Game Plans

The Regional Medical Center at Memphis firms up the present and stakes out the future.

photograph by Larry Kuzniewski

It’s been a busy year at the Regional Medical Center at Memphis (The MED). In the context of some major new developments on the horizon — a long-term goal to replace the hospital campus and a plan to open an outpatient facility in East Memphis — the activity is a relative calm before the storm. One might think of 2013 as The MED solidifying its position before a significant step forward.

The Firefighters Regional Burn Center, located at Regional Medical Center, will soon have more space to accommodate a growing number of burn patients thanks to a $3 million grant from the Plough Foundation. The grant will allow the burn center to renovate space in the hospital’s existing Turner Tower to accommodate an additional operating room, a new rehabilitation center dedicated to burn patients, and outpatient office space.

“This grant will enable us to help meet the ever-growing needs of the Mid-South community by  doubling the burn center’s size to improve efficiency, quality of care, and expanded lines of service for burn patients,” says Dr. William Hickerson, medical director of the burn center.

The Firefighters Regional Burn Center is the only of its kind within a 150-mile radius of Memphis, recently recognized as the only burn facility in Tennessee certified by the American Burn Association and the American College of Surgeons. The center provides burn patients with comprehensive care from initial treatment to reconstructive plastic surgery and physical rehabilitation allowing survivors to return to healthy, productive lives as quickly as possible. Opened in 1985, the center has grown to include 14 beds, an outpatient clinic, state-of-the-art surgery center, and a research department, treating more than 500 patients each year.

“We are extremely grateful to the Plough Foundation for their generous support of our burn center and the future of Regional Medical Center,” says Tammie Ritchey, Vice President of Development and Executive Director of the MED Foundation.

This year also saw the opening of a newly constructed Critical Care Waiting Room. The new area locates guests closer to their loved ones in critical areas in the hospital and includes several upgrades from the previous location, including a meditation room donated by the John K. and Katherine Johnson Auxiliary (which celebrated 40 years in 2013).

Another piece of the medical complex, the Rehabilitation Hospital of Memphis, a 20-bed inpatient hospital housed inside The MED, received full accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).

“Our team works diligently to maintain services that comply with CARF standards, and the accreditation is a testament to the quality of care we provide and outstanding outcomes our patients achieve,” says Gail Stewart, Director of Rehabilitation Services. “Our dedicated team of nurses, therapists and other staff, led by medical director Dr. Tewfik Rizk, provide individualized, patient-centered care in a compassionate and professional manner to all we serve.”

The Newborn Center Pharmacy received the Vaccines for Children (VFC) Hot Shot Award from the State of Tennessee. In 2012, 3,300 VFC vaccines were administered to infants in the Newborn Center at The MED. The VFC program provides children the opportunity to start their immunization series even though they are hospitalized.

Another honor The MED received was being recognized as a Platinum-Level Fit Friendly Worksite by the American Heart Association (AHA), for helping employees eat better and move more. Platinum-level employers implement at least nine criteria outlined by the AHA in the areas of physical activity, nutrition, and culture, and promoting a wellness culture in the workplace.

Dr. Reginald Coopwood, President and CEO of The MED, was installed as Chairman of the Tennessee Hospital Association (THA) during the association’s annual meeting in Nashville this fall. THA was founded in 1938 and serves as an advocate for hospitals, health systems, home health agencies, and other healthcare organizations and the patients they serve.

The MED launched a hospital-based violence intervention program designed to promote positive alternatives to violence in the community. The goals of the program are to reduce retaliation, criminal involvement, and re-injury among youth injured by violence, as well as connect those youth and their families with opportunities and wrap-around social services. With the only Level 1 Trauma Center in a 150-mile radius of Memphis, The MED is the destination for individuals with traumatic injuries, including many who are young and injured by violence.

“As a hospital, we realized these patients are being discharged physically healed, but with no ‘prescription’ to stay safe and without support to find non-violent solutions,” says Coopwood. “We saw the hospital violence intervention program as an opportunity for us to accept an obligation to contribute to ending violence in our community.” The program came about through the City of Memphis Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team, which was created to develop novel initiatives to advance the city in very specific ways.


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