisfaction over 92%, a minimum 91% wound healing rate within 30 median days to heal, and other quality outcomes. 

In addition to this recent honor of earning the Center of Distinction award, Carteret Health Care has been named a Healogics Robert A Warriner III, MD Center of Excellence. This award is reserved for centers that achieve two or more consecutive Center of Distinction awards. Out of 168 eligible centers, only 110 were honored with this award. 

As a Center of Distinction and a Center of Excellence Award winner, along with meeting favorable core results, Katie Orr, the Carteret Health Care Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Center program director is recognized in the President’s Circle for the year. 

When time and conventional treatment are not working, wound care service offers a more comprehensive program to manage chronic or non-healing wounds. These can be caused by diabetes, pressure, circulatory problems, and other conditions. 

The Center houses two new hyperbaric chambers and three treatment rooms in the over 3,000 square-foot facility. The Carteret Health Care Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Center, at 3722 Bridges Street, Morehead City, opened four years ago, and is equipped to treat up to 120 hyperbaric patients and 440 wound care patients each month.

The Wound Healing & Hyperbaric Center complements the services offered by the patients' primary care physicians. Non-healing wounds of the diabetic foot are considered one of the most significant complications of diabetes, representing a major worldwide medical, social, and economic burden that greatly affects patient quality of life. Almost 24 million Americans—one in every 12—are diabetic and the disease is causing widespread disability and death at an epidemic pace, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Of those with diabetes, 6.5 million are estimated to suffer with chronic or non-healing wounds. Associated with inadequate circulation, poorly functioning veins, and immobility, non-healing wounds occur most frequently in the elderly and in people with diabetes—populations that are sharply rising as the nation ages and chronic diseases increase.

Although diabetes can ravage the body in many ways, non-healing ulcers on the feet and lower legs are common outward manifestations of the disease. Also, diabetics often suffer from nerve damage in their feet and legs, allowing small wounds or irritations to develop without awareness. Given the abnormalities of the microvasculature and other side effects of diabetes, these wounds take a long time to heal and require a specialized treatment approach for proper healing.

As many as 25% of diabetic patients will eventually develop foot ulcers, and recurrence within five years is 70%. If not aggressively treated, these wounds can lead to amputations. It is estimated that every 30 seconds a lower limb is amputated somewhere in the world because of a diabetic wound. Amputation often triggers a downward spiral of declining quality of life, frequently leading to disability and death. In fact, only about one third of diabetic amputees will live more than five years, a survival rate equivalent to that of many cancers. 

The Carteret Health Care Wound Healing & Hyperbaric Center is a member of the Healogics Network of over 550 centers, which provides access to benchmarking data and proven experience treating over two million chronic wounds.  The Wound Center offers highly specialized wound care to patients suffering from diabetic ulcers, pressure ulcers, infections and other chronic wounds which have not healed in a reasonable amount of time. Advanced treatments included hyperbaric oxygen therapy, negative pressure wound therapy, bio-engineered skin substitutes, biological and biosynthetic dressings and growth factor therapies.  

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 252-808-6450.


Celebrating 50 Year Membership with American Hospital Association

Joan Lewis, American Hospital Association (AHA) Regional Executive visited Carteret Health Care on December 11th to celebrate Carteret Health Care’s 50th membership year in the AHA. A reception was held to honor the hospital’s continuous membership which equates to more opportunities for hospital’s to share best practices and tap into resources and initiatives that advance quality and safety.  With similar goals of improving access to care as well as making communities healthier, Carteret County is stronger and benefits directly from Carteret Health Care’s membership in AHA.  

Pictured left to right: 
Joan Lewis, American Hospital Association Regional Executive, Vernon Small, Carteret Health Care Board Member and Dick Brvenik, Carteret Health Care President.


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