Copp Named Emergency Preparedness Manager for UM Shore Regional Health

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University of Maryland Shore Regional Health (UM SRH) has announced that Elizabeth Copp, CHSP, CHEP, has been named Emergency Preparedness Manager effective April 2.

Copp will oversee the organization’s emergency operation plan, as well as facilitate the education of emergency procedures. In addition, she will continue to develop and monitor emergency management exercises across the system to determine the effectiveness of processes and ensure team member preparedness in emergency situations.

“Beth’s thorough knowledge of our facilities in our system and prior experience in the position makes her the ideal choice as Shore Regional Health’s new Emergency Preparedness Manager,” said Tamara Curry,Interim Director for Accreditation and Patient Safety. “She is well respected by her colleagues and we look forward to her beginning her new position.”

Copp began work at UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown as support services coordinator in 2004. She also worked for Cecil County Public Schools as assistant in facilities for safety before returning to UM SRH. A graduate of University of Baltimore Merrick School of Business, she resides in Millington.

About UM Shore Regional Health: As part of the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), University of Maryland Shore Regional Health is the principal provider of comprehensive health care services for more than 170,000 residents of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. UM Shore Regional Health’s team of more than 2,600 employees, medical staff, board members and volunteers work with various community partners to fulfill the organization’s mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together.

Shore Behavioral Health Wins Award for Clinical Program Excellence

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The UM Shore Regional Health Behavioral Health Services team has won a top award from Horizon Health, LLC. The award marked Behavioral Health’s selection as the most outstanding clinical program from five hospital behavioral health programs that were nominated in this category. The award was presented on February 21, 2017, at the Behavioral Health suite at UM Shore Medical Center at Dorchester.

Horizon Health specializes in helping hospitals better serve patients by establishing safe, effective and financially stable psychiatric programs, managed to the highest standards of accountability. At present, the organization serves approximately 90 hospitals that have inpatient behavioral health programs.

Photo: Shore Behavioral Health Award Presentation (l. to r.): Melissa Budzinski, vice president, Clinical Services, Horizon Health, LLC; Jack DeVaney, president, Horizon Health, LLC; Corlette Fezzia, vice president, Operations, Horizon Health, LLC; John Mistangelo, program administrator, Shore Behavioral Health; Jacki Crawford, nurse manager, Shore Behavioral Health; Ida Jane Baker, president, Dorchester General Hospital Foundation; Brian Leutner, executive director, UM Shore Medical Center at Dorchester, the Cancer Center and the Clark Comprehensive Breast Center; Eric Anderson, MD, medical director, Shore Behavioral Health; and Ken Kozel, president and CEO, UM SRH

Horizon Health representatives Corlette Fezzia, vice president, Operations, and Jack DeVaney, president, presented the award and spoke glowingly of the great progress made by Shore Behavioral Health in enhancing its clinical programs and in developing a full staff of quality practitioners to provide psychiatric care to the Mid-Shore population.

On hand to accept the award and celebrate the honor were Ken Kozel, UM SRH president and CEO, Ruth Ann Jones, senior vice president, Nursing and Patient Care Services, and several members of the Shore Behavioral Health team, including Eric Anderson, MD, medical director, John Mistrangelo, program administrator and Jackie Crawford, nurse manager, Ida Jane Baker, chairman of the Dorchester General Hospital Foundation also attended and accepted the check that accompanied the award, thanking Horizon Health and congratulating the SBH staff on their achievement in receiving the award.

As part of the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), University of Maryland Shore Regional Health is the principal provider of comprehensive health care services for more than 170,000 residents of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s, and Talbot counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. UM Shore Regional Health’s team of more than 2,500 employees, medical staff, board members, and volunteers works with various community partners to fulfill the organization’s mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together.

UM Shore Regional Health Publishes Community Benefits Report Online

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The 2016 Community Health Improvement Report is now published and available for viewing on the UM Shore Regional Health website at http://umshoreregional.org/news-and-events/news/2017/um-shore-regional-2016-community-health-improvement-report.

The report, which describes highlights of the community health improvement programs and conducted by UM SRH, includes articles on four initiatives: the Ask the Expert series; the inauguration of Shore Behavioral Health’s Bridge Clinic; the Stepping On program offered by the Balance Center in partnership with Maintaining Active Citizens (MAC); and guided support programs (classes, screenings, support groups, etc.) that support better health management.

According to Ken Kozel, UM SRH president and CEO, “The value of our community benefits programs and services, including charity care, exceeds $32 million, but the value is stronger than money. It is building healthier communities and our steadfast commitment to helping our patients and their families enjoy their best health and quality of life.”

UM SRH Comprehensive Rehabilitation Team Member Receives Autism Specialist Certification

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Diane LorsongDiane Lorsong, of Queen Anne’s County, was recently certified by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) as a Certified Autism Specialist. Lorsong is a speech-language pathologist for University of Maryland Shore Regional Health Comprehensive Rehabilitation and currently sees patients at the UM Shore Medical Pavilion in Queenstown.

Lorsong completed the IBCCES Autism Competency exam along with meeting rigorous professional standards, demonstrating experience and education in autism. A Certified Autism Specialist has a minimum of a Master’s degree and 2 years of experience or a Bachelor’s degree and 10 years of experience. The Certified Autism Specialist obtains 14 continuing education hours in Autism every two years in order to stay up to date in the field.

“I love the variety and the different ways that I get to help people communicate,” says Lorsong. “I have a passion for working with those diagnosed with Autism; not every patient is the same and each one is a puzzle that requires me to think outside the box often.”

Prior to joining UM Shore Regional Health, Lorsong gained valuable experience working with children in a school setting focusing on developmental delays including Autism, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Stuttering, Apraxia, and articulation disorders.  Diane has been trained in picture exchange communication system (PECS) and is also fluent in American Sign Language (ASL).

As a speech-language pathologist, certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and licensed by the state of Maryland, Lorsong identifies, evaluates, and treats those with communication and related disorders.  She provides a customized treatment plan for a broad range of disorders including:  loss of speech and/or cognitive impairments due to stroke or brain injury, language comprehension, swallowing dysfunction and voice disorders.  In addition, Lorsong is certified in Deep Pharyngeal Neuromuscular Stimulation and Vital Stim Therapy as well as Lee Silverman Voice Therapy (LSVT), a program that was developed to help individuals diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

About UM Shore Regional Health: As part of the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), University of Maryland Shore Regional Health is the principal provider of comprehensive health care services for more than 170,000 residents of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. UM Shore Regional Health’s team of more than 2,600 employees, medical staff, board members and volunteers work with various community partners to fulfill the organization’s mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together.

UM Shore Regional Health Announces Nominees for 2017 Nursing Awards

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University of Maryland Shore Regional Health has announced the 56 nominations for the 2017 Nurse Excellence Awards program, set for May, 8, 2017 at the Rufus M. and Loraine Hall Todd Performing Arts Center at Chesapeake College.

According to Ruth Ann Jones, senior vice president, Patient Care Services and chief nursing officer for UM Shore Regional Health (UM SRH), the annual nursing awards ceremony, now in its sixth year, will as a kick-off event for the celebration of National Nursing Week, May 8-15, 2017. “The Nurse Excellence Awards recognize nursing excellence and serve as a great tribute to their hard work and commitment to our patients and to Shore Regional Health,” Jones said.

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2017 Nurse Excellence Awards Committee, L to R: Kathy Elliott, RN, Jackie Moriarty, Elizabeth Todd, RN (chair), Jean Volz, RN, Jamie Riley, RN, Jane Flowers, RN, Tara Smith, RN and Kathy Cvach, RN. Not shown are Eden Kinser, RN, Dawn Ford, RN and Bill Shertenlieb, RN.

There are six categories in the Nurse Excellence Awards program — five awards given to individual nurses and one to the nursing staff of a unit or department. Nominations are submitted through an online process that is open to all staff throughout UM SRH and managed by the Nurse Excellence Awards Committee.

Nurses nominated this year for the award, Commitment to Others, are: from Chestertown, Michael Parker, Kimberly Seward and Marjorie Shaffer; from Dorchester, Tonya Barker; and from Easton, Alyssa Baker, Robin Ford, Dannielle Fretterd, Dawn Ruby, Amy Saia, Emily Uyttewaal, Karen Van Trieste, Dorothy Waters and Taffie Wilson.

Professional Nursing Practice award nominees are: from Chestertown, Jeanette Mooday-Walsh; from Easton, Alyssa Baker, Renee Edsall and Gretchen Maans; and regional, Hope Honigsberg.

Nominated for the Leadership award in nursing are: from Chestertown, Rebecca King, Kellee McLean and Cindy Simmons; from Dorchester, Tammy Bradshaw; and from Easton, Kim Brice, Lisa Eisemann, Grace Gonzalez, Dawn Ruby, Melissa Smith, Vernon Usilton, Dorothy Waters and Jason Weaver.

An award for the most “Promising Professional” is new to the Nurse Excellence Awards this year. First-ever nominees for this honor are; from Chestertown, Sarah Postles; from Dorchester, Lashon Adams and April Ewing; and from Easton, Joseph Brun, Heather Downes, Ashley Higgs, Rebecca Lyons, and Kelsey Mills.

The 2017 nominees for the nurse excellence award in Mentorship/Advocacy are: from Chestertown, Debbie Fulton and Melanie Iacona; from Dorchester, Tonya Barker; from Easton, Dianne Baxter, Connie Collins, Dawn Ruby, Dyshekia Strawberry, Keri Tucker and April Venables; and regional, Madeline Steffens.

Several nursing inpatient units and outpatient services were nominated for the unit award for excellence in Empirical Outcomes, as follows: from Chestertown, Chester River Home Care and the Infusion Clinic at UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown; from Easton, the Birthing Center, the Emergency Department, and the 2 East and 3 East units of UM Shore Medical Center at Easton; from Queenstown, the Ambulatory Surgery Center; and regional, the Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation program.

As part of the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), University of Maryland Shore Regional Health is the principal provider of comprehensive health care services for more than 170,000 residents of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s, and Talbot counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. UM Shore Regional Health’s team of more than 2,500 employees, medical staff, board members, and volunteers works with various community partners to fulfill the organization’s mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together.

Birthing Center Renovations in Progress

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Renovations have begun at the Birthing Center at University of Maryland Shore Regional Health, located at UM Shore Medical Center at Easton.

We're ExpectingAccording to Luann Satchell, manager of Women’s and Children’s Services at UM Shore Medical Center at Easton, the plan is to renovate two patient rooms at a time as to minimize disruption to Birthing Center patients, visitors and staff. The entire project, which will encompass the Center’s triage rooms, inpatient rooms, nurses station and hallways, will take approximately three to four months to complete.

“Our team members, many of whom have been with us since the Birthing Center opened more than twenty-one years ago, are excited for the opportunity to provide the same patient-centered care, in a modernized environment,” comments Satchell. “We believe that once completed, the renovated patient care areas will greatly enhance the overall patient experience, for mother and baby.”

While the Easton hospital has been delivering the region’s newest residents for several decades, the Birthing Center officially opened its doors in January, 1996 and since then has been offering expectant mothers the LDRP model of care — an approach allowing women and their families to experience labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum care in one suite for the duration of their stay. According to Satchell, in an LDRP environment, physicians, nurses and necessary equipment come to mother and baby to maximize comfort and the overall patient experience.

Local Ob-Gyn provider and Birthing Center medical director, Aisha Siddiqui, MD, FACOG, adds, “As affiliates of University of Maryland Medical System, our Ob-Gyn and midwifery providers are able to provide expectant mothers with leading-edge prenatal care, from conception to labor, delivery and postpartum care. Together with our stellar clinical team at the Birthing Center, we work hard to ensure that moms and babies receive quality care during their stay at UM Shore Medical Center at Easton. We couldn’t be more thrilled that after renovation, the Birthing Center environment will be just as superb as the care we’ve always provided there.”

To learn more about the Birthing Center at UM Shore Medical Center at Easton or the educational opportunities and support groups available to expectant and new mothers, visit umshoreregional.org/birthing. Information about Dr. Siddiqui’s practice, UM Community Medical Group- Women’s Health (Ob-Gyn) can be obtained by calling 410-820-4888.

As part of the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), University of Maryland Shore Regional Health is the principal provider of comprehensive health care services for more than 170,000 residents of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. UM Shore Regional Health’s team of more than 2,500 employees, medical staff, board members and volunteers works with various community partners to fulfill the organization’s mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together.

UM Shore Health Moves Forward with Telehealth

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A telehealth grant totaling $75,000 from the Maryland Health Care Commission (MHCC) has been awarded to University of Maryland Shore Regional Health (UM SRH). The grant supports projects designed to expand access to needed services and specialists in palliative care and psychiatry for patients and their families in Kent and Queen Anne’s counties. It is a collaboration between UM SRH, University of Maryland Medical System eHealth, and the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UM SOM) Department of Epidemiology and Public Health.

Telehealth utilizes telecommunications and related technologies such as video-conferencing, image capturing and use of remote examination tools to support health care services, patient and professional health-related education, public health and health administration. The expanded telehealth capability aims to reduce hospital emergency department visits, inpatient admissions and readmissions; to enable the early provision of appropriate treatment; to improve access to care; and to provide cost savings to patients and providers.

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William Huffner, MD

“We are grateful to the MHCC for supporting this initiative that will significantly enhance patient care in medically underserved communities in rural Maryland,” said Robert A. Chrencik, MBA, CPA, president and CEO, University of Maryland Medical System. “This grant will allow us to use the latest in technology to expand the reach of our clinical services and increase access for patients.”

MHCC’s telehealth grant project was launched this month and continues through July 2018. Funds awarded through the grant will assist UM SRH in the purchase of varied telehealth technologies, training for UM SRH clinicians and other users on the use of telehealth equipment, and support for UM SOM research professionals involved in the project.

“The MHCC grant enables UM Shore Regional Health to apply state-of-the-art telehealth technology to close difficult gaps in rural healthcare,” says William Huffner, MD, chief medical officer and senior vice president, Medical Affairs for UM SRH.

One significant gap in rural health care is caused by the nationwide shortage of skilled health care providers in key medical specialties. Palliative care and psychiatry are two arenas in which the scarcity of providers is a serious issue, especially in rural areas.

“We are very fortunate to have highly qualified physicians in both palliative care and psychiatry serving our patients through University of Maryland Community Medical Group,” Dr. Huffner notes. “However, the size of our region – five counties covering more than 1,700 square miles – makes it impossible to offer ongoing, on-site care at all locations at all times. The MHCC grant funding supports the expansion of our telehealth capabilities at UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown and the installation of telehealth technology at UM Shore Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, and will enable us to improve access to care for residents of Kent and Queen Anne’s counties.”

The grant funds, for which University of Maryland Shore Regional Health has agreed to provide a 2:1 financial match, also will support research on the most effective use of telehealth technology.

As Dr. Huffner explains, “Experience tells us that with any new technology, it is important to study how it is used in a way that will enable us to develop best practices. This grant will help us ensure that we make the best use of telehealth by addressing a number of questions, such as: What factors about a patient’s condition make the use of telehealth ideal or less than ideal? What are the boundaries of telehealth, in terms of patient tolerance and satisfaction? With regard to palliative care, one challenge we have sought to address is how to include not only patients but also key family members in palliative care discussions so that everyone understands the care options. Telehealth may prove very successful in achieving that goal by enabling the patient, the provider and family members, including those at varied remote locations, to participate in a three-way telehealth discussion.”

“Palliative care is a critical component of the care that we give to patients. The telehealth program is an innovative attempt to extend that care to more patients and families, over a wider area,” says University of Maryland School of Medicine Dean E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, who is also the vice president for Medical Affairs, University of Maryland, and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor. “We are fortunate to have this opportunity to further collaborate with our partners across the state to help improve the lives of underserved patients and their families.”

 

UM Shore Regional Health Announces New HR Director, Business Partner

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UM Shore Regional Health’s Human Resources has announced two new key staff members — Beverly Valltos, director, and Kelley Mills, HR business partner.

Valltos moved recently to Easton from the western shore, where since 2007 she served as executive vice president, Human Resources, for Towne Park, an Annapolis-based national corporation with more than 14,000 employees in 39 states. Prior to that position, Valltos served seven years as senior regional human resources director for Cintas Corporation in Landover, Maryland, a national company providing specialized services to businesses, primarily in North America. She also served four years (2006-10) as an adjunct professor teaching business courses at the College of Southern Maryland.

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Beverly Valltos, director of Human Resources (left) and Kelley Mills, HR business partner (right).

A graduate of University of Maryland College Park, Valltos earned a master’s in Human Resources from University of Maryland University College. Her professional certifications include Senior Professional In Human Resources (SPHR) and Society for Human Resources Management-Certified Professional (SHRM-CP).

Mills, who grew up in on Kent Island and has lived in Easton for 15 years, previously served five years as director of Human Resources for Signature Health Care at Mallard Bay in Cambridge and seven years as director of Food Services for Genesis Health Care’s The Pines in Easton. She earned her A.A.S. from Chesapeake College and her B.S. from University of Maryland College Park.

At present, Mills is concentrating on serving the HR needs of staff member in Shore Regional’s Kent County locations four days a week until a fulltime HR business partner is on board in Chestertown.

Says Susan Coe, senior vice president and chief experience officer, UM Shore Regional Health, “I am delighted to have Beverly and Kelley join our team.Their knowledge and experience in the HR field make them strong assets to our team and I look forward to their contributions to the exciting initiatives and projects we now have in progress.”

As part of the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), University of Maryland Shore Regional Health is the principal provider of comprehensive health care services for more than 170,000 residents of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s, and Talbot counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. UM Shore Regional Health’s team of more than 2,500 employees, medical staff, board members, and volunteers works with various community partners to fulfill the organization’s mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together.

Wilkinson Pursues Physician Assistant Training with UM Shore Regional Health

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Bo Wilkinson is one of seven physician assistant students participating in an exciting University of Maryland Shore Regional Health initiative, the Physician Assistant (PA) Rotation Program. The program brings physician assistant students to learn by working with University of Maryland Community Medical Group (UM CMG) physicians in the five-county region served by UM Shore Regional Health.

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Bo Wilkinson (left), physician assistant student, is shown with Eric Anderson, MD, medical director of Shore Behavioral Health.

For Wilkinson, a Bethany Beach, Delaware native and graduate of University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES), working in a public service profession was always in his sights. “I thought I would join the Delaware State Police or become a paramedic,” he recalls. “But then, during an illness when I was in high school, I was treated by a physician assistant who formerly had been a paramedic, and he suggested that I look into the physician assistant career. Once I learned more about it, I thought it sounded great – there is a lot of versatility in the PA profession, you can specialize in one area but then change specialties if you become interested in a different area.”

Wilkinson has joined several family members in the health care ranks – his mother is a sonographer, he has cousins working in nursing and medical technology, and his brother, a med tech, also is considering the physician assistant profession. “My mother was very encouraging in my choice,” he says. “She pointed out that there will always be good opportunities in health care.”

According to William Huffner, MD, chief medical officer and senior vice president, Medical Affairs, for UM Shore Regional Health,the PA rotation program benefits students but also the health care system and its patients. “The feedback from several of these students is that their positive experiences in our hospitals and physician practices make the possibility of employment in our region attractive to them,” Huffner says.

Offered in partnership with Anne Arundel Community College (AACC) and now with University of Maryland at Baltimore (UMB), the year-long rotation program enables UM SRH physicians to serve as preceptors for students in the AACC and UMB combined Physician Assistant/Master of Science in Health Science program.Along with six other PA students, Wilkinson has been working with physician preceptors on a rotating basis since their arrival last March.

In November, Wilkinson’s rotation was with Eric Anderson, MD, medical director, Shore Behavioral Health, and other members of the UM Community Medical Group-Behavioral Health team. “My rotation in behavioral health complemented my interest in emergency care,” he says. “I was surprised to see how big a factor behavioral health issues are in emergency care – so many patients who come into the emergency department with an illness or injury also have a behavioral health issue, whether it’s drug abuse, medications that aren’t working or an untreated psychiatric condition. During the assessment process, you have to be aware of that and factor it in to the patient’s treatment plan.”

The challenges of emergency care attract Wilkinson to serving in an emergency department after completing his degree, although he also is considering orthopedics. “In the ED, everything is a surprise,” he says. “You have to be versatile to accommodate a variety of patients with problems across the full spectrum of bodily systems,” he says.“Working in the ED forces you to develop a solid foundation in assessment – you might identify several health issues but you need to focus on the one that is most serious or even life-threatening to the patient. During my ED rotation, the physicians included me in every aspect of care – I even did some small procedures such as sutures.”

Research is another aspect of the PA studies program. Wilkinson’s capstone research project, which he shares with five other students, focuses on initial imaging modalities for diagnosis of kidney stones. As he explains, “The use of CT scans for patients with suspected kidney stones increased ten-fold between 1996 and 2007, but the scans involve a high dose of radiation. An ultrasound is almost as good and avoids the radiation exposure, but doctors often order the CT to save time and the possibility of putting the patient through a second test if the ultrasound is not conclusive.”

Upon completion of the year-long rotation program in May ’17, Wilkinson will receive the M.S. degree in health science from UMB and a certificate of Physician Assistant Studies from AACC, and will be eligible to sit for the national certification exam for physician assistants.

“Whatever my specialty, I’m sure I want to work on this side of the Bay Bridge in Maryland or Delaware,” says Wilkinson. “For now, being part of Shore Regional has been such a great, hands-on learning experience. The PA students all feel like we are getting the ‘red carpet’ treatment, because the physicians — and also the nurses and techs –have been so generous in sharing their time and expertise.”

As part of the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), University of Maryland Shore Regional Health is the principal provider of comprehensive health care services for more than 170,000 residents of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s, and Talbot counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. UM Shore Regional Health’s team of more than 2,500 employees, medical staff, board members, and volunteers works with various community partners to fulfill the organization’s mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together.