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DCMH integrative oncologist speaks at national convention

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Dr. Helen Goldberg

Delta County Memorial Hospital's (DCMH) integrative oncologist, Dr. Goldberg, MD, was invited to be the opening speaker at the March 2 Baptist Health Systems 2019 Cancer Update in San Antonio, Texas. Dr. Goldberg was asked to speak about "Foundations in Integrative Oncology," highlighting the work done at Grand Mesa Oncology. Her lecture focused on the key foundations that go into incorporating an integrative model with a traditional model. She stated, "It's basic."

Some of the "basic" concepts she shared are what have made Grand Mesa Oncology's integrated approach a success as seen in the patient satisfaction and care. "I talked about our free massage program to patients and caregivers, yoga classes and acupuncture and the scientific backing of the positive impacts [of these modalities]."

She went on to say, "It is amazing to see a local farmer who has never gotten a massage in his life receive one for the first time and enjoy it. Ultimately it helps him and his caregivers cope and relax."

Dr. Goldberg did not want to leave San Antonio without getting across the most critical message that the most important aspect of a successful clinic is to spend enough time with the patient. "It is really that simple."

Dr. Goldberg also focused on the importance of staffing. "A clinic needs adequate staffing so the patients' needs are met quickly," she said. Grand Mesa Oncology staff's with the patient's needs in mind with a robust nursing, front office, volunteers and oncology nurse navigator's staff.

A lot of questions and concerns were based around finances and reimbursement, which is not available for many of the integrative modalities. "It is not about direct reimbursement, but about investment into patient satisfaction and the community," said Dr. Goldberg. "Our community is economically challenged but our patients still deserve to receive top notch personalized care. Grand Mesa Oncology is a personalized patient clinic," said Dr. Goldberg. Many larger clinics do not offer even the privacy of individual treatment rooms, but instead patients are all lined up in one big room.

Nutrition was another topic Dr. Goldberg touched on in her presentation. "You can't change people's diets ... you have to encourage people from the culture they are from." There are people that cannot or will not eat all organic or change what kind of foods they eat. Dr. Goldberg encourages her patients on smaller more adoptable changes and to use the best of the [local] talents and choosing food grown locally when possible.

"We are always proud when one of our providers is asked to speak on a larger platform about the expertise they offer our community. I think it just shows the caliber of providers and care here at Delta hospital," stated Jason Cleckler, CEO at Delta County Memorial Hospital. "Dr. Goldberg brings a unique and needed aspect of integrative medicine that we hope is just the beginning."

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