Ground Rounds April

Regional Healthcare Companies Merge

Evolution Technology Group (ETG) and Medical Practice Management (MPM) are joining forces as ClinicAnywhere to increase profitability and efficiency for physicians. Prior to the merger, ETG specialized in information technology specifically for physician practices, while MPM provided medical billing services. Together, the new company will provide physicians with a one-stop shop for their business process outsourcing. ClinicAnywhere will offer clients a variety of services, including a fully integrated cloud-based practice management and EHR service, billing services, information technology/data services, and telecommunication services, providing clients with a turn-key solution for their practice back office needs.

As a result of this merger, ClinicAnywhere is now servicing over 700 physicians in the southeast. “The joining of these two companies unites physician service specialists to provide the most comprehensive set of solutions available in the market with the assurance that they will be managed correctly,” said Mike Jones, CEO of ETG.


Medical West Introduces 30-Minute ER Pledge

With emergency room waits averaging up to four hours nationwide, Medical West has implemented a 30-minute ER pledge with the goal of having every patient see a doctor within 30 minutes. Medical West is using a carefully planned ED stream to accomplish this goal.

“The ER staff has really come together to make this happen,” said David Denney, MD, Emergency Department Medical Director.

Even with the new process in place, the triage system will remain the same – patients who need immediate attention will receive care before those who are less urgent.

Although the pledge is new, the hospital has already been exceeding expectations. In the past six months, the average time to see a doctor was 22 minutes, and over 86 percent of patients waited less than 30 minutes.

The Medical West ER saw over 38,000 patients in 2011 and is expected to see an increased number this year.


Sirote & Permutt Unveils Sirote Supports Website --

In an effort to further support a variety of community organizations, Sirote Supports, an initiative of the law firm Sirote & Permutt, P.C., launched a new website at

Sirote Supports is a communication tool that provides support to programs that positively impact our community in the areas of health, education and the arts.

 “The goal of our Sirote Supports website is to provide a new online channel to help spread the word of the important work many charities perform and to inspire others to support these groups,” said John Cooper, CEO of the firm.

Articles will be posted weekly on the website to provide information about upcoming events that support these organizations and to make readers aware of opportunities for them to get involved.

“We are using this phrase to describe Sirote Supports: Our Voice. Your Link. Their Cause,” said attorney Lenora Pate. “It is Sirote’s ‘voice’ delivering the message, but it’s the community’s ‘link’ to information about the nonprofits, and it’s the nonprofits many ‘causes’.”

“Needless to say, the unanimous response from all us on the nonprofit side was enthusiastic support for this generous and innovative new effort,” said Garland Stansell, Chief Corporate Communications Officer at Children’s of Alabama.


Alabama Academy of Radiology Honors Sandy

The Alabama Academy of Radiology awarded Arthur D. Sandy, MD of Birmingham with its Silver Medal Award during their annual meeting on March 17, 2012. The chapter awards the Silver Medal in recognition of outstanding achievement in lifetime contributions to the specialty of radiology and to the community.

Sandy graduated from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, Texas in 1982. After completing his Internship in Internal Medicine in Dallas, he moved to New York for his residency in Diagnostic Radiology at Mount Sinai Hospital. He received his Board Certification in Diagnostic Radiology in 1987 and continued with a fellowship in Neuroradiology at the University of California.

In 1996, Sandy received board certification with Added Qualifications in Neuroradiology. He currently practices Neuroradiology with the Radiology Associates of Birmingham and serves as the Chairman of the Department of Radiology at Brookwood Medical Center. He will be awarded the title of Fellow of the American College of Radiology in April at the 2012 convocation ceremony in Washington DC.

Sandy’s multiple contributions to the Alabama Academy of Radiology cover every aspect of service to the organization, including the offices of Secretary/Treasurer, President-Elect, President, Alternate Councilor and Councilor, in addition to serving on several committees. Sandy also currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Alabama Academy of Radiology Foundation and on the Board of Trustees for the Alabama Academy of Radiology PAC.

Sandy is an active member of his community. He is a former board member of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra and has been a member of several church choirs. Besides choral music, Dr. Sandy enjoys backpacking, cooking and reading.


Osorio Joins CRMC/UAB Cardiology Clinic

Jose Osorio, MD, a Birmingham cardiologist since 2006, is now practicing cardiac electrophysiology at Cullman Regional Medical Center in the CRMC/UAB Cardiology Clinic. A native of Brazil, Osorio came to the United States for his medical residency training at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida in 2003 and came to UAB in 2006 for his cardiology fellowship.

Osorio is board certified in Internal Medicine and in the subspecialty of Cardiovascular Disease and Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology. He has received numerous awards for his expertise including the Alabama Chapter of the American College of Cardiology’s Awards for Best Abstract in 2009 and Young Investigator Award in both 2008 and 2009.  Osorio has joined the CRMC/UAB Cardiovascular Clinic Team with Interventional Cardiologist Silvio Papapietro, MD and Cardiologist/Electrophysiologist Harish Doppalapudi, MD located in CRMC’s Main Hospital.


Donaldson Named CFO of CRMC

Cullman Regional Medical Center President Jim Weidner has named Nesha Donaldson as the new Chief Financial Officer for CRMC, a role she has filled in an interim capacity since October.

“Nesha’s experience and background make her an ideal candidate for this position,” Weidner said. “We are pleased that she has accepted the position permanently.”

Donaldson has been CRMC’s Controller since 2004. Prior to that, she worked as an accounting executive for Cullman Electric Cooperative (1995 to 2004) and Drummond Company (1984 to 1995). She earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Auburn University and her Master’s in Business Administration from the University of North Alabama.

In her new role, she will be responsible for all financial departments at the hospital including the oversight of the Huntsville Hospital billing and collection initiative, along with the Materials Management Department and Plant Operations.


Olivet Named To DCH Board

Retired nurse educator Linda Olivet has been named to the board of directors of the DCH Health System. Olivet has served in numerous capacities at The University of Alabama, including director of graduate studies and assistant dean at the Capstone College of Nursing. Now professor emeritus, she was named to the UA Nursing Hall of Fame in 2003.

“The board is pleased that Linda Olivet has agreed to join us as a board member,” DCH Board Chairman Joseph A. Colquitt said. “She has had a splendid professional career in health care, for which she had garnered many accolades and honors. She has a long history of selfless volunteer service to many organizations in West Alabama.”

Olivet taught at the UA School of Nursing at University of Alabama at Birmingham, the University of Hawaii and the College of St. Teresa in Rochester, Minnesota. She was a forerunner in death education in the Southeast and is certified in death education.

She graduated with a BSN as the outstanding graduating senior from UA, and she received her MSN and DSN from UAB. Olivet received many honors during her three decades in nursing, including the 1995 Alabama Professor of the Year by the prestigious Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, the UA National Alumni Association Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award, the Outstanding Service to Nursing Education Award by the Alabama Affiliate of the American Heart Association and the Outstanding Service to Hospice of West Alabama Award.

Olivet’s husband, Dr. Ronald T. “Terry” Olivet, a retired cardiovascular surgeon, served on the DCH board from 1989 to 1995.





DCH Cancer Center Receives Second Three-Year Accreditation with Commendation

The DCH Cancer Center has been awarded its second three-year accreditation with commendation from the Commission on Cancer (CoC) of the American College of Surgeons. This is the highest level of approval granted by the organization.

The CoC approvals program sets quality of care standards for cancer programs and reviews the programs to ensure they conform to those standards. Approval by the CoC is given only to those facilities that have committed to providing the highest level of cancer care and that undergo a rigorous evaluation process and review of their performance in the areas of cancer committee leadership, cancer data management, clinical services, research, community outreach and quality improvement.

The DCH Cancer Center also is affiliated with MD Anderson Physicians Network®. CoC approval is a prerequisite for the affiliation. MD Anderson Physicians Network® is a best-practices organization and a supporting organization of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. The goal of the affiliation is to improve cancer care in a community by providing evidenced-base oncology services to local hospitals in the United States. The DCH Cancer Center is one of a few health care facilities to affiliate with the MD Anderson Physicians Network®.

            “We are proud to have received our latest three-year accreditation with commendation,” Cancer Center Director Domingo Valpuesta said. “It shows a sustained commitment to quality, technology and programs offered to cancer patients in our area.”

Established in 1922 by the American College of Surgeons, the CoC is a consortium of professional organizations dedicated to improving survival rates and quality of life for cancer patients. Only 30 percent of all hospitals are CoC accredited, but CoC-accredited hospitals diagnose and/or treat approximately 80 percent of all newly diagnosed cancer patients each year.


HealthSpring Announces New Leadership in Alabama 

HealthSpring, a leading Medicare Advantage plan, announced leadership changes in its Alabama office. Bob Dawson, who has served as president of HealthSpring of Alabama for the last four years, has been promoted to executive vice president and chief market officer for HealthSpring. In his new role, all HealthSpring markets will report to Dawson, who will remain based in Birmingham. 

Former chief operating officer Patrick Foley has been named president and Matt Chance, former head of Gulf Coast operations will assume the responsibility of COO.  

As president, Foley will oversee HealthSpring’s operations in Alabama, southern Mississippi and northwest Florida. Foley joined HealthSpring in January of 2006, where he served in a number of operational roles, including the COO of the Alabama plan since 2009. 

Chance also joined HealthSpring in 2006. As the market lead for Alabama’s Gulf Coast operations, Chance was responsible for networks and operations for the Mobile market as well as the Gulf Coast markets in Mississippi and Florida.


Alabama MGMA Winter Conference

The Alabama MGMA held their winter conference from February 29 through March 2 at the Wynfrey Hotel in Birmingham. The conference carried a superhero theme with the title Learn to Leap Practice Villains in a Single Bound. 247 medical practice managers from across the state attended, along with 62 exhibiting companies.

A number of well-known experts led learning sessions, including Richard Sanders of The Sanders Law Firm, Francee Preston of State Volunteer Mutual Insurance, Bill Cockrell of Cockrell & Associates, Trink Grinkmeyer of Grinkmeyer Wealth Management, Mike Jones of ETG, Jerry Callahan, CPA of L. Paul Kassouf & Co, Jim Stroud of Warren Averett, and Cynthia Ransburg-Brown of Sirote & Permutt.

Thursday was a special day for college students majoring in healthcare management. A group including 30 students from Auburn, 10 from the University of Alabama, and nine from UAB attended the conference free of charge.








Targeting platelet production could be strategy in ovarian cancer therapy

Targeting the molecules that increase platelet count in ovarian cancer may have an anti-tumor effect, says UAB researcher Charles Landen, MD.

Landen, who worked at M.D. Anderson when the research was performed, and Anil Sood, M. D., professor and vice chair for translational research at M.D. Anderson, explored platelets’ role in cancer progression. The investigators reported that patients with significantly elevated platelets presented with more advanced disease and had shorter overall survival times than those whose platelets were not elevated.


UAB Researcher Aawarded Lupus Grant

Janusz Kabarowski, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Microbiology at UAB, is one of 12 researchers nationwide to receive a 2012 Novel research Grant from the Lupus Research Institute and S.L.E. Lupus Foundation. 

As a group, the grants fund research into the reasons lupus turns the body’s immune system against itself and new ways to treat it. Kabarowski will attempt to determine if high-density lipoprotein can protect the kidneys of lupus patients against attack by immune cells and related inflammation.

Kabarowski and colleagues will measure the severity of lupus, inflammation and end-stage kidney disease in groups of mice with normal HDL levels, high HDL levels or HDL deficiency. He will also test effects of an oral drug that mimics the effect of a major protein component of HDL, apolipoprotein A-I, in lupus-prone mice.


Longer Tendons Make Faster Runners

UAB exercise physiologist Gary Hunter, PhD says there are many factors that play a role in a runner’s speed, and tendon length may be an important one. In findings published in Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise, a journal of the American College of Sports Medicine, Hunter shows that a longer Achilles tendon leads to greater energy efficiency in running, which in turn might enable better running performance.

“Longer Achilles tendons appear to generate more power because they stretch more,” said Hunter, a professor in the UAB Schools of Education and Health Professions. “It’s like a rubber band; the longer the stretch, the more force that can be generated to provide forward velocity while running.”

When describing running, Hunter says muscles and tendons work together in a muscle/tendon complex. During the landing phase of running and jumping - as the foot hits the ground - the tendons, particularly the Achilles tendon, stretch. Longer tendons have more capacity to stretch than shorter ones. During the push-off phase while running, energy from the stretched Achilles tendon (similar to the elastic energy developed in a stretched rubber band) adds to the force generated by the contracting muscle. The addition of this elastic energy during the push-off, added to the energy created by the muscles’ own contractions, means more potential for speed.

Unfortunately, Hunter says, aspiring athletes just can’t grow a longer tendon in hopes of running faster. Hunter’s previous research indicates that ethnic groups such as African-Americans tend to have longer limbs and shorter calf muscles and thus longer Achilles tendons than Caucasians, which may be a contributing factor to why some African-Americans seem to excel in sports involving running.


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