This week, many of the nation’s health care systems in communities across the U.S. began vaccinating physicians and health care workers caring for patients with COVID-19. Many of these health care heroes have been on the front-line of this pandemic and working around-the clock over the last ten months. Vaccinations signal hope for the future Here in Washoe County, today is the highly anticipated start date of what public health and medical experts hope is a nationwide wave of vaccinations that signal the beginning of the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. Today’s good news from Renown coincided with a dark new milestone for Washoe County—384 confirmed COVID-19 deaths, and over 13,579 active cases in our population of nearly 500,000. COVID-19 positivity test results and hospitalizations continue to be high across the country, our state and here in northern Nevada; straining hospital capacity, physicians and healthcare workers. Today we saw a bright light at the end of this dark tunnel. Renown began vaccinating health care workers caring for patients with COVID-19, and invited media to view the first vaccinations of those on the front-line of COVID-19. One vaccine, a Herculean effort of thousands “Although the vaccination process as you see it here looks relatively simple, it took a herculean logistical effort to implement the COVID-19 vaccination process that has begun today,” said Tony Slonim, MD, DrPH, President & CEO of Renown Health. “Today, thanks to the synchronized efforts of thousands of people and organizations across the country, we give thanks for this vaccination provided to Luis Martinez, an excellent ambassador for the thousands of healthcare heroes caring for patients with COVID-19. The health and safety of our staff is our top priority, and we remain steadfast in our determination to fight the good fight for our community.” Luis, on the front-line of the COVID-19 pandemic, receives 1st vaccine from Renown Luis Martinez received the 1st of his Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine which received emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration last week. He will receive the second and final vaccination in the series in 21 days. The first dose of vaccine was given to Luis outside of his vehicle so cameras could capture the experience. Renown’s COVID-19 Vaccination process includes pre-scheduling physicians and employees through the EPIC MyChart electronic medical record used by Renown. Employees are masked, and in their personal vehicles, as they drive through the vaccination site. Each physician and healthcare worker provides their verification, identification, documentation and consent. They then extend their upper arm to receive the Pfizer vaccination. Following the receipt of the vaccination they have a 15-minute observation period to assure they do not experience any immediate side effects. These Tier 1A healthcare employees were encouraged to schedule their vaccination after their completed work schedule to have time to rest. As with all vaccinations, there is a potential for injection site reactions (redness, swelling and pain) as well as fever, fatigue, headache, chills, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain and/or joint pain. Fever is not an infrequent side effect, especially on the 2nd dose, so these vaccinated employees will self-monitor their temperatures, as they cannot work at Renown with a fever. In addition to Luis, you’ll see, first in his truck- Dr. Bret Frey, representing the Medical Staff and Emergency Medicine physicians at Renown; Nurse Matt Polak, Supervisor of Clinical Nursing of Renown’s Respiratory Intensive Care Unit representing Renown nurses; Holly Irwin, a Clinical Respiratory Therapist in her vehicle; Alexis Bertauche, Respiratory Specialist in his vehicle; Eric Whitney, the supervisor representing the 168 members of Renown’s Environmental Services team who have performed extensive disinfecting measures throughout the pandemic, physician representatives from partners at UNR School of Medicine, Reno Orthopedic Clinic, the Surgery Center of Reno and across the community. Brighter days ahead for Luis Luis has been working in Renown’s Alternate Care Site in the Mill Street parking structure since it opened to patients in mid-November. He’s been at Renown since 2016, where he started as a phlebotomist and was encouraged to explore career advancement in the medical field. He applied to work as a technician on Renown’s Clinical Decision Unit- a short stay unit within the hospital for people who need clinical care, but do not need to be admitted to the hospital. Luis worked with patients and clinicians in the Clinical Decision Unit for a year before requesting to work in Renown’s innovative Alternate Care Site, built for patients recovering from COVID-19, for additional care before they returned home. Luis was scheduled to take the Medical College Admission Test® in April of this year to fulfill his dreams of becoming a doctor, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced him to change his plans. He plans to reschedule his medical school admission exam in February. He is excited to begin his training, possibly at UNR School of Medicine, and hopes one day to be a physician caring competently and compassionately for those in need. Luis has so much to look forward to, after such a difficult year. Luis turned 33 in October, and on his birthday, contracted COVID-19 after attending a family party. He experienced fever and noticed how dramatically the COVID-19 virus affected his breathing, his lungs, and his energy level. After spending time at home recovering, Luis recovered, tested negative, and returned to work. As a result of his experience and his interest in medicine, Luis has done a lot of research on the vaccine. Luis is bilingual and volunteers with CARE Chest of Sierra Nevada, a non-profit organization that provides free medical equipment, supplies, and prescription assistance to underserved populations when he is not working at Renown. Vaccine one more tool to help fight pandemic “The best protection from COVID-19 will be a combination of getting a COVID-19 vaccine, wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet away from others, avoiding crowds, and washing your hands often,” says Amy McCombs, MSN, RN, CCRN, CNML, vice president of Quality for Acute Services for Renown, and the champion of the vaccination effort for Renown. “No one tool alone will stop this pandemic, it will take a combination of all of us using all of these efforts to fight the spread of this virus. Though there has been positive news about vaccine development, no one knows when those vaccines will be ready for widespread use. In the meantime, everyone must remain vigilant, take precautions and follow public health orders.” “This vaccination is a game-changer in terms of improving the health of our community,” said Paul Sierzenski, MD, MSHQS, Chief Medical Officer, Acute Services, Renown Health. "Given the demands of this COVID-19 pandemic, we are pleased to be able to provide this vaccination to help in the fight. We will follow CDC recommendations for a tiered approach to vaccine distribution. Our goal is that by spring, all Renown physicians; employees and their family members; and all Hometown Health members and Renown patients interested in receiving the vaccine will have an opportunity to be vaccinated.” The COVID-19 vaccine is not mandatory for all Renown employees, but is strongly advised. Renown is covering all costs of the vaccine, and it is being offered free of charge to employees. Register for Renown EPIC MyChart now. To streamline the notification, consent, scheduling and reminder process for vaccine distribution, as well as to post to Web IZ Nevada’s Statewide Immunization Information System, all who are interested in receiving the vaccine through Renown will need to enroll and obtain an EPIC MyChart account. Stay Up-to-date on COVID-19 Renown Health is prepared to safely screen, diagnose and care for patients with respiratory illness, including COVID-19. To stay up-to-date on communications regarding Renown’s distribution of the COVID19 vaccine, FAQs and the scientific evidence behind the vaccine, visit https://covid.renown.org/ Join the Renown team Renown Health remains committed to hiring key roles in our organization to support the health and well-being of our community. To join the Renown family to Fight the Good Fight, apply on line at https://careers.renown.org/ Support the Renown team Renown Health, a charitable, not-for-profit organization, is so grateful for our community’s support during these unprecedented times. To donate to Renown patients or providers, visit https://www.renown.org/donations-covid-19/. About Renown Health Renown Health is a locally governed and locally owned, not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving northern Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. Renown is one of the region’s largest private employers with a workforce of more than 7,000. It comprises three acute care hospitals, a rehabilitation hospital, the area’s most comprehensive medical group and urgent care network, and the region’s largest and only locally owned not-for-profit insurance company, Hometown Health. Renown has a long tradition and commitment to continually improve the care and the health of our community. For more information, visit renown.org. About the Washoe County Health District The Washoe County Health District has jurisdiction over all public health matters in Reno, Sparks, and Washoe County through the policy-making Washoe County District Board of Health. The District consists of five divisions: Administrative Health Services, Air Quality Management, Community and Clinical Health Services, Environmental Health Services and Epidemiology & Public Health Preparedness. More info can be found here.
Stacie Mathewson Behavioral Health & Addiction Institute At Renown Now Offering Rtms Treatment For Major Depression
Treatment offers patients safe, non-drug and non-invasive repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) therapy to treat symptoms of major depression. Renown Health is committed to improving access to vital mental health services in northern Nevada. Today, clinical leaders at the Stacie Mathewson Behavioral Health & Addiction Institute at Renown announced they will offer repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) therapy for people experiencing Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) under the guidance of a Renown psychiatrist. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, major depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the U.S. The disease causes people to experience sadness and helplessness, and in some cases, may prevent people from carrying out their daily routines. “We at Renown are proud of our national reputation as an innovator in implementing new models, technology and systems of care for our community,” said Tony Slonim, MD, DrPH, President and CEO. “We are working to transform care and demonstrate value in a way that appeals to patients and helps clinicians improve outcomes and reduce costs. There is now a sufficient body of evidence to accept the analgesic and antidepressant effect of high-frequency rTMS, and we are pleased to offer this promising therapy.” rTMS is a non-invasive procedure that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain to improve symptoms of depression. It is typically used when other depression treatments haven't been effective. This treatment for depression involves delivering repetitive magnetic pulses, so it's called repetitive TMS or rTMS. “Depression can be treated; however, for some people, medications and talking with a behavioral health expert may not be enough,” said Renown’s Division Chief of Behavioral Health, Richard A. Charlat, M.D., M.P.H. “We are pleased to offer rTMS therapy for people looking for a new way to fight depression and for whom other treatments may not have given them relief. We are committed to working closely with our patients to find the treatment that works best for them, so they can live their best lives.” “Nevada has the highest prevalence of mental illness and substance use in the nation,” said Steve Shell, vice president of the Stacie Mathewson Behavioral Health & Addiction Institute. “Combine that with the added stress and isolation many are feeling with the COVID-19 pandemic, and we know that offering patients safe, non-drug and non-invasive treatments- as well as essential mental health and addiction services are more important than ever.” How rTMS Works During an rTMS session, an electromagnetic coil is placed against the person’s scalp near their forehead. The electromagnet painlessly delivers a magnetic pulse that stimulates nerve cells in the region of the person’s brain involved in mood control and depression. It's thought to activate regions of the brain that have decreased activity in depression. Though the biology of why rTMS works isn't completely understood, the stimulation appears to impact how the brain is working, which in turn seems to ease depression symptoms and improve mood. There are different ways to perform the procedure, and techniques may change as experts learn more about the most effective ways to perform treatments. On average, patients undergo rTMS treatments for four to six weeks, five days a week for about 40 minutes a day. In all cases, a patient’s doctor will determine a treatment plan that’s best for the patient. This video shows what patients can expect during rTMS therapy. What Does rTMS Feel Like? rTMS therapy is an easy, in-office experience designed to be positive for patients. During treatment, people are awake, alert, and comfortably reclined in a spa-like chair. The first few treatments may cause discomfort at or near the treatment site, however, this is unlikely to last beyond the first week of treatment.1, 2 “The effects of depression can be devastating for the people battling it, as well as for those who love them,” said Stacie Mathewson. “No matter how dark life may seem, always know, there are incredible behavioral health experts at Renown ready to support and empower you as you seek the help you deserve.” Charles N. and Stacie L. Mathewson established the Stacie Mathewson Behavioral Health & Addiction Institute at Renown in 2018 to expand community access to prevention and intervention services for mental health disorders and alcohol and drug addiction. Renown is working to expand intensive outpatient treatment, partial hospitalization and medication-assisted treatment programs to better serve those struggling with mental illness and addiction. The Renown team is also passionate about prevention, mental wellness and is actively working to decrease stigma and encourage more people to seek the help they need. TMS therapy is cleared by the FDA and available by prescription only. It is commonly covered by most insurance plans. Patients must be referred by a behavioral expert to seek rTMS treatment. For more information and to make a patient referral, please call the Stacie Mathewson Behavioral Health & Addiction Institute at 775-982-5318. About Renown Health Renown Health is the region’s largest, locally owned and governed, not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. With a diverse workforce of more than 7,000 employees, Renown has fostered a longstanding culture of excellence, determination and innovation. The organization comprises a trauma center, two acute care hospitals, a children’s hospital, a rehabilitation hospital, a medical group and urgent care network, and the region’s largest, locally owned not-for-profit insurance company, Hometown Health. Renown’s institute model addresses social determinants of health and includes: Child Health, Behavioral Health & Addiction, Healthy Aging and Health Innovation. Clinical institutes include: Cancer, Heart and Vascular Health, Neurosciences and Robotic Surgery. Renown is currently enrolling participants in the world’s largest community-based genetic population health study, the Healthy Nevada Project®. Sources Trivedi MH, et al. (2006). Evaluation of Outcomes with Citalopram for Depression Using Measurement-Based Care in STAR*D Implications for Clinical Practice. Am J Psychiatry, 163(1):28-40 Rush AJ, et. al. (2006) Acute and longer-term outcomes in depressed outpatients requiring one or several treatment steps: a STAR*D report. Am J Psychiatry, 163(11):1905-1917.
Under Steve Shell's leadership, the Institute will continue to expand community access to prevention and intervention services for mental health disorders and alcohol and drug addiction. Renown Health is excited to announce Steve Shell is joining the Stacie Mathewson Behavioral Health & Addiction Institute at Renown as its vice president. In this role, Shell will oversee the Institute, which provides intensive outpatient treatment, partial hospitalization programs and medication-assisted treatment to serve those struggling with mental illness and addiction in our community. “We are pleased to welcome such an experienced and talented leader like Steve to our organization,” said Tony Slonim, MD, DrPH, president and CEO, Renown Health. “As vice president of the Stacie Mathewson Behavioral Health & Addiction Institute at Renown, Steve will continue the Institute’s work to change the status of mental health and addiction in northern Nevada.” Shell comes to Renown after opening and serving as chief executive officer of Nevada’s two newest behavioral health hospitals since 2013. He was instrumental in establishing Reno Behavioral Healthcare Hospital in 2016 and helped to design, set up and manage operations for the 124-bed psychiatric and addiction treatment facility for all ages. He also launched the 152- bed Desert Parkway Behavioral Healthcare Hospital in Las Vegas in 2013, a psychiatric and addiction treatment facility for all ages. “Nevada has the highest prevalence of mental illness and substance use in the nation combined with limited access to treatment and a shortage of care providers,” said Steve Shell. “I am passionate about improving the health of our community and have dedicated my career to advocating for mental health, working diligently to further elevate the care offered in our state.” Renown Health and Charles N. and Stacie L. Mathewson established the Stacie Mathewson Behavioral Health & Addiction Institute at Renown in to expand community access to prevention and intervention services for mental health disorders and alcohol and drug addiction. The Institute is working to expand intensive outpatient treatment, partial hospitalization programs and medication-assisted treatment to better serve those struggling with mental illness and addiction and is working to decrease stigma and encourage more people to seek help. “Moving the needle and improving the heartbreaking statistics of our state is a key focus for the Institute,” said Stacie Mathewson, executive director at the Stacie Mathewson Foundation. “I believe Steve’s leadership will have a positive impact on our efforts to improve the care and treatment of mental illness and addiction.” About Renown Health Renown Health is the region’s largest, locally owned and governed, not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. With a diverse workforce of more than 7,000 employees, Renown has fostered a longstanding culture of excellence, determination and innovation. The organization comprises a trauma center, two acute care hospitals, a children’s hospital, a rehabilitation hospital, a medical group and urgent care network, and the region’s largest, locally owned not-for-profit insurance company, Hometown Health. Renown’s institute model addresses social determinants of health and includes: Child Health, Behavioral Health & Addiction, Healthy Aging and Health Innovation. Clinical institutes include: Cancer, Heart and Vascular Heath, Neurosciences and Robotic Surgery. Renown is currently enrolling participants in the world’s largest community-based genetic population health study, the Healthy Nevada Project®.