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If you have a question about a story or feature on YRMC HealthConnect, please use the fields below to send an e-mail message to Yavapai Regional Medical Center’s Community Outreach Department. YRMC’s Community Outreach Department is a non-medical department and does not have access to patient records. If you have a medically related question, please contact your healthcare provider. If you need to reach a department or individual at YRMC, please call the general switchboard at (928) 445-2700. Please call 911 if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
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Living Well to Ease Chronic Pain
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chronic pain is one of the most common reasons why adults seek medical care. Statistics estimate that around 20 percent of Americans suffer from chronic pain and another 8 percent have pain that significantly limits their lives. If you suffer from chronic pain, you are not alone. In our latest Dignity Health Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC) Your Healthy Kitchen video, we explore the connections between inflammation, lifestyle, diet and chronic pain. We also prepare a delicious cool-weather salad that’s packed with inflammation-fighting leafy vegetables, fresh herbs and warm spices. Check it out! Winter Greens with Citrus-Cumin Vinaigrette Under healthy conditions, your immune system kicks up inflammation to protect you from injury and disease. However, if your immune system doesn’t turn off the inflammatory response in a timely fashion, chronic inflammation and pain may result. Stress, depression, excessive alcohol, poor diet, lack of regular exercise and poor sleep can trigger chronic inflammation. While it can be overwhelming to consider making multiple adjustments in self care, finding ways to improve just one area can lead to changes in other areas as well. For example, eating well might improve mood and sleep, which can in turn increase the likelihood of getting regular movement and exercise, which may also improve mood, reduce stress and lead to a good night’s sleep. In a snowball-like effect, all of these changes can eventually lower inflammation and reduce chronic pain. Plant-based foods that are packed with antioxidants are also important tools for reducing inflammation. Dark green, red, purple, red and orange vegetables and fruits; whole grains; nuts and seeds can all be part of a diet that reduces chronic pain. However, some people find relief if they eliminate some foods, such as grains, or at least gluten containing grains (wheat, barley and rye), from their diet. Consider working with a registered dietitian nutritionist to fine tune your anti-inflammatory diet in a way that provides you with adequate nutrition and satisfaction. Other dietary tips and tricks for reducing inflammation and chronic pain include: Reduce added sugars in your diet as much as possible Cook with healthy fats, including extra-virgin olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil Avoid highly processed oils, including safflower, sunflower, corn and vegetable oils Don’t overeat meat Enjoy foods that contain healthy omega-3 fatty acids, including fatty fish, walnuts, and flax Flavor your meals with plenty of fresh herbs and spices A final tip—eat your meals in a slow and relaxed manner, without distraction. This improves digestion and the absorption of those important anti-inflammatory chemicals. It also reduces stress, which in turn lowers inflammation. Eating in a relaxed manner might also help you to be satisfied with smaller portions at meals. If needed, this can help with weight loss, which in turn can reduce chronic inflammation and pain. Managing and treating chronic pain requires a multi-faceted approach. That’s why YRMC offers an excellent, holistic Chronic Pain Self-Care Program through Physical Rehabilitation Services. Physical Therapist Cheryl Van Demark, PT, C-IAYT, created the program and teaches valuable skills and strategies to help individuals with chronic pain to live and feel better. You’ll need a referral from your health care provider to the Physical Therapy department to join the program and can learn more by calling Cheryl at 928-771-4747. For more simply delicious, inflammation-fighting recipes and video tutorials, be sure to check out our collection. Remember to follow me on Facebook too, where I post photos and videos of the meals I make at home, product recommendations, and links to my favorite food and gardening destinations on the web.
Serving Our Country: YRMC Emergency Director Promoted to Colonel
Rob Barth, MSN, MBA, RN, CEN, Director of Emergency Services, Dignity Health Yavapai Regional Medical Center, is now also a colonel in the United States Air Force Reserves. That’s a rank only two percent of Air Force officers achieve during their careers. “This promotion is an honor and blessing, especially at this point in my military career,” says Barth. “I’m approaching 21 years of service and eligible for retirement. That makes the promotion even more significant to me.” Rob and Shannon Barth at the recent ceremony to welcome Rob as an Air Force colonel. The promotion ceremony took place on March 4, 2023 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. During the ceremony, Shannon Barth – also a YRMC employee – removed the silver oak leaf cluster from her husband’s uniform and replaced it with the new silver eagle. This formalized the promotion from Lieutenant Colonel Barth to Colonel Barth. During a separate ceremony later that day, Barth was named commander of the 624th Aeromedical Staging Squadron at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. In that role he will lead approximately 86 Air Force reservists and four active-duty airmen. Barth’s new squadron has a dual of mission. It conducts medical exams on airmen, ensuring they are medically ready for deployment to any location worldwide. Additionally, the squadron must be prepared to set up a hospital anywhere in the world within 72 hours. Years of Stellar Service At age 36, Barth made a life-changing decision: He would serve his country by joining the Air Force Reserves. “I called the Air Force recruiting office the day after 9/11,” he says. “I wanted to do my part.” Commissioned as an officer in 2002, Barth was assigned to the 944th Fighter Wing at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona. He has served there for most of the past 20 years. Barth began his service at the squadron as a critical care and emergency/trauma nurse and concluded as the squadron’s deputy commander. Barth has received numerous awards throughout his Air Force career. The two must important to him are the “944th Fighter Wing, 2004 Company Grade Officer of the Year” and the “Humanitarian Service Medal.” The latter recognized Barth’s role in helping evacuate Haitian citizens who were severely injured during the country’s 2010 earthquake. A Military-Civilian Partnership According to Tracey McCollum, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, CENP, YRMC’s Chief Nursing Executive Officer, both the community and YRMC have benefited from Barth’s service in the Air Force Reserves. “Rob brings best practices from the military and applies them to his work at YRMC,” McCollum explains. “The way we triage patients in the Emergency Department is a good example of that.” She notes that Barth has also developed excellent leadership skills through his military service. This has created a strong, cohesive and high-functioning team in the Emergency Department. The military also understands the benefits of the military-civilian partnership, according to Barth. “The depth of experience reservists bring to their service is valued by the Air Force,” he says. Words of Appreciation Barth also values YRMC’s support of his military service. “YRMC has always been extremely supportive of my military training time,” he says. “As an organization, YRMC is an excellent example of what a strong military-civilian partnership looks like.” As McCollum says, YRMC’s team is proud of Barth’s service to our country. “To be able to say that we have a colonel working in our four walls is actually pretty great.”
Foods that Fight Cardiovascular Disease
Reducing your intake of foods that are high in sodium, harmful fats, and added sugars can significantly lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. However, what you add to your diet is just as important as what you remove. Meals filled with wholesome vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, fresh herbs, spices, and whole grains can improve blood pressure while also lowering cholesterol, blood sugar, and inflammation – all of which are risk factors for cardiovascular and other chronic diseases. In this segment of Dignity Health YRMC’s Your Healthy Kitchen, we dive into learning about how these foods protect us while preparing a delicious meal that’s packed with color, flavor, and heart-healthy nutrients. Quinoa or Barley w Walnuts & Squash Research consistently shows that meals that are filled with colorful plants provide the nutrients your body needs to fight and heal from cardiovascular disease. There are thousands of nutrients in plants that have the potential to lower cholesterol, reduce inflammation, moderate blood sugar, maintain healthy blood pressure and protect blood vessels from disease. Just a few of these important nutrients include: Fiber Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium Folate, Vitamin C, Vitamin E Omega-3 fatty acids Phytochemicals Soluble fiber plays an important role in lowering cholesterol, and some of the best sources are: Oats Barley Quinoa Green peas and beans Pears, apples, strawberries, oranges and avocados Winter squashes and sweet potatoes Chia and flax seeds Brussels sprouts and broccoli Fiber also feeds the microbiome, the collection of bacteria that live in your digestive tract. Scientists are learning more about the role the microbiome plays in health and disease, but they already know that plentiful and diverse gut bacteria are linked with lower body inflammation and reduced risk of chronic disease. Decades ago, the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) study, demonstrated how foods that are low in sodium but rich in potassium, magnesium and calcium could significantly lower blood pressure. This study continued for many years, and consistently proved that food-based sources of these nutrients, not supplements, are key. Folate, Vitamins E and C, omega 3 fatty acids, and phytochemicals all have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. While protecting the inner lining of blood vessels from damage, these nutrients also prevent blood cholesterol from being dangerous and disease-promoting. It is likely that these nutrients work together to prevent and treat cardiovascular disease, so be sure to enjoy meals that contain a good variety of flavorful plants. All of our videos and recipes are designed to help! You’ll find our extensive collection at yrmcheathconnect.org. Be sure to follow me on Facebook too, at YRMC’s Your Healthy Kitchen, where I post photos and videos of the plant-forward meals I make at home, plus links to my favorite food and gardening destinations on the web.
A Colorful Twist on the Standard Scrub
How we dress can say something about who we are. At Dignity Health Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC) that’s especially true, thanks to the recent debut of color-coded scrubs and shirts. “Hospitalized patients meet people from many different healthcare services and a variety of support areas,” says Jessica Ryan, Manager of Service Excellence, YRMC. “The color-coded uniforms are designed to give patients and their loved ones information, even if it’s subtle, about their care team.” This uniform look extends to YRMC team members who typically don’t wear scrubs. For example, Physical Rehabilitation therapists are sporting burgundy-colored shirts. And our dietitians and other Nutrition Services team members wear steel gray shirts. The inpatient brochure patients receive includes a list of providers and the color of their attire. Check out the “We Are Your Care Team” chart to see who’s wearing which color at YRMC.
A message from Anthony Torres, MD, President and CEO at Dignity Health Yavapai Regional Medical Center
As the president and CEO of Dignity Health Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC) as well as a longtime physician and resident of the Yavapai County community, I want to share an update on the negotiations between YRMC and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ). For many months, YRMC has been negotiating with BCBSAZ in an effort to protect access to health care services for thousands of patients. As a not-for-profit health care organization, we rely on reimbursement from health plans to sustain essential medical care and community benefits. Unfortunately, BCBSAZ has been unwilling to agree to a new contract that would put patients and our community first. We are disappointed that our efforts to engage in constructive, collaborative and transparent conversations with BCBSAZ to reach a fair and timely agreement have not been reciprocated. Our most recent offer made significant concessions and was well below our own inflation. BCBSAZ rejected it without even making a counter proposal. At this point, they don’t seem committed to reaching an agreement. As a result, YRMC and BCBSAZ have not been able to come to a mutual agreement. Beginning February 8 at 5 p.m., YRMC is no longer considered part of the BCBSAZ network. Yavapai Regional Medical Group (YRMG) outpatient clinic services will remain in-network for patients who are members of BCBSAZ. We know how important this is to our community. We committed to working around the clock to reach an agreement. Unfortunately, BCBSAZ has not shown that same urgency or commitment, or a willingness to compromise. As a result, costs will now be shifted by BCBSAZ to patients in the form of out-of-pocket costs and deductibles. Our patients and community deserve better. Like many hospitals, our local hospital faces extreme financial challenges that are putting our services at risk. Because BCBSAZ was unwilling to come to an agreement, we are now facing a significant impact to the health of our community. In fact, this may: threaten our ability to continue providing essential care to patients in the coming years compromise our efforts to recruit and retain the nurses and doctors that care for our patients each day force Yavapai County residents to travel great distances to receive some forms of medical care limit our ability to expand community services, especially for those who are vulnerable BCBSAZ recently attempted to publicly downplay the impact a contract termination would have on the community. At YRMC, we believe every patient matters and every patient should be financially protected by their health insurance plan. We do not underestimate our responsibility as the region’s high-quality health care provider and we believe in keeping care local. YRMC has been providing health care in our community for nearly 80 years, and our patients are at the center of everything we do. This and the extraordinary close-knit community of Yavapai County are what drew me to move here in 2006. Since that time, I have made a commitment to be a faithful neighbor and doctor, putting our patients first. As a medical provider and a resident of this great community, I am extremely concerned about BCBSAZ’s lack of interest to collaborate so that we could come to a reasonable agreement for the sake of our patients. I recognize the inconvenience and stress this negotiation has caused for our patients with BCBSAZ coverage. Please know that it is our intent to continue our conversations with BCBSAZ and reach an agreement to make sure the health care services available in our community can continue for years to come. For our patients with BCBSAZ who may have questions, I encourage you to visit yrmc.org/bcbsaz for more information.
Dignity Health YRMC and BCBSAZ of Arizona Extend Negotiations Toward Agreement
Dignity Health Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC) and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ) continue working around the clock to reach a contract agreement. The organizations have agreed to another deadline extension with the intent to reach a fair and responsible agreement that puts patients first. The negotiation period has been extended through Wednesday, Feb. 8 at 5 pm. BCBSAZ-insured patients will maintain their in-network access to YRMC services through the extension date and time. The team at YRMC continues its efforts to do everything possible to protect patient access to the hospitals and services they know and trust. We will continue working with BCBSAZ in good faith to reach a new agreement that protects patients’ access to local and high-quality health care services. As we have previously stated, we do not underestimate our responsibility as the region’s high-quality health care provider, and do not take lightly the inconvenience this negotiation has caused for our patients with BCBSAZ coverage. We will continue to provide updates as the negotiations progress.
Dignity Health YRMC and BCBSAZ Extend Deadline to Continue Working Toward Agreement
Dignity Health Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC) and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ) have extended their negotiation deadline another 24 hours as the organizations work toward reaching a fair and responsible agreement. The negotiation period has been extended through Tuesday, Feb. 7. BCBSAZ-insured patients will maintain their in-network access to YRMC services through the extension date. As we have stated throughout, we do not underestimate our responsibility as the region’s high-quality health care provider. We recognize and do not take lightly the inconvenience this negotiation has caused for our patients with coverage from BCBSAZ. Responsible agreements with health insurance companies are essential to providing high quality health care to our community. We will continue to work around the clock and continue our conversations with BCBSAZ in hopes of reaching an agreement that is in the best interest of our patients.
Negotiations Extended through Monday, Feb. 6: Dignity Health’s YRMC and BCBSAZ Continue Work to Complete Agreement
In an effort to ensure a fair and responsible contract agreement that benefits the Yavapai County community, Dignity Health Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC) and Dignity Health Yavapai Regional Medical Group (YRMG), and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ) have agreed to further extend their negotiation period through Monday, Feb. 6. BCBSAZ-insured patients will maintain their in-network access to YRMC and YRMG services, facilities, and providers through the extension date. We want to make clear our commitment to our patients in Yavapai County. We continue to work around the clock to reach an agreement that will enable us to put patients first and continue providing essential medical services to the community. We greatly appreciate the public’s patience as we work through these negotiations.