Carilion Clinic: July 2009

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Carilion Clinic Westlake Center Opens With Strong Community Support

Before we could pack up the tents and clean up the ribbon fragments, the waiting room at the Urgent Care Center at Carilion Clinic Westlake was nearly full.
Watch WLSL's coverage of the event with anchor and Health Reporter Karen McNew below.

Watch the ribbon cutting below, and hear comments from community leaders. Scroll down for the image gallery and news release.

Image Gallery


Now offering urgent care, imaging services, rotating physician specialists, and emergency helicopter and ambulance service at the lake

ROANOKE, Va. (July 29, 2009) – Carilion Clinic’s new state-of-the-art outpatient medical complex at Smith Mountain Lake has officially opened. Located at Westlake Towne Center, Carilion Clinic’s Westlake center represents an investment in the future health of the community at the lake. The center is a 10,000 square foot medical complex offering urgent care, imaging services, rotating physician specialists, and emergency helicopter and ambulance service.

“We are an integral part of this community, and our patients are also our neighbors and friends,” says Bill Jacobsen, chief executive officer and vice president of Carilion Franklin Memorial Hospital. “Our goal is to create a quality health care center at the lake. With our advanced medical facilities we are offering services that will improve lake residents’ comfort, security and quality of life.”

Carilion Clinic’s nationally accredited Sleep Center and Carilion Clinic Urgent Care, previously located nearby, have also moved to the new center. A helipad has been built for Carilion’s Life-Guard helicopters to land next to the center, and emergency medical transport personnel are located on-site. Carilion earlier donated two acres of land at its Westlake site to Franklin County to develop an EMS/fire station intended to be staffed around-the-clock.

The rotating physician specialists include surgeons, cardiologists and gynecologists. As the needs of the community grow, other types of specialists may be added to offer lake residents services they need that are close to home. Several medical practices have already expressed an interest in opening satellite services at the center.

The new complex is the result of many hours of consultation with members of the community, and Franklin County officials. As a result, the center has been tailored to meet the particular needs of the growing lake community. The 21-acre site allows considerable room for expansion as the community’s needs grow, and the center has been specifically designed to accommodate such expansion on two sides.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Read the Roanoke Times Sunday article about progress at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute

Leaders of the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute say lessons learned during its evolution ensure its success as economic development driver.

By Sarah Bruyn Jones
The Roanoke Times

The same hopes for new jobs and a vibrant research park once tied to the success of the Carilion Biomedical Institute now rest on the shoulders of the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute.
As workers shape the structure that will house the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and the research institute, leaders within the two groups are already planning for future construction.

"This is not going to be the last building," said Dennis Dean, acting director of the research institute. "I think this is going to end up being a biomedical research park that's an economic boon for the area."

The idea of a biomedical research park is not new to Roanoke. The joint vision of Carilion Clinic and the city was to establish one in the South Jefferson Redevelopment Area.
When Carilion Biomedical Institute was first unveiled a decade ago, its supporters contended it would attract promising biomedical businesses that would help to jump start the local economy.
Carilion Clinic gave $20 million as initial seed money to CBI and then several million more to help the organization build up its war chest of intellectual property and fund research ventures. CBI was supposed to become self-sufficient, and new businesses were expected to flock to the biomedical park.

Neither happened.

"We didn't regulate our money well," said Dr. Andre Muelenaer, who among several other positions is still the medical director for CBI. "We did a better job with entrepreneurs than with research labs, but it was a lesson learned."

While there are some CBI-backed companies still operating in the region and showing promise, to date Luna Innovations Inc. remains the only company to call the redevelopment area home. Luna, which develops and manufacturers products for the health care, telecommunications, defense and energy markets, filed for bankruptcy July 17.

Others, however, are located in downtown Roanoke and looking to grow. The biomedical park-- now called Riverside Center -- is being filled with a clinic building for Carilion physicians, a hotel, and the building that will house the VTC research institute and medical school.
Meanwhile, CBI has all but closed its doors.

Because the company still holds intellectual property it will not disappear entirely. Also, it still is incorporated with the Virginia State Corporation Commission.
Still, those who had leadership roles within CBI said the focus has shifted to the coming research institute.

"And now here we are almost 10 years later. Who cares in a sense what it ended up being?" said Dennis Fisher, the former president and CEO of CBI, a few weeks ago. "The final result is it occurred and brought an increased number of jobs and economic development."
It's just that the jobs and economic development are coming with Carilion recruiting doctors, and the medical school and research institute instead of new biomedical businesses, Fisher said.
Carilion officials maintain that CBI was the catalyst for VTC.

"It really is picking up the ball where CBI left it and having the research institute run with it," said Eric Earnhart, spokesman for Carilion. "And I don't think the ball was ever dropped."

New project made debut with promise of jobs

When the city and Carilion first unveiled the plans for a 75-acre biomedical business park in 2000, they estimated it could bring 2,500 high paying jobs. At the same time Carilion pledged to create 200 jobs within five years after buying the redevelopment land from the city.
CBI claims to have brought a dozen new companies to the Roanoke and New River valleys, bringing more than $100 million in economic impact and more than 100 new jobs since 2003. By the end of 2006, CBI says it helped facilitate $17 million in laboratory research, which has resulted in 100 discoveries, 68 inventions and 22 patents, according to the organization's Web site.

In the past three years, Carilion has hired more than 200 physicians, many of whom will see patients in the new clinic building set to open in September at the corner of South Jefferson Street and Reserve Avenue. The research institute seeks to employ more than 200 researchers by 2013. And so far, nearly 300 people have been given faculty appointments to the medical school, although many of those people also hold other jobs in the area.

Muelenaer said future partnerships beyond the initial VTC research institute could still be on the horizon. "A lot of seeds were planted and the trees are slowly growing," he said.

Dean said there are lessons that were learned from CBI that will allow the research institute to be more successful in bringing about economic development. "The first time was sort of an experiment, and then we realized the relationship between Virginia Tech and Carilion had not been developed," he said. "It [CBI] was not a failure because we learned a heck of a lot from that."

Seed money grows into research collaboration

The lessons are being applied in multiple ways, including in setting up the infrastructure for having people from Carilion and Virginia Tech collaborate on research.
While many of the details such as ownership of intellectual property are still being hammered out, Dean said both Virginia Tech and Carilion have learned a great deal on how to better keep collaborative efforts running.

In some instances it's meant intentionally pairing researchers from Virginia Tech with someone from Carilion. Previously those involved had thought that these pairings would happen organically, but Dean said it quickly became obvious that someone needed to match people who had similar interests.

That's how Shashank Priya, associate professor of materials science and engineering and of mechanical engineering at Virginia Tech, and Sonya Ranson, manager of the Center for Experiential Learning at Carilion, found each other. Ranson said her boss suggested she meet with Priya.

Priya is known for his research in energy harvesting, artificial muscles, humanoid skin and face, actuators and sensors, according to a Virginia Tech news release.
Ranson is in charge of running the robotic human simulator at Carilion to help clinicians practice and develop their clinical skills.

Together the two are working on a prototype of a human-like robotic patient. While current simulators can mimic some internal human functions, such as having a pulse, they do not exhibit external human features. So the simulator can't cry or reach for its neck when choking.
Using Priya's robotic skills and Ranson's understanding of the educational needs, the two are hoping to make the human simulators more realistic. "We're a nice team in that I have certain skills and background, and he has other skills that I don't," Ranson said. "I feel very fortunate."
To facilitate the partnership the research institute recently awarded the duo a $30,000 grant. In all, the research institute distributed six of these seed grants to get collaborative research off the ground.

Priya was out of town and unavailable for comment but said in a news release, "With this grant, we will develop a human-like patient and study specific disease states. This seed fund will significantly strengthen our efforts and allow us to achieve important milestones in order to secure funding from federal agencies."

Dean said the seed grants will be given out annually.

Besides supporting research that may one day be commercially viable, the seed grants are also allowing the research institute to work out some very technical details of how the collaboration between two separate entities will play out, Dean said. For example, one of the objectives of the grants is to gain an understanding of the expectations of both research partners.

Recruiting and construction ongoing

Dean and others leading the research institute are still focused on getting the building's doors open by August 2010. Construction is on time and on budget, Dean said.
While the state has put up $59 million to construct the building, it only covers the medical school side and two floors of the research institute. The third floor of the research institute will be a shell.

To finish the building, Virginia Tech has applied for a $10 million federal grant through the National Institutes of Health. The money is tied to the stimulus package signed by President Obama earlier this year and would allow the research institute to build its animal testing labs. In all, the third floor would likely cost $15 million, Dean said, meaning that they are also looking for philanthropic donations. "We need to get this done in the next year," he said.

The hunt is also under way for a founding director, with the hopes that the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors will have someone in place by January."We've had tremendous response to our ad," Dean said. "The quality of candidates is absolutely spectacular."

While the hiring determination ultimately rests with Virginia Tech, two subcommittees consisting of a dozen people from Virginia Tech and a dozen from Carilion are on the selection committee.

The committee has fielded 41 applications from all over the world and narrowed it down to a group of 10 candidates, Dean said. The hope is once that person is in place he or she will bring a team of researchers to fill senior research positions.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Hokie Stone Arrives at VTC!

Virginia Tech's distinctive Hokie Stone has arrived at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. According to Virginia Tech, the distinctive stone blocks are Chepultepec and Kingsport Formation dolomite—a variety of limestone especially rich in calcium and magnesium - creating its distinctive colors.

Hokie Stone sets Virginia Tech facilities apart, and is incorporated into all new buildings. We're proud to see it here in Roanoke at VTC. (you can also see Hokie Stone in Roanoke at the Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center).
Watch our real-time progress on the VTC construction webcam.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Can Genetic Testing Lower Your Cancer Risk?

Genetic testing can help some people take steps to reduce their cancer risk. Is genetic testing appropriate for you? Click below to hear from Kara Bui, Carilion Clinic's Certified Genetic Counselor, interviewed recently by Joy Sutton on WDBJ's Saturday morning newscast.

Kara will be speaking at Carilion's Women's Health University August 6th at 11:30 a.m. at the Jefferson Center's Fitzpatrick Hall.

Her topics include: the causes of hereditary cancer, the rule of genetic testing and counseling, insurance issues and new legislation designed to protect patients from discrimination.

The cost is $15, lunch is included. Registration is required - to register call 540-266-6000.

Carilion Clinic is Recruiting Volunteers

New volunteers sought to work in new outpatient facility opening at the Riverside Center in September

Volunteers play a vital role in Carilion Clinic's mission, working more than 32,000 hours last year. We're hoping to recruit 180 additional volunteers by the end of August.

Click below to watch WDBJ's Joy Sutton interview Volunteer Manager Shanna Flowers about the new initiative.

To learn more about the volunteer opportunities call 540-981-7819 in Roanoke or 540-731-2428 for the New River Valley.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Programs move away from fee-for-service model, supporting prevention, wellness, quality and technology

ROANOKE, Va. (July 21, 2009) Carilion’s conversion from a traditional, hospital-centric health care organization to a multi-specialty, patient-centered clinic is entering a new phase. The conversion began three years ago with a commitment to improve patient care, improve service and eventually decrease health care costs.

“We’ve made remarkable progress in building the organization and infrastructure necessary to fulfill our promise, “said Carilion Clinic president and CEO Edward G. Murphy, M.D. “We’ve added more than 200 doctors, a physician leadership structure and a comprehensive electronic medical record. At the same time we’ve improved our academic profile by developing a new medical school and research institute with Virginia Tech.”

According to Murphy, Carilion is now turning its attention to problems inherent in the current medical payment system, which rewards over-treatment while providing no incentive to keep people well. Two new pilot programs aimed and improving patient care, efficiency and wellness while lowering costs will begin in 2010.

Carilion Pilots Brookings-Dartmouth Model

A new and innovative, nationally-recognized health care model that rewards providers for improving patient outcomes while lowering cost growth will soon be pilot tested in Roanoke through a cooperative effort by the Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform at Brookings, The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, and Carilion Clinic. The “Accountable Care Organization” (ACO) model encourages physicians, hospitals, insurance companies, and the government to work together to coordinate care, improve quality, and reduce costs.

The Engelberg Center and the Dartmouth Institute have selected Carilion Clinic to be a pilot site to implement the model through the Brookings-Dartmouth ACO Pilot Project. In an ACO, providers assume greater responsibility for the quality and cost of the care they deliver –supporting providers when they take steps to keep their patients healthy, deliver high-quality care, and avoid costly medications and procedures. It makes it financially feasible for doctors to practice preventive care and to provide enhanced disease management for patients with chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.

“The Brookings-Dartmouth ACO Pilot Project and Carilion Clinic are on similar paths,” said Murphy, “We understand that rising health care costs are not sustainable and that provider leadership is essential to reforms that reduce costs, improve efficiency, and are accountable for clinical outcomes. As providers, we are best equipped to develop solutions that keep patient care and quality at the center of the discussion.”

Carilion’s work in developing an integrated multi-specialty physician group provides a strong foundation from which to pilot the payment reforms central to ACOs,” said Elliott Fisher, director of the Center for Population Health at Dartmouth.

“Accountable Care Organizations are a model for delivery reform that can help transform our nation’s health care system from one that rewards overuse to one that delivers high-quality care at lower costs,” said Mark McClellan, director of the Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform and Leonard D. Schaeffer Chair in Health Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution. “We look forward to working with the partners in Roanoke and with other sites around the country to test this promising new model.”

Carilion Clinic will receive technical assistance in setting up, implementing and testing the ACO concept, and will develop a pilot process for payment and delivery system reform based on accountability for quality improvement and cost reduction. Brookings and Dartmouth will assist with various components of the pilot to ensure the success of the multi-year effort, with the ultimate goal of generating a structure that can be easily replicated across the country.

Several insurance payers including Anthem, CIGNA, United Healthcare and Southern Health have expressed interest in participating with Carilion Clinic in the ACO pilot and are in discussions with Carilion, Brookings, and Dartmouth.

Medicare Health Plan

Carilion Clinic has received conditional federal approval to operate a Medicare Advantage Plan. The new organization, called Carilion Clinic Medicare Health Plan, will offer a variety of plan designs with no or low member premiums, affordable co-payments, prescription drug benefits, and wellness care.

Medicare Advantage Plans are paid a flat monthly fee, which makes it possible for participating doctors to provide wellness and preventative care. Quality, outcomes and patient satisfaction measures will be monitored to ensure patients are happier and healthier as a result.

Enrollment in the Carilion Clinic Medicare Advantage Plan for 2010 is expected to begin on November 15, 2009.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine Appoints Founding Chair of Family Medicine

"Any sustainable health care reform will include strong primary care as a foundation..." Mark Greenawald, M.D.

ROANOKE, Va. (July 15, 2009)
The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute (VTC) is pleased to announce the appointment of Mark Greenawald, M.D., associate professor, as the founding chair of the Department of Family Medicine for the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. This new academic department within VTC is being developed under Carilion Clinic’s Department of Primary Care and Regional Medicine. As part of his new role, Greenawald will also serve as associate chair for undergraduate medical education within the Department of Primary Care and Regional Medicine.

“Mark is a physician thought leader of the caliber we expect to graduate from VTC. His mentorship through the AAFP Chief Resident Leadership Development Program to residency directors at the front-line in teaching the next generation of physicians is critical to keeping the practice of family medicine vital,” states Cynda Ann Johnson, M.D., M.B.A., president and dean, VTC.

Greenawald is a graduate of Bucknell University and the University of Virginia School of Medicine. After five years as a naval medical officer, he joined Carilion in 1995, and since then has made a substantial impact on the family medicine community locally, regionally and nationally. Locally, he is the education director for the Carilion Clinic Family Medicine Residency and is current president of the Blue Ridge Academy of Family Physicians. This year he was named the family medicine residency inpatient attending of the year.

Regionally, Greenawald is on the board of directors for the Virginia Academy of Family Physicians and has been a pioneer in the development of a group self-assessment process, which has helped hundreds of family physicians with the new maintenance of certification process. He is a regular speaker at state academy meetings, particularly in the area of men’s health care. Greenawald has been very active in the Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) initiative for primary care and serves on the executive committee for the tri-state PCMH residency collaborative. He has also held creative and leadership roles in the TO GOAL and IMPACT quality improvement programs sponsored by the Medical Society of Virginia Foundation for primary care practices.

Nationally, Greenawald is on the faculty for the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) Chief Resident Leadership Development Program where he has been involved in the leadership development of over 2,000 emerging leaders in family medicine and is the author of two monthly e-newsletters, Leaders Digest and Coaches Corner. He has also been part of a small group of faculty who have developed and implemented leadership development workshops for the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine. Through this leadership development work, Greenawald has become known for his innovation in teaching the skills of feedback, negotiation, conflict management and leadership coaching. Greenawald is also a regular presenter at the AAFP national meeting on the topic of rejuvenation in medical practice.

"Any sustainable health care reform will include strong primary care as a foundation, and family medicine will be an important building block of this foundation. We anticipate that the thought leaders who graduate from VTC will help lead the way to an even better American health care system,” states Greenawald.

About Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute
Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute is a public-private partnership that leverages Virginia Tech’s world-class strength in basic sciences, bioinformatics and engineering with Carilion Clinic’s highly experienced medical staff and rich history in medical education. Virginia Tech Carilion will improve human health and quality of life by providing leadership in medical education and biomedical and clinical research. More information at

Monday, July 13, 2009

Carilion's Roanoke Hospitals and Rehab Center Awarded Electroencephalograph Laboratory (EEG) Accreditation

Accreditation granted to less than 50 hospitals nationwide

ROANOKE, Va.The Laboratory Accreditation Board of the American Board of Registration of Electroencephalographic and Evoked Potential Technologists (ABRET) has recently granted the Electroencephalographic (EEG) laboratory at Carilion Roanoke Memorial and Community Hospitals and Rehabilitation Center a five year accreditation. Having received this approval, Carilion Clinic’s Roanoke campus joins an elite group of only four hospitals in the state of Virginia to receive this accreditation.

ABRET’s lab accreditation process evaluates technical standards, the quality of the laboratory’s performance and management. Accredited labs demonstrate the ability to produce high quality EEG recordings that conform to current American Clinical Neurophysiology Society (ACNS) guidelines.

“We are extremely proud to be accredited as this is not a common accomplishment. Less than 50 hospitals in the U.S. have approved EEG laboratories and it is an honor to be named among those institutions,” says Dr. Tom Wilson, medical director at Carilion Clinic. “Our motivated staff has worked very hard to achieve this prominent certificate, and it is our hope that patients and families will feel even more confident with our level of service, training and care.”

Carilion Clinic’s Roanoke campus has met strict standards and is to be recognized as a place where patients and physicians can have confidence they are receiving quality diagnostics. For more information, please visit

Mill Demolition Enters New Phase as Large Silos Come Down

Over the weekend demolition began on the large silos on the former Roanoke City Mill property, across the street from Carilion's Riverside Center and the future Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine.
Jefferson Street was closed over the weekend as workers built a temporary protective screen in the middle of the road to protect the buildings from possible flying debris.

The panorama of the mill site below was taken today (7/13).
Hat-tip to the folks at S.B. Cox for their professional, well-organized and remarkably fast work!

(Reminds me of a cell phone commercial)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Carilion Clinic Named One of Nation's "Most Wired" Hospital Systems

Third Information Technology Achievement Recognition in Three Months

ROANOKE, Va. (July 7, 2009) – Carilion Clinic has been selected as a 2009 “100 Most Wired” hospital system according to the Most Wired Survey and Benchmarking Study. This is the third time in three months Carilion Clinic has received national recognition for IT achievement.

"I think recognition as 100 Most Wired is a testament both to Carilion Clinic's commitment to technology as a key tool for patient care, and to the skill of our Technology Services Group,” says Daniel Barchi, chief information officer at Carilion Clinic. “Our talented Technology Services Group has been able to deliver an integrated electronic medical record (EMR) and other technology to seven hospitals and 110 physician practices that truly is as wired as a patient could expect anywhere."

Hospitals are named to the list based on a detailed scoring process. The survey asks hospitals to report on how they use information technology in regard to safety and quality, customer service, business processes, workforce, and public health and safety.

As more health care organizations implement IT projects, the bar is continually raised for achieving the “100 Most Wired” list. Hospitals & Health Networks, the journal of the American Hospital Association, has published this list annually since 1998. Previously, Carilion Clinic has been named on the “100 Most Wired” list six times. Carilion’s strong commitment to investing in technology that improves care, quality and efficiency keeps the organization at the forefront of health care IT. In 2008, Carilion began rolling out a fully integrated electronic medical record (EMR), and is currently on the leading edge of hospital systems moving toward paperless patient records.

Earlier this year, Carilion Clinic was included in CIO magazine’s “CIO 100” list, recognized among the top organizations in the country using IT to enable growth. Health Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Analytics recognized Carilion as one of only 42 hospitals nation-wide to achieve “Stage 6” implementation of its electronic medical record.

For more information about Hospitals & Health Networks “100 Most Wired”, please visit

Thursday, July 2, 2009

President Obama Advocates Clinic Model as Key Part of Health Reform

Carilion Clinic began conversion to clinic model of care in 2006
In a meeting with health reporters and a Town Hall Q&A session in suburban Washington, President Obama praised the clinic model of care for coordination, quality and cost efficiency, stating "that coordinated care drives down costs tremendously, that's the kind of common sense approach we're going to have to take".

Click below for an excerpt of the President' s town hall meeting, in which he talks about coordinated care, and the need to provide incentives to reduce unnecessary care.

FDA Considers Changing Rules for Acetaminophen (Tylenol, Excedrin, Vocodin, Percocet) to Prevent Accidental Overdose

Carilion Clinic's Pharmacy has already made changes to protect patients.

400 people die every year and thousands are hospitalized according to the Washington Post. People are often unaware of the amount of acetaminophen they're taking when they combine medications.

Click below to watch a WSLS report on the issue, including an interview with Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital Pharmacy Director Karen Lowdon.