For All Seasons Celebrates Denim Day in Honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month

On a Wednesday in April each year, Peace Over Violence celebrates Denim Day to raise awareness about sexual violence. April is chosen because it is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. This campaign was started when an Italian Supreme Court ruled that a sexual assault conviction be overturned because the justices felt that since the victim was wearing tight jeans, she must have helped her rapist remove her jeans, implying consent. The next day, women in Parliament came to work wearing jeans in solidarity.

Pictured front row kneeling, L-R are Julie Crain, Susan Truitt, Beth Anne Langrell, and Nancy James. 2nd row, L-R, are Bonnie Thomas, Ivy Garcia, Rebecca Lepter, Yeslee Martinez, Jen Collins (kneeling), Lynda Koppelman, and Maureen Curtin. Back row, L-R, are Andrea Hammond, Kathy Langrell, Lois Bahr, Kathleen Traversari, Lisa Hymas, and Alberto Ardaya.

For All Seasons participated in Denim Day as a symbol of solidarity with victims of sexual violence. It was the hope of Peace Over Violence that by wearing denim, people everywhere can make a statement of activism against the harmful misconceptions that surround sexual assault.

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. For the 24-Hour Crisis Hotline, call Toll-Free: 800-310-7273. For further information about Denim Day, visit http://denimdayinfo.org.

For more than 30 years For All Seasons has been strengthening and enhancing the lives of children, adolescents, adults, seniors, couples and families on Maryland’s Mid-Shore by providing a full continuum of bilingual (English-Spanish) outpatient behavioral health services, regardless of ability to pay. Our mission is to provide the highest level of comprehensive and integrated therapy, advocacy, and psychiatric care in a safe environment where those who have entrusted us with their care are empowered and nurtured on their journey to wellness.

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

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:

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.

Bonnie Scott to Speak at Rally for Recovery on June 3

Recovery for Shore’s Rally for Recovery, set for June 3, 2017 in downtown Easton, will feature a special guest speaker, Bonnie Scott, in front of the Talbot County Courthouse at 4 p.m., Sharon Dundon, ad hoc coordinator for Recovery for Shore and program specialist for UM Shore Regional Health’s Substance Use Disorders Program, has announced.

Scott is founder of Rising Above Disease (RAD), a six-bed women’s recovery house in Easton that opened in November, 2016. In recovery herself for more than 12 years, Scott was inspired to take action as a positive force in the local recovery community after the death of her son in 2012 due to a heroin overdose. At the time, there were few residential recovery options locally and she disliked the prevailing model of recovery facilities on the western shore. “It seemed to me that people are warehoused, sometimes four to six people in a room, their phones are taken away and they are isolated in an unfamiliar location. That does not promote real rehabilitation,” she says.

With six other women, Scott began working on a plan for a recovery house where women could remain on the Eastern Shore near their jobs and their families. As she explains, “Our goal was to create a home-like, healing environment where we could help bring women out of the darkness and into the light. God sent me a wonderful committee and there was so much support that within 90 days, we had found, opened and furnished the house, and welcomed our first residents.”

In addition to recovery support and resources, RAD residents benefit from special activities including equine therapy, acupuncture and massage therapy. As a nonprofit organization, RAD is now under the umbrella of the Mid Shore Community Foundation and has received special support from The Women’s and Girls’ Fund.

The Rally for Recovery on June 3 begins at 3:30 p.m. with a walk from Christ Church to the Courthouse. Washington Street between Dover and Goldsborough Streets will be closed to traffic,4-4:30 p.m., while the rally is in progress.The group will return to Christ Church by 5 p.m. for the “Alive at Five” Service celebrating recovery, followed by fellowship and refreshments on the Church lawn.

According to Dundon, rally organizers are seeking volunteers to bring ‘finger food’ donations – anything that does not have to be heated or refrigerated and can be consumed without utensils – for participants to enjoy after the service. Anyone interested in donating food or volunteering to assist with the event may call the UM Shore Regional Health Substance Used Disorders Program, 410-822-1000, ext. 5469 or email recoveryforshore@gmail.com.

The Rally for Recovery is open to persons in recovery as well as community advocates, individuals, families and friends whose lives have been touched by addiction and mental health issues, and other interested parties.

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.

UM SRH Offers Public Sessions on Future of Health Care in Dorchester

Dorchester County residents are invited to participate in a series of free presentations that will explore a vision for the County’s future health care services.

“These presentations are designed to share information about University of Maryland Shore Regional Health’s vision for a future new medical campus and health care services in the county, including access to physicians, emergency care, diagnostic services and medical treatment,” says Ken Kozel, president and CEO, UM Shore Regional Health. “They also provide the opportunity for people to ask questions and share their thoughts. We look forward to strong community attendance and participation as we discuss the changing landscape of health care and strategies to meet the health care needs of Dorchester County residents.”

The four presentations will be held as follows: Tuesday, May 23, East New Market Fire Department, 4020 East New Market Bypass, East New Market; Wednesday, May 31, Chesapeake College’s Cambridge Center, 416-418 Race Street, Cambridge; Thursday, June 8, E. A. Murphy Building at 104 Race Street, Vienna; and Thursday, June 15, the Madison Fire Department, 1154 Taylor’s Island Road, Madison. All sessions will begin at 6 p.m. and last 90 minutes.

For more information, call 410-228-5511, ext. 5508.

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.

Eastern Shore Crisis Response Helpline: Helping Callers One Crisis at a Time

Quietly operating out of an unassuming building in Dorchester County, the Eastern Shore Operation Center of the Eastern Shore Crisis Response Service is saving lives. Phone counselors at the Center’s Eastern Shore Crisis Response and Resource Helpline work 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help prevent suicides, homicides, unnecessary hospitalizations, arrests or detention, and to reduce dangerous or threatening situations involving individuals in need of behavioral health services.  

According Lynn Gurley, LCSW-C, Clinical Coordinator of the Eastern Shore Operation Center, “The program has grown progressively each year. This is in part due to people with chronic mental health issues using us instead of going to the hospital and the word is getting out and people now know what we do.”

Pictured L-R are staff working with the Eastern Shore Crisis Responses and Resource Helpline: Brandy James, after-hours phone counselor; Brittany Crawford, phone counselor; Lynn Gurley, LCSW-C, Clinical Coordinator of the Eastern Shore Operation Center; Carol Masden, LCSW-C, Director of Eastern Shore Crisis Response; Lindsey Tolley, phone counselor; and Katherine Harrison, phone counselor. Absent from the photo are after-hours phone counselors Sheri Christopher, LCSW-C, Keonia Greene, Tina Morris, Sherone Thompson, Eboni Taylor-Tue, LCSW-C, and Ivy Garcia.

Sponsored by The Eastern Shore Crisis Response Services of the Affiliated Santé Group, the crisis response helpline serves the nine counties of the Eastern Shore from Cecil to Worcester counties offering telephone support for individuals and family members in crisis.  The crisis response helpline has three daytime counselors who work from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. All counselors are trained clinicians and must have a Bachelor’s Degree in Health and Human Services, plus have five-year crisis response helpline experience. In addition, all phone counselors participate in a special training program which uses a curriculum developed by Gurley specific to the crisis response helpline services offered through the agency.

Through a grant from the Rural Maryland Council, the agency just added a new counselor position to cover 4 p.m. to midnight, Monday through Friday as evening call volume has been steadily increasing. The new evening position will replace after-hours staff who worked from home during the week. The position also allows the crisis response helpline to increase its response to incoming calls, as well as outgoing follow-up calls and client satisfaction surveys.

There are seven after-hours contractual phone counselors with the crisis response helpline who work on weekends and holidays from 8 a.m. to midnight. The Baltimore County Crisis Center provides crisis response helpline counselors from midnight to 8 a.m. daily.

According to Carol Masden, LCSW-C, Director of Eastern Shore Crisis Response, “The key to the crisis delivery system is the helpline. During fiscal year 2016, our Eastern Shore Operations Center, where the crisis response helpline operates, assisted 6,361 callers, up 25.8 percent from fiscal year 2014. Wicomico, Cecil, and Dorchester counties were the counties with the highest number of new calls in fiscal year 2016.”

She adds, “With our most recent changes there are no disruptions in services to the nine counties we serve. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week in Caroline, Cecil, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne, Somerset, Talbot, Wicomico and Worcester counties.”

According to Gurley, one of the key services that the crisis response helpline offers is counseling at the time of the call.  The phone counselors assess the situation using a six-step Crisis Intervention Model. The first step is to assess the situation and identify the problem, this includes assessing the person for safety issues, including suicidal feelings, whether the person is a danger to others, determining whether mental health issues are present, as well as whether there is a medication/alcohol or drug use issue. The phone counselor can also walk the caller through exercises and suggest supports that can help the caller with managing the crisis he or she is experiencing at that moment.

Gurley states, “We express empathy to the caller, brainstorm ideas for services which can benefit them, and make a plan with them for next steps. This includes getting a commitment from the caller that he or she will follow through with the plan we set up. Our model is person-centered, so each caller is a part of making the plan.”

Services provided through the crisis response helpline include connecting callers to behavioral health appointments in facilities across the Shore. Callers get an appointment to these providers with 24 to 48 hours of calling the crisis response helpline.  The crisis response helpline is also a source of information and referral to callers who may need to get a new mental health provider because they are new to the area or referral to a homeless shelter if the person is homeless. 

Each caller has an Electronic Case Record which enables phone counselors to follow up with callers on the same day for any unresolved issues. The phone counselors also follow up with callers to be sure they have gone to scheduled appointments with providers. Web-based scheduling interfaces with the Electronic Case Record to accomplish this tracking. Once a client is stable and has received services, the crisis response helpline case is closed.

Phone counselor Katherine Harrison states, “A significant percentage of our helpline calls come from parents and foster parents who are struggling with children suffering from severe behavioral health issues, which are oftentimes the result of past trauma. We can provide counseling on the phone, and assist with linking them to outpatient behavioral health treatment if needed. If we can’t be successful on the phone, we can then dispatch a Mobile Crisis Team to the home. The ultimate goal is to prevent hospitalization, but sometimes that is where the client needs to be.”

Harrison recalls, “There are success stories, however, every day. I was recently able to de-escalate a child who was experiencing a behavioral health crisis over the phone, and he was able to go to school and ended up having a good day.”

Lindsey Tolley, another phone counselor with the helpline, states, “We are seeing more and more clients struggling with the co-occurring issues of substance use disorder and a mental health issue. It is more common now for family members to call on behalf of a minor or on behalf of their adult children in regard to substance abuse.”

Additional services provided by the crisis response helpline include coordination with law enforcement and other emergency personnel when more serious mental health issues arise. Eastern Shore Crisis Response provides ongoing Crisis Intervention Team training for law enforcement about mental health and substance use issues. In some cases, when a call comes in that involves a dangerous situation, the phone counselor will dispatch the Mobile Crisis Team and law enforcement at the same time.

The Eastern Shore Crisis Response Mobile Crisis Teams are available between 9 a.m. and midnight seven days a week, 365 days a year. Approximately one half of the calls through the crisis response helpline require the Mobile Crisis Teams to be dispatched. Teams are available in all the Eastern Shore counties but Worcester County, which already has a mobile crisis team in place.

Masden comments, “In FY 2016 the Mobile Crisis Teams responded to 2743 dispatches to provide immediate crisis interventions, psychosocial assessments and referrals, helping individuals, families with mental health crises, substance abuse, and intellectual disabilities.”

According to Masden, most callers present with more than one behavioral health issue and the crisis response helpline deals with clients with chronic mental health issues. In fiscal year 2016, the top three focal issues for callers were chronic mental illness, depression, and situational crisis. The agency reported that 22.4 percent of new calls were related to substance abuse and/or co-occurring disorders. Services are provided to people across the lifespan, with ages ranging from age young children to adults aged 99, who may be suffering from a mental health issue such as dementia, now referred to as neurocognitive disorders.

The crisis response helpline cannot provide transportation assistance for callers or give medical or legal advice or ongoing therapy to callers. According to Gurley, “Our mission is to respond to crisis calls and ensure the safety and well-being of the person in crisis until such time as the individual has been stabilized, provided with needed support and information and referred to appropriate community resources for continuity of care.” She adds, “There has been positive feedback from our satisfaction surveys for the crisis response helpline and we are utilizing the feedback for continuous quality improvement.”

A number of agencies partner with Eastern Shore Crisis Response to provide care to crisis response Helpline callers, including Mid-Shore Behavioral Health Services, which provides referrals, shares cases and provides peer review for Eastern Shore Crisis Response. Mid-Shore Behavioral Health is also a pass through entity for funding the agency. Masden states, “Mid-Shore Behavioral Health is our champion. The staff advocated for us with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Behavioral Health Administration when our call volume increased exponentially and we needed to fund additional positions. They also secured funding for us to enhance our Call Center, creating a phone que system which is more consumer friendly. This enhancement helps us better serve our neighbors when they are most fragile.”

Masden adds, “In Cecil County, the Cecil County Core Service Agency helps to fund the Cecil County Mobile Crisis Team, as well as funds a portion of the Call Center staff.”

Through collaborative partnerships with hospitals, outpatient mental health clinics, substance abuse services and peer support programming, Eastern Shore Crisis Response has built a strong community program. For immediate support, access the Eastern Shore Crisis Response and Resource Helpline at 888-407-8018.

The Affiliated Santé Group (Santé), a dynamic and leading provider of crisis psychiatric care and system management services to public and private entities, is the largest provider of crisis services in Maryland. Santé, a nonprofit entity, also manages mental health outreach and psychiatric recovery services. It has been delivering mental health care to individuals and families and pioneering new treatment modalities since 1974. As a nonprofit, the organization welcomes donations to assist with the growing operational expenses associated with the volume of calls that the crisis response helpline is experiencing. For further information about the Affiliated Santé Group, visit www.thesantegroup.org

Talbot Hospice Receives Hospice Honors Award

Talbot Hospice was recently named a recipient of HEALTHCARE first’s fifth annual Hospice Honors.  This prestigious annual review recognizes hospices providing the highest level of quality as measured from the caregiver’s point of view. HEALTHCARE first is the leading provider of web-based home health and hospice software, billing and coding services, and advanced analytics.

“It is such an honor to receive this recognition,” said Executive Director Vivian Dodge. “The award is based on feedback from our families and is a reflection of the compassionate care and services provided by Talbot Hospice staff and volunteers.”

Award criteria were based on Hospice CAHPS (Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) survey results for the period of October 2015 through September 2016. Recipients must achieve a score that meets or exceeds the national average on 20 of the 24 quality indicator measures on the caregiver’s satisfaction questionnaire.

Talbot Hospice was founded in 1985 and is the provider of hospice services for Talbot County. For more information about hospice programs and services call 410-822-6681 or visit TalbotHospice.org.

UM Chester River Home Care Recognized for Excellence in Clinical Outcomes

University of Maryland Chester River Home Care received special recognition at UM Shore Regional Health’s recent Nurse Excellence Awards Celebration as winner of the Unit/Department Award for Excellence in Empirical Outcomes.

As part of UM Shore Regional Health’s celebration of Nurses Week, the Nurse Excellence Awards Celebration took place on Monday, May 8 at the Todd Performing Arts Center at Chesapeake College.

The Unit/Department Award for Excellence in Clinical Outcomes recognizes “outstanding teamwork and collaboration with other health care team members and disciplines toward achieving optimal patient outcomes.”According to Rita Holley, regional director of Home Care Services for UM Shore Regional Health (UM SRH), during the past year, UM Chester River Home Care (UM CRHC) staff made significant gains in quality improvement, staff engagement and patient satisfaction.

UM Chester River Home Care staff members with Ruth Ann Jones (center); left of Jones, Rene Baker and Trish Focht; right of Jones, Nurse, Katie Davis and Melissa Myers.

“I am very proud and gratified to see Chester River Home Care win this award,” says Holley. “In 2016,the agency staff improved their response rate to referrals and the home care admissions process so that now, 94 percent of patients are admitted within 48 hours or less, which is above both state and national averages for home care admissions.”

Holley also noted that to educate patients and support discussions between home care nurses, patients and their family members, UM CRHC staff introduced a patient orientation handbook that covers important topics,such as safe medical management, compliance with medication orders, symptom management and safety practices involving fall prevention and oxygen equipment care.

“This is a hard-working team whose dedication to their patients and the communities they serve is widely known and now, thanks to their winning this award, officially recognized,” says Holley. “Their success in analyzing new challenges and coming up with effective solutions to meet those challenges is what makes Chester River Home Care an important force in achieving Shore Regional Health’s mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together.”

Each year, UM CRHC staff members drive more than 150,000 miles in Kent and Queen Anne’s County to provide more than 12,000 home care visits serving approximately 800 patients. The agency’s 4-star rating from the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Service exceeds both the national average of 3.0 and the Maryland average of 3.5 In terms of patient satisfaction ratings, UM CRHC has scored significantly higher than the state and national averages in five out of five rating categories.

Home health care includes many services, including skilled nursing, rehabilitation (physical, occupational and speech therapy) and assistance with activities of daily living. According to the national newsletter, the HCD, the in-home health care industry is currently the leading job creator in the United States and is estimated to generate more than $50 billion annually in costs paid by consumers and insurance companies. As more people reach retirement age, the growing demand for home health services is expected to continue.

The Nurse Excellence Awards presentation was led by Ruth Ann Jones, senior vice president of Patient Care Services and chief nursing officer for UM SRH. Jones noted that 2017 marked the sixth anniversary of the Nurse Excellence Awards and that this year’s 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,” Jones said.

Ken Kozel, president and CEO, noted 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.

John Dillon, chairman of the Board, noted that among the constants at UM SRH is the outstanding reputation of the nursing team. “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.

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.

UM SRH Celebrates Nursing Excellence at Annual Awards Presentation

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.

Breast Center Reaccredited by NAPBC

The Clark Comprehensive Breast Center at University of Maryland Shore Regional Health has once again been granted a three-year, full accreditation designation by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC), a program administered by the American College of Surgeons. The Center, under the leadership of Roberta J. Lilly, MD, MPH, FACS, earned its initial NAPBC accreditation in 2014.

Accreditation by the NAPBC is only given to those centers that have voluntarily committed to provide the highest level of quality breast care and that undergo a rigorous evaluation process and review of their performance.  During the survey process, the center must demonstrate compliance with standards established by the NAPBC for treating women who are diagnosed with the full spectrum of breast disease.  The standards include proficiency in the areas of center leadership, clinical management, research, community outreach, professional education, and quality improvement.  A breast center that achieves NAPBC accreditation has demonstrated a firm commitment to offer its patients every significant advantage in their battle against breast disease.

The NAPBC is a consortium of professional organizations dedicated to the improvement of the quality of care and monitoring of outcomes of patients with diseases of the breast.  This mission is pursued through standard-setting, scientific validation, and patient and professional education.  Its board membership includes professionals from 20 national organizations that reflect the full spectrum of breast care.

Receiving care at a NAPBC-accredited center ensures that a patient will have access to: comprehensive care, including a full range of state-of-the-art services; a multidisciplinary team approach to coordinate the best treatment options; information about ongoing clinical trials and new treatment options; and, most importantly, quality breast care close to home.

The Clark Comprehensive Breast Center at UM Shore Regional Health, located at 10 Martin Court in Easton, provides a variety of breast health services including diagnosis and treatment of benign and malignant breast disease.  Other services available include support groups, telemedicine genetic counseling services and a Women’s Health Boutique for post-mastectomy garments, prosthetics and swim wear.

In its location adjacent to the Diagnostic and Imaging Center, the Breast Center is able to offer its patients convenient access to laboratory and imaging technologies including phlebotomy; digital mammography with Tomosynthesis (3-D); bone density screening; ultrasound; MRI, PET and 64-slice CT scanning. Other diagnostic services available include X-ray; fluoroscopy; EKG and Cardiac CT Scoring.

As an outreach program of the Comprehensive Breast Center, Dr. Lilly, the Center’s medical director, also provides clinic services in Kent County at the Eleanor and Ethel Leh Women’s Center, located at University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Chestertown.

Dr. Lilly has fellowship training in surgical oncology of the breast.  She is board certified by the American Board of Surgeons and is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.  She works closely with members of the Comprehensive Breast Center team to provide care for the full array of benign and malignant breast diseases.

“Our expert, multidisciplinary team at the Clark Comprehensive Breast Center, which includes Dr. Lilly, our radiologists and the Center’s staff, has set the bar high for quality breast care in our region,” comments Brian Leutner, executive director of Oncology Services for UM Shore Regional Health.  “Having earned the NAPBC accreditation for a second time – with zero deficiencies – is a tremendous accomplishment and is a testament to the innovative, patient-centered care and genuine compassion that Dr. Lilly and the team are providing with every single patient interaction.”

“To receive full NAPBC accreditation is a wonderful honor,” remarks Roberta Lilly, MD, MPH, FACS, Breast Center medical director.  “This accomplishment is not the result of just one person, but involves dozens of people at all levels– from receptionists, nurses, physical therapists, pharmacists, social workers, nurses, x-ray technicians, oncologists, pathologists and radiologists – to hospital and practice administrators, all who share a common focus – to provide accessible, patient-centered breast care. I consider myself to be lucky to be among this team that has cared for so many of our region’s women.”

For more information about the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers, visit their web site at www.accreditedbreastcenters.org.  Information about the Clark Comprehensive Breast Center at UM Shore Regional Health can be found at umshoreregional.org or by calling 410-820-9400.

New Director of Facilities Management, Environmental and Life Safety Officer Appointed at UM SRH

University of Maryland Shore Regional Health recently welcomed Michelle Kirk as the organization’s new director of Facilities Management, Environmental and Life Safety Officer, announces Robert Frank, senior vice president of Operations.

Kirk earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (BSME) from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio and later obtained a Master of Business Administration with an emphasis in Health Systems Management (MBA-HSM) from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona. Her areas of expertise include project management, mechanical design, management consultation and operations.  Kirk has more than fifteen years of professional experience in the field of healthcare facilities management, having most recently served as the director of Plant Operation/Maintenance for Salina Regional Health Center in Salina, Kansas. As director of Facilities Management at UM Shore Regional Health, Kirk will be responsible for facilities maintenance, plant operations, biomedical engineering, security, and will serve as chair of the Environment of Care and Life Safety Counsel at all inpatient and outpatient facilities throughout the organization.

“Our organization was quite fortunate to recruit a strong leader, who is energetic and committed to maintaining the efficiency and safety of Shore Regional Health facilities for the benefit our patients, visitors and team members,” comments Frank. “Michelle has a wealth of knowledge and experience in this field and is already proving to be a tremendous asset to our team.”

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.