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Amy Umble is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star

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A roundup of honors bestowed and stories you might have missed

Today we have news of several awards, a farmer’s market in a hospital parking lot, and, in case you missed the originals, a review of some of the health stories that appeared in our paper in recent days:

Want your farmer’s market fix in the middle of the week? Try the Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center parking lot on Wednesdays from 3 to 7 p.m. The market started this week as an extension of the popular Saturday market that’s been on Gordon Road for 14 years. (Photo by Robert A. Martin)

Two Mary Washington Healthcare divisions received Healthcare Improvement Awards from George Mason University.

Mary Washington Hospice received an Excellence in Clinical Improvement award. Hospice leaders revised the operation of the department to reduce overtime and improve patient and staff satisfaction. Net income for the department went from $264,000 in 2010 to $1.2 million in 2011, according to contest materials.

The Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine received an Excellence in Service Improvement award. Lab workers redesigned how they collect, test and report the results of outpatient specimens. They identified 16 steps in the process, then reduced it to 12 steps. This lowered the cost of a test from $4.56 in 2009 to $4.33 in 2011.

The annual contest is open to all healthcare systems in the mid-Atlantic region. This year there were 22 submissions.

Amy Umble wrote here about epinephrine auto-injectors, or EpiPens. She reported: “Late last month, Gov. Bob McDonnell signed into law bills that ensure all schools have extra epinephrine on hand and staff trained to inject the dose. Locally, that law will require few adjustments.”

Hospital food? It might surprise you.

Kurt Rabin offered a review of the food at Mary Washington Hospital’s cafeteria. He wrote: “On a scale of hospital food ranging from ‘critical condition’ to ‘resting comfortably,’ we’d have to rate MWH’s current state as ‘stable.’ ”

Scott Shenk reported here on how Spotsylvania Regional  honored one of its young volunteers.  He wrote: “The hospital near Massaponax is a place Selena Guzman spent a lot of time during the final months of her life. Selena, a 16-year-old who planned to be a doctor, volunteered nearly 200 hours at the hospital in an eight-month span. But that all ended on Dec. 20 when she was killed in a car accident on Salem Church Road in Spotsylvania.”


Finally, Mary Washington Healthcare has presented its annual Spirit of Women awards to Andrea McConnell, Gail Perkins and Kristen Roth.

McConnell founded the Fairy Godmother Project, a local non-profit that provides meals, cleaning, lawn care and professional photography for families while their children are receiving cancer treatment.

Perkins is a registered nurse at Mary Washington Healthcare who helped found its Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner’s Program.

Roth is a student at Riverbend High School who has helped many through her work at Crossroads Vineyard Church.

The Spirit of Women awards is an annual program that honors those who contribute to their communities through their work and service activities. More details about the program and award winners are here.