Health Flashes - November 2008

Nicole Melancon has been appointed corporate health care consultant for WellnessWorks, a new corporate incentive program sponsored by Our Lady of Lourdes. Melancon serves as the link between local employers and medical providers, offering a complimentary assessment and programs to lower workers comp and general health costs for employers. Melancon received a bachelor’s degree in biology from UL Lafayette in 1994 and a master of science in microbiology in 1999. In addition to enrolling employers in the WellnessWorks program, Melancon is responsible for assisting and helping coordinate wellness and risk management activities.

Hitachi America Ltd., a subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd., has launched an online documentary highlighting Hitachi Consulting, Schumacher Group and Opelousas Health System. Charting Progress is about Hitachi Consulting Corp. and Schumacher Group’s collaborative partnership, which specializes in providing outsourced emergency medicine solutions and physicians for 145 hospitals across the U.S. The film was shot in the emergency center at OGHS, the Schumacher Group’s Lafayette offices and various places around Opelousas, including the Palace Cafe. OGHS is a client of Schumacher; the film focuses on the changes and new direction in emergency care.

Dr. Janna K. Flint, a board-certified pediatric endocrinologist, has joined the medical staff of Women’s & Children’s Hospital. Flint diagnoses, treats and manages endocrine disorders in children and teens including diabetes, thyroid disorders, abnormal growth, disorders of puberty, the metabolic syndrome, and pituitary hormone deficiencies. She works closely with hospital-based nutritionists and diabetic educators to help patients and family members effectively manage their conditions. “The addition of Dr. Flint to our growing list of pediatric subspecialists underscores our continuing commitment to developing a pediatric center of excellence for Acadiana and beyond,” says hospital CEO Kathy Bobbs. “Flint represents one more reason for families to choose local care and eliminate the burden and stress of travel when needing specialized care.” Flint completed her medical doctorate at Loyola University’s Stritch School of Medicine and her pediatric residency at Rush Children’s Hospital in Chicago. Her fellowship in pediatric endocrinology was completed at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia, under the mentorship of Dr. Francesco De Luca. At that time, she pursued her research interests in the metabolic syndrome and sleep disorders. Her research has been published in The Journal of Pediatrics and in Pediatric Diabetes.

Since its inception in 1971, Acadian Ambulance Service has been a leader in EMS innovation. Now the Lafayette-based company hopes to lead the way in innovative adjustments with the Dodge Sprinter, which may yield twice the mileage of other ambulances. The emergency vehicle is commonly used in Europe. Currently, the Acadian fleet is averaging about 9 mpg, and the target with the new unit is 18 mpg. To recoup fuel losses, many transportation companies have assessed a fuel charge, but this is not allowed in Medicare cases, and 40 percent of Acadian transports are Medicare patients. Other companies have been forced to reduce their services, raise their prices or cut staff. Acadian has managed to avoid such drastic measures, even though expenditures for gasoline had been exceeding the budget by more than $300,000 per month in recent times (though costs have been falling lately). The Sprinter is being tested in Lafayette Parish for three months and will then be available for Baton Rouge and Houma service areas. It will be staffed with the latest in pre-hospital care equipment and is capable of adaptation to wheelchair chair use.

Registered Nurse Sheila G. Begnaud has been promoted to nurse manager/surgery at Lafayette Surgical Specialty Hospital. She was formerly a charge nurse at the hospital and served as interim surgery clinical manager. Begnaud received her BS in nursing from UL Lafayette in 2000. She has prior experience in operating room management, ICU, emergency room, telemetry and home health patient care. Also at LSSH, RN Tracy B. Craft has joined as nurse manager/pre-op. Her prior experience includes outpatient surgery supervision, clinical supervision, charge nurse and patient health coordinator. She received her BS in nursing from LSU Medical Center in New Orleans and is certified in basic life support, advanced cardiac life support, pediatric advanced life support and sedation analgesia.