Haven Ministries Seasonal Shelter Gets Designated Space

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Welcome to the 21st Century Mid-Shore ​Health Care with Dr. Marc Zubrow

Approximately a year ago or so, there was a good bit of anxiety on the Mid-Shore about the plans of the region’s two major hospitals in Chestertown and Easton. In Chestertown, there was a growing fear that UM Regional Shore Health would eventually eliminate the existing hospital and replace it with an urgent/emergency care center. While in Easton there were increased concerns that Shore Health would abandon its plans for a new hospital.

Those community apprehensions turned out to be fortunately unfounded thanks to a combination of the politicians interceding to create a state study group on rural hospitals and a more stable economic climate which allowed for the advancement of a new hospital near the Easton Airport.

But one of the major takeaways of these two episodes was how profoundly attached communities are with their local hospitals. For a variety of reasons, including interest in patient comfort, proximity, and in some cases, mere nostalgia, residents were determined to fight to keep their local facilities alive and functioning.

The other takeaway, perhaps not as well noticed by many, was the increasing awareness that through advanced technology and efficiency, there is an emerging radically new way to provide health care in the 21st-century and is the growth of telemedicine.

The Spy, which has had an ongoing curiosity about the use of technology and how it may impact rural health delivery, was lucky enough to secure an interview with Marc Zubrow, Vice President, Telemedicine and Medical Director, eCare in charge of telemedicine for the entire University of Maryland Medical System. And in our interview, Dr. Zubrow makes a compelling case why this use of remote medical consultation will be dramatically improving patient care and outcomes regardless of location.

This video is approximately six minutes in length. For more information about UMMS and telemedicine please go here

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Being prepared

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by Dan Menefee

Mid-Shore Health Future: The Risks of Repealing the ACA on the Shore with Jeananne Sciabarra

On Thursday, Jeananne Sciabarra, Executive Director of Consumer Health First spoke in Kent County about the implications of repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Act (ACA), also known as “Obamacare.”

Founded in 2006 as the Maryland Women’s Coalition for Health Care Reform, the organization transitioned into CHF in 2016 with the same mission: to work collaboratively to promote health equity through access to comprehensive, high-quality and affordable health care for all Marylanders.

While the impact of repealing and replacing ACA with the currently proposed American Health Care Act (ACHA) would cause profound changes to healthcare nationwide, Sciabarra focused on what Marylanders, and specifically Congressional District, 1 would lose.

Talking about the rollback of Medicaid expansion, Sciabarra said that “the bottom line is that will push back the matching (between state and federal) to 50-50 which is going to make it extremely expensive for Maryland to continue that provision.” She added that on top of that, a block grant per capita system for each person enrolled in Medicaid would force the state to decide who doesn’t get services.

Also, in regard to hospitals, Sciabarra noted that Maryland has a unique rate-setting system that provides services at the same rate anywhere in the state and that during the expansion of Medicaid, uninsured costs went down $311 million between 2013-2015, and that with set amounts or “global budgets” hospitals were incentivized to participate in wellness programs to help people stay healthy and out of the hospital. A rollback of those kinds of programs would have a “catastrophic” effect on people not covered in the health exchange, especially older people.

The district’s uninsured rate has gone from 8.3% to 4.1% since the ACA was implemented. This 4.2 percentage point drop in the uninsured rate could be reversed if the ACA is entirely or partially repealed.

401,400 individuals in the district who now have health insurance that covers preventative services like cancer screenings and flu shots without any co-pays, coinsurance, or deductibles stand to lose this access if the Republican Congress eliminates ACA provisions requiring health insurers to cover essential preventative services without cost-sharing.

445,400 individuals in the district with employer-sponsored health insurance are at risk of losing important consumer protections like the prohibition on annual and lifetime limits, protection against unfair policy recession, and coverage of pre-existing health conditions if the ACA is entirely or partially repealed.

15,800 individuals in the district who have purchased high-quality marketplace coverage now stand to lose their coverage if the Republican Congress dismantles the Marketplaces.

11,800 individuals in the district who received financial assistance to purchase Marketplace coverage in 2016 are now at risk of coverage becoming unaffordable if the Republican Congress eliminates the premium tax credits.

8400 individuals in the district who are receiving cost-sharing reductions to lower out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles, co-pays, and coinsurance, are now at risk of healthcare becoming unaffordable is the Republican Congress eliminates cost-sharing reductions.

32,900 individuals in the district who are covered by the ACA’s Medicaid expansion now stand to lose coverage if the Republican Congress eliminates the Medicaid expansion.

This video is approximately nine minutes in length. For more information about Consumer Health First please go here. Sources: US Department of Health and Human Services, Urban Institute, Families USA, The Commonwealth Fund, National Women’s Law Center.

Shore Behavioral Health Wins Award for Clinical Program Excellence

The UM Shore Regional Health Behavioral Health Services team has won a top award from Horizon Health, LLC. The award marked Behavioral Health’s selection as the most outstanding clinical program from five hospital behavioral health programs that were nominated in this category. The award was presented on February 21, 2017, at the Behavioral Health suite at UM Shore Medical Center at Dorchester.

Horizon Health specializes in helping hospitals better serve patients by establishing safe, effective and financially stable psychiatric programs, managed to the highest standards of accountability. At present, the organization serves approximately 90 hospitals that have inpatient behavioral health programs.

Photo: Shore Behavioral Health Award Presentation (l. to r.): Melissa Budzinski, vice president, Clinical Services, Horizon Health, LLC; Jack DeVaney, president, Horizon Health, LLC; Corlette Fezzia, vice president, Operations, Horizon Health, LLC; John Mistangelo, program administrator, Shore Behavioral Health; Jacki Crawford, nurse manager, Shore Behavioral Health; Ida Jane Baker, president, Dorchester General Hospital Foundation; Brian Leutner, executive director, UM Shore Medical Center at Dorchester, the Cancer Center and the Clark Comprehensive Breast Center; Eric Anderson, MD, medical director, Shore Behavioral Health; and Ken Kozel, president and CEO, UM SRH

Horizon Health representatives Corlette Fezzia, vice president, Operations, and Jack DeVaney, president, presented the award and spoke glowingly of the great progress made by Shore Behavioral Health in enhancing its clinical programs and in developing a full staff of quality practitioners to provide psychiatric care to the Mid-Shore population.

On hand to accept the award and celebrate the honor were Ken Kozel, UM SRH president and CEO, Ruth Ann Jones, senior vice president, Nursing and Patient Care Services, and several members of the Shore Behavioral Health team, including Eric Anderson, MD, medical director, John Mistrangelo, program administrator and Jackie Crawford, nurse manager, Ida Jane Baker, chairman of the Dorchester General Hospital Foundation also attended and accepted the check that accompanied the award, thanking Horizon Health and congratulating the SBH staff on their achievement in receiving the award.

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 Shore Regional Health Publishes Community Benefits Report Online

The 2016 Community Health Improvement Report is now published and available for viewing on the UM Shore Regional Health website at http://umshoreregional.org/news-and-events/news/2017/um-shore-regional-2016-community-health-improvement-report.

The report, which describes highlights of the community health improvement programs and conducted by UM SRH, includes articles on four initiatives: the Ask the Expert series; the inauguration of Shore Behavioral Health’s Bridge Clinic; the Stepping On program offered by the Balance Center in partnership with Maintaining Active Citizens (MAC); and guided support programs (classes, screenings, support groups, etc.) that support better health management.

According to Ken Kozel, UM SRH president and CEO, “The value of our community benefits programs and services, including charity care, exceeds $32 million, but the value is stronger than money. It is building healthier communities and our steadfast commitment to helping our patients and their families enjoy their best health and quality of life.”

Annapolis: Legislation May Remove Parental Rights in Sex-assault Cases

Legislation in the Maryland General Assembly would enable a court to revoke parental rights of an individual who has been found to have committed rape against the other parent and if a court finds that it is in the child’s best interest to remove the parental rights.

The Maryland House of Delegates voted unanimously to send the bill to the Senate Thursday.

“We’re so pleased the bill came out of the House,” Lisae Jordan, executive director for the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault, told the University of Maryland’s Capital News Service. “We look forward to seeing what happens with it in the (Senate) Judicial Proceedings Committee.”

The pair of companion bills has bipartisan support. The House bill has 94 co-sponsors and there are 36 co-sponsors in the Senate. The bills allow a court to decide whether a parent should have their parental rights revoked if they committed an unwanted sexual act against the other parent that resulted in conceiving a child.

Current law states that a victim cannot have the parental rights of an assailant revoked if the conception of a child came from a sexual assault.

“The purpose of this bill is to provide a process where if a child was conceived without consent, there would be a court process where the one parent could go forward and say ‘I would like my attacker’s parental rights terminated,’” Delegate Kathy Dumais, lead sponsor for the House bill, told the House Judiciary committee on Feb. 9.

“No one suggests terminating parental rights should be taken lightly. We have tried to make it crystal clear that it’s not supposed to be easy.”

The bill allows a victim of a sexual assault that has resulted in a pregnancy to ask a court to terminate the parental rights of the assailant. The court must meet certain provisions laid out in the bill before it terminates those rights.

Activists testifying at the hearing emphasized that a suspect could use the threat of parental rights against a victim.

“These legal rights essentially allow him to blackmail his victim by refusing to agree to adoption or continuing to pursue custody unless she makes concessions,” Diana Rubin, a commissioner for the Montgomery County Commission for Women, told the committee.

Decisions in the family court, which is a civil proceeding, can’t be used in a criminal court. If the family court determines that parental rights can be revoked, that there is clear and convincing evidence that a sexual assault occurred, that decision can’t be used against the defendant in any other court.

“The strength in this bill is that there is a great deal of protection for everyone involved,” Jordan testified. “This is something we need.”

Under current law, the second parent must be notified if the victim wishes to put the child up for adoption. The assailant has rights to halt adoption processes.

Activists who testified at the Judiciary Committee said that often a woman chooses to terminate a pregnancy when they learn that their assailant has parental rights that can’t be revoked.

“If someone has forced themselves on someone else, there’s no way to just terminate the rapist’s rights,” Jordan testified. “This is a problem that needs to be solved. The courthouse doors are closed to women who become pregnant as a result of rape.”

“A sexual assault is a devastating experience and a pregnancy resulting from that sexual assault is a daily reminder of that violation,” Colby Wittenberg, domestic infant program manager for Adoptions Together, testified. “Without the protection of this bill, women who become pregnant as a result of a rape lose their privacy at best. At worst, they face the unimaginable circumstance of potentially co-parenting with their assailant.”

Under the bill, a child conceived from sexual assault could also file to have parental rights revoked through a court appointed representative or through a guardian.

Under current law, if the assailant is not known, the woman’s name and plans for adoption have to be advertised in local newspapers in an attempt to notify the assailant of the victim’s plans.

The court can’t terminate parental rights if the parents were married at the time the child was conceived, unless the suspect has been convicted of rape or if there was a protective order in place at the time of conception, under the bill.

In other cases, where the parents were not married, the court can revoke parental rights if there is a conviction or if the court determines there is clear and convincing evidence that a rape occurred, according to a state document, under the bill.

The court must also decide that removing parental rights is in the best interest of the child. The bill says a child’s parent can file to have the parental rights of the assailant revoked within seven years of the child’s birth, or when the parent should have known the identity of the other parent.

Termination of parental rights means that the parent’s rights of guardianship and visitation are revoked. It also removes the parent’s responsibility to support the child financially.

“I think this is one of the only bills where the Maryland Catholic Conference and Planned Parenthood will sit at a table together because many of those women who walked away from adoption, elected to terminate the pregnancy.” Dumais said. Both groups submitted written testimony supporting the bill.

By CARRIE SNURR

Good Stuff: Yoga Helps YMCA in QAC

Every Body Yoga will be offering a weekend of donation-based yoga classes March 17 – 19 at its Centreville Studio, 205 E. Water Street. All donations go to the Queen Anne’s County Family YMCA’s summer camp fund. Participants are asked to give whatever amount they feel is right.

Summer has many iconic associations: long, sticky days; catching fireflies at dusk; sunburns sitting poolside. Time at a summer camp ranks as one of the most memorable events of the three or so month hiatus from school. Camp provides a safe space for kids to experiment—to try out new things that are not in their comfort zone, under the supervision of a caring mentor—they make new friends, camp aids in helping them build social skills through teamwork based activities, it helps prepare them to lead brighter more focused lives as they grow.

This experience isn’t guaranteed to all kids. Many families are financially unable to send their children to camp. The Queen Anne’s County Family YMCA is stepping in to make sure kids who want to go to camp have that opportunity. In 2016, one out of four kids who attended their camps required financial assistance.

Located at The Gunston School, the Queen Anne’s County YMCA’s summer camp offers a wide array of activities from field and water sports to arts, academics, environmental and cultural experiences. The YMCA, as a whole, has a philosophy that they don’t turn anyone away. With this idea in mind, Every Body Yoga, has decided to try and help raise some funds for this important program.

The weekend kicks off with Foundations of Yoga, on Friday, March 17 at 6:30 PM. Saturday offers three classes Chakra Opening at 9:00 AM, Yoga Flow at 10:30 and Chair Yoga at 1 PM. Rise-n-Shine yoga class will take place at 9:00 AM on Sunday morning. Each class will be an hour long and will be taught by one of Every Body Yoga’s Teacher Trainees.

Every Body Yoga offers group and private instruction, stress management and wellness workshops as well as a Yoga Teacher Training Program(RYT). It is the only Registered Yoga School on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Instruction is provided by Yoga Teacher Trainer, Phyllis Johnston M.Ed, E-RYT. Ms. Johnston has 30 years of yoga experience and Every Body Yoga has been serving the mid-shore since January 2000. More information available at www.everybodyyoga.biz or contact Phyllis Johnston at info@everybodyyoga.biz or 410-310-6803.

Bayside Elementary Student Recognized with Creating Healthier Communities Together Award

At the February meeting of its Board of Directors, University of Maryland Shore Regional Health presented its Creating Healthier Communities Together Award to Gregory Couch, an 11-year old 5th grader at Bayside Elementary School in Stevensville.

The award was established by UM Shore Regional Health to recognize residents of the organization’s five-county service area who participate in realizing its mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together. The award recognizes individuals or groups who have made an outstanding contribution to improve the health and well-being of the communities within Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties through efforts including: raising awareness about a chronic disease or health-related issue; participation in a community service project and/or health-related program or service that provides the region with greater access to health care services.

CHCT-Couch

Gregory Couch of Kent Island (center) receives the Creating Healthier Communities Together Award from Kenneth Kozel, president and CEO, UM Shore Regional Health (left) and John Dillon, chairman, UM Shore Regional Health Board of Directors (right).

Gregory, son of Paul and Kimberly Couch of Kent Island, was selected for the Creating Healthier Communities Together Award for his planning and execution of opening a chapter of Project Linus that covers Caroline, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties. Through his newly opened chapter, Gregory donated handmade blankets to UM Shore Regional Health’s Shore Emergency Center in Queenstown and Shore Medical Center in Chestertown for young children who come in to medical facilities under harsh circumstances and in need comfort.

“Team members of our Chestertown and Queenstown locations are so grateful for the hard work and effort Gregory puts into helping some of our youngest  community members through Project Linus,” says Mary Alice Vanhoy, manager of the UM Shore Emergency Center at Queenstown and the Emergency Department at UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown. “We see many frightened children come through the doors of our emergency departments after unfortunate circumstances and these blankets offer a sense of comfort in times when they need it most.”

Project Linus is a non-profit organization represented by chapters covering all 50 states. Volunteers or “blanketeers” create blanket drives, make the blankets and then donate them to healthcare facilities. Gregory continues to collect and make blankets from various donations received through the community and plans to donate even more blankets to medical facilities in the counties his chapter covers.

“The leadership team and Board of Directors of University of Maryland Shore Regional Health were ecstatic to learn about the hard work and commitment Gregory has put behind advancing the wellbeing of patients and families at our medical facilities,” comments Ken Kozel, president and CEO, UM Shore Regional Health. “Gregory is a great example of how community partnerships can help Shore Regional Health continue to put patients first and achieve our mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together.”

More information about Project Linus and volunteering with the mid-shore chapter may be obtained by visiting www.projectlinus.org, or calling Kimberly Couch at 410 924-2488.

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 SRH Comprehensive Rehabilitation Team Member Receives Autism Specialist Certification

Diane LorsongDiane Lorsong, of Queen Anne’s County, was recently certified by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) as a Certified Autism Specialist. Lorsong is a speech-language pathologist for University of Maryland Shore Regional Health Comprehensive Rehabilitation and currently sees patients at the UM Shore Medical Pavilion in Queenstown.

Lorsong completed the IBCCES Autism Competency exam along with meeting rigorous professional standards, demonstrating experience and education in autism. A Certified Autism Specialist has a minimum of a Master’s degree and 2 years of experience or a Bachelor’s degree and 10 years of experience. The Certified Autism Specialist obtains 14 continuing education hours in Autism every two years in order to stay up to date in the field.

“I love the variety and the different ways that I get to help people communicate,” says Lorsong. “I have a passion for working with those diagnosed with Autism; not every patient is the same and each one is a puzzle that requires me to think outside the box often.”

Prior to joining UM Shore Regional Health, Lorsong gained valuable experience working with children in a school setting focusing on developmental delays including Autism, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Stuttering, Apraxia, and articulation disorders.  Diane has been trained in picture exchange communication system (PECS) and is also fluent in American Sign Language (ASL).

As a speech-language pathologist, certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and licensed by the state of Maryland, Lorsong identifies, evaluates, and treats those with communication and related disorders.  She provides a customized treatment plan for a broad range of disorders including:  loss of speech and/or cognitive impairments due to stroke or brain injury, language comprehension, swallowing dysfunction and voice disorders.  In addition, Lorsong is certified in Deep Pharyngeal Neuromuscular Stimulation and Vital Stim Therapy as well as Lee Silverman Voice Therapy (LSVT), a program that was developed to help individuals diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

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.