Highland Medical Center Receives Awards


Highland Medical Center in Monterey has received three awards from the American Heart Association and the American Medical Association recognizing it’s work in helping patients control their blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol.

Letitia Amirault is the CEO of Highland Medical Center.

“I don’t know that we ever even had these awards in mind as we worked with these patients,” says Amirault.  “We’re just striving to do the best we can to keep patients as healthy as possible.”

The medical center received the Gold Award in the Target: Type 2 Diabetes program for care related to Type 2 diabetes and the management of cardiovascular risk factors

Josie Buzzard is the Quality Improvement and Risk Management Coordinator at the Highland Medical Center.

“We were already collecting this information and working on these things with our patients through programs like chronic disease management,” says Buzzard.  “This initiative came out toward the end of 2019 and the data was submitted in February of this year.  This wasn’t an initiative for us to do this work.  We were already doing it.  This is just a way to capture the data and show that it is being done and it does work.”

HMC also received the Gold Award in the Check. Change. Control. Cholesterol program in recognition of their commitment to reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke through improved cholesterol management.

“It’s not mandated,” says Amirault.  “It’s a measurement tool so that we can check ourselves, so to speak, and have another professional entity look at our work and look at our numbers and let us know where we’re missing parts or where we’re doing really well.”

HMC also received Gold Level recognition in the Target: BP program.  High blood pressure is the leading risk factor for heart attacks, strokes and preventable death in the U.S.

“Pre-COVID, of course, we had a chronic disease management team that would meet with patients who needed a little bit of extra help to reach the goals,” says Amirault.  “And they met with those patients through 2019 and helped them work on diet, exercise, lifestyle changes, things like that.  So we’re not just focusing on medicine as treatment, but we’re trying to look at the whole picture for the patient to improve their overall health and well-being.  We are constantly working on these issues and have been for years.  It’s just that this particular program asked for data starting in 2019.  So we continue to work on these measures and we will continue to work on them forever and ever, because these are the top three diseases that we see in America right now.”

The ongoing monitoring of blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes is something that shouldn’t be neglected.

“Patients are still a little bit leery to come to the doctor,” says Amirault.  “But we are trying our level best to keep all of these patients in the loop and make sure that they’re getting their lab work and having their appointments.  I would like to assure patients that we are doing everything in our power to make sure it’s safe to come here.  We screen every person, including staff, that comes into the door every day.  The patients are brought in through a separate entrance to the building, so that we are trying to keep ill and well people separated as much as we can.  So I feel like it is safe to come here.  Chronic disease is still very important.”

You can learn more about Highland Medical Center through their website ourhmc.org.

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

Current Weather