Monday, November 23, 2015

Physicians Group, College of Medicine Employees Named to USA-Team

From left: Charlene Jordan, assistant director of health systems grant administration and development; Dorothy Dickinson, residency and fellowship coordinator for surgery; and Beverly Kellen, practice director of student health services and family medicine, pose for a photo with their USA-Team Awards.
The University of South Alabama employee service recognition program recently nominated exceptional employees for the 2015 Christie Miree USA National Alumni Association Outstanding Employee award.

The USA Physicians Group and USA College of Medicine employees were among those honored.

Employees who were nominated are a part of the USA-Team and meet the following criteria: “performs ‘beyond the call of duty’ to improve service, quality and the image of the university, division or department; exemplifies professionalism and dedication to the excellent service and works as a team player; makes outstanding contributes to the university, division or department by developing a better way to execute the job by saving time, space or money.”

Each member was recognized by President Waldrop and presented a USA-Team certificate.

Dorothy Dickinson, residency and fellowship coordinator for surgery, is one of the Christie Miree award winners and has been working at USA for eight years now. “I am honored and grateful to be nominated,” Dickinson said. “My job challenges me in different ways, which means I am always learning. Most importantly what I love about my job is the encouragement, support and trust from leadership that allows me to take initiative to be creative to get my job accomplished.”

Dickinson has made significant contributions to improve efficiency in the office of surgical education. Her peers took notice to her dedication and hard work stating that “she is more than just a program coordinator. She is a constant inspiration for everyone around her."

Charlene Jordan, assistant director of health systems grant administration and development, was named to the USA-Team. She has been at USA for 25 years. “I felt honored and grateful that my colleagues nominated me. I certainly appreciate their effort and support,” Jordan said.

Jordan “is the definition of a team player and performs beyond the call of duty each and every day that she is at work,” Jordan’s colleague stated.

Jordan enjoys helping faculty, postdoctoral fellows and students achieve their research endeavors by applying the skills that she has learned over the years as a research administrator. “Helping them succeed in obtaining extramural funding builds upon our research and educational missions while also advancing our knowledge and providing potential treatments for diseases,” Jordan added.

Beverly Kellen, practice director of student health services and family medicine, was also named to the USA-Team. She has been at USA for 10 years and was pleasantly surprised by her selection to the USA-Team.

“I received a very nice letter from President Waldrop at my home and read it out loud to my husband. I kept reading it over and over again because no one had mentioned this nomination to me at work. I was truly surprised,” Kellen said.

Kellen’s colleagues stated that she “gracefully leads and motivates teams of professionals in student health and academic health environments.” Her co-workers also added that she demonstrates professionalism at the highest level and has assisted on numerous committees and special projects.

The Christie Miree award represents dedicated employees who go above and beyond in the work force. Christie Miree is an alumna of USA and a former member of the board of trustees.

USA Welcomes Dr. Christopher Kinnard

Dr. Christopher Kinnard recently was appointed adjunct assistant professor of surgery at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine.

Prior to his appointment at USA, Dr. Kinnard was a general surgeon at Magnolia Surgery in Warner Robins, Ga.

Dr. Kinnard earned his medical degree from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in Shreveport, La., after earning his bachelor of science degree from Louisiana State University A&M in Baton Rouge, La. He completed his residency in surgery at USA.

Dr. Kinnard is a member of the American College of Surgery and the American Board of Surgery.

USA Health System ICD-10 Transition a Success

The University of South Alabama Health System has successfully transitioned to an updated version of a health care classification system called the International Classification of Diseases (ICD).

Published by the World Health Organization, ICD is the standard diagnostic tool for epidemiology, health management and clinical purposes. It provides codes to classify diseases and a wide variety of signs, symptoms, abnormal findings, complaints, social circumstances, and external causes of injury or disease. Under this system, every health condition and situation can be assigned to a unique category and assigned a code.

The ICD-9 code sets used to report medical diagnoses and inpatient procedures was replaced by the ICD-10 codes on Oct. 1, 2015.

The transition began in 2013 with Rebekah Bailey, director of compliance and reimbursement at USA; Sherryle Givens, RN, CPC, and manager of quality improvement at USA; and Kimberly Cannon, assistant director of reimbursement at USA; meeting regularly to create a plan of action for the implementation.

The overarching plan included electronic systems and vendor preparation, provider preparation and coder preparation.  Documentation training modules for providers created by Givens were available on the HSF intranet. Electronic systems and vendors were inventoried for readiness, and intensive coder education was provided by Patricia Heck, RN, CPC; Deborah Wallace, RN, CPC; Barbara Burgess, RN, CPC; and Givens.

There was collaboration with the hospitals to ensure all aspects were covered across the health system, and surveys were sent to department chairs for provider input.

The final implementation plan included a refresher course for coders, training sessions for providers and staff, cross-walking the top ICD-9 codes for providers, updating billing sheets with ICD-10 codes, dual coding and onsite coder assistance.  While the coding compliance nurse specialists were engaged in Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) reporting, Cannon was tasked with preparing all the training session materials, crosswalks and billing sheets.

“It was intense, but the basic ground work was laid out, and I had resources at my disposal through NextGen that made the task easier than it would have otherwise been,” Cannon said.

On October 1, 2015, coding staff was onsite in each of the clinics to assist the providers and clinical staff.  The feedback was positive, and the resources that were provided were well received in all clinics.

“It is expected that with the increased documentation and specificity in coding, the acuity of care will be much more accurate,” Cannon said. “It takes the entire health system to implement and transition ICD-10.  With the hard work that has been done by all involved in this process, we can’t help but succeed.”

USA Mourns Loss of Dr. Jeffrey Brandon

Dr. Jeffrey Campbell Brandon, former chair and University Distinguished Professor of Radiology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, passed away on Nov. 17, 2015. He was 62.

Dr. Brandon, a native of DuBois, Pa., earned his bachelor of science degree from Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa., and his medical degree from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. Following medical school, he completed a general surgery residency at Bryn Mawr Hospital in Philadelphia and Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. He then completed a diagnostic radiology residency at Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia. He went on to conduct a fellowship in interventional/abdominal imaging at Hahnemann University Hospital.

Prior to joining USA in 1995 as an associate professor of radiology, Dr. Brandon served as a staff radiologist at Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia. From 1988 to 1993, he served as a staff radiologist and medical student coordinator at Irvine Medical Center (IMC), University of California, in Orange, Calif. He was promoted to acting chair of the department of radiological sciences at IMC in 1993.

Dr. Brandon served as chair of radiology at USA from November 2010 to January 2015. Dr. Brandon also served as associate dean of continuing and graduate medical education, vice chair of radiology, director of the radiology residency program and professor of physician assistant studies.

Dr. Brandon was a member of multiple professional organizations, including the Radiological Society of North America, Society of Gastrointestinal Radiologist, American College of Radiology,  Association of University Radiologists, American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine, Society of Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiologists, Society of Radiologists in Ultrasound-Membership Committee, International Society of Biliary Radiology, American College of Gastroenterology, and the Medical Society of Mobile County.

Dr. Brandon is survived by his daughter, Alexis Bel Brandon (16) of Belington, W.V.; his son, Alexander Evankovich Edwards (17) of Belington, W.V.; brothers John Brandon of DuBois, Pa., and Tom Brandon of Brookville, Pa.; and nephew, Jonathan Brandon of Mechanicsburg, Pa.

A memorial service will be held for Dr. Brandon on Jan. 8, 2016, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. in the Conference Center at USA Medical Center.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Humane Society of Mobile.