Copp Named Emergency Preparedness Manager for UM Shore Regional Health

Share

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.

Kathy Elliott to Succeed Mary Jo Keefe as Nursing Director for UM SMC

Share

Kathy Elliott, MSN, NEA-BC, RN

Kathy Elliott, regional director of Professional Nursing Practice/Magnet Program, has been named director of Nursing for University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Chestertown and will assume the position on June 30, 2017 when current the current nursing director, Mary Jo Keefe, retires. According to Ruth Ann Jones, senior vice president, Patient Care Services and chief nursing officer, UM Shore Regional Health, Elliott will succeed Keefe as nursing director while also retaining her current position.

A member of the Chestertown nursing team since she joined the hospital staff in 1988 as an LPN, Elliott has taken on progressively responsible roles at UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown and UM Shore Regional Health. In 1990, she earned her RN from Wor-Wic Community College and over the next decade, served on the hospital’s Medical Surgical, Critical Care and Same Day/PACU nursing teams. In 2001 she assumed the role of nurse manager for Same Day Surgery and PACU, and in 2006, was promoted director of Acute Care, overseeing Medical Surgical, Pediatrics, Infusion Clinic, and Same Day Surgery/Post Anesthesia Care.  Along the way, she earned her MSN from Walden University and became certified as a Nurse Executive, Advanced (NEA-BC).

Until 2013, Elliott worked in various director positions at Chestertown and subsequently became Shore Regional Health’s Magnet Program director. In January 2016, she assumed leadership of UM Shore Regional Health’s Professional Practice Development and Magnet Program.

In making the announcement, Jones commented, “Kathy’s leadership in her new role in nursing administration will help UM Shore Regional Health to achieve our mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together, and our vision to be the Region’s Leader in Patient Centered Health Care.

For her part, Elliott is excited to be returning to Chestertown on a more full-time basis. “I feel like I am coming back home, but with much broader knowledge and many excellent contacts and resources that I have gained in the past few years through my Magnet responsibilities. I’m also grateful to have the next few months to work side-by-side with Mary Jo as a transition to assuming the nursing director role.”

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.

Homestead Manor Hosts Talk on Early Detection of Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Share

Homestead Manor will host a lecture by Jennifer L. FitzPatrick in late April on, “Know the 10 Signs: Early Detection Matters Alzheimer’s and Dementia” This presentation is designed for individuals who are interested in learning more about Alzheimer’s and dementia, anyone who is experiencing memory loss or other warning signs that might indicate a problem, and individuals who are worried about a family member or friend presenting possible symptoms.

When: Thursday, April 27, 2017
Where: Homestead Manor, 410 Colonial Drive Denton, Md
Time: 1:00 Pm – 2:00 Pm Presentation, Light Refreshments
Why: Learn More About Alzheimer’S And Dementia
Who: Everyone, Also Social Workers Will Earn Ceu’S

Call Now and RSVP 410-479-2273

 

Recovery: Inaugural Tri-County Prevention Walk set for May 13

Share

The inaugural tri-county prevention walk is scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday, May 13 at Church Hill park in Church Hill, and supports efforts at keeping our communities drug- and alcohol-free.

The free walk is a collaborative effort from the prevention offices of Caroline, Kent and Queen Anne’s counties, with the theme, ‘Making a difference – one step at a time.’

“This walk is for anyone who’s had drugs or alcohol affect their lives,” said Annette Duckery, prevention coordinator for Kent County. “We’re working hard to prevent drug use and alcohol abuse in our communities, and this offers everyone the chance to support our efforts.”

The event includes fun for the entire family, with a live DJ, free back packs, snacks and games including corn hole. Registration is available online at Eventbrite.

The walk coincides with National Prevention Week, which is an annual health observance dedicated to increasing public awareness of, and action around, mental and/or substance use disorders. This year’s prevention week is from May 14 until May 20.

“National prevention week offers the perfect opportunity to show our solidarity in the fight against substance use disorders,” said Iris Carter, prevention coordinator for Queen Anne’s County. “With several overdoses in our area each week, we’ve got to come together and support prevention efforts across our region.”

Prevention efforts start young, and can help keep drug use from starting.

“We all can invest in drug and alcohol prevention,” said Melanie Rodriguez, prevention coordinator for Caroline County. “Prevention really IS the best treatment.

For more information on the walk, please contact Duckery at 410-778-7918 for Kent County; Carter at 410-758-1306 ext. 4524 in Queen Anne’s and Rodriguez at 410-479-8164 in Caroline. The Tri-County Prevention Walk is a collaboration between the health department prevention offices of Caroline, Kent and Queen Anne’s Counties. The walk also is supported by SAMHSA and the Maryland Behavioral Health Administration.

Annapolis: Generic Drug Price Gouging could be Penalized In Bill Sent to Hogan

Share

A prohibition on generic drug price gouging now heads to Gov. Larry Hogan’s desk for signature after the House concurred in Senate amendments Monday morning.

The House voted 137-2 for the bill, HB631, and the Senate approved it on Friday 38-7 with a handful of Republicans joining the Democratic majority. All but a few GOP delegates supported the measure.

The legislation would be the first of its kind in the country to hold drug makers accountable for drastic spikes in prices that can’t be justified. Under the new law, the state Medicaid program will notify the attorney general of a spike in drug prices, who can seek civil penalties of up to $10,000 per violation.

“Generic prescription drugs prices have been like the ‘wild’ west for many Americans” said Vincent DeMarco, president of the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative, moments before Friday’s vote. “There’s a new sheriff in town and his name is Attorney General Brian Frosh, who will protect Marylanders from price gouging, and this will also allow future AG’s to protect Marylanders.”

“Frosh will be able to take legal action to stop unconscionable price increases that hurt people without justification when there’s no competition in the market,” DeMarco said.

Subjective judgment

In floor debate Friday, Sen. Robert Cassilly, R-Harford, said the proper way to deal with price controls would be to set up a commission rather than allow the attorney general to make a “subjective” determination on what constitutes price gouging.

“If the state of Maryland wants to establish their own version of the FDA and engage in price controls we ought to do in the proper manner,” Cassilly said. “The proper manner would be set up some proper board or commission…or have it come under some aspect of our state bureaucracy.”

Senate Republican Whip Sen. Stephen Hershey. R-Queen Anne’s, said the law could actually harm competition.

“Generic drugs are one of the only indicators in the delivery of health care where prices are actually going down,” Hershey said prior to passage of the bill. “This bill is going to have a negative effect that could potentially eliminate some of the competition that is in Maryland and that is driving these costs down.”

The legislation was rolled out at a Jan. 10 rally in Annapolis three weeks after Maryland joined 19 other states in a lawsuit against six generic drug makers for market manipulation and anti-competitive behavior.

Frosh said a 2014 survey of pharmacists revealed that 25 “off patent” generic drugs saw price increases of 600% to 2000%.

He said normally prices “plummet” when patents expire and competition becomes “robust.” He said generic drugs have consistently run about 20% of the original patented price.

“What we allege is these companies conspired to fix prices.” Frosh said at the rally.

by Dan Menefee

Annapolis: Maryland Could Expand Options to Treat Addiction Remotely

Share

A bill that could expand telemedicine to include counseling for substance abuse disorders, which could help thwart the ballooning heroin-opioid epidemic in the state, is advancing in the Maryland General Assembly.

Telemedicine, or the use of virtual tools like video chats to provide health care services, has grown rapidly in recent years. In 2015, about 15 million Americans used telemedicine, a 50 percent increase from 2013, according to the American Telemedicine Association.

Although some health insurance providers do offer telemedicine for the treatment of substance abuse disorder, the bill, sponsored by Delegate Joseline Peña-Melnyk, D-Anne Arundel and Prince George’s, would ensure that this would include counseling for addiction treatment.

“Counseling is a critical component of the recovery process, and works hand in hand with medication-assisted treatment,” wrote the Community Behavioral Health Association of Maryland in testimony in support of the bill. “This bill would help ensure the most efficient use of clinicians who are paneled with commercial (health insurance) carriers by allowing them to deliver counseling services through telehealth.”

There has been a growing push for the the adoption of telemedicine for the treatment of substance abuse disorders, said Yngvild Olsen, the director of a Baltimore outpatient substance use disorder treatment program.

However, some Medicaid regulations have hindered reimbursement of telemedicine for substance-abuse counseling services, Olsen said, adding that if regulations are clarified, Maryland could begin seeing a more widespread adoption of the treatment method.

“This is something that there is a significant amount of interest in because of the lack of behavioral health counseling and other behavioral health services in many areas of the state,” Olsen told the University of Maryland’s Capital News Service.

Opioid-related deaths in Maryland have doubled from 529 in 2011 to 1,089 in 2015, according to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Pockets in the Eastern Shore and Western Maryland have had trouble attracting enough health care providers to treat the problem there, Olsen said.

Moreover, the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration has designated parts of Baltimore City and all of Harford County as areas where there is a shortage of health professionals, specifically for mental health.

Although other states have begun adopting a more widespread use of telemedicine for opioid-heroin substance abuse treatment, Maryland has only a few pockets where these services are available, Olsen said.

The first telemedicine program to treat addiction in Maryland started with a partnership between the University of Maryland Medical Center and the Wells House, a Hagerstown, Maryland, drug treatment program.

After one of the Wells House’s doctors retired, the staff were looking for a solution to keep up with the “ever-increasing” demand, said Paul Smith, the telemedicine program coordinator.

So they enlisted the help of University of Maryland Medical Center doctors who remotely meet with patients and prescribe them medication to treat their addictions by video chatting through their television screens, Smith said.

“It’s so versatile,” Smith said. “They can literally plug in here in a matter of seconds.”

Wells House prescribes medication for about 30 to 35 patients per week using this technology on average, Smith said. Since the program’s launch in 2015, the University of Maryland Medical Center has expanded its partnerships to include the Garrett County Health Department to offer similar services there, he added.

Recent studies have shown that telemedicine can be an effective way to treat substance-abuse disorders.

West Virginia University physicians recently conducted a study to determine whether telemedicine could provide similar outcomes as in-person treatment for patients in medication-assisted treatment programs.

Doctors remotely met with 46 patients in 30-minute group sessions to prescribe them buprenorphine, an opioid medication, by videoconferencing, and met with 54 patients face-to-face. Both groups followed these sessions with an in-person hour-long therapy group.

In the telemedicine group, 49 percent achieved 90 consecutive days of abstinence, compared with 37 percent in the in-person group.

Wanhong Zheng, a doctor who worked on the project, said expanding programs like these could be especially helpful for those with substance abuse disorders living in rural areas, where some patients have to drive up to five hours once a week just to go to a clinic.

This lack of treatment availability, one of the many challenges those hoping to treat an opioid addiction face, can be overcome by expanding telemedicine programs, Zheng said.

Maryland’s House of Delegates passed the bill and the state Senate is planning to hold a hearing on it April 4.

By Natalie Schwartz

Haven Ministries Seasonal Shelter Gets Designated Space

Share

Local artists Sue Stockman of St. Michaels, MD and her daughter Sequoia Chupek working on the mural which now graces the common room in Haven Ministries seasonal shelter at Kent Island United Methodist Church.

There were smiles all around when Haven Ministries held an open house for the public to see the newly- designated space for its seasonal shelter at Kent Island United Methodist Church in Stevensville. The shelter which previously occupied three classrooms in the church has received a new open space including a common room consisting of a living room, dining room and kitchen, as well as an adjacent room with bunk beds to accommodate men, women and children.

According to Don Lewis, chairperson of the church’s Board of Trustees, the church reconfigured its Sunday School rooms to accommodate the changes. He comments, “The new space is less work as we no longer have to transition the space each day from one thing to another – setting up cots at night and breaking them down in the mornings. The new space can remain set up for the shelter which is a win-win for both the church and the shelter.”

He adds, “This has been a very easy transition because Haven Ministries has been operating its shelter very smoothly in the church for 10 years.”

The church has also extended its hours to accommodate the shelter, which is open from 6 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. daily. Kent Island United Methodist Church is one of 15 churches who participate in supporting the shelter. Pastor David Bennett of Kent Island United Methodist Church welcomes the newly designated shelter space, stating, “For our congregation to have the shelter in our midst is strengthening the church’s role in the community. It has helped us to understand the responsibility we have to meet the needs of the community and to care for those in our community.”

He adds, “I hope the relationship we and other churches have had with the Haven Ministries will help the community understand that the people here just need a little bit of help. Homelessness is something our community can embrace – we don’t have to be fearful of it.”

According to Mia Cranford, Fundraising Coordinator for Haven Ministries, “The new shelter space has come alive. There is a positive energy now which translates into our mission to help people feel at home here and to work toward eventually having this feeling again in their own homes.”

Haven Ministries has focused on providing a very homey and comfortable space for its guests. Cots have been replaced with permanent bunk beds and small Sunday School chairs have been replaced with comfortable overstuffed couches and chairs, as well as café tables for eating. The furnishings and paint for the new space were funded by private donations to Haven Ministries.

Pictured L to R at Haven Ministries’ recent Open House are Krista Pettit, Executive Director of Haven Ministries; Sandi Wiscott, Case Manager for Haven Ministries; Caroline Aland, President of Haven Ministries Board of Directors; Haven Ministries Board Member Margie Reedy; and Haven Ministries Volunteer Coordinator Karen Bardwell.

Cranford adds, “The church is showing the love of Christ by welcoming shelter guests to the newly configured space. It has really been a community effort.  Local artist Sue Stockman of St. Michaels, MD, was commissioned to create a beautiful mural for the shelter’s common space.”

Stockman recalls Haven Ministries executive director Krista Pettit wanted a mural designed specifically for the space to go along with all new and special furnishings throughout. After Pettit received a grant from Richard Marks from Dock Street Foundation, the mural was created.  Stockman thought the mural was a great metaphor for the lives of homeless individuals – taking things broken and discarded to create something beautiful out of them, making everyone feel valuable and hopeful.”

Stockman adds, “The mural was also a very personal project for me, as my ex-husband died last year and was homeless at the time of his death.”

Following her ex-husband’s death, Stockman began work on the mural with her daughter, Sequoia Chupek in their studio in St. Michaels. She states, “I recognized how important it was for us to be working together during this time. It was just as therapeutic for Sequoia as it was for me as we co-created this piece of art.” She adds, “I have learned that if we are open, things are brought to us that make a real difference in our lives. This project has had a significant impact on our lives, as well as those receiving it at the shelter.  Working on the mural has helped us learn not to judge people who are homeless as they travel their own journeys.”

Haven Ministries offers a 24-hour a day program, with daytime services open to the public at the Resource Center and nighttime shelter services at the shelter, except for weekends when its Resource Center is closed. In addition to its seasonal shelter and Resource Center at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Centreville, the organization operates a Thrift Store, Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and a Food Pantry on the third Friday of every month. For further information or to become a Friend of Haven Ministries, visit haven-ministries.org or call 410-739-4363.

Annapolis: Legislature Braces for ACA Repeal despite Congress’s Failure

Share

The Maryland House of Delegates on Friday adopted its version and a Senate version of the Maryland Health Insurance Coverage Protection Act to plan for the potential loss of $4 billion in annual Medicare and Medicaid dollars that flow to the state annually, should the Republican-controlled Congress succeed in repealing the Affordable Care Act.

The loss of funding could result in 400,000 Marylanders losing their health coverage, according to analysis from the Maryland Department of Legislative Services released in January to assess the impact of repeal.

But during floor debate on Friday morning, Warren Miller, R-Howard, asked if the measure could be delayed pending the outcome of a scheduled 3:30 vote in Congress on the American Health Care Act, the GOP’s replacement to the ACA.

“There is a very good possibility there could be no repeal,” Miller.

Miller’s comments were correct and several hours later U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan announced there would be no vote and conceded that the AHCA failed to win the support of GOP majority.

“Obamacare is the law of the land and will remain the law of the land until it is replaced,” Ryan said at an afternoon press conference announcing his decision to cancel a vote on his plan. “We’re going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future…I don’t know how long it’s going to take to replace this law.”

Congressman Andy Harris, Maryland’s only Republican in Congress, originally lauded the Ryan plan as a way to reduce costs for patients while increasing the quality of health care, but by Friday Harris pulled his support.

Democratic leaders in Annapolis and Washington fear the GOP Congress will continue attempts at repeal before the end of Trump’s first term.

“Today, tens of millions of Americans can breathe a small sigh of relief as President Trump, Speaker Ryan, and House Republicans failed to eliminate their healthcare coverage—at least for now,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland’s 7th District in a statement.

Being prepared

Del. Bonnie Cullison, chair of the health insurance subcommittee, said regardless of what happened Friday the state should be prepared for potential changes. She said the state needed to brace for repeal or drastic changes that could result in loss of coverage or a spike in premiums and other costs.

“We need to be prepared and we’re going to have to look at some other ways to deliver [health care] services,” She said.

She said options may be limited to bringing back high-risk pools like the Maryland Health Insurance Plan (MHIP), a public health plan established by the legislature in 2002, the Health Insurance Safety Net Act, to cover individuals who could not get coverage due to pre-existing conditions or who were deemed uninsurable. The program established 41 medical conditions that automatically qualified individuals for enrollment.

Coverage under MHIP was supported by premiums, a 1% assessment of hospital rates and federal grant funds. The plan was phased out in January 2014 when coverage became available under the ACA. Those who could still not afford coverage qualified under the Medicaid expansion if their incomes were 133% of the poverty level or less.

“But we’re not looking favorably on any of our options right now,” Cullison said. ‘We’re going to have to look at some other ways of delivering the service.”

“There may be very high premiums but it would cover the people who absolutely need health care and don’t have it,” she said. She said it could be a stopgap against medical bankruptcy and would hopefully include a prohibition against lifetime limits on coverage.

“These are out there as options but we are not looking favorably on any of our options right now,” Cullison said.

Minor amendments were adopted on Friday to make the bills identical and final passage is expected next week. The Senate passed its version March 18 in a party-line vote, 33-14.

by Dan Menefee

Chester River Health Foundation to Host Advance Directives/Elder Law Seminar

Share

The University of Maryland Chester River Health Foundation will host an informative seminar, “The Importance of Advance Directives, the MOLST Form and Their Relationship to Elder Law,” on Saturday, April 1, 2017 from 9:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. in the second floor meeting room of the Chestertown Town Hall.

      

Photos: From left – Wayne D. Benjamin, M.D, Ann K. Goodman, Esq, and Madeline Steffens, BSN, RN, CHPN 

Guest presenters will be Wayne D. Benjamin, MD, a board-certified family medicine physician and a member of the medical staff at UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown; Ann K. Goodman, Esq., a partner in the law firm of Parker Counts, whose practice focuses on estate and tax planning and estate administration with a special concentration in elder law, asset protection and planning for individuals with disabilities; and Madeline Steffens, RN, BSN, CHPN, palliative care nurse and Shore Regional Health’s Palliative Care Program Coordinator.

This informational seminar will explore the importance and implications of an Advance Directive, the Maryland MOLST (Medical Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment) form, how they are different, what they mean “at the bedside,” and their legal utilization.  In additional, Attorney Goodman has been asked to provide a list of the “Top Five” suggestions for actions to take now in order to prepare for the future.  Ample agenda time has been scheduled for questions and answers.

To register for the seminar, please contact Debra Lauser at UM Chester River Health Foundation at (410) 810-5681 or by email at dlauser@umm.edu.  This event is free and open to the public. However, seating is limited and therefore pre-registration is required.  Light refreshments will be served.