UM SRH Announces Sale of Nursing and Rehabilitation Center at Chestertown

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University of Maryland Shore Nursing and Rehabilitation Center at Chestertown is under new ownership effective June 1, 2018. The Center staff are making the transition and net proceeds from sale are committed to enhance health care services and equipment at UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown.

According to Ken Kozel, president and CEO of UM Shore Regional Health (UM SRH), the Center’s new owner/operator, Outcome Health Group, specializes in managing quality long term care and rehabilitation facilities. The terms of the sale have not been released.

“We are very pleased to have completed an agreement with Outcome Health Group that includes certain assurances we viewed as an important component in our mission of providing quality health care for patients and their family members in the region,” says Kozel. These assurances included that the purchaser would keep the facility open and serving the community as a long term care facility; that the purchaser demonstrated a commitment to expanding the admission criteria so that patients with higher-acuity care needs can be accommodated; and that the purchaser demonstrated the financial means to cover needed capital improvements.

UM Shore Regional Health Board member Glenn Wilson, president and CEO of Chesapeake Bank & Trust, shares Kozel’s enthusiasm for the agreement with Outcome Health Group, noting that all net funds received from the sale will directly benefit patients and their families served at UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown. “The sale will enable us to make significant new investments in our hospital facilities, equipment and patient care programs,” says Wilson.

UM Shore Nursing and Rehabilitation Center has been the only long term care facility in the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) and Shore Regional Health engaged in a process last year to evaluate its work with the facility. During that process, it became evident that an entity specializing in managing quality long term care and rehabilitation facilities would be

better equipped to guide Shore Nursing and Rehab to meet the future demand for quality long term care in Chestertown and surrounding communities. In September 2017, Shore Regional Health investigated the possible transition of ownership. Through a process that involved UM SRH Board members from Kent County, the Chester River Health Foundation Board, Chestertown-based physicians and local health system management, potential buyers were vetted and interviewed, resulting in the selection of Outcome Health Group. A period of due diligence and review of business operations was completed and the transaction was finalized June 1.

Outcome Healthcare Group has collaborated with Shore Regional Health and with employees to conduct a smooth transition. Local physicians, UM SNR residents and their families are being updated as the transition takes place.

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

UM Chester River Health Foundation Welcomes New Board Members

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Two local community leaders have joined the Board of Directors of University of Maryland Chester River Health Foundation. Jay Yerkes, of Chestertown, and Michael Faust, of Sudlersville, joined the Foundation Board earlier this year.

Yerkes is head of the Chestertown-based Yerkes Construction Company, which he founded in 2009 after more than two decades of experience in the construction industry working with varied companies based on the Shore and in Philadelphia. Yerkes has been active in a wide array of community organizations and civic endeavors, including serving on the boards of the Humane Society of Kent County (2014-16) and the Garfield Center for the Arts (2010-14), and volunteering for various projects of Habitat for Humanity, the Town of Chestertown, Christ United Church and the sailing program of Chester River Yacht and Country Club.

Jay Yerkes and Michael Faust

Presently serving as account executive for Atlantic Broadband, Faust has spent his 25-year career in marketing, including 15 years as director of marketing – motorsports for MBNA America and nine years as owner of a promotions and marketing company. Since 1986, he has been an active member of the Sudlersville Volunteer Fire Company, serving as director, president and fireline officer, and since 2010, he has been a board members with the Maryland State Firemen’s Association, serving as assistant secretary to the treasurer for four years and currently as second vice president. He also is a board member for the Casey Cares Foundation.

Speaking on behalf of the Foundation Board, Carl Gallegos, PhD, chairman, stated: “We are quite pleased to welcome these two new members who bring unique talents to support our mission. They are leaders in the community and are dedicated to enhancing a dynamic and viable full-service hospital in Chestertown.”

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.

The Future of Healthcare: Medical Marijuana Dispensary Opens in Centreville

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The leading edge of a quiet revolution in healthcare reached the Eastern Shore on Valentine’s Day. That’s when Ash + Ember, a licensed medical marijuana dispensary, opened its doors. The owners of the facility—sisters Ashley and Paige Colen—say they are seeing lots of early demand. The dispensary is located at 202 Coursevall Drive #108 in Centreville.  Visit their website here. 

Maryland is now one of 29 states (plus Washington DC) that provide legal access to hemp and marijuana derivatives to treat medical problems such as pain, nausea, depression, sleeping disorders, epilepsy, and other health issues. The medical marijuana movement, however, is increasingly global. Australia, Argentina, Canada, Germany, Israel and many other countries already provide similar access. The process in Maryland requires prospective patients to get a doctor’s recommendation, then register with state authorities and receive a specialized ID card, and then to work with a licensed dispensary to identify the particular formulation and mode of delivery that best meets their needs.

Ash + Ember offers to help would-be patients with the registration process and with finding a doctor who will recommend medical marijuana therapy, as well as with finding a formulation that best suits each patient. Since the dispensary is limited to suppliers in Maryland (federal regulations make it illegal to ship marijuana across state lines), it’s stock is fairly limited at present, but the local grower and processor industry is scaling up fast and the Colen sisters expect a much wider selection in coming weeks and months. For now, they accept cash only but expect to accept credit cards in the near future and to offer home delivery of their products.They can also be reached at 443-262-8045 and are open 10am-7pm weekdays and 10am-6pm weekends.

One of the barriers to full realization of the medical and health benefits of cannabinoids—the generic term for the active ingredients in hemp and marijuana plants—is widespread ignorance about them among both patients and doctors. Many people associate marijuana with the underground growing and smoking of “weed” to get high—a practice still illegal in most states. An informal survey suggests that many doctors in private practice on the eastern shore still won’t have anything to do with medical marijuana.

But medical cannabinoids don’t have much to do with getting high. Medical scientists have now identified as many as 80 different cannabinoids, most of which produce no buzz or high at all. Indeed of the 8 cannabinoids commonly found in the now bewildering array of commercial medical marijuana products, only one—THC—interacts with receptors in the brain to produce that kind of psychotropic effect. The other most common form—CBD, the mainstay of most medical/therapeutic uses—has no psychotropic effect at all and acts on receptors that are part of the body’s own cannabinoid system. That system, found in nearly all cells, produces cannabinoids to help stabilize the body’s internal processes.

Moreover, smoking marijuana is probably the least common form of administration. Instead, the active ingredients are extracted from the plant by solvents and used as oils (directly on the skin, or ingested in capsules or food, or vaporized and inhaled) or alcohol-based tinctures (delivered as drops under the tongue). Extraction allows manufacturers both to concentrate the active ingredients and also to more precisely control concentrations and purity. And the variety of ways of using medical marijuana gives patients more control as well. Inhaling a vapor has an almost immediate effect, but may be too strong for some circumstances or not a comfortable mode of use for some. Ingesting the drug means a much slower but longer-lasting effect (for controlling pain at work, for example). Putting a drop or two under your tongue also gives immediate effect, but the concentrations in tinctures are typically lower.

Clinical research on specific cannabinoids and their impact on health conditions is still in the early stages—in large part because the federal government had made it very difficult to get permission to do such research. But last year a randomized clinical trial found that high-CBD extracts helped markedly to control epileptic seizures in children. Another study in a mouse model of autism showed that CBD has promise as a treatment there as well. Canadian studies have provided evidence that cannabinoids can help with post-traumatic stress disorder, chemotherapy-induced nausea, sleeping disorders, and arthritic pain. More research is coming.

Arguably one of the most important potential impacts of medical marijuana is likely to be easing the opioid epidemic, the leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States. If pain can be treated with non-addictive cannabinoids, why use opiods—and enrich the pharma companies that make them—in the first place? Indeed, research studies have reported fewer opioid deaths and reduced opioid use in states where medical marijuana is available. That in itself would be a major benefit of widespread adoption of medical cannabinoids. And if cannabinoids can be used to help wean people already addicted from opioids, as some research suggests, even better.

Of course, medical marijuana is not the only revolution going on—more and more states are legalizing recreational marijuana as well, and the dominant brands for recreational use usually include quite a bit of THC. One genuine concern about recreational marijuana is its potential impact on adolescents: cannabinoids—especially THC—can have a significant impact on the development of adolescent brains. But the more tightly controlled distribution channels for medical marijuana seem far less likely to “leak” into adolescent culture, as well as focusing more heavily on CBD.

Another concern is work-related drug tests: will medical marijuana use show up on these tests and cause someone to lose a job? As it turns out, the tests that follow a federal standard are specific to THC, so using a low-THC/high CBD formulation to control pain should not trigger a positive test.

Another barrier to use is simply social: we’re not yet to the stage where people talk openly about their medical marijuana use. But if you have medical concerns that are not well met by conventional medicines, or want to avoid opioid use or anti-depressants with bad side effects, you might want to look into what’s available—and legal—in medical marijuana, now conveniently at hand on the eastern shore.

Recovery: Upcoming Addictions Training at Hope Fellowship

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The opioid epidemic has left healthcare providers and community outreaches looking for new ways to engage people in treatment. Often addicts are also struggling with mental health and social challenges. Special populations that have low literacy abilities or difficulty expressing themselves may slip through the cracks of standard treatment.

Seeking creative solutions, counselor Melissa Stuebing developed the “Literacy-Free 12 Step Expressive Arts Therapy” curriculum under the editorial oversight of Dr. Lauren Littlefield. It was made for people with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders, as well as for illiterate participants and those with self-expression difficulties.

It integrates cognitive behavioral techniques and different expressive arts modalities as means of working through the 12 Steps of addiction recovery. It has since been the subject of 4 clinical studies which found it to promote engagement in treatment. Participants had much higher completion/ retention rates, lower drop-out rates and enrollment in follow up services than non-participants.

“The A. F. Whitsitt Center started incorporating the “Literacy Free 12 Step Expressive Arts Therapy” curriculum into our regular activities schedule several years ago. We consistently get good feedback from the patients and the trainers enjoy leading the sessions.” says Andrew Pons, CAC-AD, clinical director. A.F. Whitsitt Center is an inpatient rehabilitation facility that specializes in treatment for co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders.

“The curriculum is beneficial because it teaches those with all the different types of learning styles. I always receive great feedback from participants. They appreciate the change of pace from the lecture format and enjoy being able to express themselves using the different types of media”, remarks counselor Julia Garris.

It is also being used at Kent County Crisis Beds. “Many patients are anxiety ridden and typical verbal skills is a challenge. Melissa’s curriculum allows patients to share their feelings and stabilize in a more natural and comfortable manner.” says Alice Barkley, LCSW-C, crisis beds manager.

There will be 2 upcoming trainings in “Literacy-Free 12 Step Expressive Arts Therapy” on May 8th and September 20th held by Melissa Davis Stuebing, MA, CAC-AD at Hope Fellowship 892 Washington Ave in Chestertown, MD. This program has
been endorsed by the MD Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists for 6 CEUs.

Register at www.CoLaborersInternational.com/ExpressiveArts

Recovery: Upcoming Addictions Training at Hope Fellowship

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The opioid epidemic has left healthcare providers and community outreaches looking for new ways to engage people in treatment. Often addicts are also struggling with mental health and social challenges. Special populations that have low literacy abilities or difficulty expressing themselves may slip through the cracks of standard treatment.

Seeking creative solutions, counselor Melissa Stuebing developed the “Literacy-Free 12 Step Expressive Arts Therapy” curriculum under the editorial oversight of Dr. Lauren Littlefield. It was made for people with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders, as well as for illiterate participants and those with self-expression difficulties.

It integrates cognitive behavioral techniques and different expressive arts modalities as means of working through the 12 Steps of addiction recovery. It has since been the subject of 4 clinical studies which found it to promote engagement in treatment. Participants had much higher completion/ retention rates, lower drop-out rates and enrollment in follow up services than non-participants.

“The A. F. Whitsitt Center started incorporating the “Literacy Free 12 Step Expressive Arts Therapy” curriculum into our regular activities schedule several years ago. We consistently get good feedback from the patients and the trainers enjoy leading the sessions.” says Andrew Pons, CAC-AD, clinical director. A.F. Whitsitt Center is an inpatient rehabilitation facility that specializes in treatment for co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders.

“The curriculum is beneficial because it teaches those with all the different types of learning styles. I always receive great feedback from participants. They appreciate the change of pace from the lecture format and enjoy being able to express themselves using the different types of media”, remarks counselor Julia Garris.

It is also being used at Kent County Crisis Beds. “Many patients are anxiety ridden and typical verbal skills is a challenge. Melissa’s curriculum allows patients to share their feelings and stabilize in a more natural and comfortable manner.” says Alice Barkley, LCSW-C, crisis beds manager.

There will be 2 upcoming trainings in “Literacy-Free 12 Step Expressive Arts Therapy” on May 8th and September 20th held by Melissa Davis Stuebing, MA, CAC-AD at Hope Fellowship 892 Washington Ave in Chestertown, MD. This program has
been endorsed by the MD Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists for 6 CEUs.

Register at CoLaborersInternational.com/ExpressiveArts

Recovery: Healing Through Art at the Raimond Building in Chestertown

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Art is perhaps at its best when it heals the human soul. While there remains an aesthetic enjoyment that comes from both the artist and his/her audience in most work of art, the use of visual creativity to help people overcome loss and addiction is a particularly forceful phenomenon.

That was the impression when the Spy stopped by the Vincent & Leslie Prince Raimond Arts Building yesterday for a look the recent art exhibition sponsored by the Kent County Art Council new show entitled “Heroin and Healing” curated by Baltimore artist Peter Brunn.

As the father of a daughter lost to a heroin overdose, Brunn is not a passive bystander in this show.  While it includes six remarkable artists that have used photography, video and visual art to express their journey of healing and recovery from their own addiction or those of loved ones, it is Peter’s work that the Spy found the most powerful.

An example of this is the overwhelming forceful visual graph entitled Toshio Hosakawa, Landscape II, which charts the extraordinarily painful journal of daughter Elisif’s arc of depression and addiction, ending with the unimaginable phone call Brunn received informing him of his daughter’s death with the words from a stranger saying, “Hello, is this Peter?”

This video is approximately one minute in length. “Heroin and Healing” will be on display at the Raimond Art Building 101 Spreing Avenue in Chestertown from March 2 to March 31. A Film and Discussion on the topic is scheduled for March 30 at Norman James Theatre at Washington College. For more information please go here

 

 

Shore Regional Health Announces Management Change at Medical Center Chestertown

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University of Maryland Shore Regional Health CEO Ken Kozel has announced that Kathy Elliott, RN, MSN, REA- BC, Director of Nursing at Shore Medical Center in Chestertown, has been appointed to serve as Interim Executive Director of UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown, following the resignation of Scott Burleson, effective Monday, February 26.

Elliott, a lifelong resident of Kent County, holds a Master of Science in Nursing from Walden University and earned her RN from Wor-Wic Community College. She began her career at the hospital in Chestertown in 1988 and has a broad background in clinical and management services, having served in medical-surgical, critical care, surgery and post-surgery care as well as outpatient services. She was named Director of Nursing at Chestertown in 2017.

Elliott reports directly to Kozel in this role and serves on the senior executive team, while maintaining her role as the nursing leader at Chestertown and the regional director of professional nursing practice and Magnet.

“I look forward to working with Kathy for the success of UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown,” Kozel says. “Please join me in welcoming Kathy to the executive team at UM Shore Regional Health. We wish Scott Burleson well in his future endeavors.”

Recovery: Bill gives Parents ‘New Tool’ to Fight Child’s Addiction

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One more day without treatment for a person struggling with opioids — as a Maryland delegate, a recovery expert and parents of children mired in addiction have said — could be the difference between life and death.

A relatively recent spike in deaths related to the synthetic opioid fentanyl, its cousin carfentanil and ever-emerging variations of the two has emphasized the importance of getting addicts into treatment immediately, said Delegate Nic Kipke, R-Anne Arundel.

That’s why Kipke, the Maryland House minority leader, is sponsoring a bill granting parents of adults struggling with addiction more authority to act on their children’s behalf.

Fentanyl has overtaken heroin as the deadliest drug in Maryland. Statewide, deaths related to fentanyl surged from 192 over the first three quarters of 2015, to 1,173 fatalities over the same period in 2017 — a 510 percent increase, Maryland health department data show.

Carfentanil — a drug commonly used to sedate elephants — also continued its emergence. There were 57 carfentanil-related deaths statewide over the first nine months of 2017 compared to zero over the previous two years, according to the state health agency.

Fentanyl is 50 times stronger than heroin; carfentanil is 5,000 times more potent than heroin, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Fentanyl “can be lethal in the 2-milligram range,” the DEA says, while the lethal range for carfentanil is uncertain, but minute.

Considering the potency of the drugs, which are often created in clandestine laboratories in China and Mexico, “this is a different kind of addiction, a different problem,” Kipke told the University of Maryland’s Capital News Service.

His 2018 bill would allow parents or guardians of adult children — who must be dependent through health insurance — to involuntarily admit their child to an in-patient treatment facility. Kipke introduced then withdrew the same bill during the 2017 General Assembly session after the House Health and Government Operations Committee delivered an unfavorable report on it.

The person must “not be a minor,” must have “experienced a drug overdose” and have “health insurance coverage as a dependent under the individual’s parent’s” plan, according to a fiscal and policy note for the 2017 bill.

“What I’m seeking to do is provide parents of children who are still dependent … an opportunity to interrupt their child’s addiction,” Kipke said.

The Maryland State Medical Society, MedChi, agrees with Kipke that the scale of the opioid epidemic warrants new tools, said Gene Ransom, the organization’s chief executive officer.

“Given that we’re in a crisis,” Ransom said, there needs to be more options to get people into
treatment. “Giving parents another tool to help solve the problem is a no-brainer.”

Survivors’ perspectives

Carin Miller, president and co-founder of Maryland Heroin Awareness Advocates, said that her oldest son started using then abusing Percocet — a common opioid painkiller — in his early 20s, developing an addiction before turning to heroin.

“It was frustrating and heartbreaking when you see your son so sick and gray and on death’s door,” she said. “As a mother, when your child is sick or hurt … you always work your hardest to make them better.”

“But when they’re addicted,” Miller said, “you can’t.”

Kipke is concerned for many of his constituents, many of whom have asked him for a tool to help their children, he said.

This year there were 108 opioid-related overdoses in Anne Arundel County through Feb. 8, compared to 113 through the same date a year prior, according to county police data.

But 18 of the 108 overdoses resulted in death — a 100 percent increase over the nine fatalities through the same date in 2017.

Over the first nine months of 2017, the county recorded 145 fatal opioid-related overdoses, a 12 percent increase over January-September of 2016, state data show.

A non-fatal overdose can be an important opportunity for intervention, experts say, but in Maryland and other states, those who are hospitalized because of overdoses can sign themselves out.

“If somebody who needs Narcan because they just overdosed, they need to be committed,” Miller said.

Narcan is a brand name of the overdose-reversing opioid antagonist, naloxone. All first responders in Maryland are equipped with a form of the life-saving drug, which comes in a nasal spray form.

Miller, a Frederick County, Maryland, resident said these kind of tools weren’t available to her as a mother throughout her son’s struggle with addiction. Had involuntary admission been an option, Miller said she “most certainly would have” utilized the authority to admit her son.

“I would’ve done anything in the world to save my son,” she added.

Pasadena, Maryland, native Rob Snead, 24, said he’s been clean for seven months after using and abusing drugs for a decade. He has overdosed.

“When you come to, you’re in withdrawal,” he said. “And the only thing you can think about is getting yourself in a position to get well again.”

Snead said that in the moment, addicts “don’t care about seeking the accurate help, they think about what they can do immediately to feel better.”

Snead described withdrawal from opioids as “overwhelming” and “a miserable state of being,” and said that often the quickest way to feel better was to score more drugs and to take them.

Treatment community divided

It’s been said that an addict must be ready for treatment in order for it to be successful, a notion Kipke acknowledged.

But that line of thinking could be outdated.

“If we continue to look at it like they’re not ready,” Miller said. “There are some that will never be ready.”

Dr. Sally Satel, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute who works part time in a methadone clinic in Washington, said the idea that addicts must be ready for treatment is “so wrong,” and called it “one of the many cliches” surrounding the opioid crisis.

“Why do you think drug courts work?” she said.

But other addiction treatment experts have concerns about the practicality, effectiveness and safety of involuntary commitment.

“You really can’t force someone to participate in treatment if they don’t want to,” said Vickie Walters, executive director of the Baltimore-based REACH substance abuse treatment program at the Institutes for Behavior Resources.

Getting an assessment of a patient is always important, but that if that patient was forced, Walters said, “it’s tough to get good information.”

Howard Ashkin, president of the Maryland Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence, said he worries that involuntary commitment could lead to a litany of problems.

“I’ve never read anything that has borne out any good outcomes,” of forced treatment, Ashkin said. “I don’t envision good outcomes.”

Involuntary admission could make some of the adult children angrier, he said.

Ashkin said he worries that addicts will go along with the treatment, then go out to use again. But their tolerance will have diminished, he said, which increases the odds of overdose and possibly death.

Involuntary treatment programs, like drug court, Satel said, often work because it gives the individual a chance to take a step back to think about their situation and “internalize the values of the program.”

Involuntary admittance could lead the individual to resent the family member who mandated their admission, Ashkin said.

Ashkin and Walters said they aren’t convinced that it’s worth the risk. Addicts rarely recover successfully their first time through treatment, and about 40 percent to 60 percent relapse, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Forcing an addict to get help could “leave a bad taste in (their) mouth about treatment,” discouraging them from seeking treatment in the future, Walters said.

Both Ashkin and Walters were concerned about whether treatment facilities around the state were capable of or ready to admit involuntarily committed patients.

“The court will only order this type of thing if there is a bed for the individual,” Kipke said.

“Are there enough beds? No,” the delegate said. But they’re becoming “increasingly available as this problem is getting support and funding from the government.”

Is this bill the answer?

More than 30 other states have enacted similar statutes that allow for the involuntary commitment of adults for substance abuse, according to the Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law.

Massachusetts is one such state, and its “system has become an unintended mechanism for getting people into treatment,” said Leo Beletsky, associate professor of law and health sciences at the Northeastern University School of Law. In many ways the statute “was designed to be a system of last resort.”

Massachusetts has been using prisons as treatment facilities for those who are involuntarily committed, Beletsky said. Many of the patients’ treatment is un-medicated, increasing the risk for overdose and death after treatment, according to Beletsky.

The law professor said that putting somebody into treatment without their consent is “fundamentally un-American,” and that the Massachusetts policy “basically fails” from the perspective of health and civil liberties.

“Evaluating what other states have done was extensively considered and we’re open to any other suggestions as to how we could gain the support of the legislature to enact a reasonable policy, like this,” Kipke said.

Snead said that Kipke’s bill “has the potential to be very beneficial to people,” but that success varies depending on the individual — treatment works differently for everybody.

Self-described as stubborn, Snead said that for him, the decision to get clean had to come from within.

“I had to decide myself. I had to decide that I was done,” he said.

But, he said, he understands the standpoint behind his delegate’s bill, as “a lot of parents are losing their kids.”

Through her organization, Miller hosts family peer support groups in Frederick County. She’s heard many heart-wrenching stories, some from parents who weren’t able to save their children “from this dark path to death.”

Miller’s son is alive, but she lost him for the six years of his life that were “hijacked by heroin.” Now, she said, he lives in another state, away from temptation and connections back home.

He’s “a good man who has a bad disease,” she said.

She supports Kipke’s bill because she doesn’t want other parents to feel like she did, “Like you’re a failure as a mother because you can’t make (your child) better.”

By Alex Mann

UM SRH Adjusts Visitor Policy to Help Prevent Spread of the Flu

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Due to a high level of Influenza cases in the region and statewide, University of Maryland Shore Regional Health is implementing a revised visitor policy to protect the health and safety of patients, staff, visitors and the community during flu season.

Effective Thursday, February 1:

• No one under the age of 18, except the parent of a patient, is permitted to visit inpatient units within UM Shore Regional Medical Centers.

• Do not bring children under 18 with you for emergency, outpatient or doctor visits, unless the appointment is for the child

• Only two (2) adult visitors are allowed per patient at a time.

• Visitors exhibiting flu symptoms — including fever, runny nose, cough or sore throat — are not permitted to visit patients in any UM Shore Regional Health facility.

“We appreciate the cooperation of our patients and visitors with these temporary measures, which are highly effective steps toward reducing the spread of the flu in our communities,” said Julie Bryan, RN, CIC, infection prevention coordinator for UM Shore Regional Health.

For more information and updates, please visit umshoreregional.org.

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.