SMH Received National Recognition for Patient Safety


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Saline Memorial named one of Healthgrades 2014 Patient Safety Excellence AwardRecipients

Benton, AR (July 9, 2014)– Saline Memorial Hospital announced today that it has achieved Healthgrades 2014 Patient Safety Excellence Awardfor two years in a row (2013-2014). The distinction places Saline Memorial Hospital (SMH) within the top 5% of all hospitals for its excellent performance in safeguarding patients from serious, potentially preventable complications during their hospital stays according to Healthgrades, the leading online resource for comprehensive information about physicians and hospitals.

When compared to hospitals performing in the bottom 5% for patient safety, patients treated in Healthgrades 2014 Patient Safety Excellence Award recipient hospitals, on average, were:

  • 73% less likely to experience pressure sores or bed sores acquired in the hospital compared to hospitals ranked in the bottom 5% in the nation.
  • 72% less likely to experience a hip fracture following surgery compared to hospitals ranked in the bottom 5% in the nation.
  • 67% less likely to experience catheter-related bloodstream infections acquired at the hospital compared to hospitals ranked in the bottom 5% in the nation.

“Our team is dedicated to personalized patient care and continuous quality improvement,” said Bob Trautman, “and this award is just one example of that.” “This is great news for our hospital but even better news for our patients and community that we serve.”

“Healthgrades is dedicated to providing quality information that helps consumers make decisions based on objective data leading to the best care for themselves and their families,” said Evan Marks, Executive Vice President, Informatics and Strategy, Healthgrades. “Consumers can rest assured that a hospital recognized with a Healthgrades 2014 Patient Safety Excellence Award has demonstrated an established commitment to patient safety.”

During the 2014 study period (2010-2012), Patient Safety Excellence Award hospitals showed better than expected performance in providing safety for patients in the Medicare population, as measured by objective outcomes (risk-adjusted patient safety indicator rates) across 13 of the 14 patient safety indicators defined by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).  If all hospitals performed at the same level of award recipients, 266,813 patient safety events among Medicare patients in U.S. hospitals, potentially could have been avoided.

Over the past few years, SMH has implemented a number of patient safety initiatives including:

  • In 2011, SMH implemented a Patient/Family activated Rapid Response Team.  If a family or patient feels something isn’t quite right about their health, they can activate the Rapid Response Team (ICU Nurse, Respiratory Therapist and Physician), this team immediately responds to the bedside to assess the situation.
  • The SMH leadership team rounds on all new patients daily. This helps to identify patient safety issues and or concerns in real-time. Nurse Managers and clinical coordinators also visit patients preoperatively to identify safety concerns or other issues prior to surgery.
  • All shift change reports are done in the patient’s room for continuity of care and to involve the patient and their family. This provides an opportunity for patients to be involved in their plan of care and address any safety concerns before the next nurse takes over.

“Safety doesn’t’ have a beginning or an end,” said Debbie Burrow, SMH Chief Nursing Officer. “It’s a continuous process. It’s everybody’s responsibility to strive to maintain a safe environment for our patients. I’m proud of our team and the level of care provided at our hospital.”

Saline Memorial Hospital (SMH) is a full-service, 167-bed non-profit community hospital that has served Saline County and the surrounding areas for more than 58 years. Located in Benton, Arkansas, SMH provides a wide range of inpatient and outpatient services, including but not limited to, cardiology, women’s services, bariatric surgery, pediatrics, orthopedics, otolaryngology, ophthalmology, adult and geriatric psychiatry, hospice and home health, sleep disorders and wound care. Although the main campus is in Benton, SMH also manages a general surgery clinic, internal medicine/afterhours clinic and two women’s clinics located throughout the county. For more information, visit


Having grown up in Arkansas, several things have become near and dear to my heart—southern drawls, home-cooking, natural beauty, and of course, the Razorbacks.  But every summer I am reminded of something I could do without:  the heat.  However, as the days of summer roll along with triple digit temperatures, there is always a reprieve around the corner.  Cooler temperatures and fall foliage may not show up until November, but we don’t have to wait that long for my favorite time of the year—football season.

However, there is quite an overlap of the summer heat and gridiron action.  I remember two-a-days at Glen Rose in the early 90s and how I just knew we were practicing in an oven.  Obviously my football days are way behind me, but there are hundreds of young men donning the helmets and pads in Saline County getting ready for the upcoming season and the looming Salt Bowl and conference clashes.  And there are also thousands of others who work outdoors in construction, lawn care, and other vital capacities who deal with the heat on a daily basis.  Sure, coaches are watching out for the young men on the football field, and those folks who work outside on a daily basis are wise on dealing with the soaring temperatures.  But for the rest of us, the heat is inescapable and can be dangerous if warning signs are ignored.

Heat-related illnesses can arise when the body cannot cool itself adequately.  The most effective way the body cools itself is to sweat and to have that sweat evaporate.  The problem in Arkansas is that the humidity in the air prevents sweat evaporation as quickly as the “dry heat” elsewhere, such as Phoenix or Las Vegas.  If the body is unable to cool itself, a progressing spectrum of symptoms can arise, including heat rash, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and finally, life-threatening heat stroke.  It is very important to identify this progression early to prevent the later stages and consequences.

The earliest sign that you may be overheating is a prickly feeling or a subtle rash on your body.  Heat cramps, involuntary spasms of the larger muscles of the body, are usually the next phase in the progression.  These symptoms demand that you get out of the heat and try to cool your body.  In combination with sitting down under the shade tree or finding some air conditioning, rehydrating your body with the right drink is important.  Carbonated beverages are not a good choice.  Relying on “sports drinks” is better, but the best choice is good, old-fashioned water.  Give your body 10-15 minutes to cool down before heading back out into the heat.

If you ignore the early signs of heat-related illness, the next stages can be life threatening.  Heat exhaustion includes profuse sweating, weakness, nausea, vomiting, headaches, and more profound muscle spasms.  Also, a low-grade fever may occur as your internal body temperature rises since your body’s cooling mechanism cannot keep up with your environment.  Heat stroke is the final stage of overheating.  This is a very dangerous situation resulting from complete failure of the body’s cooling system.  Internal body temperature spikes to over 105 F, sweating stops, and mental status changes—including seizures or coma—occur.  Medical attention is crucial to prevent death.

As is the case with most health conditions, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  So when you are considering outdoor activities in the summer heat, whether it be work or play, dress appropriately, drink plenty of fluids, and listen to your body.  If you begin to experience the early signs of a heat-related illness, don’t try to be a hero and “push through”.  Take a break, cool your body, and avoid the dangerous consequences of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.  And yes, just when it seems the heat will never end, autumn arrives with crisp mornings and cool evenings.  You might even need a blanket as you root on your favorite football team during the playoffs, and all this talk of overheating will be irrelevant…..until next year.


*Dr. Scott Walsh is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon serving Saline County at Arkansas Bone & Joint.  You can learn more about him and his medical practice at


Double the Blessings: Tiffany and Chad Brown’s Labor and Delivery Experience at SMH

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Saline Memorial Hospital prides itself on being a non-profit organization that offers quality health care with the patient’s best interests at heart. So when we received a letter from Tiffany Brown about her experience at Saline Memorial Hospital our hearts leaped. Tiffany recently gave birth to two beautiful twin girls, Gabriella and Grace, at Saline Memorial Hospital with the medical care from Central Arkansas Women’s Group and Dr. Stacy Pinter.  Here’s what she had to say about her experience:

Having a baby is the most joyous experience of a woman’s life and, simultaneously, the most terrifying! But when you find out that you are having not one baby but two, the stakes are that much higher! That is why my husband, Chad, and I made it our primary goal to obtain the best care possible for our twin girls.  And we achieved our goal by ultimately choosing Saline Memorial Hospital as the place to deliver our little miracles, Gabriella and Grace.

The first step was easy—we made an appointment with Dr. Stacy Pinter of Central Arkansas Women’s Group. I have been going to Central Arkansas Women’s Group for approximately 13 years and am so appreciative of the extraordinary care I have received from Maggie Hicks, R.N.P., Dr. Pinter, and their entire staff.  Dr. Pinter had delivered my amazing son, Jackson, in August 2010. We had our son at another hospital and had a positive experience there. For this pregnancy, however, Dr. Pinter counseled that, as long as our girls were progressing well and no extenuating circumstances arose, she would deliver our girls at Saline Memorial. Admittedly, Chad and I were hesitant in the beginning of our pregnancy about delivering at Saline Memorial because (1) we had not had a bad experience at the hospital where Jackson was born and at least knew what to expect there, and (2) we were having twins! But we also trusted that Dr. Pinter knew what was best for our girls. She encouraged us to speak with others who had delivered at Saline Memorial, as well as the nursing staff, in advance of our delivery. Dr. Pinter advised us of the superior ratings that the labor and delivery staff at Saline Memorial had received.

Prayerfully, our sweet, beautiful girls grew for 37 weeks and 5 days with no health issues. On June 13, 2013, it was time for their arrival! When my son was born, I had a natural childbirth.  But, after discussing our options with Dr. Pinter, we came to the conclusion that the safest form of delivery for the girls was caesarean section. Although I knew this was the best decision for our girls, my anxiety level was incredibly high. This was surgery, and I had no prior experience with epidurals! But the amazing staff at Saline Memorial immediately put my fears at ease. Brooke Lance and Kathy were amazing nurses who rarely left my side and explained thoroughly what to expect before and during surgery. I had not received that kind of attention at the hospital where I had delivered my son, nor could I tell you the names of the nurses that assisted during his delivery. David Carlisle, CRNA, was also so attentive and reassuring when it came time for me to get the epidural. He guided me through every step of the process and answered any questions that I had.

When we entered the operating room, my husband commented on how many nurses and technicians were present to assist in the delivery of Gabriella and Grace. Dr. Pinter walked Chad and I through how the surgery would proceed. Dr. Pinter has such a calming and reassuring presence, which I desperately needed at that moment. God has blessed her with a special gift! David Carlisle, CRNA, sat at the head of my bed beside my husband, and he walked me through everything that was happening. He was so kind, and he kept repeating that we were about to have two birthday parties! As Dr. Pinter delivered each baby, the staff immediately went to work. But Chad and I were not kept in the dark as to what was happening. Dr. Pinter, David Carlisle, and the nursing staff explained to us what was happening. Following the girls delivery, Kathy stayed by my side, while Chad went with Gabrielle and Grace. When the girls were brought into my room, Kathy spent time assisting me in breastfeeding both of them. This was an amazing bonding experience for me and my girls.

The labor and delivery staff were not only attentive to me and my needs, but those of my family. They kept my parents, Dennis and Tina Milligan, informed of how the girls and I were doing before and after delivery. Most importantly, they were incredibly sweet to my son, Jackson, who had just had his entire world transformed in less than five minutes with the birth of his new baby sisters!

At night, Amanda Maynard took exceptional care of me, Chad, and the girls, ensuring that I was resting comfortably with no pain. She also took the time to answer any questions that I had about the girls’ progress. She was also very encouraging of my decision to breastfeed the twins. And, Brandi Adams took a great deal of time on the day that we were leaving the hospital to help me with some breastfeeding issues that the girls were having. She was as determined as I was to make sure that I would be able to feed the girls the way that I wanted to. She was so encouraging and positive, and I am grateful for the help that she provided. These are just a few names of the staff members at Saline Memorial that provided exceptional care to me and my girls. I only wish that I could devote a paragraph to each nurse who helped us over our two-day stay at the hospital.

As an added bonus, our girls were delivered in heart of the place that we call home—Saline County. Chad is a graduate of Benton High School, I am a graduate of Bryant High School, and we make our home in Hurricane Lake Estates in Benton. Because the majority of our family and friends also reside in Saline County, they were also able to visit us with little-to-no travel time.

Choosing Saline Memorial Hospital as the place to deliver our girls was the best decision that Chad and I could have made. We received quality care from the nursing staff, but with that hometown feel that made us and our entire family feel special and important.

Congratulations Tiffany and Chad Brown on your beautiful additions to your family. We look forward to seeing the girls grow. Tiffany sent us some pictures of her family which you can see below. You can see more pictures by clicking here.

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Get to know Dr. Estelle Rutledge, Central Arkansas Women’s Group


 Meet Dr. Estelle Rutledge of Central Arkansas Women’s Group

What do you love most about your job?
In obstetrics, there are no words to express how amazing it is to share with a patient and her family the experience of pregnancy and delivery.  It is such a pleasure and an  honor to be allowed to participate in such an important aspect of their lives.  With each and every delivery I perform, I am still in awe of this miracle.

Regarding gynecology, I love the fact that it is a field that offers preventative care for patients who have decided to take charge of their healthcare and comply with recommended visits and screenings.  I also enjoy the fact that most problems that arise can be cured, and in many instances, patients have more than one treatment option available.

What do you enjoy outside of work?
Spending time with friends and family especially my three-year old great nephew Xavier, traveling whether near or far, fitness activities, sitting on my couch in my Snuggie watching DVDs, baking (as in cakes, cookies and pies which somewhat negates my time spent participating in the aforementioned fitness activities).

What’s your favorite quote?
This lengthy quote was handed to me by my younger sister some time ago, and I reflect upon it often when I need the extra encouragement that she was trying to provide at the time:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson

Community Outreach
Dr. Rutledge serves on the Executive Board of the Arkansas Health Care Access Foundation which is a statewide volunteer health care program which was developed to help low-income, medically uninsured Arkansans gain access to non-emergency medical care.

She is an Executive Board member of the Arkansas Medical Dental & Pharmaceutical Association

She is involved with several different local, state and national community service efforts through her work with Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Dr. Rutledge sees patients at the Central Arkansas location at 2301 Springhill Road #110, Benton, AR 72019. Contact 847-0834 for more information.

Central Arkansas Women’s Group Springhill Clinic Open House

When it comes to meeting the growing health care needs of Saline County, we’re at the forefront of enhancing our services in order to meet them. Central Arkansas Women’s Group and Saline Memorial Hospital are pleased to announce the opening of their newest location.

We offer a full range of women’s care services including: routine prenatal care and delivery, full gynecologic care and surgery, pap smears, latest birth control methods, menopause management and more. In addition, we offer Obstetrical Sonograms with new 4-D Ultrasound technology.

Dr. Smith and Dr. Rutledge will be based out of the Springhill clinic starting February 20th. Dr. Ulmer-Pinter and Dr. Farrell will see patients at the Springhill clinic and will continue to see patients with Dr. Caldwell and Maggie Hicks at the other location.

Please join us at the Open House for the opening of the Central Arkansas Women’s Group Springhill Clinic this Wednesday, February 29th from 4:30-6:30 pm.

Saline Memorial Announces Plans to Expand Women’s Services in Bryant

Women's Services Arkansas

In an effort to expand women’s services, Saline Memorial Hospital (SMH) recently announced its plans to relocate two physicians with Central Arkansas Women’s Group to Springhill Road in Bryant. Central Arkansas Women’s Group is made up of five physicians who specialize in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Central Arkansas Women’s Group (CAWG) was formed back in April of this year and includes Dr. Kim Smith, Dr. Estelle Rutledge, Dr. Stacy Ulmer-Pinter, Dr. Rachel Tilley Farrell and Dr. David Caldwell. All physicians are employed by SMH.

Dr. Smith and Dr. Rutledge currently see patients in Bryant in a shared space with Dr. Lewis Porter, General Surgeon. The new Springhill space will open up a private CAWG office tailored to enhance women’s services and provide a comfortable setting for patients and their families. CAWG will maintain the Benton address in addition to the Bryant location, making it convenient for patients in both locations.

Smith and Rutledge will move to their new office after the renovation is complete in January of 2012. Doctors Ulmer-Pinter and Farrell will also rotate through the Bryant clinic certain days of the week.

The new clinic will be made up of 3,216 square feet and include 8 Exam Rooms, 1 Procedure Room, 1 Bone Density + Ultrasound Room, 2 Restrooms, 3 Doctors Offices, 3 Nurse Stations and a Lab.

“The establishment of Central Arkansas Women’s Group coupled with the addition of the new Bryant office will enhance OB/GYN services to women living in Saline County,” said Carla Robertson, SMH Interim CEO. “We’re excited to finish the space and start serving patients.”

All physicians are currently accepting new patients. To schedule an appointment, call (501) 847-0834-Bryant or (501) 778-0427-Benton. For more information about women’s services provided at Saline Memorial, visit