News Releases

Martin Luther King Jr. Day "Virtual Celebration"

Posted January 3, 2021

Supplied Flyer:  2021 Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration

Join Townsend Community Center, Inc. on Facebook or Zoom for a virtual celebration, featuring Dr. Deon Jefferson, Founder/Sr. Pastor of Freedom Life Center in McDounough, GA on Monday, January 18th at 12:00 p.m.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1056955401398371/

White House Correspondent April Ryan to Be the Keynote Speaker at MLK Jr. Day Celebration Event

Posted January 14, 2021

Supplied Photo: April RyanApril Ryan, a political analyst for CNN and a longtime White House correspondent, will be the keynote speaker for a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day event presented by Earlham College, Indiana University East, and the Richmond chapter of the NAACP.

The virtual event begins at 7 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 17, with a keynote titled "We are not makers of history. We are made of history." A question-and-answer session will follow at 7:45 p.m.

The talk will be delivered on Zoom and is free and open to the public.

Registration is available at https://go.iu.edu/3wt4.

"April Ryan is well known and respected. Her fight to bring transparency to the White House and free flow of information to the public has been inspirational to many," said Yemi Mahoney, chief diversity officer and special assistant to the chancellor at IU East.

"Given the fact that her position as a White House Correspondent has afforded her unusual insight into how the nation's last four presidents have approached political struggles and issues of race and identity, I believe April's address will be insightful and timely," she said. "Now, on what will be the eve of the 35th anniversary of the first MLK Jr. Day, she will reflect on King's legacy, our nation's current inequalities and the role we can all play to help keep his dream alive."

Ryan recently finished her tenure as the White House Correspondent and Washington Bureau Chief for the American Urban Radio Networks, a position she has held since the Bill Clinton administration. As the only Black reporter covering urban issues from the White House, her stories and insights reached millions of listeners on about 300 radio stations across the country and the "Fabric of America" news blog. She currently appears almost daily on CNN as a political analyst and has been featured in Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and Elle magazines.

She is the author of award-winning books, including The Presidency in Black and White and At Mama's Knee: Mothers and Race in Black and White. In the latter, Ryan looks at race relations through the lessons and wisdom that mothers have given their children. Her most recent book is Under Fire: Reporting from the Front Lines of the Trump White House.

Ryan has served on the White House Correspondents Association board, one of only three African Americans to do so in the 100-year history of the organization. She is also a member of the National Press Club. In 2015, Ryan was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for outstanding literary work by a debut author. She was the recipient of the National Council of Negro Women Mary McLeod Bethune Trailblazer Award in 2016. In 2019, she was named an honorary member of Delta Sigma Theta, Incorporated. She was recognized as the 2019 Freedom of the Press Award Winner by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

Wayne County Health Department, Indiana Department of Health Parter to Offer Free Covid-19 Testing

Posted January 3, 2021

The Indiana Department of Health and the Wayne County Health Department are partnering to hold a free DRIVE THRU TESTING CLINIC for COVID-19.

The clinic will be held from Tuesday, January 5th to Saturday, January 9th 9:00AM-6:00PM At the Wayne County Fair Grounds, Kuhlman Center located at 861 Salisbury RD, Richmond, IN 47374.

Testing will be available to all members of the public regardless of symptoms. Children as young as 2 years of age can be tested with parental consent.

"We are excited to bring a drive thru testing site to Wayne County. We have seen our daily numbers of testing decreasing in the past few weeks. It is important to be testing for surveillance purposes, so you have an accurate assessment of true transmission within our community", explained Dr. David Jetmore, the Health Officer for Wayne County.

Hoosiers will not be charged for testing and insurance is not required. If you have private health insurance, please bring that information with you.

Get To Know Reid Health's New Chief of Staff

Posted January 3, 2021

Supplied Photo:  Joseph Clemente, M.D., new chief of staff
Joseph Clemente, M.D., new chief of staff

Joseph Clemente, M.D., is taking over as the new chief of the medical staff at Reid Health, beginning a two-year term now that Jennifer Bales, M.D., has finished her time in the position.

"My goal is to continue the strong history of staff and administration dialogue and collegial work that Dr. Bales started," Dr. Clemente said. "Even with the difficulties of the pandemic, I know our medical staff has never been more interested, involved and integrated into the Reid system as they are now.

"We, as medical providers, have an active voice in the future of Reid. It is our duty to participate in medical staff work."

Born in Manila, Philippines, Dr. Clemente immigrated to the United States in 1977 at the age of 5. He grew up in Richmond, attending Westview Elementary and Dennis Middle School before graduating from Richmond High in 1989.

Dr. Clemente joined Reid Health in 2001 as a private practice OB-GYN physician as part of GYN, Ltd. He then moved to Reid OB-GYN in 2015.

In addition to serving as vice chief of staff for the past two years, Dr. Clemente previously has been the vice chief and chief of the OB-GYN section, chair of the Credentials Committee and a member of the Medical Care Evaluation Committee.

He is a current member of the ROSE Surgical Value Analysis Committee, Physician Engagement and Resilience Committee, Network Operating Council Quality Committee, and Leadership Council. He also received the Resident Physician Teaching Award in 2018.

Dr. Clemente attends St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish and is a past member of the Seton Catholic Schools Board of Directors. He has been a fellow of the American Board of Obstetricians and Gynecologists since 2004.

Married for 15 years to Jules Clemente, a physical therapist at Reid, the couple live in Richmond with their twin daughters.

First Baby of 2021 Arrives Well Ahead of Her Due Date

Posted January 3, 2021

Supplied Photo:  Christina Sparkman and baby Aurora
Christina Sparkman and baby Aurora

It didn't hit Christina Sparkman until a few hours after she had been admitted on New Year's Eve that she might end up having Reid Health's first baby of 2021.

It wasn't supposed to be that way. Sparkman, of Richmond, wasn't due to give birth until Jan. 18, but she ended up being admitted after a doctor's appointment on New Year's Eve morning led to concerns about the baby's health.

Instead of going home as had been the original plan, Sparkman was taken to the Family Birthing Center. After a few hours, it began to dawn on her that she might have a New Year's baby and she held out hope that things would work out that way.

Sparkman got her wish when her labor was induced the next morning. After about five hours, Aurora arrived healthy at 1:06 p.m. on New Year's Day, 20 inches long and weighing 7 pounds, 7.9 ounces. This is Sparkman's first child.

"It feels like it's come to me naturally," she said of the motherhood experience so far. "It's magical."

Reid Health EMS Begins Ambulance Service in Union County

Posted January 3, 2021

Reid Health is expanding its emergency ambulance service, becoming the provider for Union County as of Jan. 1.

"We plan to be an active partner in the community supporting local events and school functions as well as working closely with the volunteer fire departments to provide EMS education to enhance the care provided to Union County residents and those who visit the area," said Ryan Williams, Director of EMS, Forensics and Trauma Services for Reid Health.

Union County solicited bids for its emergency ambulance service in August, and Reid was awarded the contract in early September.

"We wanted to have a presence in Union County and wanted to be able to provide quality care to all its citizens and visitors," Williams said. "Having the opportunity to serve the community through our ambulance service was a great way to bring the Reid brand back to Union County."

The ambulance and its crew will be stationed at 950 N. Market St. in Liberty, the same location as the Neighborhood Health Clinic. There will be one Advanced Life Support ambulance staffed with one paramedic and one EMT at all times. A second ambulance will be available during high volume periods such as special events and summer weekends when more people visit Brookville Lake.

"We plan to be an active partner in the community supporting local events and school functions as well as working closely with the volunteer fire departments to provide EMS education to enhance the care provided to Union County residents and those who visit the area," -- Ryan Williams, Reid Health Director of EMS, Forensics and Trauma Services

Reid began providing emergency ambulance services in 2019 when it was awarded the contract for western Wayne County after the county's initial request for bids went without a provider for that area.

"We are thrilled to be able to expand our service to the Union County area," said Misti Foust-Cofield, Vice President/Chief Nursing Officer at Reid Health. "We look forward to providing the same level of quality care to Union County as we have in western Wayne County over the past two years."

The health system also is growing its transportation services capabilities, adding another ambulance to its fleet in response to concerns caused by COVID-19 and an increase in patients with mental health needs. Reid also has open positions for paramedics and EMTs.

Because the pandemic has created limited capacity for healthcare providers across the state, patients must be taken further away than usual when they need resources that aren't available at Reid.

"Our ambulances often are traveling several hundred miles a day, which limits the number of patients that one ambulance is able to move," Williams said. "An additional vehicle will help with that issue."

Latest Reid Health Police Officers Sworn In

Posted December 29, 2020

Four more Reid Health Police Department officers are on their way to the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy in January after a formal swearing-in ceremony Monday.

Supplied Photo: Police Officers being sworn in at Reid HealthOfficers Jeremy Hicks, David Jones, Jeramiah Lawson and Dillon Pitcher will be the second class of Reid officers to be sent to the academy, following in the footsteps of four others who graduated earlier this month.

This latest group will take part in the eight-week course and return to Reid in March as certified police officers.

The ceremony brings the total number of people to be sworn in since the department's creation in February to 14, according to Randy Kolentus, Chief of Police for Reid. The first five officers to join the department had previous law enforcement experience and therefore didn't need to attend the academy.

"This is another big step for our planned transition to a full police department," Kolentus said. "This still leaves us 11 officers who we will send to the academy, hopefully several more of them yet in 2021."

In early 2020, Reid Health transformed its security team to a police department, joining other health systems around the state. The move is intended to enhance the security and safety of the patients, visitors, staff and community members who use Reid services.

The change reflects the growth of the health system and the accompanying increase in the need for police assistance. When the move to establish the department first was announced, Kolentus noted the Richmond Police Department responded to Reid calls almost 900 times in 2019.

"I'm very proud of these gentlemen. While they have a lot of hard work in front of them at the academy, I have no doubt they will all be successful!" -- Jennifer Ehlers, Reid Health Vice President/Chief Quality Officer

Becoming a police force means increased training and certifications for Reid's security staff. It also provides officers with arrest authority and allows them to deal more effectively with an increasing number of potentially violent incidents.

The former Security Department has grown from nine officers in 2016 to more than twice that today as Reid's geographic footprint has increased and its number of team members has risen to some 3,400.

"We appreciate all of the officers and their loved ones who came out today to celebrate," said Jennifer Ehlers, Reid Health Vice President/Chief Quality Officer. "I'm very proud of these gentlemen. While they have a lot of hard work in front of them at the academy, I have no doubt they will all be successful!"

Reid Health 5-star rated for stroke care third year in a row

Posted December 29, 2020

Reid Health is 5-star rated for stroke outcomes according to new research released by Healthgrades, a leading resource connecting consumers, physicians and health systems.

Every year, Healthgrades evaluates hospital performance at nearly 4,500 hospitals nationwide for 32 of the most common inpatient procedures and conditions using Medicare data.

This analysis shows patients treated at hospitals receiving a 5-star rating have a lower risk of dying and a lower risk of experiencing one or more complications during a hospital stay than if they were treated at hospitals receiving a 1-star rating in that procedure or condition. From 2017 through 2019, if all hospitals as a group performed similarly to hospitals receiving 5-stars as a group, on average, 218,785 lives potentially could have been saved and complications in 148,681 patients potentially could have been avoided.*

From 2017-2019, patients treated for stroke in hospitals with 5-stars for in-hospital mortality have, on average, a 53.4% lower risk of dying than if they were treated in hospitals with 1-star for in-house mortality.*

Reid Health earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients at a set level for a designated period.

"Hospital quality has never been more important, and consumers are becoming more aware of the importance of researching where they receive care before they visit a hospital for a specific procedure or condition," said Brad Bowman, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Healthgrades. "Hospitals that receive a Healthgrades 5-star rating for Stroke demonstrate exceptional outcomes and their ability to provide quality care for patients."

Misti Foust-Cofield, Reid Health Vice President/Chief Nursing Officer, said the health system has been dedicated to excellence in stroke care, with the rating reflecting the success of those efforts. "Our team has also been recognized by the American Heart Association recently," she said. "We are unwavering in our commitment to provide the most appropriate treatment to our stroke patients."

Reid Health received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association's Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award earlier this year. The award recognizes the hospital's commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

Reid Health earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients at a set level for a designated period. These measures include evaluation of the proper use of medications and other stroke treatments aligned with the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients. Before discharge, patients also should receive education on managing their health, get a follow-up visit scheduled, and other care transition interventions.

Reid Health is designated as a Primary Stroke Center featuring a comprehensive system for rapid diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients admitted to the emergency department.

"We are unwavering in our commitment to provide the most appropriate treatment to our stroke patients." -- Misti Foust-Cofield, Reid Health Vice President/Chief Nursing Officer

Earlier this year, Reid Health - Connersville Emergency Department also was granted a three-year certification as a Stroke Ready Center by Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program (HFAP), the nation's original independent, accreditation program. Certification confirms stroke care at Reid Health - Connersville is providing high quality care as determined by an independent, external process of evaluation.

The certification for the Connersville location came at the same time the Reid Health Primary Stroke Center also was reaccredited for another three years.

For its analysis, Healthgrades evaluated approximately 45 million Medicare inpatient records for nearly 4,500 short-term acute care hospitals nationwide to assess hospital performance in 32 common conditions and procedures, and evaluated outcomes in appendectomy and bariatric surgery using all-payer data provided by 16 states. Healthgrades recognizes a hospital's quality achievements for cohort-specific performance, specialty area performance, and overall clinical quality. Individual procedure or condition cohorts are designated as 5-star (statistically significantly better than expected), 3-star (not statistically different from expected) and 1-star (statistically significantly worse than expected). The complete Healthgrades 2021 Report to the Nation and detailed study methodology, can be found at https://partners.healthgrades.com/healthgrades-quality-solutions/healthgrades-quality-awards/.

* Statistics are based on Healthgrades analysis of MedPAR data for years 2017 through 2019 and represent three-year estimates for Medicare patients only. For appendectomy and bariatric surgery, Healthgrades used inpatient data from 16 states that provide all-payer data for years 2016 through 2018.

Community Generates Over $1.8 Million in 2020 Challenge Match

Posted December 22, 2020

The Wayne County Foundation announced today detailed results of its 2020 Challenge Match. Forty-nine local organizations collectively raised $1.57 million from generous donors in a nine-day period this November. This amount, plus the Foundation match, represents over $1.83 million in total contributed benefit to the community.

The Challenge Match was an opportunity for participating organizations to share up to $265,000 from the Foundation, based on qualifying gifts they received from the community in a designated match period. 2020 marked the ninth time the program has been offered.

"Our community is incredibly generous," said Rebecca Gilliam, executive director of the Foundation. "This was the largest Challenge Match to date in terms of the number of dollars raised. Clearly, this remains an incredibly effective tool to help local not-for-profit organizations promote themselves in the community and raise critical operating dollars."

"We especially want to thank our Match Partners," Gilliam said. "The Match Partners included the Doxpop Charitable Giving Fund, First Bank Community Fund, Fund for Tomorrow, Second Chance Fund, and the Wayne Bank and Trust Community Fund. Their contributions really led the way and enabled more organizations to participate."

The participating organizations and the amounts they received from the community and the Foundation are as follows:

Supplied Graphic:  2020 Wayne County Foundation Challenge Match Results

"Many people have told us how much they appreciate the Foundation's role in promoting this kind of giving," Gilliam said. "But we're the ones who need to be saying thanks. The participating organizations, our Match Partners, the media outlets that helped promote the program, and especially all of the donors who gave so generously are the ones who make the Challenge Match a success. They are the ones who make it all possible."

Wayne County Foundation Announces Lilly Endowment Community Scholars

Posted December 22, 2020

The Wayne County Foundation is pleased to announce the selection of two area high school seniors who will receive the prestigious Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship.

Michael Davis and Alexis Worl were chosen from a pool of 90 applicants from throughout Wayne County. Each recipient will receive a four-year, full-tuition scholarship and $900 annual stipend for required books and equipment to attend an accredited public or private nonprofit college or university in Indiana.

Michael is a senior at Centerville-Abington High School. At the end of his junior year he had a 4.36 GPA and plans to graduate with an Academic Honors diploma. Michael has participated in National Honor Society, Chess Club, Swimming, Golf, Model Legislature, and Experimental Aircraft Association. He served in several leadership positions, including Class President, Flight Sergeant in Civil Air Patrol, Captain of the Soccer and Academic Teams. Michael plans to attend Purdue University and study Aeronautical Engineering Technology. He is the son of Mike and Alyssa Davis.

Alexis, a senior at Lincoln High School, completed her junior year with a 4.30 GPA and plans to graduate with an Academic Honors diploma. Alexis has participated in Cheerleading, Golf, National Honor Society, Key Club and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She has held several leadership positions within these activities. Alexis plans to attend Butler University and major in Psychology. She is the daughter of Richai Morgan and Daniel Worl.

"The Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship is an amazing opportunity for students to continue their education after high school, without incurring the debt most students experience," said Lisa Bates, the Foundation's program officer.

The primary purposes of the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program are 1) to help raise the level of educational attainment in Indiana; 2) to increase awareness of the beneficial roles Indiana community foundations can play in their communities; and 3) to encourage and support the efforts of current and past Lilly Endowment Community Scholars to engage with each other and with Indiana business, governmental, educational, nonprofit and civic leaders to improve the quality of life in Indiana generally and in local communities throughout the state.

Since 1998, 51 students have been awarded Lilly Endowment Community Scholarships through the Wayne County Foundation. This year's awardees will be recognized, at the Wayne County Foundation's Annual Report to the Community dinner in June, 2021.

The Facts About the Coronavirus Vaccine

Posted December 22, 2020

As distribution of the first COVID-19 vaccine approaches, there is one thing Reid Health's top medical professionals want to make perfectly clear: They believe the vaccine is safe.

Development came at a historic pace, but the normal processes and trials still took place. The speed was greatly aided by previous research into coronaviruses and the priority placed on the project by the U.S. government, according to Thomas Huth, M.D., Vice President of Medical Affairs at Reid Health.

Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Emergency Use Authorization doesn't change the vaccine's status as an investigational drug, "we know that they are laser-focused on the safety data from the more than 20,000 people who have already received the vaccine," Dr. Huth said. "There have been remarkably few serious adverse effects."

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are the first to use messenger RNA (mRNA), but researchers have been studying the technology for decades, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Previous work has been done on potential mRNA vaccines for flu, Zika, rabies, and more. mRNA also has been used to trigger the immune system to target specific cancer cells.

According to clinical trials reviewed and investigated by the FDA, the Pfizer vaccine is 95% effective and the Moderna vaccine is 94.1% effective. Both results are significantly higher than those for many other vaccinations previously produced for other diseases, including seasonal influenza.

The FDA has given the Pfizer vaccine Emergency Use Authorization, which means it can be distributed under certain limits during the public health emergency, until the authorization is rescinded or until the vaccine receives full approval through the normal process.

Moderna also has applied for Emergency Use Authorization for its version of the vaccine.

"We know that they are laser-focused on the safety data from the more than 20,000 people who have already received the vaccine. There have been remarkably few serious adverse effects." -- Thomas Huth, M.D., Vice President of Medical Affairs

Traditional vaccines put a weakened or inactive virus in the body, but mRNA vaccines teach cells how to make a harmless protein unique to the virus that triggers the immune system. That response then produces antibodies and provides protection from getting infected by exposure to the real virus.

In other words, the vaccine makes the body falsely believe it has been exposed to COVID-19 to trigger cells to react and produce the crucial antibodies that will protect against an actual virus infection. The process takes a few weeks to accumulate enough antibodies to help protect a person from getting the disease.

After the harmless protein is made, the cells break down the mRNA instructions and get rid of them. The mRNA never enters the nucleus of the cells where the DNA is kept nor interacts with the DNA in any way.

Because the vaccines don't use a live virus, they can't give you COVID-19, but it will take a few weeks for the body to build up immunity after vaccination, so it's possible someone could become infected just before or after getting the shot and still get sick.

"The vaccine causes only one very specific virus protein to be produced. It does not produce all of the virus' proteins, and it cannot assemble whole virus," Dr. Huth said. "So there is no potential for the vaccine to cause COVID-19 infection."

Some side effects such as headaches, fever, and muscle pains have been reported during trials for the vaccine, mostly coming after the second of the required two injections. It's normal for vaccines to cause such symptoms, which are a sign that the body is building immunity to the virus.

"Having this vaccine is an important step toward turning the corner in the pandemic. There is no reason anyone should be apprehensive about taking it." -- Dr. Huth

The vaccine has been authorized for people ages 16 and older. Anyone who has had a previous severe reaction to vaccinations or intramuscular injections can take the vaccine but will be observed for 30 minutes - instead of the usual 15 for everyone else - after getting the shot.

Trials did not include those who are pregnant or breast-feeding, but the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine has advocated for pregnant or lactating women to be immunized. Those in either category who are considering getting the vaccine should consult their doctors first.

"Having this vaccine is an important step toward turning the corner in the pandemic," Dr. Huth said. "There is no reason anyone should be apprehensive about taking it."

Vaccinations in Indiana will be done in several phases with the first wave (Phase 1A) being frontline healthcare workers, including those at long-term care facilities. Those who are most at-risk to be hard hit by the disease will be targeted in Phase 1B followed by anyone who is at a higher risk for transmission because of their working or living conditions in Phase 2. That would include those in correctional facilities, group homes or shelters, or essential workers who cannot socially distance as part of their jobs.

The general public then comes in Phase 3.

Sources: Pfizer and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Reid Health Distributes First Coronavirus Vaccinations

Posted December 22, 2020

Supplied Photo:  Dr. David Jetmore (from left), Dr. Jennifer Bales, Dr. Annuradha Bhandari and Dr. Thomas Huth were the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at Reid Health.The first healthcare workers in east-central Indiana have been vaccinated against COVID-19, marking a critical turning point in the fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Four people were inoculated during a special event Thursday evening at Reid Health ahead of the Friday morning opening of one of three vaccination clinics that will be operated by the health system as part of the first wave of distributions.

"To have this vaccine available in a matter of months is a historic achievement. It represents an important milestone on the path toward a time that more closely resembles life before COVID," said Thomas Huth, M.D., Vice President of Medical Affairs for Reid Health.

"But the vaccine's arrival doesn't mean we can let our guard down. We still have a long way to go to turn this pandemic around."

Dr. Huth was the first in Wayne County to receive the vaccine Thursday along with David Jetmore, M.D., Wayne County Health Officer; Annuradha Bhandari, M.D., Reid Medical Associates; and Jennifer Bales, M.D., Chief of Staff and Emergency Physician.

Vaccinations in Indiana will be done in several phases with the first, Phase 1A, being frontline healthcare workers, including those at long-term care facilities.

Those who are most at-risk to be hard hit by the disease will be targeted in Phase 1B, according to Indiana's interim draft vaccine allocation plan. They will be followed by anyone who is at a higher risk for transmission because of their working or living conditions in Phase 2. That would include those in correctional facilities, group homes or shelters, or essential workers who cannot socially distance as part of their jobs.

The general public then will come in Phase 3.

"No one need be apprehensive about taking this vaccine." -- Thomas Huth, M.D., Vice President of Medical Affairs

"It will take a while to get enough people vaccinated, and in the meantime, we all must continue to wear our masks, maintain social distancing, wash our hands and avoid large crowds," Dr. Jetmore said.

"We do these things not only for our own wellbeing but for the wellbeing of our vulnerable loved ones, friends, neighbors, and coworkers."

Reid this week received a shipment of 975 doses of the Pfizer version of the COVID-19 vaccine. The FDA recently gave that vaccine Emergency Use Authorization, which means it can be distributed under certain limits during the public health emergency, until the authorization is rescinded or until the vaccine receives full approval through the normal process.

"Although the development of this vaccine came at an accelerated pace, we can be confident it is safe. The trials and testing processes were not compromised," Dr. Huth said.

"No one need be apprehensive about taking this vaccine."

Because the vaccine doesn't use a live virus, it can't give anyone COVID-19, but it will take a few weeks for the body to build up immunity after vaccination, so it's possible someone could become infected just before or after getting the shot and still get sick.

Some side effects such as headaches, fever, and muscle pains have been reported during trials for the vaccine, mostly coming after the second of the required two injections. It's normal for vaccines to cause such symptoms, which are a sign that the body is building immunity to the virus.

Those with questions about the COVID-19 vaccine can call Reid Health's hotline at 765-965-4200 Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Take a First Day Hike on New Year's Day

Posted December 29, 2020

Welcome 2021 with an Indiana DNR tradition — a First Day Hike on Jan. 1.

First Day Hikes are a healthy way to start the new year and provide a chance to get outside, exercise, and enjoy nature.Supplied Graphic:  1st Day Hike

In past years, Indiana state parks, reservoirs and state forests have offered organized hikes led by park staff and volunteers. These hikes have become a tradition for thousands of Hoosiers.

This year, in response to the need to practice social distancing and keep group sizes to those within your personal "bubble", the DNR has created hiking opportunities that allow you to be your own tour guide.

After you decide which state park, reservoir, or state forest you plan to visit for a hike, stop by your site of choice to pick up your Indiana First Day Hike sticker. Stickers will be available at the entrance gates at Pokagon, Chain O'Lakes, Turkey Run, and Shades state parks, and at Cataract Falls State Recreation Area (SRA); at the nature center at Indiana Dunes State Park; and outside all other state park and reservoir property offices.

The state forest properties — Salamonie River, Clark, Greene-Sullivan, Yellowwood, Morgan-Monroe, Owen-Putnam, Ferdinand, Pike, Jackson-Washington, Martin, and Harrison-Crawford state forests, and Deam Lake and Starve Hollow SRAs will also participate. All will have stickers available outside their office.

Wear your sticker proudly during your hike and be ready to say Happy New Year to your fellow hikers on the trail.

Choose your favorite trail and look for a "resolution sign" at each trailhead. These signs will propose different new year's resolutions you might consider.

Snap a photo of yourself with the sign, then take a hike. Share your resolution and/or your hike photos on the Indiana State Parks Facebook page at facebook.com/INdnrstateparksandreservoirs or on the Division of Forestry Facebook page at facebook.com/INdnrforestry and use either #FirstDayHikeIN, #FindYourResolution, or #IHikedTheFirstDay to allow your images to be found so you can be included in the drawing for prizes.

The DNR will randomly select participants from those who post to win park passes, inn and camping gift cards, and more.

Make sure to bundle up, bring a warm drink and snack, and remember to wear your mask if you'll be going on a popular or narrow trail where maintaining social distancing is a challenge.

If you are not able to visit a state park, reservoir or state forest for a First Day Hike, check out a virtual First Day Hike video on the Indiana State Parks Facebook page on New Year's Day and enjoy the hiking experiences of others.

This annual event is organized by Indiana State Parks in cooperation with America's State Parks (stateparks.org and facebook.com/Americas-State-Parks-205324976548604). Hikes and virtual opportunities will take place in many of the 50 states.

First Day Hikes originated more than 20 years ago at Blue Hills Reservation, a state park in Milton, Massachusetts. The program was launched to foster healthy lifestyles and promote year-round recreation at state parks.

See additional details and great ideas for fitness and hiking challenges on the DNR's Healthy Parks, Healthy People page at dnr.IN.gov/healthy.

To view all DNR news releases, please see dnr.IN.gov.

Latest Reid Health Police Officers Sworn In

Posted December 29, 2020

Four more Reid Health Police Department officers are on their way to the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy in January after a formal swearing-in ceremony Monday.

Supplied Photo: Police Officers being sworn in at Reid HealthOfficers Jeremy Hicks, David Jones, Jeramiah Lawson and Dillon Pitcher will be the second class of Reid officers to be sent to the academy, following in the footsteps of four others who graduated earlier this month.

This latest group will take part in the eight-week course and return to Reid in March as certified police officers.

The ceremony brings the total number of people to be sworn in since the department's creation in February to 14, according to Randy Kolentus, Chief of Police for Reid. The first five officers to join the department had previous law enforcement experience and therefore didn't need to attend the academy.

"This is another big step for our planned transition to a full police department," Kolentus said. "This still leaves us 11 officers who we will send to the academy, hopefully several more of them yet in 2021."

In early 2020, Reid Health transformed its security team to a police department, joining other health systems around the state. The move is intended to enhance the security and safety of the patients, visitors, staff and community members who use Reid services.

The change reflects the growth of the health system and the accompanying increase in the need for police assistance. When the move to establish the department first was announced, Kolentus noted the Richmond Police Department responded to Reid calls almost 900 times in 2019.

"I'm very proud of these gentlemen. While they have a lot of hard work in front of them at the academy, I have no doubt they will all be successful!" -- Jennifer Ehlers, Reid Health Vice President/Chief Quality Officer

Becoming a police force means increased training and certifications for Reid's security staff. It also provides officers with arrest authority and allows them to deal more effectively with an increasing number of potentially violent incidents.

The former Security Department has grown from nine officers in 2016 to more than twice that today as Reid's geographic footprint has increased and its number of team members has risen to some 3,400.

"We appreciate all of the officers and their loved ones who came out today to celebrate," said Jennifer Ehlers, Reid Health Vice President/Chief Quality Officer. "I'm very proud of these gentlemen. While they have a lot of hard work in front of them at the academy, I have no doubt they will all be successful!"

Reid Health 5-star rated for stroke care third year in a row

Posted December 29, 2020

Reid Health is 5-star rated for stroke outcomes according to new research released by Healthgrades, a leading resource connecting consumers, physicians and health systems.

Every year, Healthgrades evaluates hospital performance at nearly 4,500 hospitals nationwide for 32 of the most common inpatient procedures and conditions using Medicare data.

This analysis shows patients treated at hospitals receiving a 5-star rating have a lower risk of dying and a lower risk of experiencing one or more complications during a hospital stay than if they were treated at hospitals receiving a 1-star rating in that procedure or condition. From 2017 through 2019, if all hospitals as a group performed similarly to hospitals receiving 5-stars as a group, on average, 218,785 lives potentially could have been saved and complications in 148,681 patients potentially could have been avoided.*

From 2017-2019, patients treated for stroke in hospitals with 5-stars for in-hospital mortality have, on average, a 53.4% lower risk of dying than if they were treated in hospitals with 1-star for in-house mortality.*

Reid Health earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients at a set level for a designated period.

"Hospital quality has never been more important, and consumers are becoming more aware of the importance of researching where they receive care before they visit a hospital for a specific procedure or condition," said Brad Bowman, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Healthgrades. "Hospitals that receive a Healthgrades 5-star rating for Stroke demonstrate exceptional outcomes and their ability to provide quality care for patients."

Misti Foust-Cofield, Reid Health Vice President/Chief Nursing Officer, said the health system has been dedicated to excellence in stroke care, with the rating reflecting the success of those efforts. "Our team has also been recognized by the American Heart Association recently," she said. "We are unwavering in our commitment to provide the most appropriate treatment to our stroke patients."

Reid Health received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association's Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award earlier this year. The award recognizes the hospital's commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

Reid Health earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients at a set level for a designated period. These measures include evaluation of the proper use of medications and other stroke treatments aligned with the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients. Before discharge, patients also should receive education on managing their health, get a follow-up visit scheduled, and other care transition interventions.

Reid Health is designated as a Primary Stroke Center featuring a comprehensive system for rapid diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients admitted to the emergency department.

"We are unwavering in our commitment to provide the most appropriate treatment to our stroke patients." -- Misti Foust-Cofield, Reid Health Vice President/Chief Nursing Officer

Earlier this year, Reid Health - Connersville Emergency Department also was granted a three-year certification as a Stroke Ready Center by Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program (HFAP), the nation's original independent, accreditation program. Certification confirms stroke care at Reid Health - Connersville is providing high quality care as determined by an independent, external process of evaluation.

The certification for the Connersville location came at the same time the Reid Health Primary Stroke Center also was reaccredited for another three years.

For its analysis, Healthgrades evaluated approximately 45 million Medicare inpatient records for nearly 4,500 short-term acute care hospitals nationwide to assess hospital performance in 32 common conditions and procedures, and evaluated outcomes in appendectomy and bariatric surgery using all-payer data provided by 16 states. Healthgrades recognizes a hospital's quality achievements for cohort-specific performance, specialty area performance, and overall clinical quality. Individual procedure or condition cohorts are designated as 5-star (statistically significantly better than expected), 3-star (not statistically different from expected) and 1-star (statistically significantly worse than expected). The complete Healthgrades 2021 Report to the Nation and detailed study methodology, can be found at https://partners.healthgrades.com/healthgrades-quality-solutions/healthgrades-quality-awards/.

* Statistics are based on Healthgrades analysis of MedPAR data for years 2017 through 2019 and represent three-year estimates for Medicare patients only. For appendectomy and bariatric surgery, Healthgrades used inpatient data from 16 states that provide all-payer data for years 2016 through 2018.

Community Generates Over $1.8 Million in 2020 Challenge Match

Posted December 22, 2020

The Wayne County Foundation announced today detailed results of its 2020 Challenge Match. Forty-nine local organizations collectively raised $1.57 million from generous donors in a nine-day period this November. This amount, plus the Foundation match, represents over $1.83 million in total contributed benefit to the community.

The Challenge Match was an opportunity for participating organizations to share up to $265,000 from the Foundation, based on qualifying gifts they received from the community in a designated match period. 2020 marked the ninth time the program has been offered.

"Our community is incredibly generous," said Rebecca Gilliam, executive director of the Foundation. "This was the largest Challenge Match to date in terms of the number of dollars raised. Clearly, this remains an incredibly effective tool to help local not-for-profit organizations promote themselves in the community and raise critical operating dollars."

"We especially want to thank our Match Partners," Gilliam said. "The Match Partners included the Doxpop Charitable Giving Fund, First Bank Community Fund, Fund for Tomorrow, Second Chance Fund, and the Wayne Bank and Trust Community Fund. Their contributions really led the way and enabled more organizations to participate."

The participating organizations and the amounts they received from the community and the Foundation are as follows:

Supplied Graphic:  2020 Wayne County Foundation Challenge Match Results

"Many people have told us how much they appreciate the Foundation's role in promoting this kind of giving," Gilliam said. "But we're the ones who need to be saying thanks. The participating organizations, our Match Partners, the media outlets that helped promote the program, and especially all of the donors who gave so generously are the ones who make the Challenge Match a success. They are the ones who make it all possible."

Wayne County Foundation Announces Lilly Endowment Community Scholars

Posted December 22, 2020

The Wayne County Foundation is pleased to announce the selection of two area high school seniors who will receive the prestigious Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship.

Michael Davis and Alexis Worl were chosen from a pool of 90 applicants from throughout Wayne County. Each recipient will receive a four-year, full-tuition scholarship and $900 annual stipend for required books and equipment to attend an accredited public or private nonprofit college or university in Indiana.

Michael is a senior at Centerville-Abington High School. At the end of his junior year he had a 4.36 GPA and plans to graduate with an Academic Honors diploma. Michael has participated in National Honor Society, Chess Club, Swimming, Golf, Model Legislature, and Experimental Aircraft Association. He served in several leadership positions, including Class President, Flight Sergeant in Civil Air Patrol, Captain of the Soccer and Academic Teams. Michael plans to attend Purdue University and study Aeronautical Engineering Technology. He is the son of Mike and Alyssa Davis.

Alexis, a senior at Lincoln High School, completed her junior year with a 4.30 GPA and plans to graduate with an Academic Honors diploma. Alexis has participated in Cheerleading, Golf, National Honor Society, Key Club and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She has held several leadership positions within these activities. Alexis plans to attend Butler University and major in Psychology. She is the daughter of Richai Morgan and Daniel Worl.

"The Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship is an amazing opportunity for students to continue their education after high school, without incurring the debt most students experience," said Lisa Bates, the Foundation's program officer.

The primary purposes of the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program are 1) to help raise the level of educational attainment in Indiana; 2) to increase awareness of the beneficial roles Indiana community foundations can play in their communities; and 3) to encourage and support the efforts of current and past Lilly Endowment Community Scholars to engage with each other and with Indiana business, governmental, educational, nonprofit and civic leaders to improve the quality of life in Indiana generally and in local communities throughout the state.

Since 1998, 51 students have been awarded Lilly Endowment Community Scholarships through the Wayne County Foundation. This year's awardees will be recognized, at the Wayne County Foundation's Annual Report to the Community dinner in June, 2021.

The Facts About the Coronavirus Vaccine

Posted December 22, 2020

As distribution of the first COVID-19 vaccine approaches, there is one thing Reid Health's top medical professionals want to make perfectly clear: They believe the vaccine is safe.

Development came at a historic pace, but the normal processes and trials still took place. The speed was greatly aided by previous research into coronaviruses and the priority placed on the project by the U.S. government, according to Thomas Huth, M.D., Vice President of Medical Affairs at Reid Health.

Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Emergency Use Authorization doesn't change the vaccine's status as an investigational drug, "we know that they are laser-focused on the safety data from the more than 20,000 people who have already received the vaccine," Dr. Huth said. "There have been remarkably few serious adverse effects."

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are the first to use messenger RNA (mRNA), but researchers have been studying the technology for decades, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Previous work has been done on potential mRNA vaccines for flu, Zika, rabies, and more. mRNA also has been used to trigger the immune system to target specific cancer cells.

According to clinical trials reviewed and investigated by the FDA, the Pfizer vaccine is 95% effective and the Moderna vaccine is 94.1% effective. Both results are significantly higher than those for many other vaccinations previously produced for other diseases, including seasonal influenza.

The FDA has given the Pfizer vaccine Emergency Use Authorization, which means it can be distributed under certain limits during the public health emergency, until the authorization is rescinded or until the vaccine receives full approval through the normal process.

Moderna also has applied for Emergency Use Authorization for its version of the vaccine.

"We know that they are laser-focused on the safety data from the more than 20,000 people who have already received the vaccine. There have been remarkably few serious adverse effects." -- Thomas Huth, M.D., Vice President of Medical Affairs

Traditional vaccines put a weakened or inactive virus in the body, but mRNA vaccines teach cells how to make a harmless protein unique to the virus that triggers the immune system. That response then produces antibodies and provides protection from getting infected by exposure to the real virus.

In other words, the vaccine makes the body falsely believe it has been exposed to COVID-19 to trigger cells to react and produce the crucial antibodies that will protect against an actual virus infection. The process takes a few weeks to accumulate enough antibodies to help protect a person from getting the disease.

After the harmless protein is made, the cells break down the mRNA instructions and get rid of them. The mRNA never enters the nucleus of the cells where the DNA is kept nor interacts with the DNA in any way.

Because the vaccines don't use a live virus, they can't give you COVID-19, but it will take a few weeks for the body to build up immunity after vaccination, so it's possible someone could become infected just before or after getting the shot and still get sick.

"The vaccine causes only one very specific virus protein to be produced. It does not produce all of the virus' proteins, and it cannot assemble whole virus," Dr. Huth said. "So there is no potential for the vaccine to cause COVID-19 infection."

Some side effects such as headaches, fever, and muscle pains have been reported during trials for the vaccine, mostly coming after the second of the required two injections. It's normal for vaccines to cause such symptoms, which are a sign that the body is building immunity to the virus.

"Having this vaccine is an important step toward turning the corner in the pandemic. There is no reason anyone should be apprehensive about taking it." -- Dr. Huth

The vaccine has been authorized for people ages 16 and older. Anyone who has had a previous severe reaction to vaccinations or intramuscular injections can take the vaccine but will be observed for 30 minutes - instead of the usual 15 for everyone else - after getting the shot.

Trials did not include those who are pregnant or breast-feeding, but the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine has advocated for pregnant or lactating women to be immunized. Those in either category who are considering getting the vaccine should consult their doctors first.

"Having this vaccine is an important step toward turning the corner in the pandemic," Dr. Huth said. "There is no reason anyone should be apprehensive about taking it."

Vaccinations in Indiana will be done in several phases with the first wave (Phase 1A) being frontline healthcare workers, including those at long-term care facilities. Those who are most at-risk to be hard hit by the disease will be targeted in Phase 1B followed by anyone who is at a higher risk for transmission because of their working or living conditions in Phase 2. That would include those in correctional facilities, group homes or shelters, or essential workers who cannot socially distance as part of their jobs.

The general public then comes in Phase 3.

Sources: Pfizer and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Reid Health Distributes First Coronavirus Vaccinations

Posted December 22, 2020

Supplied Photo:  Dr. David Jetmore (from left), Dr. Jennifer Bales, Dr. Annuradha Bhandari and Dr. Thomas Huth were the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at Reid Health.The first healthcare workers in east-central Indiana have been vaccinated against COVID-19, marking a critical turning point in the fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Four people were inoculated during a special event Thursday evening at Reid Health ahead of the Friday morning opening of one of three vaccination clinics that will be operated by the health system as part of the first wave of distributions.

"To have this vaccine available in a matter of months is a historic achievement. It represents an important milestone on the path toward a time that more closely resembles life before COVID," said Thomas Huth, M.D., Vice President of Medical Affairs for Reid Health.

"But the vaccine's arrival doesn't mean we can let our guard down. We still have a long way to go to turn this pandemic around."

Dr. Huth was the first in Wayne County to receive the vaccine Thursday along with David Jetmore, M.D., Wayne County Health Officer; Annuradha Bhandari, M.D., Reid Medical Associates; and Jennifer Bales, M.D., Chief of Staff and Emergency Physician.

Vaccinations in Indiana will be done in several phases with the first, Phase 1A, being frontline healthcare workers, including those at long-term care facilities.

Those who are most at-risk to be hard hit by the disease will be targeted in Phase 1B, according to Indiana's interim draft vaccine allocation plan. They will be followed by anyone who is at a higher risk for transmission because of their working or living conditions in Phase 2. That would include those in correctional facilities, group homes or shelters, or essential workers who cannot socially distance as part of their jobs.

The general public then will come in Phase 3.

"No one need be apprehensive about taking this vaccine." -- Thomas Huth, M.D., Vice President of Medical Affairs

"It will take a while to get enough people vaccinated, and in the meantime, we all must continue to wear our masks, maintain social distancing, wash our hands and avoid large crowds," Dr. Jetmore said.

"We do these things not only for our own wellbeing but for the wellbeing of our vulnerable loved ones, friends, neighbors, and coworkers."

Reid this week received a shipment of 975 doses of the Pfizer version of the COVID-19 vaccine. The FDA recently gave that vaccine Emergency Use Authorization, which means it can be distributed under certain limits during the public health emergency, until the authorization is rescinded or until the vaccine receives full approval through the normal process.

"Although the development of this vaccine came at an accelerated pace, we can be confident it is safe. The trials and testing processes were not compromised," Dr. Huth said.

"No one need be apprehensive about taking this vaccine."

Because the vaccine doesn't use a live virus, it can't give anyone COVID-19, but it will take a few weeks for the body to build up immunity after vaccination, so it's possible someone could become infected just before or after getting the shot and still get sick.

Some side effects such as headaches, fever, and muscle pains have been reported during trials for the vaccine, mostly coming after the second of the required two injections. It's normal for vaccines to cause such symptoms, which are a sign that the body is building immunity to the virus.

Those with questions about the COVID-19 vaccine can call Reid Health's hotline at 765-965-4200 Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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