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Hospital Offers Free Colon Cancer Screening

Rachel Davis General Comments Off on Hospital Offers Free Colon Cancer Screening

The American Cancer Society designates the month of March as colorectal cancer awareness month. In observance of colorectal cancer awareness month, Texas County Memorial Hospital is offering free colorectal cancer screening during the second week of March.

Area residents may contact TCMH for a free colon cancer screening kit from Monday, March 5th through Friday, March 9th. The screening includes a fecal occult blood test kit for individuals who are over 50 or for individuals who are younger if they have risk factors for colorectal cancer. The kit and information about colorectal cancer will be mailed to participants. Instructions will be included with the kit.

Colorectal cancer is the number fourth most common type of cancer killer in Missouri, and the third leading cause of cancer death in the United States.

However, the American College of Gastroenterologists calls colorectal cancer one of the most preventable and curable types of cancer when detected early. One way to detect colorectal cancer early is to be screened using the fecal occult blood test.

The American Cancer Society recommends that individuals over the age of 50 who are at average risk follow these screening guidelines for colon cancer: yearly fecal occult blood test; flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years; double contrast barium enema every five years; and colonoscopy every 10 years. An individual who has a family history or a personal history of colorectal cancer, polyps, or inflammatory bowel disease may begin colorectal cancer screening at an earlier age as directed by a physician.

There are several symptoms to colorectal cancer. Symptoms may include a change in bowel habits such as diarrhea, constipation, or narrowing of the stool that lasts for more than a few days; a feeling of needing to have a bowel movement that is not relieved by doing so; rectal bleeding or blood in the stool; cramping or steady abdominal pain or weakness and fatigue.

Other health conditions may also cause these symptoms. Only a physician can determine the cause of suspicious symptoms. Individuals should discuss any symptoms with their physician as early as possible.

To request a free kit or additional information about colon cancer, contact Connie Brooks, education coordinator at TCMH, by calling 1-866-967-3311 or (417) 967-1340 or e-mail Brooks at Please leave your name, address and phone number when calling or e-mailing for a kit.

All kits must be returned to TCMH by April 30, 2018 for processing.

TCMH Healthcare Foundation Awards Scholarships

Rachel Davis General Comments Off on TCMH Healthcare Foundation Awards Scholarships

From Left, Wes Murray, TCMH chief executive officer, Grace Buffington, Ashlynn Rogers & Jay Gentry, Healthcare Foundation director

The Texas County Memorial Hospital Healthcare Foundation has awarded two $1,000 scholarships to area students to assist with their educational costs for the 2018 spring school semester.

Receiving scholarships from the TCMH Healthcare Foundation were Ashlynn Rogers of Mountain Grove and Grace Buffington of Rolla.   The recipients were chosen among several applicants by members of the Healthcare Foundation board of directors.

Rogers is a student at Cox College in Springfield, MO, and she’s pursuing an associate’s degree in nursing.

Buffington is a student at Rolla Technical Center, and she is pursuing a radiologic technology degree.  Buffington is also currently a radiologic technologist student at TCMH.

“Educational scholarships are a focus area of the TCMH Healthcare Foundation,” Jay Gentry, Healthcare Foundation director, said.  He added, “Our board of directors believes in the importance of education for area students that are pursuing training in healthcare-related fields.”

With the recent scholarship awards, the Foundation has awarded $83,500 in scholarships to area students since the program began in 2007.  The Healthcare Foundation awards educational scholarships for students pursuing additional higher education each spring and fall.  This fall, the Healthcare Foundation will award endowed scholarship funds in addition to the Healthcare Foundation scholarships.  The Foundation will accept applications for the fall scholarships beginning in April.

“The Foundation board of directors recognizes the growing need for healthcare providers in rural America,” Gentry stated.  “It is the hope of the Foundation that these scholarships will assist in attracting and retaining qualified residents to work in the local healthcare fields.”

Complete scholarship information and the scholarship application is available online at

Cody Rogers is January Employee of the Month

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Left, Cody Rogers with supervisor Jerri Sue Crump

Texas County Memorial Hospital has named Cody Rogers of Houston the January employee of the month.

Rogers is a registered nurse in the emergency department at TCMH.  He has been employed at TCMH for just over one and a half years.  Rogers was nominated for the award by his supervisor, Jerri Sue Crump, emergency department director.

“Cody is someone that doesn’t have to be asked to do what’s needed,” Crump said.  She explained that Rogers does not hesitate to do anything “extra” when he walks into a patient’s room.

Crump noted that Rogers approaches patient care in a calming way, always ensuring that patient safety comes first and patients feel comfortable in his care.

“Cody is a rising star in the field that he has chosen,” Crump said, “He has earned respect from the ER staff along with ancillary departments and is continuously looking to grow his knowledge in his profession.”

Rogers first came to TCMH as a Youth Ambassador.  He participated in the program during his junior and senior years of high school.

Rogers was a TCMH Healthcare Foundation Youth Ambassador Scholarship recipient two times.  He was also nominated for a DAISY award during his time at TCMH.

As employee of the month,  Rogers received a certificate honoring his achievement; a pin; a special parking place in the TCMH lot; one day of paid vacation; a $50 gift card, and gift certificates to Paws N Claws, D&L Florist; Blissful Nirvana Massage, Wehr Motors, Savor Grill and Big Red Car Wash.  A reception will be held at the hospital in honor of Rogers.

Rogers is eligible for the 2018 TCMH employee of the year award.

New X-Ray Stretcher for Emergency Department Purchased with Grant Funding

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The new Stryker Prime X x-ray stretcher is not an ordinary patient bed in the emergency department at Texas County Memorial Hospital.

Left, Jerri Sue Crump, emergency department director and Shannon Bridges, radiologic technologist

“The new patient stretcher is providing more comfort to patients when they need it most,” Jerri Sue Crump, TCMH emergency department director, explained.  According to Crump, about 12,000 area residents visit the emergency department at TCMH each year and nearly half of them require some type of diagnostic radiological test.

Diagnostic radiological tests are any imaging exams and procedures used to diagnose a patient.  The tests are frequently needed for the physician to properly diagnose a disease or injury in a patient.

The new stretcher is a “first” for the emergency department at TCMH.  Using the stretcher, the emergency department now has 360 degrees of access to position the x-ray cassettes without jostling or maneuvering the patients.

Prior to the addition of the new stretcher, the emergency department team would have to lift and reposition their patients for each image that needed to be taken.

“The stretcher will enable us to get critical x-ray images of a patient without having to reposition them and place a hard x-ray cassette under them,” Crump said.

Crump described the x-ray stretcher as a way to provide faster, more efficient patient care while keeping patients as comfortable as possible.  “The new x-ray stretcher helps us meet our goal of providing better patient care in a more comfortable way,” Crump said.

TCMH was able to obtain the new x-ray stretcher through a $6,000 grant from the Bess Spiva Timmons Foundation and additional funding support of $1,386 from the TCMH Healthcare Foundation.

“The Timmons Foundation in partnership with the TCMH Foundation has been very generous to help us obtain equipment that we may not have ever been able to purchase otherwise,” Wes Murray, TCMH chief executive officer, said.

Murray noted the x-ray stretcher was immediately put to use in the emergency department.  “Many patients will benefit from this donation,” Murray said.

“The Healthcare Foundation was pleased to partner with the Timmons Foundation to provide another tool for our staff to use to improve the patient healthcare and outcomes at TCMH,” Jay Gentry, TCMH Healthcare Foundation director, said.

The Timmons Foundation is a private family foundation of the descendants of Bess Spiva Timmons.  The late Dr. Joe L. Spears, a long-time family practice physician from the Cabool area, is a past president of the Timmons Foundation Board.  Tim Spears, son of Dr. Joe L. Spears, assisted in obtaining the funding for TCMH through his family’s foundation.

The TCMH Healthcare Foundation is the non-profit organizational arm of the hospital with a mission to ensure the quality of healthcare services for children, women and men at TCMH.

Have a Heart and Go Red for Women

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By Tracey Arwood, CNM

Tracey Arwood, CNM

On Friday, February 2rd, people across the nation will be sporting red attire in celebration of “National Go Red for Women” day.  The American Heart Association (AHA) designated February 2nd as Go Red day to raise awareness about heart disease among women.

According to the AHA, 2,200 Americans die daily from heart disease and stroke. Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of women, causing one out of every three deaths per year–more than all cancers combined.

Ninety percent of women have at least one risk factor for heart disease.  Even the warning signs of heart problems are different for women than they are for men.  Heart disease doesn’t affect all women the same way.  Women are also less likely to recognize when they are having signs of heart attack or stroke in time to call 911.

Knowing warning signs of heart attack and stroke can also save your life.

Symptoms of a heart attack include chest pressure, tightness, or pain; discomfort in arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach; shortness of breath; cold sweat; nausea, or lightheadedness.

Symptoms of a stroke include sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg; sudden confusion or trouble speaking; sudden blurred vision; sudden trouble walking; dizziness or lack of coordination, and sudden severe headache.

If you experience any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately. Call an ambulance or have someone take you to the nearest emergency room. Try to stay calm and take deep slow breaths while waiting for emergency care.

It’s also important to remember that women over age 55 are at a higher risk of developing heart disease.

Risk factors for heart disease include family history, personal history, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, lack of exercise, and smoking.  Some of these risk factors are controllable, others are not. With the right changes and action, heart disease can be treated and prevented.

There are several steps women can take to decrease risk and to prevent heart attack and stroke.

An active, healthy lifestyle is the first step to decreasing cardiovascular risk. Make it your goal this year to quit smoking.  Maintain healthy blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Exercise daily.  Decrease stress.

Modify your diet to include fruits and vegetables, limiting sugars and excess fats. Losing as little as 10 pounds can significantly decrease your heart disease risk.

Fortunately, the majority of cardiovascular disease is preventable with education and lifestyle change.

All women should schedule an annual well woman visit and screening bloodwork with a healthcare provider.

Tracey Arwood, CNM,  is a specialist in women’s health, and she provides wellness and prevention healthcare for area women.  She will review your cardiac risk with you and discuss actions to take that could save your life.

To make an appointment with Arwood, contact the TCMH Medical Complex in Houston at (417)967-5637 or the TCMH Mountain Grove Clinic at (417)926-1770.

Hospital Ends Year with Overall Increase in Patient Numbers

Rachel Davis General Comments Off on Hospital Ends Year with Overall Increase in Patient Numbers

Texas County Memorial Hospital ended the year with increased patient volumes and increased revenue for the third year in a row, board members heard at their monthly meeting on Tuesday.

Wes Murray, TCMH chief executive officer, and Linda Pamperien, TCMH chief financial officer, presented a positive picture for the hospital at the end of 2017.

“We have progressively made improvements over the past three years with growth in inpatient, outpatient and swing bed volumes,” Pamperien said.

TCMH was up 80 inpatient admissions in 2017, seven percent growth for the year. Also in 2017, outpatient volumes were up 10 percent, and swing bed volumes were up 12 percent.

Pamperien explained that revenues were up for the hospital’s contract 340b pharmacy program that provided discounted prescription drugs for patients using TCMH healthcare providers.

“Dr. Mella has also helped us to increase our volumes in the Sleep Studies Laboratory, and we generated $137,000 in our new Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Clinic,” Pamperien said.

Pamperien noted that hospital expenses rose 3.5 percent in 2017.

“Our staff did an excellent job maintaining our expenses as we grow,” Pamperien said.

With depreciation on the hospital addition and related new equipment, TCMH will end 2017 in the red.  The final financial picture for the year will be complete after the 2017 financial audit.  Auditors will be on site in March, and audit results will be presented at the April board meeting.

“Our physicians continue to do an excellent job managing their inpatients and referring outpatient services to TCMH whenever possible,” Murray said.  “Times are tough for rural hospitals, but we are managing to keep moving forward despite the forces working against us.”

Murray reported that Jose Atiles, MD, a family medicine physician from West Plains, has signed a contract to begin working full-time at the TCMH Mountain Grove Clinic in February.  Jennifer Groner, DO, the current physician at the Mountain Grove clinic, has resigned to return to teaching in Kansas City.

“Dr. Atiles has been in practice in the Ozarks for many years as an emergency room physician and in private practice,” Murray said.

Atiles will see patients on an outpatient basis at the Mountain Grove Clinic, referring to TCMH physicians for inpatient services.

“I believe Dr. Atiles will have a solid referral pattern to our physicians and ancillary service departments, and he will be a good fit for us,” Murray said.

Atiles will join Sara Openshaw, FNP, who also works full-time at the clinic and Tracey Arwood, CNM, who provides women’s health and obstetrics services two days a week at the clinic.

Amanda Turpin, quality management director at TCMH, presented finalized quality assurance and process improvement reports for all TCMH departments involved in quarterly reporting.

“I’m pleased to say that every department has completed their reports for the past year, so we are compliant with CMS [Center for Medicare Services] regulations,” Turpin said.

Turpin also provided the 2018 quality assurance reporting plans and goals for each hospital department.  Turpin noted that some of the plans and/or goals remain the same because the affected department continues to gather data about the same thing as in the past.

New quality work in 2018 includes the hospital clinics working on antibiotic stewardship, the lab and obstetrics departments working on improving times involved in reporting newborn tests to the state, and the lab and the emergency departments working on improving turnaround times.

“You do an awesome job with collecting, compiling and reporting this data to us,” Janet Wiseman, TCMH board member, said.  Wiseman is responsible for similar reporting in her position at Houston House, the long-term care facility where she is employed.

Murray shared thanks from Cox College of Nursing in Springfield for providing support of the school in pursuing a $2.2 million grant to expand the college facilities and nursing student enrollment.  Cox College sought the grant in 2017.

“Cox College received this grant, and it should be a benefit to all area healthcare facilities,” Murray said.  He noted that Cox College is the only area nursing school currently expanding enrollment numbers.

TCMH has been talking with an infectious disease physician from CoxHealth in Springfield about providing services to area patient via telehealth.

“Currently we are looking at the possibility of a half day a month,” Murray said.

According to Murray, the physician would also be willing to work with TCMH pharmacists and staff on antibiotic stewardship efforts at the hospital in addition to patient care.

Inpatient and outpatient volumes were up at the hospital in December, according to Pamperien’s financial report.  TCMH ended the month of December with a positive bottom line of $71,551.54 and negative year-to-date balance of $772,547.78.

Present at the meeting were Murray; Pamperien; Turpin; Doretta Todd-Willis, chief nursing officer; Dr. Jonathan Beers, chief of staff; Rachel Davis, director of public relations; Joleen Senter Durham; William Mahoney, CoxHealth representative, and board members, Wiseman; Dr. Jim Perry, OD, and Jay Loveland.

Board members, Omanez Fockler and Mark Hampton, were not present at the meeting.

The next meeting of the TCMH board of trustees is Tuesday, February 27 at 12 p.m. in the hospital board room.

Rachel Davis Takes Director Position at TCMH

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Rachel Davis, Director of Public Relations, Marketing & Physician Recruiting

Rachel Davis of Plato is the new director of public relations, marketing, and physician recruiting at Texas County Memorial Hospital.

Davis most recently worked as the executive director of operations for a chief operating officer at Mercy Hospital in Joplin.  She has a bachelor’s degree in business with a marketing concentration from Missouri Valley College in Marshall, MO and a master’s degree in health administration from Missouri State University in Springfield.

In her time at Mercy, Davis was responsible for working with and overseeing numerous physicians, clinics, and service lines.

“I am thrilled to be back home, and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to use my healthcare knowledge to benefit the local hospital and clinics,” Davis said.

Davis and her family made the decision to return to Texas County in 2017 after buying a farm in Northeast Wright County where they are building a home.

“It’s not often that we have the opportunity to hire someone with the knowledge, experience, and local ties that Rachel has,” Wes Murray, chief executive officer at TCMH, said.

Murray noted that Davis presented a “key opportunity” for the hospital to match abilities and skills to the hospital’s personnel needs.

“We don’t always have the luxury of finding people to work here that can meet our current needs and bring additional skills we can use,” Murray said.

Murray noted that the role requires a calm demeanor, the ability to wear multiple hats, and the ability to shift gears drastically without much notice—all traits he believes Davis holds.

“Rachel can help us with our current needs and with the future healthcare needs of our hospital,” Murray said.

Davis and her husband, John, have three children, Callie, Tucker and Marlee.  Davis is an award-winning barrel-racer, and enjoys riding horses and other outdoor activities in her free time.

Ladies…New Year Brings New Focus on You and Your Cervical Health

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Tracey Arwood, CNM

By Tracey Arwood, CNM

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month and a time to focus on what you can do to prevent cervical cancer.  Each year, more than 11,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Human papilloma virus (HPV) is a very common infection that spreads through sexual activity, and it causes almost all cases of cervical cancer.  About 79 million Americans currently have HPV, but many people with HPV do not know they are infected.

The good news is that cervical cancer can be prevented.

The HPV vaccine is recommended by the CDC for girls and young women age 11 to 26 for the prevention of cervical cancer.  The vaccine is most effective if given before the onset of sexual activity, and it is a part of the routine vaccination schedule for both boys and girls around the ages of 11 or 12.

Cervical cancer can also be prevented through regular screening tests and follow up care. Cervical cancer screenings, such as pap smears, can help detect abnormal cells early, before they turn into cancer.  If abnormal cells are detected, simple treatment options are available to remove the abnormal cells.

Routine pap smears are recommended every 3 years after the age of 21, and more often if the tests come back with abnormal results.

It is important to continue getting routine pap smears until age 64, even if previous pap smears have all been normal.  HPV may stay dormant for many years before causing cellular changes that turn into cervical cancer.

Most women can receive routine cervical cancer screenings at no charge, either as a prevention visit through their insurance or through state funded programs.  Show-Me Healthy Women is a Missouri wide program offered through the health department that covers cervical and breast cancer screenings for women who have no insurance and meet certain income guidelines.

Cervical cancer risk is also reduced by using latex condoms consistently to prevent HPV transmission.  Smoking also increases the risk of HPV developing into cervical cancer.

Tracey Arwood, CNM provides complete women’s healthcare.  Tracey sees teenagers after their first period, and she has HPV vaccines available.

To make an appointment with Arwood, contact the TCMH Medical Complex in Houston at (417)967-5637 or the TCMH Mountain Grove Clinic at (417)926-1770.


TCMH is a Testing Ground for New Wound Therapy Technology

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Ellen Willis, wound therapist at Texas County Memorial Hospital, uses Mirragen to treat a wound on the foot of Jerry Rader. Willis saw more closure in two weeks of therapy using Mirragen on Rader’s foot than the previous two months of treating the foot with traditional methods.

For the past several months some patients at Texas County Memorial Hospital have had the opportunity to test Mirragen, a new wound therapy product from ETS Wound Care in Rolla.

Mirragen, developed by Missouri Science and Technology student and ceramic engineer, Steve Jung, is a bioactive resorbable glass fiber technology that has been found to help wounds heal faster.  As a glass fiber, Mirragen can also be used for wounds with challenging geometries.

Bioactive glass has been used since the 1960’s to grow bone tissue.  The silica used in bioactive glass was not a suitable product for growing soft tissue, but Jung used boron in a glass fiber that was found to help heal soft tissue.  The borate-based fiber is sturdy and durable for a period of time, but it also breaks down and dissolves as soft tissue heals.

Mirragen was tested on patients for almost 10 years and received approval from the Food and Drug Administration in 2017.  It is the only product of its kind in the world, and it’s slated for release to the broader domestic market later this year.

As part of a controlled domestic release, Ellen Willis, board certified wound therapist at TCMH, received a donation of Mirragen product to use on some difficult wound cases at TCMH.

About half of Willis’s work as a therapist involves wound care.  She provides wound care to TCMH inpatients, outpatients and TCMH Home Health of the Ozarks patients.

“With the use of Mirragen, I was able to see positive improvement on chronic wounds within one to two weeks,” Willis said.

Willis considers a “chronic” wound to be a wound that has been open for more than a month.  Some of Willis’s chronic wound patients have wounds that have not healed for a year or more.

Because Mirragen is a fiber made up of layers, it can be placed on all areas of the wound—bone, tendon, and facia.  Mirragen can also be used on wounds that cannot be treated with negative pressure wound therapy—a traditional treatment for large wounds or wounds that are not healing.

The borate-based fiber resembles the microstructure of a clot, which might help a wound heal on its own.  Mirragen also absorbs up to 400 percent of the wound’s moisture, another important factor in wound therapy.

With one difficult wound in a patient at TCMH, Willis saw more closure in a month of treatment with Mirragen than she had seen in nine months of traditional wound therapy.

“I used Mirragen on this patient when all of my normal wound therapies had not worked,” Willis said.  She noted that in trials Mirragen had “incredible success” with diabetic and pressure ulcers, common wounds that Willis treats at TCMH.

Mirragen has also been tested and proven effective on venous ulcers, burns, surgical incisions and donor/recipient graft sites.

Currently, Willis has only treated patients with donated Mirragen product because it’s “very expensive”.  Due to the newness of Mirragen to the market, it’s not a reimbursable product for Willis to use on most of her patients.

Mirragen is sold in small packets of four-inch by four-inch, two-inch by two-inch or one-inch by six-inch devices.

ETS Wound Care has a mission to help to serve patient in underserved areas like the Ozarks where the product was developed.  ETS committed to working with Willis and a few TCMH patients so Willis could try the product.

“There are always variables in treating wounds,” Willis said. “Different body chemistries respond to treatment in different ways, but overall Mirragen will be a great tool in the wound therapy toolbox.”

ETS hopes to continue to grow borate-based bioactive technology to develop and commercialize a broad range of breakthrough solutions for the wound care market.

“We appreciate the mission of ETS to minimize the cost of treatment and improve patient outcomes,” Wes Murray, TCMH chief executive officer, said.  “We were honored to be asked to be part of their continuing studies and receive donated product to use with some of our patients.”

Murray explained that ETS hopes that the Ozark region can become known as a place where some of the best wound care in the world is available.

“Wound therapy is a growing need in our area, and we hope we can continue to use Mirragen and help ETS achieve their mission,” Murray said.

TCMH has grown wound therapy services at the hospital over the past few years, and Jason Loden, DO, a general surgeon joining the hospital in the summer of 2018, has hopes of making wound care a portion of his practice.

“With Dr. Loden’s and Ellen’s interest and skills in wound care we should be able to provide more wound therapy services in to our patients in the upcoming year,” Murray said.

Currently Willis is limited in the scope of wound therapy services she’s able to provide without a physician working alongside her.

“When Dr. Loden gets here, he will be able to oversee some new wound therapies for our patients,” Willis said.  “It will be a great benefit for our area patients.”

For additional information about wound therapy at TCMH, contact Willis at (417) 967-1270.  Additional information about Mirragen is available at

CBCO Blood Drive Planned at TCMH

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Texas County Memorial Hospital is hosting a blood drive on Fri., Jan. 26th from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Community Blood Center of the Ozarks (CBCO) will collect blood donations in the Jayson Gentry Community Safe Room on the TCMH campus.

Currently there is a critical need for blood type “O negative”, which is known as the “universal blood type” because it can be transfused into recipients of all blood types.

TCMH receives 100 percent of their blood supply from CBCO. All blood collected by CBCO stays in the area to be utilized by Ozark communities, neighbors and families.

TCMH and 36 other hospitals in this area are served by the CBCO. Approximately 250 units of blood are needed each day. TCMH uses approximately 500 units of blood each year.

Eligible donors can be anyone 16 years old or older who weighs at least 110 pounds and has not given blood in the last 56 days.   All donors must provide identification when registering to donate.

For more information about the blood drive contact Connie Brooks, education director at TCMH, (417) 967-1340 or 1-866-967-3311. For questions regarding donor eligibility contact the CBCO at 1-800-280-5337.

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