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February 22, 2007 Issue

Recalled peanut butter discovered
Hospital reports profits and expansions
Encouraging Healthy Living

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Recalled peanut butter discovered

• Several jars of the recalled food found in Jefferson County but no one yet reported sick from Salmonella

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

The Georgia Department of Agriculture issued a warning to consumers in response to a product recall on Peter Pan Peanut Butter and Great Value Peanut Butter beginning with product code 2111.

This code is imprinted on the products’ lids. These products are being recalled during an investigation into a report from the CDC that they may be linked to foodborne illness caused by Salmonella.


ConAgra Foods has voluntarily closed its Sylvester plant during an investigation for a possible source of contamination.

Stapleton resident Linda Beckworth said some of the suspect peanut butter was on her shelf at home.

“We heard it on the TV,” she said. “My husband immediately got up and looked in the pantry. We had six jars of the contaminated peanut butter. Four were unopened and two were opened.”

Beckworth said the items had been on sale so she bought several. She returned the unopened jars to the store and exchanged them for a different brand.

“We haven’t had anybody that’s reported being sick to us,” Janet Pilcher, RN, nurse manager of the Jefferson County Public Health Department said.

“Georgia had 14 cases, but none of them were around here during the outbreak. We’ve been informing people who’ve come in, what they need to check and what symptoms to look for. We’re telling them if they have any symptoms to see their physicians,” she said.

The incubation period for salmonella is from 12 hours to seven days. Symptoms include fever, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain and headache, according to Pilcher. “They’re only testing the peanut butter of a lab confirmed case,” she said.

Anyone who has purchased either brand of peanut butter since May 2006 is being advised by the Georgia Department of Agriculture to discard it. For a full refund, return the product lid with the product code along with your name and mailing address to ConAgra Foods, PO Box 57078, Irvine, CA 92619-7078.

Hospital reports profits and expansions

By Parish Howard

Despite two major expansions in the last two years and a national health care environment that makes reimbursements for services more and more difficult, Jefferson Hospital reports show growing profits and a 38.4 percent increase in cash reserves in 2006.

Last week CEO and Administrator Rita Culvern invited public officials to the hospital to share her annual community benefits report.


“I am so pleased,” Culvern said. “Just look at the growth. To me it says the community is looking at how we’ve reinvested in our health care facilities and they are using them.”

She reported 2006’s gross generated revenue at around $23,323,885, with $10,341,835 in deductions and $13,457,104 in expenses.

Adding income from operations and non-operating revenue, she reported 2006 net unaudited income to be $295,563.

Culvern pointed out that this profit comes after providing $1,679,648 in indigent care and writing off almost a million and half in bad debt. In all, the hospital provided more than $3 million worth of uncompensated care in 2006 alone.

However, with the January deposit of around $740,000 from a no-interest loan to help cover the recent expansions, the hospital’s cash reserves grew by over $1 million, or 38.4 percent. It now has 115 days of cash on hand were it to have to dip into these reserves.

In all, the hospital saw a 12.2 percent increase in gross revenue over 2005, 15.3 percent increase in inpatient revenue and an 11 percent increase in outpatient dollars.

Over the last two years Culvern said admissions have increased 26 percent.

In its first full year since the emergency room was remodeled and expanded, it saw 15 percent more use.

Other 2006 accomplishments include the completion and opening of the outpatient surgical unit, renovation of all patient care rooms and new nurses station, renovation of the OR/recovery room suite and completion and opening of the new specialty clinic.

The hospital has also added urology, oncology/chemotherapy services and recruited two new doctors for the Louisville and Wadley clinics as well as Culvern’s replacement, new CEO Heyward “Sonny” Wells, Jr.

In 2006 the hospital performed 4 percent more endoscopies and 12 percent more surgeries than the previous year.

Its Patient Pharmacy Assistance Program served 523 patients last year, providing $1,443,522 in free medicines to these patients.

In all, the hospital’s economic impact on Jefferson County includes an annual payroll of over $6 million employing around 200 people for a total impact of about $20,000,000 on the community.

Culvern is currently scheduled to retire in April and Wells is already on board working full time with Culvern.

“We have a lot of great doctors and staff working here,” Wells said. “I consider myself lucky to have such a great model that Rita has given us.”

Encouraging Healthy Living

Teddy bear Clinic...

There are no excuses for sniffling teddies or stuffed-dog coughs after area Head Start students visited the Jefferson County Sandersville Technical College campus' Teddy Bear Clinic last week. Student nurses did brief asessments of the children's health and hope to ease the 4 and 5-year olds' anxiety about visiting the doctor by showing them the care they could receive on the children's stuffed animals. April Cato (above) lets Alana Mondestin hear her heartbeat while Ashleigh Deriso (right) gives Anqunoia Rozier's doll a shot.

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