Get to Know Frehiwot Temesgen, MD, Charles County’s Newest Neurology Specialist

Photo of neurology doctor standing in office

Neurologists are doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating conditions that are caused by the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and the peripheral nervous system (nerves that branch off from the spinal cord through the body). Although it’s a highly specialized field of medicine, it doesn’t mean that you can’t see a high-quality neurologist right here in Southern Maryland.

We’re proud to introduce Dr. Frehiwot Temesgen, Charles County’s newest board-certified neurologist who’s now practicing at UM Charles Regional Medical Group – Neurology in La Plata, MD.

Specialties and Treatments Offered

Dr. Temesgen is able to provide patients with evaluations and treatments for several neurological conditions, including:

  • Headaches
  • Seizures
  • Stroke
  • Memory Loss
  • Neuropathy
  • Radiculopathy
  • Tremors
  • Migraines
  • Spasticity

Dr. Temesgen uses a wide variety of treatments and specializes in the following procedures:

  • Electroencephalogram (EEG)
  • Electromyogram (EMG)
  • Botox for Chronic Migraines

Education and Background

Board certified in neurology and clinical neurophysiology, Dr. Temesgen has more than a decade of practical medical experience and expertise. She graduated from the Gondar University School of Medicine in Ethiopia in 2005 and worked as a general medical practitioner at Hawassa University Hospital until 2008 when she took a medical internship in Washington, D.C.

From there, she undertook a three-year neurology residency at Howard University Hospital, before becoming a clinical neurophysiology fellow at George Washington University.

Her most recent experience in the field includes:

  • Locum/PRN Neurohospitalist in Pennsylvania and West Virginia
  • Neurologist at Mary Washington Healthcare in Fredericksburg
  • Clinical Neurophysiology Fellow at George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C.

How to Schedule an Appointment

Dr. Temesgen is now accepting new patients right here in Charles County at the UM Charles Regional Medical Pavilion in La Plata. 

To schedule an appointment, please call (301) 609-5044 — a doctor’s referral may be required. Patient registration and authorization forms are also available online to speed up the check-in process on the day of your first appointment (click here to download Spanish forms).

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Having a Happy & Healthy Pregnancy

How to Have a Happy, Healthy Pregnancy

Whether you’ve been planning this moment for years or have just been surprised to learn that a bundle of joy is on the way, every pregnancy promises a unique and life-changing experience.

Soon you’ll discover there’s no right way to parent, and the same idea is true for pregnancy. That said, the following information will give you a basic roadmap to help maximize your journey.

Preparing for Pregnancy

Even if you live a relatively healthy lifestyle already, there are still additional steps that you should consider taking to boost your preconception health. Just a few small changes can make a world of a difference down the line, as there is a greater risk of low birth weight and preterm babies when you fail to prepare for pregnancy.

You can improve your preconception health in a number of ways:

  • Take a folic acid supplement 
  • Avoid toxic substances, alcohol and smoking 
  • Monitor any preexisting conditions 
  • Talk to a doctor about your current medicines

Tackling Each Trimester

Congratulations — you’re expecting! It’s a long road until you’re holding your baby, but these 40 weeks are home to critical development within your womb, which translates to a lot of big changes for your body and lifestyle as well. Here are some common things that you might experience.

First Trimester

Hormonal changes can affect every part of your body and can trigger unique reactions. Some common symptoms include: 

  • Tiredness
  • Upset stomach 
  • Cravings 
  • Mood swings

Second Trimester

Many say that the second trimester is easier than the first. That said, more noticeable changes may affect your body including: 

  • Body aches 
  • Stretch marks 
  • Patches of darker skin on the face 
  • Numb or tingling hands

Third Trimester
Some of the same discomforts will continue, and other new ones may develop in preparation for the birthing process:

  • Shortness of breath 
  • Heartburn 
  • Trouble sleeping 
  • Swelling (see doctor if severe)

Birth and Beyond

It can be difficult to tell when your baby is ready to make their grand entrance. You could be having contractions, but what if it’s false labor? You could have felt your water break, but what if it’s just urine? When in doubt, seek a medical professional to confirm if you are just approaching or already in labor.

One decision you can plan for in your labor experience is how to manage the pain. The epidural is one commonly-known and popular method of pain relief, but other medical options are also available, as well as more natural routes that can also make the experience more bearable.

Once you get through labor, the pain will start to subside, but recovering from the birth should not be overlooked. New mothers must not only tend to their baby, but also take special care of their own bodies.

You will likely experience a number of physical changes in the days following the birth. Some symptoms you may encounter are vaginal discharge, cramping, swelling or constipation. Rest is a crucial component of the recovery process, and leaning on loved ones in these early days will help you bounce back.

Emotionally, childbirth will have changed your hormones and may bring unexpected feelings of sadness. This is completely normal and will usually go away on its own. If it doesn’t, reach out to your doctor and inquire about postpartum depression, a serious but treatable condition that can happen any time within the first year after birth.

If you’re seeking additional support as you go through your pregnancy journey, UM Charles Regional has a newly renovated Birthing Center with medical professionals and resources for each step of the way.


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Looking Ahead: What’s to Come for UM Charles Regional in 2020

Photo of exterior of UM Charles Regional Medical Center

It’s hard to believe that 2019 is already in the rearview mirror. Our 80th year in Southern Maryland was really one for the books, and we’re so grateful for the support of our community and the hard work of our team to make it one of our best years yet.

As we reflect on all that we accomplished last year, we’re also looking ahead to everything that will shape our medical system here in Charles County. From new practices to upgrades for existing facilities, 2020 is sure to be a great year for UM Charles Regional. Here’s a look at some of the bigger changes on the horizon for our hospital and its associated practices:

Expansion of Our Birthing Center

One of the biggest updates to come to UM Charles Regional Medical Center in 2020 is the expansion of our Birthing Center. The upcoming upgrades to this highly rated unit will enable our team to serve more expecting mothers than ever before — all with the same great level of care you’ve come to expect from our obstetrics team.

Neurology Specialists, Right Here in Charles County

If you live in Southern Maryland and are in need of neurological care, you won’t have to travel outside of Charles County to get high-quality, expert care because UM Charles Regional Medical Group – Neurology is now seeing patients in La Plata. Led by Dr. Temesgen, this new specialty practice is located at the UM Charles Regional Medical Pavilion (just off Washington Ave.) and offers a wide variety of treatments for neurological conditions.

Visit our website to learn more, or call (301) 609-5044 to schedule your appointment today.

New Women’s Health Office for More Convenient Visits

The team at UM Charles Regional Medical Group – Women’s Health continues to provide compassionate care in La Plata, and we’re excited to announce that seeing a women’s health specialist is getting even more convenient if you live near Waldorf. While the existing La Plata office will continue to serve patients as always, a new office will be opening up in Waldorf later this year.

Our Annual Celebration Gala to Help Support It All

Without the support of our community, none of this would be possible. And with the help of the CRMC Foundation, we’re able to provide more services and better care right here in Charles County.

You can help support our mission of making Southern Maryland the happiest, healthiest place to call home by joining us at our annual Celebration Gala on February 29. Proceeds from this black-tie event benefit the CRMC Foundation and help us continually update and improve our care and medical practices just like those outlined in this blog. 

Visit the CRMC Foundation’s website to learn more and to reserve your tickets today!

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2019: A Year in Review at Your Hospital

Photo of the hospital exterior | 2019 In Review

It’s been an incredible year for University of Maryland (UM) Charles Regional Medical Center. 2019 saw us celebrating our 80th year in Southern Maryland while serving tens of thousands of people who walked through our doors. Here’s a brief look back at some highlights from the past year:

Thousands of Patients Served. Hundreds of Newborns Welcomed.

Over the course of fiscal year 2019, our talented, compassionate team worked with thousands of people — many of whom live right here in your community. How busy were we? Just take a look:

  • 51,592 Emergency Department visits
  • 6,049 hospital admissions
  • 3,227 outpatient surgeries
  • 1,627 inpatient surgeries
  • 712 births

The Latest Awards and Certifications

Our hospital and medical system received numerous prestigious awards and certifications over the past 12 months. And while we’re proud to have received these designations, they’re simply a reflection of our ongoing mission to provide you and your community with the highest quality of medical care right in your backyard.

Here are a few of the awards and certifications we received in 2019:

A Major Employer in Charles County

We’re proud to be one of the largest employers in your community, and in 2019, we employed over 900 people, including 373 medical staff members, right here in Charles County.

Employees are found outside the walls of UM Charles Regional Medical Center, too. You can find our team members in Waldorf and La Plata in practices focusing on primary care, surgical care, diabetes and endocrinology, outpatient physical therapy, gastroenterology, medical imaging, and more.

The Dedication of the Bill and Julie Dotson Imaging Center

Photo of the dedication ceremony and ribbon-cutting

In early November, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford came together with the Dotson family at the Medical Pavilion to dedicate the Bill and Julie Dotson Imaging Center at UM Charles Regional Imaging here in La Plata. You can read the full press release for the event here.

More on the Horizon…

There’s so much more to come from UM Charles Regional here in Southern Maryland. 

With the support of the CRMC Foundation and the strength of the University of Maryland Medical System as a whole, our hospital and associated practices will continue to undergo improvements to provide you, your family, and your neighbors the best medical care possible. In 2020, work will begin on vital upgrades for our Emergency Department, and our highly rated Birthing Center will be expanded and enhanced as well. 

We look forward to serving you in 2020 and many years to come, and we thank you for another incredible year here in Charles County. Best wishes and happy new year!

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2019 Holiday Hours for University of Maryland Charles Regional Practices

Hospital Exterior Photo | Holiday Hours

The holidays are fast approaching, and, like you, our team members are getting ready to celebrate with their friends and family. With that in mind, many of the local practices will be operating under adjusted hours for the next couple of weeks. See below for details about holiday hours for all of our facilities and local offices:

UM Charles Regional Rehabilitation

  • Wednesday, December 25: Closed
  • Monday, January 1: Closed

On all other dates, UM Charles Regional Rehabilitation will follow normal operating hours (Monday-Thursday, 7:30 a.m.-7 p.m., Friday, 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m.).

UM Charles Regional Imaging

  • Tuesday, December 24: 8 a.m.-12 p.m.
  • Wednesday, December 25: Closed
  • Monday, January 1: Closed

On all other dates, UM Charles Regional Imaging will follow normal operating hours (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.).

UM Charles Regional Medical Group – Primary Care 

  • Wednesday, December 25: Closed
  • Monday, January 1: Closed

On all other dates, UM Charles Regional Medical Group – Primary Care will follow normal operating hours (Monday, Thursday, and Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Tuesday, 7 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Wednesday, 8 a.m.-7 p.m.).

UM Charles Regional Medical Group – Women’s Health

  • Wednesday, December 25: Closed
  • Monday, January 1: Closed

On all other dates, UM Charles Regional Medical Group – Women’s Health will follow normal operating hours (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.).

UM Charles Regional Medical Group – Gastroenterology

  • Wednesday, December 25: Closed
  • Monday, January 1: Closed

On all other dates, UM Charles Regional Medical Group – Gastroenterology will follow normal operating hours in these locations:

  • La Plata: Tuesday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
  • Waldorf: Monday and Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
UM Charles Regional Medical Group – Diabetes & Endocrinology

  • Wednesday, December 25: Closed
  • Monday, January 1: Closed

On all other dates, UM Charles Regional Medical Group – Diabetes & Endocrinology will follow normal operating hours (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.).

UM Charles Regional Medical Group – Surgical Care

  • Wednesday, December 25: Closed
  • Monday, January 1: Closed

On all other dates, UM Charles Regional Medical Group – Surgical Care in Waldorf and La Plata will follow normal operating hours (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.).

UM Charles Regional Medical Center Visiting Hours

Visiting hours at the hospital will remain normal throughout the holidays. Need more information or have a question? Please call our main phone number at (301) 609-4000.

As always, the emergency room at University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center is open 24 hours a day every day. We would like to extend our sincerest gratitude to all of the doctors, nurses, and support staff who will continue working hard throughout the holidays to make this possible and ensure that there will always be someone ready to help in the event of an emergency.

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Celebrating 80 Years: The Eighth Decade (2009-2019)

Celebrating 80 Years | The 8th Decade | Photo of the UM Charles Regional Medical Center exterior

In the past 10 years, we have simultaneously focused our efforts on contemplatively respecting the past and propelling ourselves into a bright and hopeful future.

Revitalizing our original building turned historic landmark was one of our foremost tasks. The former site of Physicians Memorial Hospital was transferred to Civista’s ownership in 2010. After a $500,000 renovation process, we were able to convert our original space to further localize care for the residents of La Plata. 

“I remember when I first came to the facility it was inadequate,” the late Dr. Guillermo Sanchez said at the time. “But the hospital has grown and become a leader in health care in Southern Maryland.”  

To commemorate this growth and the hospital’s new access to an extensive network of advanced health services, Civista Medical Center became the University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center in 2013. This signified its membership in a prestigious 12-hospital system and deepened our commitment to bring world-class medical care to the people of Charles County.

In 2016, we brought on a new face to take the hospital to even greater heights than the past decades could even imagine. Joseph Moser, MD, became the new chief medical officer following 18 years as vice president of medical affairs at Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis.

“I’m excited about this opportunity to work with the physicians and staff at Charles Regional,” Moser said. “This is a high-performing hospital in a premier health system, and it’s a privilege to join a team of this caliber in working to enhance health care for people in Charles County.” 

Over this past decade, we have strived to provide exceptional, award-worthy care to our patients. From our Get with the Guidelines Stroke Award for our commitment to educating the public about stroke prevention to our Workplace Center for Life recognition for promoting organ and tissue donation, we have consistently been recognized for giving back to our community. 

And we intend to do so for the next 80 years and beyond.

Miss any of the past stories from our “Celebrating 80 Years” series? Check out the posts below:

The First Decade (1939-1949)
The Second Decade (1949-1959)
The Third Decade (1959-1969)
The Fourth Decade (1969-1979)
The Fifth Decade (1979-1989)
The Sixth Decade (1989-1999)
The Seventh Decade (1999-2009)

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Important Tips for Maintaining Mental Wellness During the Holidays

Photo of a man holding his head in his hands

Feeling lonely, sadness due to personal losses, and even conditions like seasonal-affective disorder — these are all issues that can affect people during the holiday season. It should come as no surprise, either; it’s an especially busy and stressful time of year, and it can be easy to feel lost among all the excitement. 

Fortunately, there are some relatively simple ways to control your stress levels and promote a healthy mindset. Here are a few strategies for maintaining mental wellness around the holidays:

Budget Your Money and Your Time

Whether or not holiday stress, anxiety, depression or loneliness is something you’ve dealt with before, it’s always a great idea to be proactive this time of year. Here are some things you should budget out ahead of time:

Money – It can feel like there’s never enough money to get everything you want for everyone on your list. Financial wellness is connected to mental wellness, so don’t start working on your wishlist until you have a clear idea of how much you can afford without feeling uncomfortable about what’s on your credit card or in your bank account.

Time – With all the holiday parties, happenings, get-togethers, and shopping trips to get through — on top of your normal work and family responsibilities — your calendar can get out of control fast. Take a look at the next few weeks ahead and block out time for yourself along the way. You’d be surprised how much less stressful everything can feel if you plan it all out ahead of time. 

Feel Empowered to Say No When Necessary

Even if you don’t really celebrate the holidays as much as other people, you’re still going to be asked for something by someone this time of year.

It’s 100% OK to say no when you feel like you’re taking on more than you can handle — whether it’s to someone inviting you to join them for an event or simply a local charity asking you for a donation. Not making it to every event isn’t going to make-or-break a relationship with someone, and not making a donation doesn’t make you a bad person.

Go Easy on Yourself

Even the best-laid plans for happy holidays go awry every now and then. Sometimes, our self-control loses out to the delicious food and drinks that surround us this time of year, or we spend just a little bit too much on gifts for friends and family. Just remember, no one is perfect, and what you do during the few weeks surrounding the holidays can’t and won’t define you for the next 12 months.

Stick With Routines You Know Work

You probably have normal routines that help keep you balanced and energized throughout the year. It could be your nightly walk outside, the hour you carve out every day to read a book, or the daily trip to the gym.

Whatever activity you count on to keep yourself happy and calm, stick with it as best as possible. You’ll find that all the excitement, energy, and stress that come along with the holidays aren’t quite as jarring when you’re sticking with things that are familiar and comfortable.

Never Be Afraid to Ask for Help

The feeling of loneliness and isolation is a big problem for many people this time of year, but there’s always someone who can help. If, despite your best efforts, you find that you’re still struggling to keep everything together, don’t be afraid to talk with friends, family members, or a medical professional about what you’re feeling.

If you or someone you know is in immediate crisis during the holidays — or any other time — free and confidential support is available 24/7 from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and it can be reached by calling 1-800-273-8255.

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Why National Influenza Vaccination Week Is So Important

Photo of a person receiving a vaccination shot

Did you know that, every year since 2005, the week of December 1-7 has been designated as National Influenza Vaccination Week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)?

If the fact that it takes place so late in the year strikes you as surprising, you’re not alone. But there are some really important reasons why the CDC and its partners highlight the need to get the flu shot as we head into winter — and some good reasons why everyone should pay attention.

Why Now?

You might be thinking to yourself, “if you haven’t gotten the flu shot by now, why bother?” 

It’s probably a common question because, according to the CDC, flu vaccination rates usually trend downward near the end of November. This is because people start getting busier with the holidays and many people even overlook just how common the seasonal flu is during the month of December and beyond.

Don’t believe us? Take a look at the chart below, which highlights the months in which peak flu activity was observed from 1982 through 2018. You can see that things really start picking up right around December.

Chart of peak flu activity from the CDC

(Chart source: CDC)

What this means is — if you or someone you know hasn’t yet received their seasonal flu vaccination — it’s not too late!

As more people come together for the holidays, the likelihood of spreading or catching the seasonal influenza virus is greater than ever. And even if you don’t want to get vaccinated for yourself, you should do it (assuming you’re medically able to do so) to protect those around you who may have a compromised immune system.

What if I’ve Already Gotten the Flu?

You can and should still get the flu vaccine! Since there are a variety of influenza virus strains that are spread every year, there’s no way to tell which strain you were previously infected with. And the seasonal flu vaccine may be able to help protect you from other strains.

Where to Receive the Seasonal Flu Vaccine

If you live in Southern Maryland, there are several places you can turn to for the seasonal flu vaccine for little or no cost to you.

Many local stores and pharmacies offer walk-in clinics where standard vaccinations are offered. You can also visit your primary care physician, who can administer the shot for you. Don’t have a primary care doctor? Visit our website to learn more about UM Charles Regional Medical Group – Primary Care in La Plata, and call (301) 609-5044 to schedule an appointment.

Don’t have insurance or worried that it won’t cover the full cost? The Charles County Department of Health offers free walk-in flu vaccinations from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays. Its office is located at 4545 Crain Highway, White Plains, MD 20695.

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Celebrating 80 Years: The Seventh Decade (1999-2009)

Celebrating 80 Years: The Seventh Decade

On April 28, 2002, another tornado brought pain and destruction to Charles County. This one ended up taking most of La Plata with it.

It destroyed infrastructure. It damaged buildings. It left lasting wounds in every corner of the community. 

“That night,” reads La Plata’s Memory Lane Exhibition, “the employees of Civista Medical Center rose to the occasion.”

With an influx of 70 patients, the hospital’s team, especially those from the emergency department, and volunteers rallied together to show the true meaning of a community hospital. They embodied a triumphant spirit in the face of disaster.

The First Expansion of Civista

With its relatively new name, Civista Medical Center introduced its first expansion that was completed and dedicated in September 2007. Dr. Seetaramayya Nagula, the first gastroenterologist at Civista, gave the dedication.

He praised the hospital’s consistent commitment to employing top-of-the-line equipment and staff and its resilience in the face of the decade’s tragedies. In the years to come, he would eventually spend three years as the hospital’s chief of staff, and the hospital would help more patients than ever before.

Stay tuned to our blog for the final story about our hospital over the past eight decades. And be sure to follow us on Facebook — we’ll be sharing facts and photos from over the years throughout 2019.

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Celebrating 80 Years: The Sixth Decade (1989-1999)

Celebrating 80 Years - The Sixth Decade

By the time the 1990s rolled around, the hospital was a fully accredited, full-service facility, and it was able to give back to the community, inside and outside of the hospital walls, more so than ever before. 

Celebrating its patients and supporting the community remained a paramount priority for the hospital. Beyond the health care it provided, Physicians Memorial Hospital sponsored a variety of events throughout the decade, including cancer walks, the Great Pumpkin Run, and more.

Physicians Memorial also began to offer several community services beyond the traditional scope of a hospital, including wellness programs and health screenings. It was all made possible because it was more financially stable, had more room to house its patients, and had a more advanced facility overall.

A New Name for Charles County’s Hospital

Like so many of its patients over the decades, the hospital had overcome countless obstacles through the power of perseverance.

And it wanted to commemorate how far it had come. 

Thus marked the first major name change in the history of the hospital. In February 1998, Physicians Memorial Hospital officially became Civista Medical Center.

Civista, meaning “civic with a vision”, appropriately encapsulated everything the hospital had become as an organization. Far beyond a traditional health care setting, it was now a powerful contributing force to the community as a whole. Civista had transitioned its focus to not only help make people well during times of need, but also to give them a brighter, healthier future to see ahead. 

With a new name and stronger vision, Civista launched into the 21st century.

Stay tuned to our blog for upcoming stories about our hospital over the decades. And be sure to follow us on Facebook — we’ll be sharing facts and photos from over the past eight decades throughout 2019.

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