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MVA Health News

The Place Where Health and Care Connect

Fairmont, W.Va. – In response to the announcement of Fairmont Regional Medical Center’s closing, MVA Health Centers has issued this statement:

“It saddens the administration, providers and staff of MVA Health Centers to learn of the closing of our neighbor, Fairmont Regional Medical Center. Their service to the community has been appreciated and will be missed,” stated MVA President Nancy Vandergrift.

Vandergrift continued, “MVA Health Centers, more commonly known as The Fairmont Clinic, has been here to serve primary healthcare needs of this community for more than 60 years. During today’s tumultuous times in the healthcare industry, we want to assure the citizens of Marion County of our organization’s financial stability and of our track record in providing quality patient outcomes for our patients. As an organization, we continue to be devoted to ensuring that the healthcare needs of the community are met.”

“For patients with emergent health needs, MVA – Fairmont Clinic, located just across the street from Fairmont Regional Medical Center, will be a continued source for Express Care. Adult patients can walk into our Express Care clinic to receive treatment for minor illnesses and injuries Monday through Friday with direct access to in-house x-ray, lab and pharmacy services. Our adjacent pediatrics center also provides same-day appointments for sick children with access to those same ancillary services. For those outside of Fairmont, our Mannington and Shinnston health centers provide walk-in care as well.”

“We also want to confirm the ongoing availability of affordable care through all our clinics. Beyond accepting nearly all insurances, MVA offers access to a Sliding Fee Program that makes discounts available to qualifying uninsured and under-insured patients for medical visits, x-ray services, diabetic education, basic optical services, pharmacy services and acute surgical procedures.”

Complete information about MVA Health Centers’ services, locations and hours is available at mvahealth.org or by calling (304) 366-0700.

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The MVA Health Centers network is a Health Center Program grantee under 42 U.S.S. 254b, and a deemed Public Health Services employee under 42 U.S.C. 233(g)-(n). MVA operates ten health centers in Marion County and offers services that include family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, Express Care, school-based care, optical care, behavioral health, pharmacy, x-ray, lab, case management, stabilization for the homeless and more. MVA Health Centers serve all patients, regardless of ability to pay.

Now that school is in full swing for all area students from preschool to college, its time to talk about a serious topic: childhood obesity. September is Childhood Obesity Awareness month. Currently, West Virginia ranks 15th in the nation with approximately 33.6 percent of the child population being obese.

Childhood obesity leads to several adulthood illnesses, including but not limited to:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Sleep apnea
  • Asthma
  • Depression
  • Decreased life span

Education is crucial to the treatment and prevention of this illness. I, therefore, encourage all parents and teachers, as well as child care providers, to check out some of these websites for further tips and information regarding childhood obesity.

MVA is here to help, too. If you have concerns about your child’s weight, please feel free to make an appointment with an MVA family medicine or pediatric provider.

Krista Flesher, FNP-BC
Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner
MVA Health Center – Shinnston

It’s summer time, which means it’s time to protect our family from the scorching sun.

According to The American Academy of Dermatology, 80 percent of lifetime sun exposure occurs during childhood. It is our job as caregivers to teach our children about why repeated sun exposure and sunburns are harmful to our skin and what we should be doing for protection. Cumulative sun exposure over the years can causes basal cell carcinoma skin cancer. However, episodes of sunburns before the age of 18 are what place you at risk for melanoma later in life. Skin cancer, including basal cell carcinoma and melanoma, is the most common type of cancer. New cases and deaths from melanoma, the deadliest form, have been increasing dramatically. All it takes is one or two severe burns to develop moles that increase a child’ s risk. Statistics show that approximately one-third of our youth are practicing effective sun protection. This is just not good enough.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is making an attempt to promote programs aimed at skin health and safety in schools. They have recommended that skin health be included in comprehensive health education classes. West Virginia has also recently passed laws prohibiting anyone under the age of 18 to participate in indoor UV tanning. Salons could be fined if they allow minors even with adult permission to use tanning beds.

Patients should be getting annual exams to check moles especially those with a family history of melanoma or those with many moles. There is strong evidence that the risk of melanoma increases for individuals who have atypical moles with irregular borders, vary in color, or are asymmetrical, meaning if you cut the mole in half, the two halves would not look the same. Other melanoma risk factors include previous melanoma or non-melanoma skin cancers, skin that burns readily and fails to tan, freckling, blue eyes, red hair, and once again a history of blistering sunburns.

Some simple ways to protect you and your children this summer include:

  • Limiting outdoor play when the rays are at their strongest from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least 30 SPF, preferably 50 SPF, 30 minutes before you or your child go out in the sun. Reapply sunscreen every 2 to 3 hours. If you’re swimming or sweating, cut that reapply time in half.
  • Wearing protective clothing such as hats and using a dark-colored umbrella adds extra protection.

A question I receive often is,“How can I protect my baby younger than 6 months? Is sunscreen safe for him?” Here’s the answer. If using sunscreen on a baby newborn to 6 months of age, look for titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. These products stay on the surface of the skin and there is less absorption. The best way to protect your baby, though, is with protective clothing.

We do all kinds of safety prevention on a daily basis to protect our families. However, skin cancer prevention often gets pushed aside. I consistently hear parents say, “My child and I do not burn,” Please know, however, that all skin gets damaged by the sun and should be protected.

The bottom line is this. Education is always key. Teach your children why it is important to protect their skin. Set a good example and protect yourself because kids tend to follow the lead from their parents. If you notice any suspicious spots on your skin or a family member’s skin, or notice anything changing, itching or bleeding, see your primary care provider or a board-certified dermatologist.

Have fun and stay safe this summer! If you have any questions that you’d like to ask me on this or other pediatric-related topics, please call 304-366-0700.

Candis Toothman, FNP-C
Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner
MVA Health Center – Pediatrics

Your heart is important in so many ways, and here at MVA, we want to make sure that it stays in the best condition possible. Did you know that heart disease is a leading cause of death in the United States? Did you also know that your risk increases at age 45 if you are a man and at age 55 if you are a woman?

Here are some other factors that can affect your chances of acquiring heart disease:

  • Obesity
  • Unhealthy diet habits
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Lack of exercise
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Stress
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes

Although you cannot change some of the risk factors like family history and age, there are some key steps you can take to prevent heart disease.

  • Don’t smoke or use tobacco – the risk of the heart disease significantly reduces one year after quitting smoking. Second-hand smoking, smokeless tobacco, low nicotine cigarettes, social smoking also can be risky.
  • Eat heart-healthy diet – Avoid too much salt and sugar in your diet and avoid the trans fat in your diet such as chips, cookies, fried fast foods and bakery products. Your diet should include fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish. If you eat meat, it is best to eat lean meat or poultry, such as chicken.
  • Exercise – Exercise at least 30 minutes most of the days in a week. For example: brisk walking, biking and gardening. Exercising will help with weight control, blood pressure & diabetes control and lowering cholesterol.
  • Manage stress – Get enough sleep, be active physically, try relaxation exercises and meditation.
  • Schedule annual visits with your primary care doctor – Get health screenings, have your blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes checked regularly.

If you have questions about improving your health, or if you suspect you have heart disease, MVA is here help. As the health center network that has been here caring for the community for more than 50 years, our doors are open to all. We welcome patients, new and old. Simply call the MVA Health Center nearest you for an appointment or walk-in during regular office hours.

I hope you will take this tip from me, your partner in good health,

Smitha Pati, MD
Board Certified Family Medicine Physician
MVA Health Center – Fairmont

Are you looking for a place where you and your family can find quality health services and a team of medical professionals in a trusted environment? Then look no further than MVA Health Centers. As a Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH), we use a team-centered healthcare delivery model that can provide comprehensive primary medical care.

The Medical Home model starts with the relationship between you and one of our highly qualified and experienced primary care providers, who will work with you to set personal health goals. Your primary care provider will also serve as a team leader, working to coordinate care among an entire MVA team that can offer preventive screenings, care when you’re sick, pharmacy services, lab and x-ray services, optical care, home health care, plus more. And, if you are someone who suffers from a chronic illness such as diabetes or heart disease, your MVA primary care provider can help manage the ongoing needs related to your illness, including referrals to specialists, when necessary.

Features of MVA’s Medical Home:

  • Patient-centered: A personalized partnership with your MVA primary care provider ensures that your medical needs and preferences are respected and that you have the education and support you need to make decisions and participate in your care.
  • Comprehensive: Our team of providers is equipped to offer care for the whole person, addressing patients’ preventive, urgent, chronic and behavioral health needs.
  • Coordinated: Your care is organized and coordinated across all elements of the health care system, including specialty care, hospitals, home health care and community support services.
  • Accessible: You are able to access services and personal health information with 24/7 electronic access to our secure Patient Portal. MVA even offers after-hours access to an on-call provider via our answering service when there is an emergency.
  • Committed to quality and safety: MVA clinicians and staff are dedicated to quality improvement on an ongoing basis to ensure that you and your family are able to make informed decisions about your health care.

Recognized For Quality Care

When you choose MVA Health Centers, you are choosing a healthcare network recognized for the quality of its care. The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) nationally recognizes MVA as a Level III Patient-Centered Medical Home. This recognition is for MVA’s achievement in using evidence-based, patient-centered processes that focus on highly coordinated care and long-term participative relationships under the NCQA’s Physician Practice Connections-Patient-Centered Medical Home (PPC-PCMH) program. In addition, MVA is accredited by the Joint Commission and is one of only a few primary care networks recognized by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of West Virginia as a provider of value-based care programs, based on the strength of its patient outcomes.

Come Home to Good Health at the Place Where Health and Care Connect

For more information on how you can benefit by making MVA Health Centers your medical home, call or visit our Fairmont or Shinnston office today. Patients are always welcome by appointment and on a walk-in basis Monday through Friday during regular business hours. It would be an honor to serve you.