Category Archives: Health

CMHS hosts free Ethics in Healthcare Seminar

The tough choices and tradeoffs the United States may have to make to find a workable solution in healthcare will be the focus of a free Ethics in Healthcare event that Community Memorial Health System is holding as part of its 2017 Speaker Series. The seminar starts at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 27, at the Museum of Ventura County.

James Hornstein, M.D., CMHS Bioethics Committee Chair, will moderate the latest Ethics in Healthcare event, titled, “How Healthcare Controls Us: Reform Efforts in Uncertain Times.”

In addition to Hornstein, featured speakers will include Gary Wilde, CMHS president and CEO; and Lucien Wulsin, J.D., health policy expert and author of “California at the Crossroads: Choices for Healthcare Reform.” The seminar will address the following topics:

  • · Is private insurance becoming unaffordable?
  • · Is a single-payer system the solution?
  • · Are healthcare costs out of control?
  • · Are the health insurance exchanges working?
  • · What are your options right now?

Registration is free but reservations are required. To secure reservations, please visit or call Brown Paper Tickets at 800-838-3006.

American Academy of Pediatricians updates head lice guidance

In 2015 the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) updated its guidance on head lice treatment as new products were introduced after the academy’s 2010 report.  The new report was published in the journal Pediatrics, and it highlights some exciting new developments in the battle against head lice.

Head lice infestation is associated with limited morbidity but causes a high level of anxiety among parents of school-aged children,” the report says. “Since the 2010 clinical report on head lice was published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, newer medications have been approved for the treatment of head lice.”

The AAP recognizes that head lice in the United States have developed resistance to the most popular over-the-counter lice products (pediculicides). As a by-product of this resistance, some parents have over-applied the medications, hoping that using more of the products would make them more successful. The AAP warns against this, saying, “the potential for misdiagnosis and the resulting improper use of pediculicides and the emergence of resistance to both available and newer products, many without proof of efficacy or safety, call for increased physician involvement in the diagnosis and treatment.”

The prevalence of resistance has not been systematically studied but seems to be highly variable from community to community and country to country.” In fact, the most recent study released shows 100 percent of lice in 42 states are resistant to the active ingredients in over-the-counter lice products.

The ideal treatment of lice should be safe, free of toxic chemicals, readily available without a prescription, easy to use, effective, and inexpensive,” the report says.  For the first time, the AAP lists the AirAllé® medical device as an effective lice treatment device. The device is a custom-built machine that uses one 30-minute application of hot air in an attempt to desiccate the lice. One study showed that subjects had nearly 100% mortality of eggs and 80% mortality of hatched lice.”

The AirAllé® device is the only treatment option listed in the AAP report that uses heated air. A clinical trial showed that the FDA-cleared medical device killed live lice and 99.2 percent of eggs. It uses nothing but heated air, carefully controlled and applied, to dehydrate lice and eggs.

Lice treatment using the AirAllé® medical device is available exclusively at Lice Clinics of America treatment centers, where certified staff use the device to remove live lice and eggs. The process takes from 30-90 minutes, depending on the extent of the infestation and the length of the hair. Most clinics guarantee success as long as all household members are checked for head lice prior to treatment.

Lice Clinics of America has quickly become the largest network of professional lice treatment centers in the world. Some 150 clinics have opened in the United States to date with approximately 100 clinics in 20 additional countries.

To learn more or to find a clinic near you, visit

Lice and “super lice”

What’s the risk of my child getting infected with “super lice,” and what’s the best way to treat them?

by James M. Steckelberg, M.D.The Mayo Clinic

Treatment-resistant head lice aren’t a new problem. Dubbed “super lice,” these lice are simply head lice that are becoming more resistant to the active ingredients in many common head lice treatments.

Unless resistance has been seen in the community, medications containing 1 percent permethrin or pyrethrins should be the first choice of treatment for active lice infestations. It’s important to understand that although some over-the-counter (OTC) treatments may no longer be as effective as they once were, these first line treatments still work the majority of the time when used correctly.

Common reasons head lice treatments may not work include:

Not using the treatment correctly. Reapplying the treatment too soon, too late or not at all may result in continuous infestation. Follow treatment instructions carefully.

Misdiagnosis. What appears to be a lice infestation may actually be dandruff, scabs or clothing fibers. An itchy scalp may be a sign or symptom of dry skin or another skin condition.

Reinfestation. Although you or your child may have been treated correctly, you or your child may become infested again from another infested person.

If the correct use of an OTC treatment has failed and you’re still finding lice and their eggs, your health care provider may prescribe a stronger treatment regimen, as this may be a sign of treatment-resistant head lice.

A number of home or natural remedies are used to treat head lice infestations, but there is little to no clinical evidence of their effectiveness.

For parents looking at alternative treatment methods, the Lice Clinics of America uses a Food and Drug Administration-cleared machine that uses one application of hot air in an attempt to kill head lice and their eggs through dehydration. The machine requires special training and is currently available only at professional lice treatment centers. A regular hair dryer should not be used to accomplish this result as it’s too hot and could burn the scalp. The machine uses air that is cooler than most hair dryers and at a much higher flow rate to kill the lice by drying them out. For more info please visit

Community Memorial Hospital’s Auxiliary presents annual scholarship awards

Rosemary Icardo and Ann Howard, Junior Coordinators, Gary Wilde, CEO CMH, Audrey Carman, recipient and Edie Marshall, Auxiliary President at awards ceremony.

On June 12, Audrey L. Carman was presented with the Maria Cavallo Scholarship for $2,000 and the Audrey Woodburn Scholarship for $2,000. These awards are given to a graduating Junior Volunteer who has served at least 100 hours in the CMH Auxiliary, has maintained a 3.50 GPA or better, and will be attending an accredited college or university. The recipient must also be planning to pursue a healthcare career such as becoming a physician, nurse, physical therapist, pharmacist, etc.

Audrey has accumulated 330 volunteer hours at CMH, while maintaining a 4.0-4.33 GPA at Ventura High School. She is not only a California Scholarship Federation member, but she served as the CSF club’s president for three years. Her campus involvement also included membership in Key Club, International Volunteers Organization, and the Multi-Ethnic Club.

Dedication to academic excellence is evident in the many awards Audrey has received. She was named Ventura High School’s Cougar of the Month four times and was on the Honor Roll / Principal’s Honor Roll from 6th through 12th grades. She received UCLA’s Brain Research Institute’s Special Award. She placed 3rd in the senior’s division at the California State Science Fair and 2nd place in the senior’s division of Human Behavioral and Social Sciences at the Ventura County Science Fair. At graduation, Audrey received a multi-lingual diploma seal and cord.

Audrey will be attending Ventura College next year where she will pursue a career in nursing and health sciences.

Ventura County Medical Center’s new over $300 million North Tower wing

The Ventura County Medical Center’s new over $300 million North Tower wing became a reality on Friday, June 9 with an official ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by over 150 employees, county employees and others. The facility is located at 300 Hillmont Ave. off of Loma Vista.

Twelve speakers were on hand including Ventura County Supervisor Steve Bennett who welcomed the very large appreciative crowd by stating “Our medical professionals now have one of the most modern hospitals in the country to carry out their special mission of caring for all of Ventura County’s residents.”

The wing will officially open on July 16. The construction was delayed for many months because of the heavy rains that occurred during the grading stage.

Make a difference with CMH

Are you looking for a way to get involved and make a difference in your community? If you are, then a wonderful opportunity awaits you at Community Memorial Hospital.

For decades the CMH Auxiliary has been a vibrant organization that provides comfort and assistance to patients and their families as well as assistance to the hospital staff. With the opening of the new Ocean Tower of Community Memorial Hospital by the end of this year, it is a great time to join our family of volunteers.

The Auxiliary is organized by services which represent various functions throughout the hospital. Whether you assist in the Gift Shop, greet and provide information for visitors at the front desk, or help out in the pharmacy or emergency departments, to name just a few, there is a place for you. You can begin the application process by simply requesting an application from any volunteer at the CMH reception desk.

Being a CMH Auxiliary volunteer is a fulfilling experience at any age as it provides an opportunity to share your talents and life experiences while serving others.

Heroes amongst us

Emily Benson, MD (VCMC), Hoc Nguyen Van, MD (Vietnam Duc Hospital), Serge Kaska, MD (San Diego), Aubree Goodman (premed student), Ngo Van Toan, MD (Vietnam Duc Hospital), Petros Frousiakis ,MD (CMH ortho resident), Damayea Hargett ,MD (VCMC) and Mary Ragsdale,MD (VCMC).

by Jennifer Tipton

For one week, this past March five orthopedic surgeons voluntarily traveled to Hanoi, the capitol of Vietnam to assist the Vietnamese surgeons there.

Damayea Hargett MD and Emily Benson MD specializing in trauma along with Mary Ragsdale MD specializing in joint replacement surgeries such as hips and knees are all orthopedic surgeons at VCMC.  Emily went last year to accompany Dr. Serge Kaska another orthopedic surgeon based in San Diego who has contacts in Hanoi. These big-hearted doctors not only paid their own way but also sponsored Petros Frousiakis an orthopedic surgical resident at CMH knowing it would be a great experience for him as well.

The docs landed at the largest surgical center in Vietnam performing an average of 5 surgeries a day along with seeing clinic patients lined up to evaluate and determine if they were even a candidate for surgery, some returning from the previous year after having already been turned away.

Vietnam with a population of about 92,700,00 has mopeds and motorbikes as the primary form of transportation with very few speed limits and stop signs; this would certainly explain why there are so many traumatic injuries. Our docs walked 1 ½ miles each way to the surgical center and “D” (Damayea) tells me this was the scariest part of the trip because the drivers don’t yield to anyone or anything!

Dr. Damayea Hargett is examining a young patient.

Perhaps due to all the trauma, it is a cultural expectation that if you get hurt you may have some disability, they saw more pathology in one  week than what they see at VCMC in an entire year.

Vietnam has socialized medicine so funding for treatment is limited however, they also do elective cases if you have the cash to pay for it.

The ortho ward was equipped for 50 but had an average of 80 patients, summertime being the worst with literally two  patients in each bed. Along with the trauma were the nonunion surgeries (fractures that did not heal), the congenital deformities that had never been corrected and those that had but never healed correctly. Many of the patients they saw were children, lots of children…

Instrumentation was minimal as well as orthopedic hardware such as a simple clamp or plate, and the closed procedures our docs perform at home with the assistance of radiology were a luxury not afforded. And yet another challenge was that often the surgical technicians assisting them did not speak any English. With these challenges our docs found themselves out of their comfort zone and stayed up many nights doing research to strengthen their skills. Damayea stated, “Unfortunately, we had to turn a lot away, it was heartbreaking.”

The surgeons there so appreciated our docs coming, working together with them and the many discussions that prompted learning on both sides so in addition to plans to return next year and annually, our docs are currently in the process of sponsoring 2 of the surgeons that hosted them to come here and spend a week at VCMC to continue the sharing of knowledge.

If you are interested in sponsoring future trips or a physician that might like to join them, email:





CMHS to hold advance directive awareness event

Community Memorial Health System is holding its “Great Advance Directive Awareness Event” on Wednesday, April 19, beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the Museum of Ventura County.

An advance directive, also known as living will, personal directive, medical directive or advance decision, is a legal document in which a person specifies what actions should be taken for their health if they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves because of illness or incapacity.

Jim Hornstein, M.D., CMHS’ Chair of the Bioethics Committee, will moderate the latest seminar in its 2017 “Ethics in Healthcare” series. The event is for people 18 and over. Experts, including palliative care, social services, quality care and CMHS residents, will be available to answer questions and help participants fill out their advance directives for free. A notary public also will be on site.

There will be refreshments, raffle prizes, music and giveaways, and the first 200 people who complete their advance directive will receive a free gift.

Registration is free but reservations are required. To secure reservations visit or call Brown Paper Tickets at 800-838-3006.

Community Memorial Health System is a not-for-profit health system, which is comprised of Community Memorial Hospital, Ojai Valley Community Hospital, along with the Centers for Family Health serving various communities within and located in Ventura County.

Stress on immune system the Focus of CMHS Seminar

The effects of stress on the immune system and asthma will be the focus of a free seminar that Community Memorial Health System is holding on Wednesday, April 12.

Lewis Kanter, M.D., a board-certified clinical immunologist who also specializes in pediatrics, will lead the discussion during the seminar to be held from 6 to 8 p.m. in the eighth-floor Nichols Auditorium at Community Memorial Hospital, 147 N. Brent St.

How does stress affect developing children? How does the human body react to stress? Can chronic stress cause asthma? Are patients sick because they’re stressed, or are they stressed because they’re sick? Dr. Kanter will address these questions, and more.

Dr. Kanter received his medical degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine. He continued his training in allergy/immunology there, as well as at the National Naval Medical Center in Maryland.

Future Speaker Series events are: Diagnosis and Management of Pituitary Tumors on May 10 at CMH; and What is a Hospitalist? on June 7 at CMH.

Registration is free but reservations are required. Visit or call Brown Paper Tickets at 1-800/838-3006.

Medicare benefits for the terminally ill

by Cate Kortzeborn -Medicare’s acting regional administrator for Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, and the Pacific Territories.

When I talk to people with Medicare about planning for the end of their lives, the statistic that always strikes me is this:

If you ask people where they’d rather die – in a hospital or at home – 75 percent say at home and 25 percent say the hospital. But when you look at what actually happens, only 25 percent of people get to die at home, while 75 percent pass away in hospitals.

The only way you can ensure that your doctor understands your wishes is by talking about them. And now, Medicare will reimburse your doctor for that conversation.

This is called advance care planning. It’s designed to help people with Medicare learn about various options for end-of-life care; determine which types of care best fit their personal wishes; and share their wishes with their family, friends, and physicians.

One option you can discuss with your doctor is hospice care. Hospice is intended to help terminally-ill people live out their lives as comfortably as possible, usually in their own homes. Hospice doesn’t focus on curing disease and it’s not only for people with cancer.

Medicare’s hospice benefit covers your care, and you shouldn’t have to go outside of hospice to get care except in rare situations. Once you choose it, your hospice benefit should cover everything you need.

If you qualify for hospice care, you and your family will work with your hospice provider to set up a plan of care that meets your needs.

You and your family members are the most important part of your medical team. Your team can also include doctors, nurses or nurse practitioners, social workers, physical and occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, hospice aides, homemakers, and volunteers.

A hospice nurse and doctor are on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to give you and your family support and care when you need it. You can also include your regular doctor or a nurse practitioner on your medical team to supervise your care.

Medicare’s hospice benefit allows you and your family to stay together in the comfort of your home, unless you need care in an inpatient facility. If your hospice provider determines that you need inpatient care, the provider will make arrangements for your stay.

To find a hospice provider, talk to your doctor or call your state hospice organization. The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization has a website that allows you to look up local providers based on your zip code, at

You can get hospice care if you have Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and you meet these conditions:

■ Your hospice doctor and your regular doctor (if you have one) certify that you’re terminally ill, with a life expectancy of 6 months or less;

■ You accept palliative care (for comfort) instead of care to cure your illness;

■ You sign a statement choosing hospice care instead of other Medicare-covered treatments for your terminal illness and related conditions.

You have the right to stop hospice at any time. If you do so, you’ll go back to the type of Medicare coverage you had before you chose a hospice provider, like Original Medicare, a Medicare Advantage plan, or another type of Medicare health plan.

Depending on your illness and related conditions, the plan of care your hospice team creates can include doctor and nursing services; medical equipment (like wheelchairs and walkers); medical supplies (like bandages and catheters); prescription drugs; hospice aide and homemaker services; physical and occupational therapy; speech-language pathology services; social worker services; dietary counseling; grief and loss counseling for you and your family; short-term inpatient care (for pain and symptom management); and any other Medicare-covered services needed to manage your terminal illness and related conditions, as recommended by your hospice team.

For more information on Medicare’s hospice benefit, including costs, please go to:

You can always get answers to your Medicare questions by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).