Easton’s Primary Stroke Center Earns Gold Plus Status from American Stroke Association


Stroke, a disease that affects the arteries leading to and within the brain, takes the lives of more than 130,000 Americans each year and is the leading cause of serious long-term disability in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When in need of prompt care for stroke, residents of the five-county region served by University of Maryland Shore Regional Health have access to a designated Primary Stroke Center at University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Easton.

A Primary Stroke Center designation is given by the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS) when standards are met to support better outcomes for stroke care. Certification standards include having a dedicated stroke-focused program, staffed by specially trained medical professionals – 24 hours a day, 7 days each week – who provide expedited diagnostic services and stroke care.

UM Shore Medical Center at Easton’s Stroke Center recently received the American Heart Association (AHA)/American Stroke Association’s (ASA) Get With The Guidelines®– Stroke Gold Plus Achievement Award with Target: StrokeSM Honor Roll Elite Plus. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment to providing the most appropriate stroke treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

Photo: The Primary Stroke Center team, led by medical director, Dr. Terry Detrich, and neuroscience specialist and Stroke Center coordinator, Nicole Leonard, is a multidisciplinary team that includes physicians, nurses, Emergency Department staff, diagnostic services such as imaging and lab, and pharmacy. Pictured are (back row) Gary Bigelow, director, Imaging Services; Diane Walbridge, director of Acute Care and Emergency Services; neurologists, Dr. Walid Kamsheh and Dr. Detrich; certified registered nurse practitioner, Rahel Alemu; Mary Collins, nurse leader, 2 East Multi-Specialty Care Unit at UM Shore Medical Center at Easton; Ryan Foster, manager, Emergency Services at UM Shore Medical Center at Easton; (front) Jennifer Miles, nurse manager of Easton’s Multi-Specialty Care and Neuroscience Units; Nicole Leonard; and Ruth Ann Jones, senior vice president, Nursing Services, and chief nursing officer.

According to the ASA, hospitals earning the Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award have reached an aggressive goal of treating patients with 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With The Guidelines-Stroke achievement indicators for two or more consecutive 12-month periods and have achieved 75 percent or higher compliance with five of eight Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality measures.

In conjunction with its Gold Plus status, Easton’s Primary Stroke Center also achieved the Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Plus, demonstrating success in meeting quality measures to reduce the time between the patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with the clot-buster tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), Alteplase, the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat ischemic stroke. If given in the first three hours after the onset of stroke symptoms, Alteplase has been shown to significantly reduce the effects of stroke and lessen the chance of permanent disability. Administered intravenously through the arm, Alteplase works by dissolving the obstructive clot and improving blood flow to the part of the brain being deprived of blood flow.

The quality measures established by the AHA/ASA are designed to help hospital teams follow the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients.

“Members of the Primary Stroke Center team at Shore Medical Center at Easton are specially trained in diagnosing and treating all types of stroke,” comments Nicole Leonard, RN, BSN, neuroscience specialist and stroke coordinator.  Much like the objective of core quality measures set forth by the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, our top priority is prompt, effective care and positive patient outcomes. We have been able to achieve these awards because of the collaborative effort of our entire Stroke Center team. ”

According to Leonard, the three types of stroke are ischemic stroke, caused by a clot obstructing the flow of blood to the brain; a hemorrhagic stroke, caused by a blood vessel rupturing and causing bleeding inside the brain; and a transient ischemic attack (TIA), which is a temporary interruption of blood flow to an area of the brain.

“Stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or ruptures,” she remarks. “When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood and oxygen it needs causing vital brain cells to die – 1.9 million neurons die each minute stroke treatment is delayed.”

“Our highly skilled medical providers and clinicians strive to make our organization the region’s leader in patient-centered care,” says Ken Kozel, president and CEO, UM Shore Regional Health. “The Stroke Center’s recent recognition from the American Stroke Association demonstrates our team’s commitment to delivering innovative stroke treatments to patients as quickly and safely as possible when care is needed at the most critical time.”

Expanding upon the magnitude the Gold Plus designation, Terry Detrich, MD, local neurologist and medical director of the Stroke Center, remarks, “This is a fantastic achievement for a small hospital to be able to make the great advancements we have in complying with national stroke care guidelines.”

He continues, “It is also an incredible achievement for everyone on the team – the physicians, nurses, x-ray and lab personnel, the pharmacy team and the entire Emergency Department team. We all continue to work harder to update our capabilities, working with our partners at University of Maryland Medical System, to further enhance the care that we provide to our community members.”

Detrich also feels strongly about the key role that local emergency medical services play in the Stroke Center’s ability to treat patients appropriately and timely. “We would not be successful in our efforts to provide high-quality stroke care without the collaboration of our local Emergency Services teams,” he says.

The Stroke Center team at UM Shore Medical Center at Easton lives by the principle that time lost is brain lost, and because of that, clinicians feel it is imperative for patients to seek treatment for stroke at the first sign or symptom. To recognize signs and symptoms of stroke, it is recommended that people remember the word “FAST” – Facial drooping; Arm weakness; Speech difficulty; and if any of these symptoms are present, it’s Time to call 9-1-1 as immediate medical attention is necessary.

Additional information about the Primary Stroke Center at University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Easton can be found at UMShoreRegional.org/stroke.

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 employees, medical staff, board members and volunteers works with various community partners to fulfill the organization’s mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together.

Shore Kids Camp for Children with Type 2 Diabetes


Enrollment is now open for Shore Kids Camp, a four-day camp experience for children (ages 8-13) with diabetes that takes place July 17-21, 2017 at MEBA Engineering School on Route 33 (the Oxford Road) in Easton.

Provided by University of Maryland Shore Regional Health, Shore Kids Camp helps children with diabetes learn more about their disease and how to manage it in a safe and healthy environment while enjoying many activities, including bowling, boat rides, and visits to organic farms and area museums. The camp is managed by pediatric nurses with experience in diabetes who are assisted by high school and college students as volunteers. It also receives support from varied community groups, including local Lions Clubs, Rotary Clubs, and the Talbot County Public Schools field hockey teams.

“There is no other activity like this on the Eastern Shore,” says Wynne Aroom, patient education specialist, UM Shore Regional Health. “The diabetes camps across the Bay Bridge are overnight camps — many parents are reluctant to send their young children that far away while others find the cost of ‘sleep-away’ camp prohibitive.

The educational aspect of the camp experience includes guest speakers from the hospital and community such as dietitians, other diabetes educators, nurses with diabetes, podiatrists, dental hygienists and ophthalmologists. The children also play various learning games. Says Aroom, “These activities help boost the children’s confidence that they can survive without their parents. In many cases, they are the only child in their school class with diabetes, which is very challenging for them. At Shore Kids Camp, there is a lot of sharing and learning from each other, so they feel less alone in the challenges they face daily,” she adds.

Aroom also notes that Shore Kids Camp helps parents by providing needed respite from round-the-clock vigilance and the confidence that their child is having fun in a safe environment, as well as the opportunity to meet and talk with other families coping with Type 2 diabetes.

The camp fee is $75 per child and the registration deadline is July 7, 2017. For further details, contact Wynne Aroom, 410-822-1000, ext. 5286, or waroom@umm.edu.

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.

New Physician Assistant Rotations in Progress at UM Shore Regional Health


UM Shore Regional Health has welcomed five physician assistant students for clinical rotations with UM SRH physician preceptors, William Huffner, MD, senior vice president, Medical Affairs and chief medical officer, has announced.

The students — Rhavi Dholokia, Emmy Estrada, Chidex Eugene-Francis, Kulvinder Singh and Emily Tull — began their first of eight, five-week rotations on May 22, 2017. The physician preceptors and their specialties are: Eric Anderson, MD, Psychiatry; Walter Atha, MD, Emergency Medicine; Kim Herman, MD, Family Medicine; Mark Langfitt, MD, Pediatrics; Andrew Pelczar, MD, Surgery; Aisha Siddiqui, MD, OB/GYN; Myron Szczukowski, Jr., MD, Orthopedics (offered as an elective); and Elena Tilly, MD, Internal Medicine.

UM SRH has welcomed five physician assistant students for nine-month clinical rotations. Shown are (back row, L-R): Emily Tull, Chidex Eugene-Francis, Ravi Dholokia, Kulvinder Singh and Emmy Estrada; and (front row, L-R) William Huffner, MD, UM SRH chief medical officer and senior vice president, Medical Affairs, Kim Billingslea, regional director, Medical Staff Services, and Jennifer Kaminskas, executive assistant, Medical Affairs.

“We are delighted to host this second group of students from the Physician Assistant program offered jointly by Anne Arundel Community College and University of Maryland at Baltimore,” says Huffner. “According to reports from our physician preceptors and from the seven PA students who were with us during the past year, the first round of rotations was highly successful. In fact, a few of those students, who graduated in May, have indicated that UM Shore Regional Health is their first choice for employment once they pass their PA licensing exams. We could not have asked for a better outcome and we are hoping this new group will have an equally good experience with our physicians and their practices, and in our hospitals and outpatient services.”

Mary Jo Bondy, administrative program director of the M.S. in Health Science/Physician Assistant Porgram, shares Dr. Huffner’s enthusiasm. “We are so very grateful to the physicians and hospital leaders at Shore who have welcomed our PA students,” Bondy says. “The first group of students, who are now graduates studying for state licensure, greatly appreciated the opportunity to become embedded in the local community and to work with one physician practice at a time, which enabled them to really focus on their learning. I also was very glad to hear from some of the physician preceptors how much growth they observed in the students over the course of the rotations.”

According to Bondy, most of the students accepted into the AACC/UMB PA program have some work experience, very often in the field of health care. “We find that candidates with a bit of work history and life experience are most likely to succeed in the program, which is very demanding,” she says.

The demand for certified physician assistants continues to grow, especially in rural communities. PAs work in virtually every area of medicine and surgery in the full array of health care settings — hospitals, private and employed physician practices, outpatient services, and long-term care and rehabilitation facilities. PA duties include taking histories and conducting physical examinations, ordering and interpreting tests, diagnosing illnesses, developing and implementing treatment plans, and assisting in or even performing surgery.

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.

Quality Health Foundation Awards $380K in Grants throughout Maryland and the District of Columbia


Quality Health Foundation (QHF) has announced this year’s grant awards totaling $380,000 in Maryland and Washington, D.C.that support local healthcare-related quality improvement efforts.

Of the 67 applications, 15 organizations received grants. “The Board received many diverse and deserving applications this year,” said Dr. Molly Burgoyne, QHF Board of Directors Chair. “It’s reassuring to know there are so many organizations with programs designed to improve the health of our most vulnerable populations. Ultimately, we chose a stellar group of programs covering a wide geographic area with diverse health concerns.  Dr. Catherine Smoot-Haselnus, Board chair of Quality Health Strategies, the parent company of QHF, added “The work these organizations do is outstanding and often go unnoticed.  We are proud to provide both funding and encouragement to the many volunteers and staff members who serve the community so well.”

The 2017-18 grantees are:
• Access Carroll
• Aspire Counseling
• Associated Black Charities
• Breast Care for Washington
• Channel Marker
• Community Ministries of Rockville
• Hearing and Speech Agency
• Help and Outreach Point of Entry
• La Clinica del Pueblo
• Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area
• Maryland Foundation of Dentistry for the Handicapped
• Miriam’s Kitchen
• Mission of Mercy
• Samaritan House
• University of Maryland Medical System Foundation-Breathmobile

For more information on the recipients and their grants, go to www.qualityhealthfoundation.org/

About Quality Health Foundation

Quality Health Foundation, the mission arm of Quality Health Strategies, is a national not-for-profit organization that provides grants to charitable organizations in Maryland and the District of Columbia. Since 2006, Quality Health Foundation has awarded grants totaling almost $4.5 million to provide support to underserved communities

For more information, visit www.qualityhealthfoundation.org/

Kent County Gets First Prescription Drug Disposal Box


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.


Taking the Mystery Out of the Quality Health Foundation with Dr. Molly Burgoyne


There is one “big box” building at the Waterside Village that is not easy to identify. Among stores like Target, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Harris Teeter and BJ’s warehouse store, the large home of the nonprofit Quality Health Strategies remains a bit of a mystery for most who that drive by it on Marlboro Street.

Dr. Molly Burgoyne, chair of the Quality Health Foundation, the philanthropic arm of this extremely successful and locally founded health care services provider, wants to fill in that gap of local knowledge.

While QHS and its subsidiaries has grown to over 500 employees (130 of whom work in Talbot County) since it was founded decades ago by a small group of local doctors, it has always been modest in showcasing its innovative work in developing best practices for health organizations and sophisticated  integrity systems to safeguard against fraud in medical billing.

More importantly, particularly to Dr. Burgoyne, the “profit” of these enterprises goes right back into the community every year in the way of charitable grants. In fact, since 2006 QHF has awarded grants totaling more than $4.5 million to 66 organizations in Maryland and the District of Columbia.

The Spy spent some time with Dr. Burgoyne, who is best known locally as a highly regarded rheumatologist in the region, to talk her work with the Quality Health Foundation and its remarkable impact in reaching the neediest in our community with medical coverage and care.

This video is approximately five minutes in length. For more information about the Quality Health Foundation please go here.

Recovery: Maryland Approves Pharmacies Dispensing Naloxone


The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene recently announced that Dr. Howard Haft, the agency’s Deputy Secretary for Public Health, issued a new statewide standing order that allows pharmacies to dispense naloxone, the non-addictive lifesaving drug that can reverse an opioid overdose, to all Maryland citizens. The order follows legislation passed by the Maryland General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Larry Hogan that included a Hogan administration proposal to enable all citizens to access naloxone. Previously, naloxone was available only to those trained and certified under the Maryland Overdose Response Program.

“As the opioid epidemic has evolved, we have worked steadily to expand access to naloxone,” said Dr. Haft. “Pharmacies play an important role in providing access to naloxone and counseling on how to recognize and respond to an opioid overdose. This order is yet another tool to fight this crisis and to provide immediate assistance to overdose victims.”

The Heroin and Opioid Prevention Effort (HOPE) and Treatment Act, a bipartisan omnibus bill passed during the 2017 legislative session that contains provisions to improve patient education and increase treatment services, included the Hogan administration’s proposed Overdose Prevention Act. This updated standing order resulting from the new law further eliminates barriers to naloxone access for anyone who may be at risk of opioid overdose or in a position to assist someone experiencing an opioid overdose.

“By allowing even more people access to naloxone, we’re helping to save lives,” said Clay Stamp, executive director of the Opioid Operational Command Center. “We must remember though, that ultimately, those suffering from the disease of addiction or substance use disorder must be linked to additional treatment to aid in their recovery.”

Single doses of naloxone, also known by the brand name Narcan, have been demonstrated as effective in reversing a heroin overdose. However, more potent drugs such as fentanyl tend to require multiple doses to reverse an overdose. Emergency services—calling 911 or taking someone to a hospital’s emergency department—should always be sought in an overdose situation.

The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s 2016 Drug-and Alcohol-Related Intoxication Deaths in Maryland Report, released earlier this month, revealed that 2,089 individuals died from overdoses last year, a 66 percent increase from 2015’s data. For more information on opioid overdose recognition and response, click here.

In March, Governor Hogan declared a State of Emergency in response to the heroin and opioid crisis ravaging communities in Maryland and across the country. This declaration activated the governor’s emergency management authority and enables increased and more rapid coordination between the state and local jurisdictions. The Opioid Operational Command Center, established by Governor Hogan in January through an Executive Order, facilitates collaboration between state and local public health, human services, education, and public safety entities to combat the heroin and opioid crisis and its effects on Maryland communities.

Before It’s Too Late is the state’s effort to bring awareness to this epidemic—and to mobilize resources for effective prevention, treatment, and recovery. Marylanders grappling with a substance use disorder can find help at BeforeItsTooLateMD.org and 1-800-422-0009, the state crisis hotline. 

Maryland Health Care Commission Public Hearing Notice


The purpose of the public hearings is to gather input from residents about health and health care in their communities. The Rural Health Care Delivery Work Group will use community input from these hearings to develop an approach to improve health and well-being for the Mid-Shore and other rural communities in Maryland. Members of the Rural Health Work Group, staff of MHCC, and our research team will attend the hearings.

Public Hearing Structure

When speaking, please introduce yourself and limit your comments to no more than 3 minutes.


Welcome – Hearing Officer

Summary of the Work Group charge and Study structure – MHCC Staff

Comments by community residents (100 minutes).

Please address the following issues in your comments:

Community health strengths
o What contributes to health and well-being in your community?
– Identify any programs or services that work well to support health and well-being
Health challenges faced by the community
o What are some of the challenges that your community faces in being healthy?
– E.g. access to care, workforce, transportation, insurance coverage, wellness programs, behavioral health, economic challenges, etc.
Identify what is important to you for community health
o If you had to pick one issue that would improve the health and well-being of your community, which issue would you address?
o What change/improvement would have the greatest impact in improving the health of your community?

Conclusion and wrap up (5 minutes) — Hearing Officer

Locations and Times

Public hearings will be held in each of the Mid-Shore counties at the following location, date and time:

Queen Anne’s County Tuesday, June 6th 6:00pm – 8:00pm Queen Anne’s County Complex Planning Commission Room 110 Vincit Street Centreville, MD 21617
Talbot County Monday, June 12th 6:30pm – 8:30pm Talbot County Community Center Wye Oak Room 10028 Ocean Gateway Easton, Maryland
Caroline County Tuesday, June 13th 6:30pm-8:30pm  

Denton Elementary School
300 Sharp Road
Denton, Maryland

There is no registration for these hearings. Residents seeking to speak at the hearings may contact MHCC. Residents can also provide written comments to MHCC staff by email or mail up to two weeks following the public hearings.

MHCC Contact Information
Maryland Health Care Commission
4160 Patterson Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21215

Erin Dorrien, Chief, Government & Public Affairs, erin.dorrien@maryland.gov
Kathy Ruben, Center for Health Care Facilities Planning and Development, kathleen.ruben@maryland.gov

Additional information and resources are posted to the Maryland Health Care Commission
website (http://mhcc.maryland.gov/) under the MHCC quick links to “Workgroups”

New Ramp Vans at Delmarva Community Transit


Delmarva Community Transit has made significant additions to its fleet, with the recent purchase of five vans. Each is equipped with a ramp, allowing easy access for riders using wheelchairs or other assistive devices. DCT operates public transportation in Dorchester, Talbot, Caroline and Kent counties, including fixed-route buses and door-to-door service with vans for qualifying riders. DCT is the transit division of Delmarva Community Services, Inc., a private, non-profit corporation. For information on travel options, call 410-221-7600.