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April 2008

Free Vascular Screenings

Southcoast Hospitals Group is sponsoring a series of free vascular screenings to be held on Tuesdays, April 29, May 13, 27, and June 3, from 5 to 7 p.m. at St. Luke's Hospital, 101 Page Street, New Bedford.

Appointments are required and can be requested by calling 800-497-1727. Space is limited and appointments will be scheduled on a first come, first serve basis. No walk-ins will be accepted on screening days.

Donate blood ~ get a T-shirt

The Southcoast Blood Bank will be giving away a free Southcoast Hospitals' "I'm a Donor" T-shirt on Wednesdays during the month of April.

The T-shirt will be available on Wednesdays at all Southcoast blood donor locations, including the Southcoast Blood Bank at St. Luke's Hospital in New Bedford and the Southcoast Health Van.

The Southcoast Blood Bank at St. Luke's Hospital has extended hours on Wednesdays from 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. It is also open on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m..

Free Head and Neck Cancer Screenings

Southcoast Hospitals Group and Northeast Ear Nose & Throat Surgeons will be offering free head and neck cancer screenings on the Southcoast Health Van on Wednesday, April 23, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at CVS/Pharmacy, 1145 Kempton St. in New Bedford. Reservations are required for the screening. To register, call the Southcoast Wellness Line at 1-800-497-1727.

"Oral cancer is a major health problem in this country and one that most people aren't aware of," said Wendy Stern, MD, a surgeon at St. Luke's and Tobey Hospitals and a member of Northeast Ear Nose & Throat in North Dartmouth.

"It is vital that people — especially those who smoke — learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of this cancer and our screening offers a great opportunity for both education and a chance for early detection."

Dr. Stern noted that tobacco — including smokeless tobacco — and alcohol use are risk factors for head and neck cancers.


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Keith A. Hovan named new President of Southcoast Hospitals

Keith A. Hovan, a seasoned health care executive and clinician, has been named President & Chief Executive Officer of Southcoast Hospitals Group. Hovan will join Southcoast on July 1.

"Keith Hovan has distinguished himself as a premiere leader in health care with a keen insight, high energy and an unwavering determination to provide the best patient care and the finest patient experience," said John B. Day, President & CEO of Southcoast Health System, which includes Southcoast Hospitals Group and its three hospitals, Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River, St. Luke's Hospital in New Bedford and Tobey Hospital in Wareham.

"He really knows how to bring patients, staff, physicians and the community together to deliver the highest-quality patient care."

Hovan was selected after Southcoast conducted a five-month national search that looked at numerous candidates. A committee of trustees, physicians and administrators led the search. Hovan will replace Ronald B. Goodspeed, MD, MPH, FACP, FACPE, who is retiring from the position. Dr. Goodspeed will remain with Southcoast Health System in an executive capacity until October.

Hovan currently is Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer at Danbury Hospital in Danbury, Conn., a 371-bed regional medical center and community teaching hospital with specialized programs including emergency and trauma care, surgery, cancer, cardiovascular services and digestive disorders. He joined Danbury Hospital in 2001 as Senior Vice President of Operations before being promoted to COO in 2004.

"I am extremely excited to join Southcoast," Hovan said. "Southcoast is truly an outstanding organization that is squarely focused on what's most important in health care — our patients. I am honored to be given this opportunity to work with such a talented group of physicians and staff and look forward to continuing to bring advanced health services to the South Coast region."

Radiation therapy coming to new Southcoast cancer center

Southcoast Health System has announced plans to create a comprehensive center for the treatment of cancer and blood diseases in Fairhaven to address the growing need for state-of-the-art cancer services in an area of the South Coast region that currently has none.

Southcoast has received approval from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health for a radiation therapy unit. The approval includes a five-year commitment by Southcoast to provide more than $375,000 for community outreach and cancer prevention programs.

"Southcoast is taking proactive steps to meet the growing need for advanced, comprehensive cancer prevention and treatment in our region," said John B. Day, President & CEO of Southcoast Health System. "The new comprehensive cancer center in Fairhaven will ensure coordinated, high-quality, streamlined care for cancer patients and their families. The addition of state-of-the-art radiation therapy located in the greater New Bedford and greater Wareham regions further solidifies our commitment to improving access to vital services for the entire South Coast region."

The new center in Fairhaven will complement the well-established and highly accredited medical oncology program, which diagnoses the most number of cancer patients in the region. The cancer center will be located at 200 Mill Road and will meet the growing needs of the communities and provide regionally coordinated and comprehensive cancer management services to the residents of the South Coast region. The site will have ample parking and be easily accessible from routes I-195 and 240.

"Southcoast's new center will improve access to oncology services in a region that is currently underserved and will reduce delays for thousands of patients," said Ronald B. Goodspeed, MD, MPH, President of Southcoast Hospitals Group. "The inclusion of high-level technology will best meet the needs of the broadest diagnostic categories of cancer patients while providing the most current safety features."

ExpressCare @ Tobey: An Update

Tobey Hospital has temporarily moved the Emergency Department walk-in entrance and is rerouting patients receiving outpatient services.

Through mid-May, the hospital will be asking outpatients and visitors to use alternate entrances and exits. Signage is posted around the hospital to assist patients and visitors.

The new Emergency Department entrance is located next to the old entrance. Walk-in emergency patients and direct admissions from physician offices should continue to use the ER entrance. All other patients should use the entrance adjacent to the Emergency Department entrance (cafeteria entrance) or the main hospital entrance.

ExpressCare @ Tobey will separate patients with less critical injuries and health issues from the more seriously ill patients. This means shorter waiting times due to a dedicated team providing a variety of multidisciplinary services. ExpressCare will include up to five treatment bays, have the ability to do some lab tests at the bedside and will have staff dedicated to that area. It is scheduled to open in early summer.

New expanded MRI hours at Tobey

Tobey Hospital has expanded magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) service hours to weekends, early morning and evenings.

"It is often difficult for patients to juggle work, physician appointments and family obligations," said Debra A. Desmarais, Director of Radiology Services for Southcoast Hospitals Group. "The new MRI hours at Tobey offer residents of Greater Wareham and the Cape convenient appointments early in the morning, later in the evening and all day Saturdays."

MRI services at Tobey Hospital are offered on Mondays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesdays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the hospital on 43 High Street in Wareham.

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