Southern Ohio Medical Center (SOMC) is a 222-bed 501(C)(3) not-for-profit hospital in Portsmouth, Ohio, providing emergency and surgical care, as well as a wide range of other health-care services; SOMC has been in the community since 1954. It is the mission of SOMC to truly make a difference in the lives of patients, employees, and the surrounding community.
The operation of SOMC follows guidelines of The Joint Commission, the nation's predominant standards-setting body in health care, and SOMC has received top honors from that organization for meeting standards. SOMC currently employs 2,200 full time employees and part time employees, has a medical staff of more than 140 physicians and specialists, and is supported by approximately 800 regular volunteers.
SOMC, a rural hospital and one of Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Places to Work in America, is striving to provide the highest quality of care to make healthcare a remarkable experience for everyone served. It is the mission of SOMC to truly make a difference in the lives of patients, employees, and the surrounding community. The goals of SOMC encompass the mission and the organization’s five strategic values, which include achieving and sustaining exceptional results in safety, quality of care, service, relationships, and financial performance.
SOMC was ranked first on Ohio’s Top Employers list in 2010 and has been on the list for five consecutive years. SOMC was also named one of Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Places to Work in America. SOMC is the first hospital in the region to achieve the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s highest honor, the Magnet recognition status. This honor, given to only 6% of hospitals nationwide, recognizes national excellence in nursing. Receiving the national gold standard for safety and health, SOMC has been awarded the Voluntary Protection Program Star Designation. Voluntary Protection Program is a cooperative program of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). By earning Voluntary Protection Program Star status, SOMC is in the top 1 percent of hospitals nationwide in safety excellence.
Southern Ohio Medical Center FAQ
Q: What does a cardiothoracic or CT surgeon do?
As a CT surgeon, I work with colleagues in other specialties to surgically treat diseases in the chest – diseases of the heart (such as coronary artery disease, valve disease), diseases of the lung (such as cancer and emphysema), diseases of the esophagus (including reflux disease and cancer).
Q: Can you tell us a little about SOMC’s CT surgery program?
I recently joined SOMC Heart and Vascular Associates and work with Dr. Marion Hochstetler. Together we offer open heart surgery, minimally invasive lung and esophageal surgery, and vascular surgery services. We work very closely with our colleagues in cardiology, pulmonary, gastroenterology and general surgery: we are excited to have a comprehensive team that can offer many services that were once required patients in our region to travel. Our philosophy is to provide a patient-centered experience, where we combine the strengths of our service lines to treat the whole patient.
Q: Do you have a particular focus in cardiothoracic surgery?
I have devoted the last several years of my training, and my recent practice at the University of Kentucky, to minimally invasive thoracic surgery, also called “VATS”. All surgery unfortunately hurts – and in particular chest surgery! Until relatively recently all lung and esophageal surgery required a larger incision on the chest, spreading of the ribs, and with that a hospital stay that was a week or longer, and sometimes months of recovery. Today, using a camera (called a thoracoscope) and a second 2-inch incision, we can work between the ribs, like operating through a mailbox slot. This avoids spreading the ribs or cutting major muscles – now patients can return home within a few days and in most cases back to full activity in just a couple of weeks. All of the surgeons at SOMC offer VATS which previously was only available at the major referral centers.
Q: Lung cancer is a big problem in our region: who is eligible for surgery?
Yes – we live in a region that has one of the highest rates of lung cancer in the country. Much of this risk is due to smoking but genetics and occupational exposure also play a role. Surgery works best when we can “get it all” – that is patients who are early stage. The good news for early stage patients is that a successful surgery is associated with a greater than 80% survival 5 years later! And the key to finding early stage lung cancer is being aware, and potentially getting a lung screen: early stage lung cancer unfortunately has no symptoms. So if you have smoked for a long time, have family members who have had cancer, or simply want to discuss your risk I recommend starting with your family doctor. We also offer lung cancer screening at SOMC.
Q: If a patient is concerned about a possible cancer, who should they call?
As part of our team at the SOMC Cancer Center, we have a dedicated Lung Health Navigator, Jenny Woodyard, who can help patients understand if they meet criteria for lung cancer screening. If they meet criteria, she can direct them through the process. She also continues to help patients who have been diagnosed with lung cancer as they move through the various appointments and phases of treatment. She can be reached at 740-356-5864.