The Auxiliary of Memorial Hospital at Easton Welcomes New Volunteers

The Auxiliary of Memorial Hospital at Easton welcomes the addition of nine new volunteers to their organization; Don Goodliffe, Jack Lane, Frances Mason, Joyce Mumaw, Krishan Patel, Ruth Renkenberger, Mike Scheidt, Judy Smith, and Cressy Spence. These Auxiliary members join more than 160 others who provide important contributions to UM Shore Regional Health’s inpatient and outpatient medical facilities throughout Easton, by raising funds and assisting with daily operations.

“We are very happy to announce the addition of these nine volunteers to the Auxiliary,” says Art Cecil president, Auxiliary of Memorial Hospital at Easton. “The community and Shore Regional Health really benefit from the services provided by our volunteers, but just as important, our volunteers benefit from their interactions with the community and team.”

From left to right: Mike Scheidt, Judy Smith, Joyce Mumaw, Ruth Renkenberger and Don Goodliffe. Not pictured: Jack Lane, Frances Mason, Krishan Patel and Cressy Spence.

According to AARP, in 2015, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) conducted a study to look at the benefits of volunteering for older adults. The study concluded that almost two-thirds of volunteers reported a decrease in feeling of isolation and 67 percent of those who first reported they often lack companionship found they had improved social connections.

“I was employed at Shore Medical Center in Easton for 38 years and enjoyed the social engagement that I had with the community” says Auxiliary member Judy Smith. “I wanted to come back as a volunteer so I could continue that interaction with patients and staff and also give back to the community by helping raise funds for the organization.”

The Auxiliary, which was formally organized in 1947, offers comfort care services for Cancer Center patients, hostess services for surgical patients, in-hospital transportation assistance and front desk reception at UM Shore Medical Center in Easton. In addition, the Auxiliary raises funds through its management of Maggie’s Gift Shop in UM SMC at Easton, the Bazaar at 121 Federal Street and various special vendor sales. Funds raised help pay for new technology, facility upgrades and educational needs for the hospital and local outpatient facilities.

The Auxiliary of Memorial Hospital at Easton is now seeking volunteers in all areas of service. To learn more about volunteer opportunities, call 410-822-1000, ext. 5839.

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.

Marylanders Deadline to Enroll in ACA Health Coverage Nears

A series of “last chance” events are scheduled for this weekend to help Marylanders enroll in Affordable Care Act health care coverage for 2018 before the Dec 15. deadline.

Free events are planned at 18 locations throughout the state Dec. 8-10. At these events, trained “navigators” will be available to assist people enroll in health coverage.

Despite the growth in ACA health care rates in Maryland in recent years, racial disparities in health coverage remain. The rates of minority groups’ participation still remain below the rates of the general population, according to the the Maryland Health Care for All! Coalition, an advocacy group aiming to educate Marylanders about effective and affordable ways for consumers to access health care.

“It’s a focus for us, the groups that have been underinsured for years. We’re making progress, but there is more to be done,” Andrew Ratner, chief of staff of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, told the University of Maryland’s Capital News Service.

Minority enrollments are lagging compared to one year ago: African-American numbers are down 2,745, and Hispanic registration is down by 858, according to Betsy Plunkett, deputy director of marketing and web strategies at the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange.

“The NAACP strongly urges Marylanders to go take advantage of these enrollment events this weekend to get health care coverage,” said Gerald Stansbury, president of the Maryland State Conference of NAACP Branches. “We have all fought very hard to enact and protect the ACA and health care coverage so let’s make it work for everyone.”

“The ACA is really important to us,” Stansbury added. “We need to make sure that all the ministers, churches and pastors make this a priority in their congregations….Get out and do what you can do for your family and your friends.”

According to Vincent DeMarco, president of the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative, the Affordable Care Act has already proved successful in the state with over 400,000 Marylanders enrolled.

Maryland House of Delegates Speaker Mike Busch, D-Anne Arundel, a large supporter of “getting health care right in Maryland” and “protecting against rate-shock” to consumers, according to Busch’s website, spoke in favor of these events at the meeting.

“With the Affordable Care Act, the state of Maryland came down to having less than 6 percent of its population with no insurance. When you have more than 95 percent of people of the population insured it brings down everyone’s premiums,” Busch said.

It’s important for Marylanders to understand that they still have time to enroll, added Busch, and the hope is that 100,000 or more people will sign up.

Along with Busch, Michele Eberle, incoming executive director for the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, spoke in support of the initiative.

For help this weekend and in the enrollment process, Eberle advises consumers to visit MarylandHealthConnection.gov or to download the Maryland Health Connection free mobile app.

“It’s a must that you download this app, the neatest feature is that you can click, get help and find the closest-to-you broker, a navigator, a call center, and there is all sorts of free help to help you and your family find your best plan,” Eberle said.

DeMarco said that Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative hopes to propose legislation in the upcoming session to continue support for the ACA.

President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress have pushed to repeal and replace the health care law, known as “Obamacare.” One version of a tax bill making its way through Congress would repeal the law’s individual mandate.

“Our message to Washington is simple: The ACA is here to stay in Maryland….For those who are trying to undermine the ACA, despite these threats, enrollment is going up and Maryland is not scared,” DeMarco said.

By Georgia Slater

Easton’s Quality Health Strategies Named “Top Places to Work” by Baltimore Sun Media Group

Ron Forsythe, CEO of Quality Health Strategies, picks up award

Quality Health Strategies (QHS) accepted a ‘Top Places to Work’ Recognition Award on behalf of its subsidiaries: Delmarva Foundation and Health Integrity. The awards ceremony was held in Baltimore at the Museum of Industry, and was hosted by The Baltimore Sun Media Group.

In attendance to accept the award were: Sandy Love, Sandra Frazier, Deb Keller, Marcus Israel, Andrea Lewis, Jonathan Haag, Nisha Shah, Ron Forsythe, Andrew Bowers and Pat Boos.

“This is a wonderful honor and a testament to the dedicated and passionate staff who represent us in our Baltimore and Columbia offices” said Ron Forsythe, CEO of Quality Health Strategies. “We are proud of our staff and it is this type of recognition that helps us showcase our talent pool. We really do live up to our tagline: Best People. Best Solutions. Best Results. And now we can add: Best place to work!”

 

Remembrance Ceremony to be held at Trinity Cathedral 

Community members who have been touched by the death of a child of any age are invited to participate in a Remembrance Ceremony Tuesday, December 5, 7 p.m. at Trinity Cathedral Church, 315 Goldsborough Street in Easton. Parents, grandparents, siblings and friends are encouraged to join in this ceremony to honor and remember their loved one. The Light A Candle Remembrance Ceremony, in its 31st year, is presented by Talbot Hospice and the Child Loss Support Group. The Rev. Jody Gunn will lead the service.

Musical highlights include selections by Sts Peter & Paul High School Chorus. The remembrance service includes music, prayer, inspirational readings and candle-lighting. It concludes in the churchyard with families placing white bows on a memorial tree as their child’s name is read aloud.  All are invited for light refreshments and fellowship immediately following the service in Miller Hall which is located behind the church.All families who attend are asked to bring with them a bow made of weatherproof white ribbon, no larger than six inches in diameter, tied with a wire to attach to the tree. The child’s name or a message may be written with waterproof ink on the ribbon if families wish.

Throughout the holiday season, the lights and ribbons are a reminder that all of the children who have died are being remembered.For more information about the ceremony and support services for bereaved parents, please contact Talbot Hospice Bereavement Coordinator Becky DeMattia at 410-822-6681 or bdemattia@talbothospice.org. 

24-Hour Substance Abuse Textline Launches on the Mid-Shore

The region’s first substance abuse information textline launched today on the Mid-Shore, offering an anonymous way for people to get information about treatment 24-hours a day.

The pilot project is the first of its kind and operates in Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne and Talbot counties. Anyone can text IWIK to 71441 and within minutes will connect with a call center operator. Texters can ask questions and get information anonymously or provide contact information and have a treatment specialist follow-up for further help.

This new platform operates year-round — including nights, weekends and holidays when most substance use disorder services are closed.

Funded through the Mid-Shore Opioid Misuse Prevention Program (OMPP) as part of its media campaign titled, ‘I Wish I Knew’ (IWIK), the textline aims to reduce barriers to treatment and help people understand the treatment process.

“Our team has spent several years researching the opioid crisis here on the Mid-Shore, and we consistently found that people had a hard time getting information on treatment and often didn’t know how to start the process,” said Erin Hill, coordinator for the Mid-Shore OMPP. “We know that the younger demographic prefers texting over phone calls, so we knew this pilot program could really help connect people with life-saving services.”

The Mid-Shore OMPP is a partnership between the health departments of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne and Talbot. The OMPP team consists of prevention and treatment professionals from each health department, along with a dedicated OMPP coordinator for each county.

The Mid-Shore OMPP also includes a community coalition of more than 100 members including law enforcement, judges, healthcare industry representatives, concerned Mid-Shore residents and more. If you’re interested in joining the coalition, please contact Hill at erin.hill@maryland.gov.

The project is funded through Maryland’s Behavioral Health Administration and SAMHSA.

For more information and for local resources visit www.IWishIKnewMidShore.org.

The Mid-Shore Opioid Misuse Prevention Program (OMPP) is comprised of health departments, organizations and agencies in all five Mid-Shore counties: Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot. The program is the first collaboration of its kind and focuses on preventing opioid misuse and abuse. The program is supported by SAMHSA and the Maryland Behavioral Health Administration. I Wish I Knew is the program’s media campaign.

Easton Hospital Unit Staff Collect Supplies for Gratitude House Recovery Home

Nurses on the 2 East Multi Specialty Care Unit at UM Shore Medical Center at Easton believe in giving back to the community and most recently, they have made that belief real by conducting a drive for cleaning and laundry supplies for the Gratitude House in Easton, a project of Realslow Recovery LLC, a nonprofit organization founded by Easton residents Mike and Sara Rissolo  with the goal of providing safe, affordable and supportive housing for all people to live and grow in recovery from drugs and alcohol.

Members of the team on the 2 East Multi Specialty Unit. Kneeling is Sara Rissolo, a founder of Gratitude House and per diem nurse at UM SMC at Easton; standing L-R, are Becky Hutchison; Erin Jones, Mary Camper, Colby Hall, Alyssa Baker, Mary Collins, Lauren Ayres and Shadonya Johnson.

In addition to her involvement with Gratitude House, Sara Rissolo is currently a per diem nurse for UM Shore Regional Health while pursuing advanced nursing studies. “These supplies will go a long way to helping our10 residents maintain the house,” she says. “I know they will be so grateful for this support. We welcome donations of supplies and also groceries, prepared foods and other items.”

Other organizations supported by the unit’s “2 East Gives Back” initiative include the Ruth Ann Jones Endowed Scholarship at Chesapeake College, Perry Point Hospital, the Bayside Quilters of the Eastern Shore, the Cancer Center at UM SRH and local humane societies.

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.

Mid-Shore Health Futures: UM Medical System and Shore Health Team Up to Fight Opioid Drug Epidemic

With such successful awareness campaigns as “Talbot Goes Purple” and “Recovery For Shore” events alerting the Mid-Shore community of the dangers and tragedies that come with this unprecedented wave of the opioid abuse creating havoc in rural Maryland, we thought it might be a good time to check in with University of Maryland’s Shore Regional Health, and its parent organization, the University of Maryland Medical System, to understand more about the crisis and more importantly, their approach to education and treatment for those seeking help for themselves or their loved ones.

That gave us the opportunity to spend some time with the University of Maryland’s leading expert on addiction and treatment, Dr. Eric Weintraub, who heads up the alcohol and drug abuse division of the University’s Medical Center, and Donna Jacobs, the MMS’s vice president for community health,to discuss the current state of the epidemic and their community outreach efforts.

One example of that kind of outreach will take place on November 29 at Chesapeake College’s Todd Theatre, and three other locations in Maryland, as hundreds of stakeholders gather to talk at the Not All Wounds are Visible: A Community Conversation about Addiction and Substance Abuse . This event is open to the public and provides an opportunity to hear from and talk to healthcare professionals and community leaders about addiction and substance abuse, including opioid and other drug addictions, as well as recovery programs and strategies.

This video is approximately nine minutes in length. For more information about Not All Wounds are Visible: A Community Conversation about Addiction and Substance Abuse please go here

 

UM Shore Regional Health Shines Light on Lung Cancer Awareness Month

University of Maryland Shore Regional Health Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Services team members recently teamed up with community partners from local health departments to Shine a Light on Lung Cancer Awareness Month by decorating and lighting a tree in UM Shore Medical Pavilion at Easton. UM SRH joins the estimated 200 communities to hold a “Shine the Light” event in partnership with the Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA).

Photo: Back row: (L-R) Katie Dadds, practice manager, Pulmonary Care at Easton & Chestertown, Greg Oliver, MD, Pulmonologist, Leigh Marquess, RN, director of Wellness Promotions, Caroline County Health Department, Brian Leutner, MBA, executive director, UM Shore Medical Center at Dorchester and UM Shore Regional Health Oncology Services, Gary Bigelow, regional director of Imaging, Cheryl Ruff, University of Maryland Community Medical Group, senior director of Operations, UM SRH, Timothy Shanahan, DO, regional medical director for Physician Services, UM Community Medical Group, Maranda LeCompte, RN, Tobacco Cessation Program –Dorchester County. Front row: Kristen Moore, Community Health Educator-Talbot County, Michele Williams, DNP, Oncology Nurse Practitioner and program coordinator, Lung Cancer Screening, Julie Jones, program coordinator, Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program – Dorchester County. Not pictured: Amanda James, RN, Cessation Nurse –Talbot County.

In July 2017, UM SRH Cardiovascular and Pulmonary services launched a new lung cancer screening program overseen by Greg Oliver, MD, pulmonologist, and Michelle Williams, DNP, who is board-certified in oncology. Named a LCA Screening Center of Excellence, this program uses low-dose computed tomography scanning to find disease at the earliest possible stage.

For more information on UM SRH’s Lung Cancer Screening program please visit umshoreregional.org/lungcancerscreening

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.

Mid-Shore Health Futures: Deborah Mizeur on Rural Health Recommendations, Timeline and Vigilance

The last time the Spy checked in with Deborah Mizeur, the co-chair of the State of Maryland’s Rural Health Delivery Workgroup, was when things had just begun to get started. The Workgroup members were approved by Governor Hogan, the Maryland Health Care Commission was assigned to provide staff assistance, and the charge seemed simple enough; oversee a study of healthcare delivery in the Middle Shore region and to develop a plan for meeting the health care needs of the five counties — Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot.

That was thirteen months ago, and at that time, it was clear that while Mizeur was optimistic, there were many unknowns about whether a very diverse group of well-meaning citizens and professionals with very different philosophies on health care delivery, could come together to form a consensus on rural health on the Eastern Shore and perhaps throughout the state.

The selection of Ms. Mizeur and Joseph Ciotola, the health officer and EMS director for Queen Anne’s County, to co-lead this effort was an inspired one. Both of them seasoned health policy experts who lived on the Mid-Shore, Ciotola an Mizeur worked tirelessly to build consensus with the group as it slowly came to agree on both the Workgroup’s findings, recommendations and a timeline for implantation.

Last week, Deborah took a break from her Apotheosis herb farm kitchen and office to talk to the Spy about where things go after the Workgroup presents its final recommendation to the Governor and Maryland Legislature to consider in the upcoming lawmaking season.

As Mizeur notes in her Spy interview, the Workgroup realized that all of their recommendations could not be done simply with the approval of Annapolis, but instead must be accomplished over the course of years. It was also important to prioritize what had to come first, and the committee was unanimous in wanting two important steps to take place.

The first was for the state to immediately provide incentives for physicians and other health workers to work in rural areas of the state. The second was the formation of regional health collaboratives that would connect all the major private and public health providers in such locations as the Mid-Shore to coordinate and improve services and eventually move forward with the implications of Rural Health Care Complex in the region, which allows residents a “one-stop” shop for their comprehensive health needs. In addition to those primary objectives, the Workgroup was also in total agreement that the hospital  in Chestertown should continue to provide inpatient services as well.

Just those few steps, warns Mizeur, will take the full support of Governor Hogan, the University of Maryland health system, and most importantly the residents and voters of the Mid-Shore to continue to add their voices of support and diligence to make sure all parties keep their commitments.

If that happens, Deborah Mizeur is convinced the the future of healthcare on the Shore can look very bright.

This video is approximately nine minutes in length. To review the Workgroup’s full report please go here. To view the Spy’s first interview with Deborah Mizeur please go here

 

For All Seasons Rape Crisis Grows Outreach in the Community

Ivy Garcia, Director of the Rape Crisis Center and a Spanish Speaking Interpreter at For All Seasons.

The Rape Crisis Center at For All Seasons provides crisis support to our Mid-Shore’s English and Spanish speaking women, men and children who have been impacted by trauma, rape, and sexual assault. The team of five full time staff members and eight after hours’ staff provide support and guidance through crisis intervention, counseling and education 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  According to Ivy Garcia, Director of the Rape Crisis Center, “Our numbers have grown dramatically since I started at the Center 10 years ago and our agency has continued to work to meet the needs of the community.”

According to the Rape Abuse & Incest National Network, (RAINN), every 98 seconds, someone in America is sexually assaulted.  Garcia comments that For All Seasons offers 24 hours a day, seven days a week crisis response services for victims of rape and sexual assault in five counties on the Mid Shore, offering both English and Spanish emergency hotlines for the community. She adds, “While we are meeting the needs of the Mid Shore community, we also know that there are still barriers to reporting rape and sexual assault.  We are working to break down the stigma. We have expanded our outreach – working with community agencies to share information about the services we provide so more people will utilize our Center.”

The team at For All Seasons is comprised of trauma-certified advocates who help survivors make the choice that is best for them. This includes ensuring that each survivor is aware of their options for care; believing the survivor’s account of the assault; providing support and listening without judgement; and serving as a support. Specifically, the Rape Crisis Center provides support as survivors receive medical care, legal support, and crisis counseling, regardless of their ability to pay.

In addition to Ivy Garcia, members of the Rape Crisis Center team include Lauren Kirby, Victim Advocate and Outreach Educator; Elizabeth Jaramillo, Regional Navigator for Human Trafficking; Alberto Ardaya, Victim Advocate and Spanish Speaking Interpreter; and Maria D’Arcy, Victim Advocate and Case Manager.

Victims of trauma, sexual assault and abuse are connected to the Rape Crisis Center through the agency’s Rape Crisis hotline, referrals in the community, or by the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner teams at the University of Maryland Shore Medical Centers at Easton, Cambridge or Chestertown.

When working with victims at the hospital, Advocates provide a comfort kit which includes items such as a change of clothes, personal hygiene items, a notebook for journaling and emergency food, and provide a safety check for the victim returning home. For All Seasons provides hotel stays when necessary to ensure a victim’s safety. For All Seasons then provides follow-up with the victim to offer advocacy services, which can include crisis and long-term counseling, legal support, and connection to law enforcement.

Garcia adds, “We are a victim’s advocate throughout the entire process.  No one has to go through this alone.”

The English Hotline is 410-820-5600 or 1-800-310-7273. Para Español llame o envíe un mensaje de texto al 410-829-6143. For further information, visit forallseasonsinc.org.

For All Seasons offers individual and group therapy, general, child and adolescent therapy, marriage and couples counseling, grief counseling, school-based mental health therapy, urgent care services, Rape Crisis Response, Rape Crisis Counseling and Support, 24-Hour English and Spanish Hotlines, and education and outreach programming. For further information about For All Seasons, call 410-822-1018.