PIKEVILLE - Pikeville Medical Center (PMC) has been named one of the Best Places to Work in Kentucky for 2013. 

This is the sixth year PMC has been honored with this esteemed award. 

PMC will be recognized at the ninth annual Best Places to Work in Kentucky awards dinner on Tuesday, April 16 at the Lexington Convention Center.  Final rankings will be announced at the event.

The awards program was created in 2005 and is a project of the Kentucky Society for Human Resources Management (KYSHRM), the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, SHRM Council and Best Companies Group. 

“Our employees work as a team, striving for nothing but the best,” said Juanita Deskins, Chief Operating Officer.

“This award further confirms their commitment to provide quality regional health care in a Christian environment.”

This statewide survey and awards program was designed to identify, recognize and honor the best places of employment in Kentucky.

Seventy-two winners across the state have been selected in two different categories: small/medium employer (25-249 U.S. employees) and large-sized (250 or more U.S. employees).  With more than 2,300 employees, PMC is among 39 other Kentucky companies in the large-sized employer category. 

The selection process, managed by Best Companies Group, is based on an assessment of the company’s employee policies and procedures and the results of an internal employee survey. 

The Best Places to Work in Kentucky initiative is based on FORTUNE magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work for in America” list.

To be considered, companies must fulfill the following eligibility requirements:

•Have at least 25 full-time/part-time employees working in Kentucky

•Be a for-profit or not-for-profit business or government entity

•Be a publicly or privately held business

•Have a facility in the state of Kentucky; and

•Be in business a minimum of 1 year

Melissa Coleman, Assistant Vice President of Human Resources at PMC and Chairman of the Hospital’s Employer of Choice Team, said, “Pikeville Medical Center’s employees are the reason we continue to be recognized among Kentucky’s best places to work.  Through their compassionate dedication and teamwork, PMC stands out among the competitors and is able to receive this esteemed distinction.”

PIKEVILLE - Today, February 1, is National Wear Red Day. This observance was created in 2003 by the American Heart Association (AHA), along with the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Every year, on this day, men and women unite together, wear red and commit to fighting heart disease.  According to the AHA, heart disease is the number one killer nationally and globally.

However, monumental strides are being made in fighting this disease.

Unfortunately, many Americans at-risk for heart disease are unaware. This may be due to people not relating simple health basics, such as a healthy diet and physical activity, to good heart health. 

The AHA pinpoints seven key health factors/behaviors that can “keep your heart healthy, lower your risks of heart disease and stroke, and improve your quality of life.”

 â€œLife’s Simple 7” includes:

•Get active

•Eat better

•Lose weight or maintain a healthy weight

•Control cholesterol

•Manage blood pressure

•Reduce blood sugar

•Stop smoking

“Positive adjustments in these key areas can make a significant difference in someone’s heart health,” said Pikeville Medical Center Interventional Cardiologist Dr. Bill Harris.

The first two factors above, being physically active and adhering to a healthy diet, contribute to successfully meeting the third factor of losing weight/maintaining a healthy weight.

Regular exercise may increase the length and quality of one’s life. It is recommended adults complete at least 30 minutes of exercise each day (at least 150 minutes of exercise/week). Children are advised to get 60 minutes of moderate physical activity daily.

Getting enough physical activity can help burn more calories and reduce one’s weight, cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure. Exercise can also help decrease stress and increase mood/energy.

A healthy diet is equally important in the fight against cardiovascular disease. Eating foods low in saturated/trans fat, cholesterol, sodium and sugar – while adding more fiber, lean protein, fruits and vegetables – is a good start to improving the health of your heart.

The AHA offers several tips to improve your diet, including: stocking the kitchen with healthy food, daily tracking of food intake and choosing heart healthy recipes (example: eating fish at least two times a week).

For more information on how to incorporate more physical activity and better nutrition into you daily routine, visit the AHA at http://heart.org.

This is the first story of a series. See Medical Leader’s Feb. 8 edition for the second installment.

Source: American Heart Association

Recognizing February as American Heart Month, Pikeville Medical Center and the Medical Leader encourage the public to educate themselves about the dangers of heart disease.

The term “heart disease” refers to several types of heart conditions, the most common of which is coronary artery disease. Other types of heart disease involve the valves in the heart or the heart may not pump well and cause heart failure.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Every year, about 935,000 Americans have a heart attack. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 600,000 people died annually of heart disease - that’s one in every four deaths.

It’s important to know the risk factors for heart disease. There are several conditions and lifestyle factors that can put people at a higher risk of developing heart disease, including:

• High level of low-density lipoprotein (or “bad”) cholesterol

• High blood pressure

• Diabetes

• Tobacco use

• Eating foods that are high in saturated fats, cholesterol or salt

• Obesity

• Excessive alcohol use

• Having a family history of heart disease

In its “Million Hearts” campaign, the CDC is challenging America to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes in the U.S. by 2017. The agency provides these heart healthy tips:

• Get up and get active. Be physically active for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week.

• Know Your ABCs. Ask your doctor if you should take aspirin every day, find out if you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol and quit smoking if you smoke.

• Take control of your heart health by following your doctor’s prescription instructions.

To take the “Million Hearts” pledge, visit http://millionhearts.hhs.gov.

PIKEVILLE – As the end of January nears, many people may be  reevaluating New Year’s resolutions. Losing weight and becoming healthier are typically two of the top resolutions every year.

Many people start a diet or exercise program and give up due to unrealistic goals or  a lack of convenience.

When resolutions don’t turn out as planned, some people may consider alternatives to make them more attainable.  Someone with a resolution of losing weight may decide to look into weight loss surgery (WLS), thinking it will be an easier process.

“Weight loss surgery should not be considered a quick fix, but instead a powerful tool used to help someone attain a healthier lifestyle,” said Pikeville Medical Center Bariatric Surgeon Dr. Amy Johnson

To be considered a candidate for weight loss surgery, one must have tried to lose weight with diet and exercise.

From the time of a patient’s initial appointment to the surgery date, Pikeville Medical Weight Loss Surgery Center requires patients not gain a single pound. In fact, candidates may be expected to lose some weight before surgery. 

Losing weight before surgery and increasing one’s cardiovascular condition will make the procedure safer for the patient and easier for the surgeon.

The Weight Loss Surgery Center works with each of its patients, helping them reach their individualized, pre-surgery weight loss goals.

After surgery is complete, a patient’s journey towards a healthier lifestyle has just begun.

Before having weight loss surgery, patients must be committed to making long-term lifestyle changes by eating well, exercising regularly and taking supplements.

This is one of the requirements.

“After surgery, exercise is the most important part of  the program.  It allows patients to improve health, increase energy levels, lose the maximum amount of weight and keep the weight off,” said Dr. Johnson.

It is very important that patients work with their physician or weight loss surgery coordinator to design a workout program suitable to their needs.

“Creating a healthy lifestyle takes time; it is a marathon, not a sprint,” says Dr. Johnson. “After surgery, we work closely with our patients, seeing them frequently to ensure they have the tools and information they need to reach their goal. We offer comprehensive weight loss surgery care, walking alongside each patient from months before their surgery to years after. When our patients succeed, we succeed.”

During the first several weeks after weight loss surgery, patients are asked to begin walking daily to immediately build on their preoperative exercise plan.

Upon the surgeon’s permission, weight loss surgery patients may add higher intensity aerobic activity, such as biking, jogging or swimming into their exercise routine.

According to the Obesity Action Coalition, “A lifelong exercise program is critical to a weight loss surgery patient’s success...exercise is insurance for long-term weight loss.”

For more information about the Pikeville Medical Weight Loss Surgery Center and how you can start your journey toward a healthier lifestyle, call 606-218-4811.

The Pikeville Medical Weight Loss Surgery Center is located in Suite 103 of the Grace Call Building at 1098 South Mayo Trail, Pikeville.


Obesity Action Coalition



PIKEVILLE - Have you recently noticed an increase in eye pressure?

If so, don’t ignore it.

Increased eye pressure is one of the few symptoms of glaucoma. January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month and Pikeville Medical Center wants the public to be informed about this disease.

Affecting more than 2.2 million Americans, glaucoma damages the optic nerve by slowly building up pressure in the eye. When the optic nerve is damaged, it can lead to blindness.

In its early stages, glaucoma is difficult to detect.

“The only way to know if you have glaucoma is to get your eyes checked by an eye care professional,” said Pikeville Medical Center Ophthalmologist Keith Ison.

A complete eye examination is recommended at least every two years, while diabetics are advised to have a dilated eye exam annually.

There are three different types of glaucoma, each with its own set of symptoms. Below is a list of each along with the warning signs, according to PubMed Health.

Open-Angle Glaucoma

Most people have no symptoms

•Slow loss of side (peripheral) vision

Angle-Closure Glaucoma

Symptoms may come and go or steadily become worse

•Sudden, severe pain in one eye

•Decreased/cloudy vision


•Rainbow-like halos around lights

•Red eye

•Eyes feel swollen

Congenital Glaucoma

•Cloudiness in the front of the eye

•Enlargement of one or both eyes

•Red eye

•Sensitivity to light


Individuals with a higher risk for developing glaucoma include those over 60 years of age, those who have family members diagnosed with the condition, diabetics, or people who are severely nearsighted.

Although there is no cure, the disease can be treated. Once a patient has been diagnosed, medication and/or surgery may help lower pressure in the eyes and stop further damage.

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, contact a local optometrist/ophthalmologist.

Dr. Ison offers glaucoma diagnoses and treatment.

His office is located in Suite 203 of the Grace Call Building at 1098 South Mayo Trail, Pikeville.

To make an appointment with Dr. Ison, call 606-218-6390.


Glaucoma Research Foundation – http://www.glaucoma.org

PIKEVILLE - On Thursday, Jan. 17, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Pikeville Medical Center hosted the Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce’s fourth Leadership Southeast Kentucky (LSEK) session for the class of 2013.

The event focused on health care and allowed local business leaders to receive free health screenings.

Speakers consisted of several community leaders, including Pike County Judge Executive Wayne T. Rutherford, Pikeville City Manager Donovan Blackburn, Pikeville Medical Center Chief Operating Officer Juanita Deskins, Kentucky Power Company’s Manager of External Affairs Brad Hall and Appalachian Pregnancy Center President Kay Hammond.

Deskins welcomed those in attendance and shared PMC’s recent successes, goals and plans for the future. 

She recapped the many awards received by PMC during 2012, as a result of the organization’s commitment to live out its mission “to provide quality regional health care in a Christian environment.”

“With much excitement on the horizon, Pikeville Medical Center expects 2013 to be an even more successful year than previous years,” Deskins said.

Deskins recognized PMC President and CEO Walter E. May as the visionary behind the hospital’s growth and success.

She ended by saying, ”Pikeville Medical Center will never rest on its laurels...PMC is the organization to which many of you and your families turn for health care, and we strive every day to do our part in making sure they receive the best care possible.”

PMC Pharmacist Cassee Jones and Gynecological Oncologist Dr. Holly Gallion also spoke during the session, educating the audience on their specific health care specialties.

LSEK is a training and technical assistance program that builds teams of emerging leaders from throughout the region who have assumed leadership roles in their communities, but may not hold established positions.

Participants in the program attend a two-day opening session and eight day-long training seminars during a nine-month period.  

The academy curriculum weaves together topics crucial to the development of community such as education, economic development, health care, energy, tourism, government, and banking/finance.  

Key leadership skills are integrated into each session.

Participants are encouraged to apply their previous and newly acquired skills throughout the program.

LSEK is the continuation of Leadership Pike County program which has been in existence since 2003.

Source: Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce

Medical Leader | FILE PHOTO
FLU PREVENTION: Washing your hands is one way to prevent the spread of germs during flu season.

PIKEVILLE - Flu season started earlier than usual this year. So far the leading strain, known as H3N2, has accounted for more than 98 percent of cases and tends to hit young children and the elderly the hardest.

Those most at-risk for severe flu complications, such as pneumonia, include the elderly and people who suffer from heart disease, are pregnant, have compromised immune systems or who are severely obese.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported a total of 22,048 flu cases from Sept. 30 to Dec. 31, 2012.

That is 26 times more flu cases than during the same time period in 2011.

“Kentucky has had widespread flu activity for five weeks,” said Dr. Kraig Humaugh, Kentucky’s sepidemiologist for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

According to the CDC, widespread flu activity is defined as increased flu-like activity or flu outbreaks in at least half of the regions in a state along with laboratory evidence of the flu.

In a Modern Healthcare Magazine article, Dr. Thomas Freiden, CDC Director, said, “It’s likely that influenza will continue for several more weeks.”

Getting a flu vaccination is the best protection, and even though it is almost February it is not too late to get one. “Better late than never,” said Frieden.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services advises that “everyone six months of age and older should get vaccinated against the flu.”

Typical flu symptoms include a fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches, body aches, chills, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea. The common cold and flu share many of the same symptoms, but these symptoms are typically more intense with the flu.

“It is very important for symptomatic individuals to seek early evaluation from a health care provider, since the treatment for flu is most effective if initiated within the first 48 hours of symptom onset,” said Dr. Maleshea Dunning, Pikeville Medical Center Medical Education and Residency Program Director.

Seek immediate emergency care if any of these symptoms are present:

•Difficulty breathing/shortness of breath

•Purple/blue discoloration of the lips

•Pain/pressure in chest or abdomen

•Sudden dizziness


•Severe/persistent vomiting


•Flu-like symptoms that improve and return again with a fever and worse cough

In addition to getting a flu vaccine, these other steps can help prevent the spread of the flu:

•Wash hands often with soap and water/alcohol-based hand sanitizer

•Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth

•Avoid close contact with people who are sick

•Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing/sneezing, and then throw the tissue away

•See a physician immediately if you have flu-like symptoms and stay home at least 24 hours after your fever is gone

•Get plenty of sleep and exercise

•Try to manage stress

•Drink plenty of fluids

•Eat healthy

“In addition to hand washing and obtaining the flu vaccine, the best way to prevent spreading the virus is to avoid contact with sick individuals,” said Dr. Dunning.

“Individuals who have symptoms should wear masks when out in public areas and should stay at home if at all possible.  Limiting contact with others helps prevent a secondary infection in people with the flu, as well as protects those not affected.”

Sources: http://cdc.gov; http://abcnews.go.com; http://modernhealthcare.com; http://kyhealthnews.bogspot.com; http://flu.gov;

http://healthalerts.ky.gov; http://www.kentucky.com

Medical Leader | FILE PHOTO
AQUATIC POOL: Pikeville Medical Center patients are able to rehab in the Outpatient Rehabilitation Center’s HydroWorx 2000 therapy pool. PMC has offered the service to patients for the past six years.

PIKEVILLE - Patients unable to tolerate physical therapy due to discomfort or pain have an alternative at Pikeville Medical Center’s Outpatient Rehabilitation Center, thanks to the HydroWorx 2000 aquatic therapy pool.

This state-of-the-art system, offering the most advanced water-based physical therapy, is also used by Cleveland Clinic, numerous state universities and professional sports teams.

The second nearest facility in Kentucky to offer the HydroWorx 2000 is in Lexington.

Aquatic therapy is covered by most insurance companies and is used for a variety of reasons, including: total joint replacement rehabilitation, fibromyalgia, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, as well as orthopedic, neurologic and neuromuscular conditions.

“For nearly six years we have had the opportunity to offer aquatic therapy to those who are unable to participate in land-based physical therapy treatments, due to extreme pain or discomfort,” said Linda Derossett, Pikeville Medical Center Director of Rehabilitation Therapy Services. 

“This is a wonderful service to our community and has proved successful for many of our patients.”

The HydroWorx 2000 features a large treadmill capable of holding four to six people at one time. However, Pikeville Medical Center respects patient privacy and prefers to provide individualized treatment.

Therapy sessions usually are conducted twice a week for four to six weeks.  Sessions generally begin at 15 to 30 minutes and can progress up to an hour.

After undergoing aquatic therapy, patients have reported improved mobility, increased flexibility and strength, an increased range of motion, and improved walking patterns.

A study by Utah State University’s Health, Physical Education and Recreation Department reports that “patients diagnosed with osteoarthritis may receive the same aerobic conditioning with less joint pain and greater improvements in mobility by using underwater treadmills as opposed to land treadmills.”

Some of the unique aspects of the HydroWorx 2000 are:

•An adjustable floor, allowing patients to enter the pool at deck level and then be lowered to various depths (6-foot maximum)

•A large underwater treadmill with different speeds

•An underwater camera and monitoring system that allow physical therapists to diagnose patients’ walking patterns and record treatment sessions/progress

•Resistance therapy jets

Physical therapists also use devices such as dumbbells and aerobic steps to assist in therapy and increase resistance.

Not everyone may be a candidate for aquatic therapy, including those who have an open wound, any type of incontinence or a fear of water.

A physician’s referral is required for a patient to receive aquatic therapy.

To see PMC’s HydroWorx 2000 or to learn more about aquatic therapy, call Pikeville Medical Center’s Outpatient Rehabilitation Center at 606-218-3507.

Source: http://hydroworx.com

PIKEVILLE - January is National Thyroid Awareness Month. According to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinology, as many as 30 million Americans may be affected by thyroid disorders, with half remaining undiagnosed.

The thyroid is a small gland located at the bottom of the neck, directly below the Adam’s apple.  Its function is to take iodine from a person’s diet and create thyroid hormone.  Thyroid hormone affects physical energy, temperature, body weight and mood.

Keeping the thyroid gland healthy is very important since it influences the function of many organs, including the heart, brain, liver, kidneys and skin.

Thyroid disorders occur more commonly in the elderly and females and are usually caused by abnormal function and/or growth in the gland.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are different symptoms of abnormal thyroid function, depending on if there is too little or too much thyroid hormone. Below are some symptoms.

Not enough thyroid hormone:

Depression/feeling blue

Trouble concentrating


Dry skin and hair

Weight gain

Feeling cold all the time

Too much thyroid hormone:


Weight loss

Tremor (shaking)

Fast, irregular pulse


Feeling hot all the time

Some factors may increase the chance of having a thyroid disorder. They include family medical history, certain prescription medications and any previous radiation therapy to the head/neck.

Pikeville Medical Endocrinology Physician Practice and the offices of Dr. Chih Chang and Dr. Reem Kheetan are located in the Adam’s Plaza at 140 Adams Lane, Suite 600 & 700, Pikeville.

The office of Dr. Arlette Soros and PMC’s Pediatric Endocrinology Physician Practice is also located in Adams Plaza in Suite 300.

For more information about endocrinology services, contact 606-218-4793 or for pediatric endocrinology call 606-218-6225.

Dr. Jody Brown

(EDITOR'S NOTE: The following testimonial letter was received from Pikeville resident Carol Willis Huber)

For years there has been no help for macular degeneration.

In May 2011, I began to notice a change in my vision.

At first the change was slow and I really didn’t think too much about it.

But on Mother’s Day weekend I became really concerned; everything straight looked wavy, especially the lines on the highway.

I do a lot of office work and I noticed when I looked at the computer’s keyboard and the typewriter it was like looking under water. I felt very hopeless until my first visit with Dr. Jody Brown.

I was referred to Dr. Brown by Dr. Regina Coleman Compton. When he tested my eyes, he told me I had macular degeneration.

I felt a deep pain of fear, but he assured me he would be able to help with injections given in the eyes.

I later learned that had it been 10 years ago, those injections would not have existed and I would have lost my vision.

When I began to take the injections, it took a few weeks before I could really notice any change.

Now, I can honestly say I am thrilled with the results I have received in my vision. Dr. Brown and his staff are awesome people! They are so kind at each visit, and are only too happy to be of service to their patients.

We are so blessed to have Dr. Brown and his services in our area. Without him and his staff, I would have to drive away from my home to receive this treatment.

The injections do not hurt.

Approximately 45 minutes to one hour before treatment, they numb your eyes to ensure there is no pain.

When I receive injections, I don’t feel a thing.

I am and always will be very thankful for those who did the research and found this medication for macular degeneration.

Without this treatment, so many people, including myself, would have lost their vision.

I am so blessed.

I highly recommend if you are experiencing a problem with your eyes, and are debating whether or not to see a doctor, do not wait; the sooner you receive help the better.

Every day, I thank God for restoring my vision through the hands of Dr. Brown and his wonderful staff.