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Frye Regional Medical Center

On the cover–Frye’s leadership team includes Chief Nursing Officer Michelle Dickerson, Chief Executive Officer Gar Atchison, and Medical Director of Quality and Patient Safety
Dr. Dan Hatcher

Frye Regional Medical Center

By Kristie Darling

Cover photo by Shane Greene Photography

Right–Infusion Center Nurse Leah Albright is part of the team that administers intravenous antibiotics, chemotherapy medications, and fluids to patients on an outpatient basis. Infusion Center patient Glade Stafford travels to Frye from Alexander County for care.

Patient Safety Officer Julie Byrne, RN, (center) is part of the quality and safety team that monitors ways to improve pro-cesses. She’s rounding with Phlebotomist Amela Hodzic, who is pictured with cardiovascular patient Bob Paszek.

Frye Regional Medical Center

Frye Regional Medical Center


Not every hospital patient has an outcome as dramatic or miraculous as Hildebran resident Linda Shook.

“My husband, David, calls me his ‘miracle baby,’” Linda said, “and everyone I’ve told my story to says I was in the right place at the right time. The doctors and nurses who saved my life worked well beyond the norm when my heart stopped beating.” Linda came to Frye Regional’s Heart Center for a routine heart catheterization in April. “The cardio team was prepared for anything, I know, but I’m sure they didn’t expect to spend an extraordinary amount of time taking turns performing CPR to keep me alive. After I went home and recovered, I went back to thank them—and hug them—and found out how many people around Frye know my story. I tell everyone that the people in the room with me were lifesavers. I missed my trip to the beach scheduled for later that week, but I’m doing so well now I plan to go down to North Myrtle and go shagging soon.”
When we hear miraculous stories like Linda’s, we are grateful for the positive outcome and for the clinical staff that sprang into action (in Linda’s case, the Heart and Emergency Team) at Frye Regional Medical Center, who believed they could save Linda’s life, even when the odds were stacked against her.

Frye Heart Center: Advanced Heart Services
Our region’s only comprehensive heart center, Frye Regional Medical Center, offers 24/7 cardiology and open heart surgery and valve repair, which means the residents in our region can get the heart care they need without leaving their community. Frye Heart Center’s surgeons and cardiologists perform more than 6,750 heart procedures each year with the highest level of expertise and the latest technology and advancements. Linda’s incredible experience, even against unbelievable odds, is a testament to Frye’s extraordinary level of experience and dedication to its patients’ health.

Frye Regional is a Duke LifePoint Hospital
In 2016, Duke LifePoint Healthcare acquired Frye Regional and added the Hickory healthcare system to a growing network of nine hospitals in North Carolina and 14 nationwide. In 2017, the Frye Heart Center joined the Duke Health Heart Network, becoming the only affiliate in western North Carolina, and one of just six hospitals on the East coast. “We have always had a strong heart health program, and this affiliation with the Duke Heart Network adds expertise and clinical support in expanding the work we do in all areas of heart care,” Gar Atchison, CEO of Frye Regional Medical Center, said. “The Duke LifePoint partnership impacts our positive ratings in patient safety, patient satisfaction, and quality care. We are learning more through Duke’s clinical programs and advanced, on-going training every day and working with LifePoint to streamline our operations.”

Duke LifePoint’s investment in Frye includes a $13 million renovation and expansion to the Emergency Department, which started this year and is expected to be completed next summer. The new Emergency Services department will double the number of patient rooms available to take care of individuals who need emergency care. Duke’s world-renowned reputation and leadership in quality clinical systems and patient safety are shared within the Duke LifePoint network through ongoing training, staff development and education, and evidence-based best practices in heart health care and in all areas of the hospital’s offerings.

Patient Safety and Quality Care
“Frye Regional has one of the lowest rates of infection in North Carolina,” said Dr. Daniel Hatcher. “We are part of the Duke Infection Control Outreach Network, and with their support, we have worked hard to attain and maintain that status. This is a critical measurement of overall patient safety at Frye.” Dr. Hatcher is medical director of patient safety and quality. His oversight extends throughout the hospital in partnership with all clinical and administrative departments and the community, as well, with a mission to provide extraordinary clinical care.

“One important way we discover new opportunities to improve safety, quality, and increase patient satisfaction is through our Patient Safety Clinical Quality Committee. This group includes representatives from our frontline staff, physicians, our board of directors and administrators, Duke LifePoint, as well as patient representatives,” Dr. Hatcher continued. “Having input from these stakeholders gives us total transparency across all disciplines. Continuous improvement in quality and safety isn’t a destination, it’s a journey.” Changes in bedside reporting, new bathing techniques, and an increased focus on purposeful hourly rounding, where nurses and CNAs are able to address their patients’ pain management and positioning are a few of the advances seen in patient care.

Chief Nursing Officer Michelle Dickerson explained the Speak Up program: “All our employees, no matter their position from the top on down, are empowered and encouraged to say something if they see anything that is not safe or that needs to be changed. We work diligently to maintain this culture of responsibility and accountability among all our staff.” As CNO, Michelle understands how small improvements in procedures or policies can mean big gains in overall patient outcomes.

Frye Regional Lung Center
Dr. Franklin McGuire is the medical director of Frye’s Lung Center, which is a comprehensive program that includes imaging, diagnosis, and treatment for patients who may have difficulty breathing, possibly from asthma or allergies; lung diseases, such as pulmonary fibrosis and sarcoidosis; pulmonary hypertension; or sleep disorders.

Dr. McGuire specializes in bronchial stents that improve airflow in the lungs, including Y stenting, an advanced procedure that opens multiple airways with a single stent. Y stenting is just one example of cutting edge technology employed at the Frye Lung Center, and only available at Frye. In addition, smoking cessation classes, genetic testing, and specialized support resources for cancer patients during and after treatment are available.

Frye Regional’s Surgical Weight Loss Program
Frye’s Surgical Weight Loss program, which is accredited by the American College of Surgeons and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, offers a personalized approach to weight loss surgery and has helped thousands of local residents regain their health and their lives through surgery. “We get to know each participant in the program and their families, and our patients benefit from the one-on-one personalized care and attention,” said Becky Steele, the Surgical Weight Loss Program’s coordinator and registered dietician.

At Frye Regional, the Surgical Weight Loss Program is customized for each individual patient; it’s not a cookie-cutter, out-of-the-box plan for weight loss. Dr. Jonathan Hata, the program’s medical director, explains that working closely with patients is critical to their success since only two percent of people who qualify for weight loss surgery are able to successfully lose the weight through diet and exercise alone. For the majority, 98 percent, surgery is needed to allow the individual to achieve a healthy weight. Weight loss can be life changing in so many ways—everyday activities that might not have been possible, can now become routine.

Exceptional Healthcare Here At Home
Frye Regional Medical Center’s outstanding reputation goes back more than 100 years and has a renewed emphasis on “making communities healthier.” As we approach 2018, Frye continues to grow and expand on the resources available through its partnership with Duke LifePoint. “Our culture has truly changed for the better since we joined Duke LifePoint,” Dr. Hatcher said. “The communities and families we serve are the beneficiaries, and we are grateful to be able to bring advanced healthcare services to our region.”

Frye Regional Medical Center
A Duke LifePoint Hospital
420 N Center Street
Hickory, NC

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