Health care providers seek to increase colorectal screening rates

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Mar. 11, 2016 10:10 pm

QUINCY -- Blessing Health System, Quincy Medical Group and SIU Center for Family Medicine-Quincy are working together to increase colorectal cancer screening rates.

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

"Colorectal cancer is totally preventable, and if caught early, it's curable," said Dr. Harsha Polavarapu, colorectal surgeon for Blessing Physician Services. "So preventing colorectal cancer by raising awareness in the community as well as by offering screenings is something that we are very passionate about."

Colorectal cancer is the nation's second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths, but it is one of only a few cancers that can be prevented. Through proper colorectal cancer screening, doctors can find and remove hidden growths, called polyps, in the colon before they become cancerous. Removing polyps can prevent some cancers altogether.

In the U.S. in 2015, more than 132,700 cases of colorectal cancer were diagnosed.

"Our primary care providers both in Quincy and our rural branches and the gastroenterologists are dedicated to getting the message out to the community and help our patients by reducing the incidence of colorectal cancer in the (Tri-State area)," said Dr. Richard Schlepphorst, chief medical officer for Quincy Medical Group.

For more information or to learn about resources in the region, speak with your health-care provider, or call Blessing Physician Services at 217-224-6423, Quincy Medical Group at 217-222-6550 or SIU Center for Family Medicine-Quincy at 217-224-9484.

Five stars

Hannibal Regional Home Health services has received a five-star rating for patient experience of care.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently introduced the first patient experience of care star ratings, known as the Home Health Care Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems Survey star ratings. These measures evaluate patients' experiences with home health agencies.

Five stars is the highest rating and reflects the best patient experience.

The star ratings report patients' experiences of care from patients who have been treated by the agency, or the family or friends of patients.

Hannibal Regional provides a range of services, including skilled nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, medical social worker, home health aide, managing recovery after surgery, IV therapy, wound care, pain management and diet therapy. It serves Marion, Ralls, Monroe, Pike, Lewis, Shelby, Clark and Audrain counties in Missouri, and Adams and Pike counties in Illinois.

Full accreditation

Blessing Hospital's ability to diagnose and treat heart attack has been recognized by a national organization. The Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care has granted Blessing full accreditation as a Chest Pain Center with percutaneous coronary intervention through May 22, 2018. Blessing first earned national Chest Pain Center accreditation in 2005.

The PCI portion of the accreditation recognizes Blessing's performance of cardiac catheterization, also called angioplasty, which can quickly clear blockages to reduce the damage of a heart attack.

The most recent SCPC survey recognized that Blessing exceeds the national goal for the amount of time between the patient's arrival at the hospital and the time the blocked artery is opened in the cardiac catheterization lab. Ninety-six percent of Blessing patients – 11 percent over the national goal – have their blocked artery opened in 90 minutes or less after their arrival at the hospital.

For the past several years, Blessing has also conducted a public education campaign highlighting the importance of calling 911 when feeling chest pain and other signs and symptoms of heart attack instead of going to the hospital in a private vehicle. Treatment given by first responders and their communication with hospital staff on the way to the Emergency Center allows treatment to begin sooner. The recent SCPC survey recognized Blessing for a more than 20 percent increase in the number of chest pain patients arriving by ambulance.

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