Letter to the Editor: Special Thanks to Shore Health Volunteers

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As Chairman of the Board of Directors for University of Maryland Shore Regional Health, I am writing to express our gratitude for the men and women who volunteer in our three hospital auxiliaries — Chester River Hospital Center Auxiliary, Dorchester General Hospital Auxiliary and Auxiliary of Memorial Hospital at Easton. Members of these three volunteer organizations donate their valuable time to support health care services within their local communities, assisting with daily operations at many of our facilities and raising funds for programs, services, equipment and patient care throughout the region.

In the past year, the auxiliaries have earned a combined $500,000 in proceeds through their special event sales, hospital gift shops and their auxiliary-managed thrift shops – the Nearly New Shop in Chestertown, the Robin Hood Shop in Cambridge and The Bazaar at 121 Federal Street in Easton. The auxiliaries rely heavily on their gift and thrift shop sales to be able to provide the funding for each of the hospitals and offsite locations to which they contribute.

In addition to the funds they provide, volunteers assist with services such as wheelchair and patient escorts, blood pressure screenings, front desk and surgical service reception and many other areas. In total, volunteers donated 60,000 hours between the auxiliaries across the region, saving the organization valuable dollars that can then be used to further patient care efforts. Our team members, medical staff and patients value and appreciate the work of all auxiliary volunteers.

We encourage community members who have available time and would like to become more engaged with their community to reach out and learn more about volunteer opportunities with our three auxiliaries. Becoming a volunteer in a healthcare setting enables you to meet people from all walks of life while making a real difference in our communities

University of Maryland Shore Regional Health thanks the auxiliaries for their commitment to accessible, innovative health care, close to home. These are three fantastic organizations!

Thank you.

John Dillon, Chairman
Board of Directors
University of Maryland Shore Regional Health

Judy Crow New Maryland Wineries President

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Judy Crow

The Maryland Wineries Association announced May 1 that Judy Crow, owner and operator of Crow Vineyards, is the new President of the Board of Directors. Crow will preside over all Maryland Wineries Association meetings, assist with membership initiatives and guide major policy discussions at this critical time of industry growth.

“Judy has been an industry leader since the winery’s inception and we look forward to her dedication in the role of president of the association,” said Kevin Atticks, Executive Director of the Maryland Wineries Association.

Crow was raised on a dairy farm and spent almost thirty years teaching college and creating early childhood programs in Maryland and Delaware before she met Roy Crow, her husband. In 2008, Judy and Roy married and began the transformation of Crow Farm, a third generation family farm located in Kennedyville on the Eastern Shore. Together Roy and Judy focused on diversifying the farm from the traditional farm of corn and soy beans to include a farmstay B&B, a vineyard, and a winery along with an impressive herd of grass fed Angus cattle. Committed to creating the best products in the region, Judy, her son Brandon, and Roy continue to be very hands-on with the management of winemaking, the tasting room and wholesale distribution.

“In the short time I have been in the wine business, I have seen growth in the Maryland industry and believe that, with a strong winery association, the opportunities are endless. I believe that Maryland’s diverse wine growing regions allow consumers and tourist alike to experience a full portfolio of interesting wines,” said Judy Crow.

Maryland Wineries Association, a non-profit, member based, trade association, represents more than 80 wineries across the state. MWA’s mission is to cultivate a sustainable wine-growing community by expanding agricultural products and by increasing awareness through special events, industry education, advocacy, promotions and tourism. MWA is represented by the management group, Grow & Fortify. For more information, please visit the MWA website

Summer Silent Retreat at Camp Pecometh

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Join Pecometh Camp & Retreat Ministries in Centreville MD July 9-14 for their Summer Silent Retreat at the Riverview Retreat Center. Facilitated by Rev. Karen Covey Moore and Anita Woods, this retreat offers an opportunity for you to experience a daily rhythm of prayer, simple meals, communing with God in nature, and spiritual direction.
You have the option of staying with them for the whole time or just a few days.
If you register for the silent retreat you can attend for their Yoga Retreat on July 9 for free!
For details and to register, call Retreat Program Coordinator Megan Shitama Weston at 410-556-6900 ext 104, email megan@pecometh.org, or visit them online at the Pecometh website.
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http://chestertownspy.org/2017/06/21/62483-2/

Letter to Editor: In Reversal, Shore Health Wants to Maintain Inpatient Care in Chestertown Beyond 2022

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The effort to “Save the Hospital” in Chestertown—to ensure that there will be inpatient care here long beyond 2022—is on a fast-moving train that appears increasingly headed for success.

There are debates on the tracks ahead, but with the leadership of our doctors and our General Assembly delegation, and with the support of Washington College, Dixon Valve, Chestertown’s Mayor and Town Council, and the citizens of Kent and northern Queen Anne’s counties, we have apparently won the battle to keep our hospital whole.

In a reversal of their stance in early 2016, the Shore Regional Health System board and University of Maryland Medical System now favor maintaining inpatient services at our hospital in Chestertown indefinitely.  They’ve said so in writing, in a “White Paper” written in response to a request by Deborah Mizeur and Dr. Joseph Ciotola, co-chairs of the Rural Healthcare Delivery Plan Workgroup.

The White Paper hasn’t been made public, but Shore Health President and CEO Ken Kozel described it to me in detail.  The White Paper isn’t only about Chestertown’s hospital.  It lists facilities that Shore Health believes should be maintained in each of the five Mid-Shore counties, and calls for state support to ensure an economically sustainable system.  The Workgroup will consider the White Paper and other recommendations as it writes the Rural Healthcare Delivery Plan that must be finalized by October and presented to the General Assembly.

The White Paper, with a cover letter signed by Mr. Kozel and UMMS President and CEO Bob Chrencik, has been delivered to Ms. Mizeur and Dr. Ciotola, and to Sen. Thomas “Mac” Middleton, Chair of the Senate Finance Committee (which handles healthcare legislation) and Dennis Schaffer, Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene.  In the coming weeks, Mr. Kozel will discuss the document with District 36 and 37 legislators, including Sen. Steve Hershey, and delegates Jay Jacobs, Steve Arentz, and Jeff Ghrist.  All are engaged and appear headed in the same direction, though there are issues to be resolved.

The White Paper recommends only 15 inpatient beds in Chestertown after 2022, a drop in capacity that concerns our doctors.  Though Mr. Kozel says Shore could maintain up to 25 beds, our doctors say it’s already too common for inpatients to stay in the ER for up to 48 hours when there are no available beds.  Inpatients belong in nursing units, the doctors say; reducing the bed count will exacerbate the situation.

Our doctors are also concerned that the White Paper recommends closing Chestertown’s Intensive Care Unit after 2022.  The ICU, they say, is a hospital’s safety net when med-surg (medical and surgical nursing floor) patients take a turn for the worse.

Save the Hospital will continue to fight for quality care, but we are heartened that our hospital’s future is brighter than it was a year ago.  We appreciate the willingness of Shore Health’s leadership to change course in response to the community’s needs.

In the fall, after the Workgroup has finalized its plan, attention will shift to Annapolis and to Sen. Middleton’s Finance Committee.  The senator told me he’s “very enthusiastic” about Shore Health’s White Paper and though designing and passing needed legislation “won’t be easy,” he is committed to producing a robust healthcare system for the Mid-Shore’s five counties.

A farmer from Charles County, “Mac” Middleton said he remembers when his community couldn’t afford a hospital, when his mother had to go to Washington to have a baby.  “My dad told me,” he said, “I should never forget my roots.”

Margie Elsberg

Volunteer Communications Coordinator for “Save the Hospital”

Board member, Chester River Health Foundation

 

Queen Anne’s County Master Gardeners Hold “Insect Hotel” Workshop

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Class participants with their finished insect hotel

The Queen Anne’s County Master Gardeners held an Insect Hotel Workshop on Monday, June 12th at the Centreville Library. Attracting Native Pollinators and good bugs are the major focus for many gardeners. Some of our smallest bees only fly a few hundred feet by providing nesting and foraging sites in the same habitat allow them to conserve energy and allow for more efficient use of resources by insects of any size. Providing overwintering sites for these pollinators and good bugs significantly increase nesting opportunities. Here are some steps to insure pollinator populations benefit the most from your home landscape:

  • Provide nesting and egg laying sites for a variety of pollinator species
  • Clean and replace artificial nests regularly
  • Don’t move native bees or previously used nest materials outside of their native ranges
  • Leave some bare, unmulched ground.
  • Hang nesting blocks in a protected location with light shade
  • Make sure that nesting blocks or “insect hotels” are mounted firmly and do not shake or move in the wind

4-H’er Kelsey Higgs, of Centreville shows off her insect hotel

For further information on pollinators and other environmentally sound practices, please visit extension.umd.edu or see us on Facebook.

University of Maryland Extension programs are open to all people and will not discriminate against anyone because of race, age, sex, color, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, religion, ancestry, or national origin, marital status, genetic information, or political affiliation, or gender identity and expression.

Letter to the Editor: Democracy in Action?

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To the editor,

DEMOCRACY IN ACTION? The Senate—well, half the Senate—is preparing its new health care bill. Where the ACA took over a year of research, debate, and bickering, this bill (AHCA) takes just a couple of weeks, in secret, no debate. Even Republicans have been kept in the dark on what’s in this bill. This is NOT democracy in action.

MEDICAID. Did your aging parents “sell down” the family home to be eligible for nursing-home care? Clear out a room at home, because Mom and Pop will be out on the street. The working poor—health care workers, teachers, construction workers, fast-food workers, retail workers, laborers—who work part-time and/or who have no employer-provided health care has expanded since the 2008 crash, as employers changed hiring and benefits policies.  The Medicaid pie is divided as follows: 50% to the elderly, 20% to disabled, 20% to working households (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities).

FAMILY. Maternity care MAY NOT be covered in your state! Delivery can cost $10,000 to $20,000, more for a C-section, more for prenatal care. Birth control—pills, IUDs, diaphragms—whether they treat reproductive conditions like endometriosis, or simply good family planning—Gone. You are on your own (according to the Kaiser Family Foundation).

JOBS. In the next ten years, after a brief rise in employment to start, some 924,000 jobs will be lost, three-quarters of them in the health care industry, accompanied by an economic loss in the range of $148 billion (according to the Commonwealth Fund).

Pre-existing conditions, psychological and psychiatric care, treatment for opioid and alcohol addictions, no yearly and lifetime caps on coverage —gone, gone, gone. And of course, the 23 million folks who finally got coverage and will now lose it.

This is madness. It’s morally unacceptable. It’s economically disastrous. The wealthy will be wealthier and healthier. Will you?

Contact Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, and Congressman Andy Harris, to fight this bill—if for no other reason than for the sunshine of democracy. Get this bill into the daylight.

Marion Grier

Church Hill, MD

Kent County Gets First Prescription Drug Disposal Box

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Kent County residents now have a 24-hour, anonymous prescription drug drop-off station at the sheriff’s department in Chestertown for safe disposal of unused or expired medications.

The drop box is located at the Kent County Sheriff’s Office at 104 Vickers Drive, Unit B and offers a safe, easy and responsible way to dispose of extra medications. If you have unused, expired or otherwise unwanted prescription medications at home, please bring them in. Proper disposal helps reduce the chances of accidental poisonings of family members – or pets — and helps decrease the risks of intentional misuse and abuse.

“The Kent County Sheriff’s Office is pleased to offer a method for citizens to properly dispose of unwanted prescriptions each and every day of the year now,” said Kent County Sheriff John Price. “We will continue with our ‘Sheriff’s RX round-up’ efforts each year throughout Kent County, which provides a convenient way for some to properly dispose of unwanted or expired prescription medications.”

This is the first drop box for Kent County; the sheriff’s office previously collected unused prescriptions at the department during regular business hours. The sheriff’s office, in partnership with the Adolescent Substance Abuse Coalition (ASAC) also participated in National Drug Take-Back Day this past April, with five collection sites across the county.

About 75 percent of teens say they can easily access prescription drugs from their parents’ medicine cabinet. If you’ve got these medications at home, lock them up, keep track of your pills and take any unused pills to the new drop box.

“Leaving unused medications at home is an unnecessary temptation,” said Annette Duckery, substance abuse prevention coordinator at Kent County Behavioral Health. “Each day, 1,756 teens abuse a prescription painkiller for the first time – and most get the pills from friends or family. Proper storage and disposal helps reduce the chances of misuse and abuse.”

Funding for the disposal box came from the Mid-Shore Opioid Misuse Prevention Program, which is a five-county coalition working to prevent opioid misuse in our community. If you’d like more information on the program, contact Erin Hill, program coordinator at erin.hill@maryland.gov.

 

Nearly 200 Stakeholders Discuss Internet Access Equity at Regional Rural Broadband Forum

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When nearly 200 business leaders, economic development professionals and state and local government officials came together to discuss bringing affordable, high-speed internet service to rural Maryland, the “why” was not up for debate. However, when it came to “how” the options were numerous and the financing was challenging to say the least.

Josh Hastings, RMC chair, addresses the attendees at the recent Regional Rural Broadband Forum. Photo credit: Harry Bosk.

Hosted by event partners the Rural Maryland Council and USDA Rural Development, the program titled the Regional Rural Broadband Forum was presented recently in Annapolis. The forum unofficially launched the work of a special task force enacted by Maryland’s General Assembly, which was signed into law on May 25.

Charlotte Davis, executive director of the Rural Maryland Council, chairs the Task Force on Rural Internet, Broadband, Wireless and Cellular Service. Over the next several months, Davis and her colleagues will research redundancies and gaps in service and funding options needed to bring digital equity to rural Maryland. By November the task force will report its findings and recommendations to Governor Hogan.

The program included six sessions providing attendees with information ranging from the different broadband technologies commonly used in rural communities to best practices used in New York’s “Broadband for All” initiative.

The day’s discussions often came back to how to create sustainable high-speed broadband access in areas with low population density. “Admittedly for a business whose mission is to turn a profit providing high speed internet in rural areas is a recipe for market failure,” said Davis. “Clearly the solution will be providing incentives and grants to make the project more doable and attractive,” she added.

Attendees at a group session at the recent Regional Rural Broadband Forum, hosted by event partners the Rural Maryland Council (RMC) and USDA Rural Development (RD). The forum included six sessions providing attendees with information ranging from the different broadband technologies commonly used in rural communities to best practices used in New York’s “Broadband for All” initiative.

The tone of the forum remained optimistic despite the acknowledgement that there will be no easy solutions. “We cannot have an equal society without equal access to broadband,” said RMC chair Josh Hastings.

Chiming in on that note was Maryland State Senator Adelaide C. Eckardt. “It is all about getting connected and for us (in rural areas) it is the art of the possible. It all works better when we work together,” she said.

Founded in 1994, the Rural Maryland Council serves as the state’s federally designated rural development council and functions as a voice for rural Maryland, advocating for and helping rural communities and businesses across the state to flourish and to gain equity to its suburban and urban counterparts. To learn more call (410) 841-5774, email rmc.mda@maryland.gov or connect with the Rural Maryland Council at facebook.com/RuralMaryland or on Twitter @RuralMaryland.

USDA Rural Development is committed to improving the economy and quality of life in rural America. RD provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; homeownership; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit the USDA website,

For more information on the Regional Rural Broadband Forum, call (410) 841-5774 or visit their website.