Pink Polar Bear Golf Tourney Raises $2,550 for the Women’s Center

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Pink Polar Bear Tournament participants paused for a group photo after coming in from the links at Chestertown Yacht and Country Club.

The sixth annual Pink Polar Bear Golf Tournament, held August 6 at the Chester River Yacht & Country Club, raised $2,550 to benefit patient care in the Eleanor & Ethel Leh Women’s Center at UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown.

According to tournament co-chair Gwinn Derricott, who also is a hospital volunteer, 66 members and guests of the club, which is located just outside Chestertown, participated in this year’s event. “Everyone says that this is the most fun tournament they play in because of the format and the camaraderie,” Derricott said. “We’ve come a long way from a group of nine and 18-hole lady golfers and we’re looking forward to many more tournaments.”

Jane Hukill, tournament co-chair and also a hospital volunteer said, “We call it the Pink Polar Bear tournament because early on, it was explained to us that finding breast cancer can be like trying to find a polar bear in a blizzard.  When we saw the capabilities of the tomosynthesis in mammography, we had to do our part to support the continued availability of this technology in Chestertown.”

Kelly Bottomley, regional manager, Imaging, for UM Shore Regional Health, said that mammography is the medical “gold standard” to identify breast cancer. The Eleanor & Ethel Leh Women’s Center, which opened in October 2013, was the first facility on the Delmarva Peninsula to offer 3-D digital mammography with tomosynthesis, which can identify breast cancer at the earliest possible stage; in 2016, the Center performed 2,643 mammograms.

“On behalf of both the staff of the Leh Women’s Center and the patients who come to us for treatment, I am humbled to thank everyone who helped make the Pink Polar Bear tournament such a great success this year as in the past – in fact, their support grows larger every year. Their generosity and commitment is making a positive difference for women’s health here in Kent County and beyond, and we are proud to have them as part of our family of care,” Bottomley stated.

The Leh Center also offers bone density testing. A plastic surgeon is on site at the Center two days a week for breast surgery, reconstruction, consultation and other services.

Save Our Hospital Group Responds to Workgroup Report

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Leaders of the Save Our Hospital group and other concerned citizens have sent a letter about recommendations of the Maryland Rural Health Workgroup’s in the draft report on the future of the Chestertown hospital. The letter cites a number of potential problems with the report, especially as its recommendations would affect Kent County residents. Signers include a number of doctors, the mayor of Chestertown and two town council members, the president of Washington College, the director of Heron Point and board members of the hospital foundation along with other business and community leaders.

The hospital,  a branch of University of Maryland Medical System, has been the focus of community concerns since UMMS acquired it in 2007. While the UM Shore Regional Health board, the immediate parent facility, has committed to keeping the hospital open through 2022, its future beyond that date remains uncertain, Many community members interpret recent staff cuts and other reductions in services as preliminaries to downsizing the facility with an eye to closing it shortly after 2022.

The Rural Health Workgroup is in the final stages of writing its report, which the legislators will then turn into law.  The final report will be presented at the last full workgroup meeting, Sept. 28 in Annapolis.

Here is the Save Our Hospital letter as submitted.

To:        Members of the Rural Health Workgroup and staff of the Maryland Health Care Commission

From: Leadership, Save Our Hospital physicians and citizens group

Date:    August 10, 2017

Re:        Concerns about the draft recommendations  

Dear Workgroup Members and Staff:

As members of the physician-led Kent and northern Queen Anne’s community volunteer group Save Our Hospital, we write to share our reaction to the draft recommendations discussed at the July 25 meeting of the Rural Health Workgroup.

We are grateful to the Health Care Commission staff and the Workgroup members, especially chairs Deborah Mizeur and Joseph Ciatola, for the time and thought they have dedicated to the process of rethinking and redesigning a health-care delivery plan that works for rural communities like ours.

We wholeheartedly endorse the majority of the recommendations, which concern greater coordination and clustering of health-related services, providing in-home or close-to-home care for patients, incentives for attracting and retaining physicians and other health-care professionals, reducing re-admission rates, avoiding unnecessary visits to emergency rooms, and exploiting the power of telemedicine and other innovations to increase timely access to the highest quality diagnostic and treatment expertise.

But we have serious concerns.

Since our original 2015 meetings (which sparked Maryland’s General Assembly and the State Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene to create your Workgroup), the Save the Hospital citizens group has continued to focus on the viability and vitality of the acute care hospital in Chestertown, now part of University of Maryland Medical System’s Shore Regional Health System. Most of our concerns for the Workgroup recommendations therefore revolve around the concept of the special Rural Community Hospital. That designation is outlined on page 11 of the draft recommendations under item 10: “Create a special hospital designation for Rural Communities.”

While we applaud the creation of a new category of hospital if it will help ensure the continued financial success of our county’s second largest employer, we have specific concerns about the defining characteristics and longevity outlined in the draft recommendations:

Item 10. b. states that the hospital must be “located 35 miles or more from the nearest general acute care hospital.” While we understand that the mileage figure comes from the federal designation for a Critical Access Hospital, it is not a safe measure for rural Maryland communities such as Kent County.  The current hospital in Chestertown is approximately 34 miles from the site of the proposed Easton medical center on Route 50 near the Easton Airport. Thousands of residents, tourists, beach-goers, boaters, students, campers and staffers from marinas, summer camps and environmental education programs in remote parts of Kent County, notably Rock Hall, Betterton, Still Pond Neck and Galena, are 45 to 50 miles or more from the Easton site.

To use the 35-mile figure would be cruel, cynical and dangerous.

We believe a safer criterion would be one based not on mileage but on travel time. That would allow for considerations such as beach traffic on Route 50 and other seasonal issues that lengthen the trip to another hospital.

Item 10. f.  states, “The program would last for five years and would be renewable by agreement of HSCRC and the hospital.” By leaving the renewal option solely up to the hospital board and executives, this clause threatens to put the Chestertown hospital (and any designated Rural Community hospital) right back into the untenable situation that first sparked community outrage and led to the creation of the Rural Health Workgroup in the first place.

A hospital is too important to the health, economy and social wellbeing of a community to be redefined and converted into a lesser facility without vigorous community and legislative debate and input.  The State must require a review process that ensures public discussion and input from the affected hospital’s medical staff and guarantees that the hospital decision makers are hearing and acting on community and physician concerns.  The procedure for altering a Rural Community Hospital’s status should be similar in scope and as rigorous as Maryland’s existing Certificate of Need process for building or significantly altering health-care facilities.

Need for a local hospital board. Another concern is the continued lack of a truly local board to serve as a liaison, watchdog and advocate for our hospital. While the Workgroup’s deliberations and recommendations have invested in the concept of regional and system-wide collaboratives and oversight, we strongly endorse the idea of a community-based board for any rural community hospital or health complex.

Yes, there is a board of directors for the regional health system (in our case, UMMS Shore Regional Health System), but board members from smaller communities will never have a decisive voice on a regional board.  It is, after all, the almost total disregard for our community’s interests and the diminished status of our hospital by the Easton-based regional board that led us to appeal to the General Assembly for respect and attention. Residents will always be more closely connected to, loyal to, and more likely to donate to, a hospital with its own board drawn entirely from neighbors, friends and civic leaders they know and trust.

(Such a local board would give voice to community concerns about hospital policies such as Shore Regional Health’s “white paper” proposal to eliminate the ICU unit and to reduce inpatient beds based on projected rather than recent  patient data.)

“Put some teeth in it.” Given the severity of the physician shortage in rural areas and the pressure and cost of outspending competitors to attract top medical staff, our group suggests building significant incentives and disincentives into any recommendations that will encourage University of Maryland Medical School to develop more family physicians and general practitioners who will train and eventually practice in Kent County and other rural communities. This was a promise—broken immediately and never fulfilled—that UMMS made nine years ago when it was a suitor seeking ownership of the hospital in Chestertown.

Thank you for giving our concerns your serious consideration. The Kent and northern Queen Anne’s community will remain engaged. We are eager to support Senators Middleton and Hershey and Delegates Jacobs, Ghrist and Arentz as they shepherd the Workgroup report through the halls of the General Assembly and into law.  We know that, despite the long road that brought us to this point, we still have a long way to go to ensure that our future includes a robust hospital at the center of a healthy, equitable, prosperous community.

Sincerely,

Save the Hospital Leadership

Dr. Jerry O’Connor

Dr. Wayne Benjamin

Dr. Michael Peimer

Dr. Ona Kareiva

Dr. Susan Ross

Margie Elsberg, SOH Coordinator, past president of Chester River Health Foundation

Kurt Landgraf, President of Washington College

Chris Cerino, Mayor, Town of Chestertown

Garrett Falcone, executive director, Heron Point CCRC

Glenn Wilson, President and CEO of Chesapeake Bank & Trust, President of United Way     of Kent County

Kay MacIntosh, economic development coordinator, Town of Chestertown

And the following citizens in attendance at the August 10 meeting:

(professional or community affiliations provided as known)

Rev. Ellsworth Tolliver, community leader

Marty Stetson, Chestertown Town Council

Linda Kuiper, Chestertown Town Council

Fred Harmon, representing the residents of Heron Point

Leon Irish

Bill Mohan

Shelby Strudwick

Jim Twohy

Charles Lerner, board member, Chester River Health Foundation

Sandra Bjork, board member, Chester River Health Foundation

David Foster, former Chester River Riverkeeper

Nancy Carter

Zane Carter

Beryl Kemp

Michael McDonnell

Stuart Elsberg, past president, For All Seasons

 

 

 

UM Shore Regional Health Welcomes New Board Members

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Charles D. “Chip” Macleod

Three local community leaders have recently been appointed to the Board of Directors of University of Maryland Shore Regional Health. Charles “Chip” McLeod and Glenn L. Wilson, both of Chestertown, and Stephen Satchell, of Easton, officially joined the Board in July.

Charles D. “Chip” MacLeod founded MacLeod Law Group, LLC in 2017 with offices in Chestertown and Denton, and a practice representing local governments and related agencies. He is head of the firm’s Local Government Practice Group. He also concentrates in real estate, business and contract law, and serves as general counsel to various non-profit organizations and trade associations. As a registered lobbyist, he advocates for clients before the Maryland General Assembly and Executive branch agencies.

Prior to founding MacLeod Law Group, LLC, MacLeod was a member of Funk & Bolton, P.A. for more than 18 years. He was head of the firm’s Local Government and Real Estate Practice Groups while serving as special counsel to various non-profit organizations and public entities on a broad spectrum of legal matters.

MacLeod also previously served as county administrator of Kent County, Maryland; as a member and chairman of the Board of the former Chester River Health System, Inc.; as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Local Government Insurance Trust (LGIT) and chair of LGIT’s Health Benefits Committee; and associate director of the Maryland Association of Counties. He is a graduate of Washington College and University of Maryland School of Law.

Glenn L. Wilson

Glenn L. Wilson was named president and CEO of Chesapeake Bank & Trust in 2015 after five years as president and CEO of a financial institution in western Pennsylvania that included a $1 billion community bank and $1.8 billion trust company. His career in also banking includes the leadership of Citizens National of Laurel, a top performing bank under Mercantile Bankshares that was later acquired by PNC. He subsequently served PNC as senior credit officer overseeing credit operations in most of Maryland. Other career highlights include serving as past national chairman of the Risk Management Association and as vice-chair of the Pennsylvania Bankers Association and a member of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s Community Institutions Advisory Council.

Wilson’s community involvement has included serving as chair of a local United Way Board in Pennsylvania and as board member for a host of several civic, economic development, and educational organizations. He presently serves as Board chair for the United Way of Kent County and as Board member for Sultana Educational Foundation.

Stephen Satchell is senior vice president and financial advisor for the SRVP Group of Baird Private Wealth Management in Easton. A graduate of Easton High School and Hampden Sydney College, he began his career in finance at Legg Mason in Baltimore in 1992, returning to Easton four years later to focus on wealth management for private clients. He is Series 4,7,63 and 65 registered and is licensed in life, health and long-term care insurance. He presently serves on the St. Johns Foundation Board of Directors and Dave Haslup/Lou Gehrig ASF. His previous Board memberships include the United Fund of Talbot County, Pickering Creek Audubon Center and Talbot Country Club.

Stephen Satchell

Speaking on behalf of the UM SRH Board, John Dillon, chairman, stated: “We are very pleased to have Chip MacLeod, Glenn Wilson and Steve Satchell join us in ensuring that University of Maryland Shore Regional Health will successfully navigate the changing landscape of health care. Their strong personal commitment to the communities we serve, as well as their outstanding professional expertise and accomplishments, make them valuable assets to our efforts going forward.”

In addition to Robert A. Chrencik, CEO, University of Maryland Medical System, and Kenneth Kozel, president and CEO, UM Shore Regional Health, current UM SRH Board members are: from Caroline County, Wayne Howard and Keith McMahan;from Dorchester County, Marlene Feldman, Michael D. Joyce, MD, Richard Loeffler and David Milligan; from Kent County, Myra Butler, Charles B. MacLeod, Charles B. Nolland Glenn L. Wilson; from Queen Anne’s County, Joseph J. Ciotola, MD and Kathleen Deoudes; and from Talbot County, John W. Ashworth,Charles Capute, Art Cecil, John Dillon, Wayne L. Gardner, Sr., Geoffrey F. Oxnam, Stephen Satchell and Thomas Stauch, MD.

“Our board members live and work in our communities. I believe their diverse knowledge and perspectives position us well to achieve our vision of being the region’s leader in patient centered care,” says Kozel.

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 2,300 employees, medical staff, board members and volunteers work with various community partners to fulfill the organization’s mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together.

23rd Annual Chester River Health Foundation’s Golf Tournament Raises Funds for Medical Center

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Tournament Sponsors Malcolm Kram, DVM (l) and Mark Zwanger, MD, (r) are pictured with tournament awards’ reception emcees and Foundation Board members, Margie Elsberg (l) and Myra Butler (r).

After 10 straight days of rain, the sun came out for University of Maryland Chester River Health Foundation’s 23rd annual golf tournament.  Tournament participants and donors contributed more than $96,000 toward the purchase of 10 suites of patient room furnishings for UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown.

One hundred twenty-eight men and women teed off, shotgun-style, in a “Step-Aside, Best-Ball” tournament, on Friday, June 2, at the Chester River Yacht & Country Club just outside of Chestertown. A light, southwesterly breeze made it a perfect day to play a round of golf in support of the local hospital.

“Over the next three years, our hospital will replace patient room furnishings with state-of-the-art hospital beds, mattresses, tray tables, nightstands, and chairs,” said Carl Gallegos, chairman, UM Chester River Health Foundation.  “The Foundation has committed to raising at least $138,000 for the first 10 rooms and this tournament was our premiere fundraiser toward our goal.  We are extraordinarily appreciative of the community-wide support of this event.”

Twenty-five volunteers, mostly current and former hospital employees, spent the day on the course, offering golfers refreshments and chances to increase their odds of winning prizes.  “We could not host this event without our small army of volunteers and the Foundation Board is enormously grateful for their help,” Gallegos said.

Prizes donated by local community businesses were awarded for 16 events on the course, including eight Closest-to-the-Pins; Longest Drive Not-in-the Fairway; and Most Accurate Drive.

Low gross winners, female team, with a score of 77 were (l to r): Jackie Phillips, Debbie Williams, Leah Northrup and Genie Wootton

Three foursomes took home Low Net prizes: mixed team with a score of 44 — Christine and Mark Kamon, Larry Ortmann and Sharon Somers; women’s team with a score of 48 — Karen Biggs, Bobbie Cusimano, Trish Mooney and Stephanie Murphy; and the men’s team with a score of 49 — Bruce Brown, Harry Burton, Alton Darling and Rodney Gray. The Low Gross award went to the team of Jeff Carroll, Bill Cooper, Bill Cording, and Chip Everett, with a score of 61.

No one made a Hole in One on any of the four par 3 holes to win $10,000 cash or Superbowl 2018 tickets, and the $1,000 prize for Closest-to-the-Pin within 12” also went unclaimed.  David Landskroener missed winning the Putting Contest by just a few inches, leaving the $10,000 prize for next year’s contestants to claim. We hope you’ll mark your calendars now for the 24th Annual Chester River Health Foundation’s Golf Tournament set for Friday, June 1, 2018.

Tournament winners with a low gross score of 61 were (l to r): Bill Cording, Bill Cooper, Chip Everett, and Jeff Carroll

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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.

Mid-Shore Health: The YMCA’s Winning War against Diabetes

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There are a few things that the local health community knows about type 2 diabetes. The first is that it is an epidemic, with close to 28 million Americans already diagnosed facing a lifetime of a disproportionately higher risk of heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease, and a variety of other conditions that often lead to chronic disabilities and death.

The second is that close to 100 million Americans are assumed to be prediabetic. That’s right, about 100 million folks are walking around who could very quickly transition to a condition is experts say is the 7th leading cause of death.

The third is that those whose blood tests indicate a prediabetic condition can dramatically reduce the odds of developing full-blown diabetes by shedding 7% of their weight and committing to some form of exercise for at least 150 minutes a week.

That third fact is what the YMCA of the Chesapeake is now focused on.

Working with adults who are prediabetic, the Y has created year-long classes and support groups throughout the Mid-Shore to slowly and methodically educate their members that their pre-diabetic condition can be controlled or even eliminated with simple, common sense eating and light exercise.

Under the direction of Bridget Wheatley, the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program Director, these outreach efforts are now starting to show some stunning results in the first two years of operations. The three formal classes are running at capacity, and more and more participants are forming informal support groups to maintain personal goals.

The Spy caught up with Bridget and several members of the Y’s support group in Denton a week ago to talk about their experience and the extraordinary sense of well-being that has come with modest changes in lifestyle.

This video is approximately five minutes in length. For more information about the YMCA of the Chesapeake and its Diabetes prevention programs please go here

 

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.

 

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

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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.

Mid-Shore Health Futures: How Our Regional Hospitals Measure Up

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Susan Coe was in search of cottage cheese.

The chief experience officer and senior vice president at University of Maryland’s Shore Regional Health was looking in on a new patient at UM Medical Center at Easton. The patient, she learned, wanted her cottage cheese not in a small compartment on a tray but on a plate.

“She had her heart set on the platter,” Coe said.

The nurse immediately called food services to make the change but Coe said she decided to go get the plate of cottage cheese herself.

“It’s about respecting the patient,” she said.

That attention to patient satisfaction is part of a major change in hospitals, including at Shore Regional Health. Before 2007, hospitals largely measured their success by looking at “hard” data that evaluate patient safety and outcomes for specific procedures or events, such as heart attacks or infections. But in the past decade, the federal government began requiring that hospitals also measure how satisfied patients are with their care. Each hospital patient is given a 27-question survey that asks a range of questions, from how well the doctors and nurses communicated, to how noisy and clean the hospital was, to whether the patient would recommend the hospital to a friend.

And Shore Regional Health didn’t like what it was seeing, at least in one area.

Robert Carroll, regional director performance measurement & improvement, said that for the last eight quarters patient satisfaction ratings had been declining at the Easton and Dorchester facilities (considered one entity in ratings) and at its Chestertown hospital. The latest published data, from April 2015 to the end of March 2016, show that the Shore Regional Health hospitals score below average in patient satisfaction nationally and statewide. This is the despite the fact that the hospitals scored average or above average in most of its quality and safety ratings both statewide and nationally.

By contrast, the latest data show that Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis and Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury rate better than average statewide and nationally in patient satisfaction. Peninsula also scored better than average in quality and patient safety ratings statewide and nationally. And Anne Arundel rated better than average nationally in quality and a safety, while it rated average statewide. In Maryland, consumers can go online to get information on safety, quality and satisfaction ratings at the Maryland Health Care Commission website (http://healthcarequality.mhcc.maryland.gov).

In December, Shore Regional Health launched a program called HEART to change patients’ perception of their care. And that, Coe said, required that caregivers consciously reconnect with what brought them into health care in the first place. “It’s about empathy, communication and connection,” Coe said. “It’s listening, watching, understanding.”

In the first phase of the program, 25 peer counsellors were trained. From January through March, those counsellors then led three-hour sessions among Shore Regional Health’s more than 2,000 employees. The focus, Coe said, was on helping caregivers see the hospital experience through the patient’s eyes.

“Every patient is reluctant to enter the hospital,” said Trena Williamson, regional director of communications and marketing at Shore Regional Health. “But for the medical staff, this is their normal.”

A new mother with a sick baby might see things differently than a veteran nurse with other, sicker patients, Williamson said. The HEART program helps staff “recalibrate” so as to see the situation from the patient’s perspective, she said.

Coe said patient satisfaction surveys are helpful but it is the comments that are most useful.

“The scores give us a number but the comments give us gifts of insight and direction,” she said. “We really look at comments– and we follow up.”

Keeping a patient-centered focus is “baked into the culture” at Anne Arundel Medical Center, where about 10 percent of hospital patients and 1 in 5 office visitors are from the Eastern Shore, said Maulik Joshi, executive vice president of integrated care delivery and chief operating officer.

Joshi said new hires are made based on their willingness not only to deliver the best medical care but also to make sure patients feel a personal connection.

“We own ‘I care’ behavior,” he said. “I—I sit down and talk with a patient at the beside; C—I connect with patients by smiling and saying hello; A—I answer quickly when someone has a question; R—I always tell everyone my role; and E—I always escort people.”

At Peninsula, the team approach and employees who live in the community and have worked many years at the hospital are key to both a high quality of care and patients’ happiness, said Sheri Matter, the hospital’s vice president of patient services.

Nurses and doctors together visit the patient to ensure everyone—including the patient—understands the plan of care, both in the hospital and when the patient goes home, she said.

And, she said, there is a “direct correlation” between patient satisfaction and “higher quality outcomes.”

“You have to listen,” she said.

Coe, at Shore Regional Health, would agree.

There, HEART has entered Phase 2: coaching and helping hospital staff put the program into practice. After that, “we’ll expand, go deeper,” she said.

In the meantime, Carroll said he is not worried about the ratings.

“We’re doing this because it’s a better way to do it,” he said. “The numbers will take care of themselves.”

The Regional Overview

If you have a heart attack, bicycle accident or need knee surgery, it’s useful to know how your hospital rates in quality of care, safety, and patient satisfaction.

Thanks to a growing trend in healthcare that looks at outcomes instead of just treatments, many government and private groups collect and disseminate data on hospitals’ performance. The information includes everything from specific comparisons about the likelihood of getting a hospital-acquired infection to how quiet the hospital corridors are at night. Hospitals are graded on these benchmarks and can be compared across a state or against a neighboring state.

In Maryland, which has a unique arrangement with the federal government for hospital reimbursements, consumers can go to a state website to see how their hospitals compare on many of these milestones.

The Maryland Health Care Commission, an independent agency, has an online consumer guide that can help answer many of your questions:

Sources: Shore Regional Health; Peninsula Regional Medical Center; Anne Arundel Medical Center

For example, you can use the website to look at a combined quality and safety score for every hospital in the state. Most hospitals in the state rank average on combined quality and safety compared with other Maryland hospitals, including the University of Maryland Shore Medical Centers at Easton, Chestertown and Dorchester. The only ones listed as better than average statewide are Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury, the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, and the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson. Anne Arundel Medical Center, rated average statewide, is among 21 Maryland hospitals rated better than average compared with hospitals nationwide.

Much of the data come from the federal government, through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The federal site also has its own hospital comparison tools. You can also go directly to the centers’ site: Medicare.gov. The direct link to the hospital compare site is found here.

Using that site, you can find and compare hospitals across the nation and check them out against the ones in your own backyard.

With all the information that is collected, using the sites can be a little daunting. But there is a way to cut through the clutter to find what you’re looking for.

Start out with the overall ratings to see how the hospitals stack up

Zero in on areas that align with your procedure–for example, maternity care or orthopedic surgery.

Look at the patient satisfaction measures, which tell you things like how well the hospital staff communicates with patients about the discharge instructions, prescriptions, etc.

If you have to go to the emergency room, there’s also information on how quickly you’ll get attention from the medical staff. Easton, Chestertown and Peninsula hospitals were rated better than average in six measures for how quickly emergency room patients were handled compared with other hospitals in the state. Anne Arundel was below average in four of the six measures.

 

Spy Contributor Robert Tiernan was managing editor of Consumer Reports from 2006 to 2015. Spy Contributor Ridgely Ochs covered health care, personal health and medicine for more than 20 years at Newsday on Long Island. They both now live on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

UM SRH Celebrates Nursing Excellence at Annual Awards Presentation

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University of Maryland Shore Regional Health’s Nurse Excellence Awards was held on Monday, May 8 at the Todd Performing Arts Center at Chesapeake College. The occasion was the premier event in the celebration of Nurses’ Week 2017, May 7-12.

Individual winners of UM SRH’s 2017 Nurse Excellence Awards are shown with Ruth Ann Jones, senior vice president, Patient Care Services and CNO (third from left): From left: Hope Honigsberg, Dawn Ruby, Taffie Wilson, Vernon Usilton and April Ewing.

Leading the event presentations, Ruth Ann Jones, UM Shore Regional Health’s senior vice president of Patient Care Services and chief nursing officer, noted that this year marked the sixth anniversary of the Nurse Excellence Awards and that the 2017 honorees were selected from a total of 48 individual nominations and 10 unit/department nominations, the greatest number submitted since the awards were established. “This awards program was established by nurses and for nurses as a way to recognize those who go above and beyond to always deliver exceptional care,” said Jones. “All nominees deserve our appreciation, as do their families and other supporters who help make it possible for them to go the extra mile in the care they provide.”

Ken Kozel, president and CEO, spoke glowingly of the pivotal role that Shore Regional Health’s 600 nurses play in achieving the organization’s vision of being the Region’s Leader in Patient Centered Health Care. “Our nursing team’s strong partnerships with our physicians and other members of the health care team enable us to continue to “raise the bar” on safety, quality and patient experience,” Kozel said. “I know that I speak for the entire leadership team when I express my gratitude for our nurses’ active engagement in developing new care models, recommending and adopting new technologies, creating new protocols for patient care, supporting the professional development of all team members, and adapting to the almost daily changes and challenges in the health care landscape.”

John Dillon, chairman of the Board of UM Shore Regional Health, cited “the outstanding reputation of Shore Regional Health’s nursing team – for their expertise, their dedication to our patients and family members, and their continued advancement of clinical care in all units and departments” as a constant in an era of rapid change in the health care system. “When a community member shares a story about an experience at one of our hospitals or outpatient facilities, that story almost always includes the nurse or nurses, often mentioned by name, who provided expert and compassionate care,” Dillon said.

UM Chester River Home Care won the Unit/Department Award for Excellence in Clinical Outcomes. Shown after the award presentation are UM CRHC staff members with Ruth Ann Jones (center); left of Jones, Rene Baker and Trish Focht; right of Jones, Katie Davis and Melissa Myers.

The 2017 Shore Regional Health Nurse Excellence Award winners are:

Outstanding Achievement in Care Delivery: Commitment to Others–Taffie Wilson, Regional Resuscitation Education Coordinator, Professional Nursing Practice

Outstanding Achievement in Leadership–Vernon Usilton, Clinical Nurse, Emergency Department, UM Shore Medical Center at Easton

Outstanding Achievement in Mentorship/Advocacy–Dawn Ruby, Clinical Nurse, 2 East, UM Shore Medical Center at Easton

Outstanding Achievement in Professional Nursing–Hope Honigsberg, Clinical Nurse, Ambulatory Surgery Center, UM Shore Medical Pavilion at Queenstown

Outstanding Achievement – Promising Professional–April Ewing, Clinical Nurse, Emergency Department, UM Shore Medical Center at Dorchester

Unit/Department Excellence in Clinical Outcomes–UM Chester River Home Care

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 2,500 employees, medical staff, board members and volunteers work with various community partners to fulfill the organization’s mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together.