March is a time of year that signifies renewal and calls for celebration. In the world of healthcare, we acknowledge several special highlights this month.
I believe our community has much to celebrate — specifically who we are and what we have done in the face of this harrowing storm called COVID-19 — which we are still weathering.
I very much hope that we are seeing the end of this battle with COVID, but without vaccination, masking when appropriate, and good hand hygiene, we still have a high risk for variants and spikes in the COVID numbers. Throughout the pandemic, our community physicians and healthcare providers worked tirelessly to serve our community. On March 30th, we celebrate Physicians (Doctors) Day, a special time devoted to honoring the important role physicians fulfill in both caring for their patients and supporting the families and loved ones of patients.
The pandemic has touched the work of physicians in a profound way, making it even more challenging. Our physicians have consistently risen to every challenge set before them, however, and we should all be so grateful. Thank you, physicians, for everything you do for Angel Medical Center and Macon County.
First and foremost, our physicians allow our patients to receive care that is close to home. Continuous investment in AMC’s growth and our community’s health is required to make this possible. Community input is a critical component in this process. There are many ways for the hospital to partner with our community that benefit both community members and the entire AMC team.
A focus for 2022 that we are excited about is venturing beyond the bricks and mortar of our hospital to connect with our community in two key ways. The first is our Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC). Council members are community members who have either been patients here at AMC or have family members who were cared for here. Their meetings with hospital staff will focus on continually reviewing our processes in an effort to make AMC even more patient and family-friendly. The PFAC will review patient experience data and hospital processes to help ensure that we are providing the level of care that our community deserves.
A second group we’re forming is the Community Engagement Group. They will both counsel us on how we can better engage with the community and advise us on ways that we can better support the community. We are very enthusiastic about launching both of these initiatives and are seeking community members to participate. If participating in one of the groups sounds appealing to you, we’d appreciate your help. Simply email me at Clint.Kendall@hcahealthcare.com and I’ll make certain your name is place in the hat.
Another part of AMC being a good neighbor is doing all we can to improve the health of our community through education.
The other major health awareness theme for March is that it’s Colorectal Cancer Awareness month. About 1 in 25 people will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and risk factors include age, having a family history of colorectal cancer, a personal history of polyps, lifestyle factors such as eating a diet that’s deficient in fiber and fruits and vegetables, high alcohol consumption, and tobacco use. Health conditions like obesity and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) also raise your risk. African Americans are also more likely to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
You’ve got several options for colorectal cancer testing, including a noninvasive test that analyzes a stool sample for hidden blood and altered DNA, and colonoscopy, a minimally invasive screening that is both a test and treatment (if needed for polyp removal) in one. It’s recommended that adults 45 years and older get a colonoscopy every 10 years, or as directed by their provider.
March is also National Nutrition Month, and we all know that what we eat greatly affects our health. Moving toward a more plant-based diet with fewer processed foods is what is advised now, and there are delicious ways to do this.
We at AMC wish to be a good neighbor in all sorts of ways. In addition to delivering care to our community, providing health education to you is most important. I plan in subsequent columns to touch on topics that impact community health, as I did last month when I talked about healthcare disparities. It’s important for everyone to stay informed about these problems and the gaps that exist. Only through doing all we can to care for everyone in this community equally can we realize our mission.
Clint Kendall, FACHE, MBA, MSN, BSN, RN, is Chief Executive Officer/Chief Nursing Officer of Angel Medical Center. He started his career as a nurse, and that perspective still informs his work and passion for the patient experience. Clint holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration, Nursing, and Health Care Management from the University of Phoenix, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Western Carolina University. He comes to Angel Medical Center from Andalusia, Alabama, where he served as Chief Executive Officer of Andalusia Health, part of LifePoint Health. He oversaw the management and strategic planning for a 113-bed acute care facility there, and led Andalusia Physician Services as well, after serving in leadership roles at LifePoint facilities in Richlands, Virginia and Henderson, North Carolina. Clint has also earned the Certified Professional in Patient Safety (CPPS) certification, and is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE), and the American Nurses Association (ANA).