Unused, unneeded and expired prescription drugs to be collected Saturday, Sept. 25

By Everything Cenla staff

The Alexandria Area Four Safe Streets/Community Program will collect unused, unneeded and expired prescription drug medications from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25, at the Martin Community Center, 2301 Mill St.

The National Prescription Drug Take Back Program  is in collaboration with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

For more information, call Pamela Marshall, Safe Streets liaison, at (318) 473-1132.

Rapides Primary Health Care to begin construction of new Women’s Pavilion

Patricia Lewis, chief executive officer of the Rapides Primary Health Care Center, explains the design of the Women's Pavilion to be constructed.

By Sherri L. Jackson
Everything Cenla

Construction on the Rapides Primary Health Care Center’s new Women’s Pavilion is set to begin on July 5.

For Patricia Lewis, the Center’s chief executive officer, board members and patients, that fact earmarks the beginning of the Center’s next phase of offering expanded medical services to the uninsured and underinsured population of Central Louisiana.

The first step toward that end was held Tuesday, June 29, as supporters gathered for the official groundbreaking ceremony.

“This has been a dream for several years, and it has finally come into being,” Lewis said of the new building that will house women services.

Those attending the ceremony included Victor Kirk, the Center’s former director; Mayor Jacques Roy; Charles F. Smith, former District 3 City Councilman; Israel B. Curtis, former District 26 representative in the state House of Representatives;  Rhonda Litt, executive director of the Louisiana Primary Care Association; and Oliver Overton of the Rapides Parish Police Jury.

The 8,329 square-feet Women’s Pavilion will offer health-care services to women. It will be built behind the existing facility located at 1217 Willow Glen River Road in Alexandria. The Administration Department, which is currently housed in the Health Care Center, will relocate to the Women’s Pavilion, allowing for the expansion of medical and dental services currently offered.

The total cost of the project is $1.3 million, Lewis said. The Center received $738,000 from a $41 million state grant that was distributed through the Louisiana Primary Care Association. Other funds came from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Lewis said the expansion will allow the Center to effectively work with patients who have chronic diseases and cancer.

“We’ve been doing these services all along, but we’ve reached our limit. The patient base has grown tremendously,” she said. “We’ve always had to refer women with chronic diseases. We can now bring OB/GYN. We wanted the services to be closer to the community.”

Meanwhile, Curtis, who was instrumental in bringing the Center to the community, said he was proud of the Center’s accomplishments and the fact that many of the board members have served since the Center’s inception.

“The pavilion has always been in the plans,” he said. “I’m grateful that the many of the original board members stuck it out with us.”

The Center’s board members include Willie Stewart, president; Varie Stallworth, vice president; Ben Bensley, treasurer; Beverly Brown, board member, Delores Perry, consumer representative; Margaret Wess, consumer representative; Erma Lyons, board member; the Rev. Stanley Mathis, board member; and Dr. Charles Norwood, medical advisor.

Nurse Jeanie Voelker receives Rapides Regional’s Daisy Award


It’s the little things that patients notice most – a warm blanket, a kind word, or just a little extra time. And it’s those things that Jeanie Voelker, Rapides Regional Medical Center’s most recent Daisy Award winner, provides on a daily basis.

Jeanie Voelker, RN, is the charge nurse in Radiology and has worked at Rapides Regional for 17 years.

“Jeanie goes out of her way to meet the needs of our patients,” said Marion Satcher, Jeanie’s Radiology coworker. “I remember one patient who was waiting to have an X-ray. Jeanie stopped to ask if she was OK and found out the patient was chilled. After getting a warm blanket, and discovering the patient was very anxious about an upcoming surgery, Jeanie sat down and talked with the patient about the surgery.

“In the patient’s words, ‘Jeanie comforted me when I really needed comfort.  Everyone was busy and many had passed me in the waiting area, but Jeanie got involved.”

Her co-workers describe Voelker as detail-oriented, responsible, dependable, dedicated and understanding, saying – “We need more nurses like Jeanie.”

That’s why Voelker was chosen to receive this most recent DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses. The award, presented in collaboration with The American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE), is designed to recognize the super-human efforts nurses perform every day.

The award at Rapides Regional Medical Center is co-sponsored by United Healthcare and is presented to a different nurse each quarter.

The award looks at the areas of accountability, compassion, intuition, regard for patient’s wishes and integrity.

More than 500 hospitals around the country participate in the DAISY award program.

The not-for-profit DAISY Foundation is based in Glen Ellen, Calif., and was established by the family of J. Patrick Barnes. Barnes was 33 years old when he died from complications of the auto-immune disease, Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura. Barnes’ family established the Foundation and this award as a way of saying “Thank You” to nurses everywhere for the difference they make in the lives of their patients and patient families.

Voelker received a sculpture – hand-carved by the Shona tribe in Africa – called “A Healer’s Touch,” along with an armful of daisies and enough cinnamon rolls to share with the coworkers on her unit. (Cinnamon rolls were one of the things Patrick Barnes requested while in the hospital – and he wanted enough to share with all the nurses on the shift.) She also received a gift certificate for a spa facial, courtesy of Barnes’ sister-in-law Danna Barnes.

“We are proud to be among the hospitals participating in the DAISY Award program,” said Rapides Regional Medical Center’s Chief Nursing Officer Tina Coker, RN, MSN, MBA. “Nurses are heroes everyday. “It’s important that our nurses know their work is highly valued, and The DAISY Foundation provides a way for us to do that.”

Ville Platte business owners arrested on fraud charges

VILLE PLATTE – A months-long investigation by the Louisiana Workforce
Commission and Louisiana Attorney General’s office into the business
practices of a Ville Platte medical staffing firm ended today with the
arrest of the company’s owners.

Brett McElwee and Daniel Fuselier, owners of First Choice Medical Staffing,
were arrested on charges of insurance fraud and unlawful practices
involving workers’ compensation coverage. The two surrendered to
authorities today at the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office.

The arrests are part of an ongoing effort by LWC to crack down on workers’
compensation fraud by both businesses and workers, said Chris Broadwater,
director of the LWC Office of Workers’ Compensation. “Our message should be
clearly heard: If employers or employees are operating outside the bounds
of the law, we will investigate these matters thoroughly and will seek to
apply all remedies available under the law,” he said.

According to investigators, McElwee and Fuselier grossly under-reported
their company’s payroll and number of employees in order to reduce the cost
of their workers’ compensation premium.

Beginning last year, LWC ramped up its investigations into suspected
employer and employee fraud. In 2009, the LWC Fraud Unit conducted 3,130
investigations, a 64 percent increase over 2008.  From those
investigations, 26 referrals of both employers and workers were made to the
Attorney General’s office for prosecution, a nearly seven-fold increase
over 2008.

Through April 2010, LWC has conducted more than 1,000 investigations, with
14 referrals for criminal prosecution.

“Our fraud and compliance units have done a fantastic job rooting out
fraudulent activity wherever it is found,” said Broadwater. Much of the
work is done by analyzing claims processed for workers’ comp and
unemployment insurance and reviewing employer quarterly records.

It is illegal for businesses to misrepresent the status of their employees
in an effort to avoid paying workers’ compensation insurance, payroll taxes
and other employee-related costs.

“All employers doing business in Louisiana are required to provide
workers’ compensation coverage for their employees. Businesses that are not
covering their employees are shortchanging those employees and driving up
costs for other businesses,” said Broadwater. “This is an important step in
creating a level playing field for all businesses to compete fairly.”

Employers who fail to comply can face fines per employee per incident.
Continued non-compliance can result in larger fines, an injunction from
doing business in the state or possible jail time.

Rapides Women’s and Children’s Hospital Atrium transformed

Phase 2 of renovation, including patient rooms and physician offices, begins

Rapides Women’s and Children’s Hospital celebrated the “Grand Re-Opening” of its Atrium on Tuesday, May 11.

“After six months of construction, we’re happy to show off our family- and kid-friendly Atrium,” said David Williams, Rapides Regional Medical Center chief executive officer. “This project gave RWCH a brand new look – one befitting our role as this community’s first choice in healthcare for women and children.”

RRMC employees and members of the Central Louisiana Chamber of Commerce were on hand to hear the announcement regarding “Phase 2” of RWCH’s renovation plan.

“Phase 2 will include all RWCH patient rooms, Labor and Delivery and the common areas of our Medical Pavilion,” said Cheryl Wilson, chief operating officer. “This next phase will include paint, flooring, fixtures and furniture designed to coordinate with the look used in our Atrium remodel.”

The $2.1 million project, which began on May 3, should be completed by late November. Rapides Women’s and Children’s Hospital construction began in 1987 under the direction of then CEO Julius McLaurin. His vision was to create a hospital dedicated to women’s health.

“Twenty years later, RWCH is now this area’s leader in providing women’s and children’s healthcare,” Williams said. “It is a privilege and responsibility we do not take lightly. We deliver almost 70 percent of all the children born in central Louisiana and are home to the area’s largest neonatal intensive care unit and only pediatric intensive care unit.”

Work on patient rooms, Labor and Delivery suites and the Medical Pavilion will take place after hours, to minimize the inconvenience to patients and visitors.

Running the Roads for Life 5K Run/Walk scheduled

ALEXANDRIA – The 3rd Annual Running the Roads for Life 5K Run/Walk and 1 Mile Fun Run, benefiting LOPA (Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency), will be held Sunday April 25, 2010 at 3pm in downtown Alexandria.

Running the Roads for Life will begin at the corner of 3rd Street and Murray Street. Cash prizes will be awarded to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners for male and female overall and 1st place winners for male and female Masters. To register for Running the Roads for Life individuals can log on to http://www.lopa.org, or contact Ritchie Martin, 318.201.3981 or Jay Slayter, 318.229.1992.

A pre-race Banquet will be held in honor of LOPA’s heroes on Saturday April 24, 2010 beginning at 6 pm at Country Inn and Suites, 2727 Monroe Highway Pineville. The Banquet will feature keynote speaker, former Dallas Cowboy Everson Walls. Mr. Walls will share his incredible story about the life he now leads educating children and minority communities about the importance of organ and tissue donation, as well as kidney disease and diabetes. Mr. Walls will also be available for a book signing the night of the Banquet.

Every year, Running the Roads for Life honors organ and tissue donors and their families and rejoices with recipients who have received the Gift of Life. With over 1,800 people in Louisiana waiting on a life saving organ transplant, LOPA’s mission is simple – help save lives through organ and tissue donation.

Regardless if you are an avid runner or a lover of the outdoors, gather your family and friends to run or walk while having fun for a worthy cause. Pre-registration entry fee is $25.00. The cost of event day registration is $30.00,and the family limit is $75.00. All pre-registered participants are guaranteed a Running the Roads for Life t-shirt. For more information, contact Ritchie Martin, 318.201.3981 or Jay Slayter, 318.229.1992 or visit http://www.lopa.org.

RW&CH hosts ‘Scrappin’ for Babies’ fundraiser for March of Dimes

18-hour marathon scrapbooking event includes meals, door prizes and vendors

Is scrapbooking your hobby – or your passion? Either way, this is one event you don’t want to miss!

On Friday and Saturday, May 14 and 15, Rapides Women’s and Children’s Hospital will host a “Scrappin’ for Babies,” fundraiser from 5 p.m. to midnight on Friday and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday.   Registration is $60 before April 21 and $75 after April 21.  The event will be held at Kees Park Community Center, Highway 28 East, Pineville.

“The $60 registration fee reserves your table space, four meals, snacks and a chance at some incredible door prizes,” said Denise Cross, Scrappin’ for Babies chairperson. “We’ll also have several vendors on hand for those who want to see what’s new in scrapbooking, as well as a free tutorial in digital scrapbooking.”

All proceeds from the event go to the March of Dimes.

“Not only does this event give you the chance to enjoy 18 hours of uninterrupted scrapbooking time, it also gives participants a chance to visit with other scrapbooking enthusiasts,” Cross said. “As an added bonus, if you choose to enlist sponsors for your 18-hour ‘scrapbooking marathon,’ we’ll award a special prize for the participant who brings in the most donations for March of Dimes.”

This is the sixth year that Rapides Women’s and Children’s Hospital has hosted the event.

Quality Management RN Stephanie Kidd has participated in the last five events.

“It’s hard to scrap at home,” said Kidd, an avid scrapbooker who has a 4-year-old daughter and 9 month-old- son at home and another child on the way. “You almost have to get away from home, away from the laundry and the housework to catch up on your scrapbooking.”

Though Kidd tries to set aside time each month to work on her scrapbooking projects, she says it’s still easy to fall behind.

“If you go to an event like this, for 18 hours, that’s a good block of time so you can get a lot done,” Kidd said. She plans to bring her mother with her to the May 14-15 event – which is open to the public.

“It’s a fun way to get out of the house and spend a Friday and Saturday,” Kidd said. “It’s nice to meet up with your scrapbooking friends, and make new friends while you’re there. Plus, the $60 donation goes to a great cause – and once you figure in your meals and the entertainment value, it’s a great deal!”

For more information or to register, call Stephanie Kidd at (318) 792-6982 or Denise Cross at 769-7569. Seating will be limited, so early registration is encouraged.