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.

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

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.

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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.

Compass Regional Hospice Offers Adult Grief Support Group in Caroline County

Compass Regional Hospice is offering a grief support group for adults who have experienced the death of a loved one. The first meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 21, 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, 100 S 5th Avenue in Denton. The group will meet every Tuesday through May 23. Participants are asked to commit to attending all or most of the 10 sessions in order to benefit the most from the group. 

The grief support group will be co‐facilitated by Ann OConnor, LCSW‐C, and Wayne Larrimore, MEd, bereavement counselors for Compass Regional Hospice.

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Bereavement counselors Wayne Larrimore, MEd (left) and Ann OConnor, LCSW‐C (right) will co‐facilitate a new grief support group beginning March 21.

In a culture that often avoids talking about loss, many end up feeling alone, which makes navigating through their grief journey difficult.  Participation in our adult grief support group offers companionship and understanding from others who “get it,” and are experiencing the similar challenges that living with grief brings.

“Our grief groups are a combination of education and support,” says OConnor. “In this confidential and intimate setting participant’s will have a chance to share their stories openly and guilt-free, while learning ways to cope with their changed lives.”

For more information about the adult grief support group, call Compass Regional Hospice, 443‐262‐4100, or email Ann OConnor, aoconnor@compassregionalhospice.org or Wayne Larrimore, wlarrimore@compassregionalhospice.org. To learn more about other grief support programs available through the Compass Regional Hospice Hope & Healing Center, visit www.compassregionalhospice.org/hopeandhealing.

JHU Doctor to Speak to Easton CMT Group

thomas lloydCome with a pocket full of questions when Thomas Lloyd, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Neurology at Johns Hopkins Medicine, visits the Easton Charcot -Marie-Tooth Disease (CMT) Support Group on Saturday, March 11, 10 AM until Noon. The group meets at the Talbot County Free Library, 100 Dover Street, Easton.

Dr. Lloyd specializes in neuromuscular disorders in adults, with a particular interest in neurogenetics and motor neuron diseases including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), motor neuropathies, peripheral nerve disorders such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) and muscle diseases such as muscular dystrophy. Dr. Lloyd is developing genetic and pharmacologic screens to identify novel drug targets for motor neuron diseases. .

Dr. Lloyd’s research interests include understanding the mechanisms of motor neuron degeneration using simple genetic model systems. Having received his M.D. and Ph.D. from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, he then went to Johns Hopkins Hospital for residency training in Neurology, after which he completed a fellowship in Neuromuscular Medicine.

Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease was discovered by theee doctors in the 1880s–Dr. Charcot and Dr. Marie from France and Dr. Tooth from England. To date there is no cure. CMT is a slowly degenerative disorder causing severe weakness in the feet and legs, and hands and arms. While it will not cause death, it may ultimately keep the patient wheelchair-bound.

All interested persons are invited to meet Dr. Lloyd and to ask appropriate questions pertaining to their own CMT or that of friends or family. We look forward to seeing you there on March 11–with your questions.

For further information, please contact Missy Warfield, Easton CMT Support Group leader, at 410-820-0576.

What’s New in the Treatment of Multiple Myeloma?

Dr. Rodrigo B. Erlich of Bay Hematology/Oncology of Easton will speak at the quarterly meeting of the Chesapeake Multiple Myeloma Network (CMMN) on Saturday, March 4th at 4:00 PM in the Large Conference Room of the Eastern Shore Conservation Center (114 S. Washington St., Easton). The talk, What’s New in the Treatment of Multiple Myeloma?, is free and open to the public. Dr. Erlich, a highly regarded cancer researcher and clinician, will discuss rapidly developing and promising clinical strategies in the treatment of multiple myeloma—a cancer of the bone marrow. The talk should be helpful to myeloma patients and their families in discussions with their physician about treatment options. CMMN’s meetings last about an hour and a half.

The Chesapeake Multiple Myeloma Network (CMMN) is an informal Eastern Shore group of individuals affected by multiple myeloma.  Its mission is “to provide ongoing resources of information, support, shared experiences, and hope for persons with multiple myeloma, their families, and friends.” CMMN partners with the University of Maryland’s Shore Regional Health Cancer Center’s Outpatient Oncology Support Programand is an affiliate of the International Myeloma Foundation. Parking is available in the Conservation Center’s Washington St. lot and on Washington St. itself.The Center is handicapped accessible. For further information about CMMN please contact Bob Kelly at 410-226-5345 or kellyrf@lemoyne.edu

Talbot Hospice Presents Caring for Individuals with Memory Disorders

Constantine LyketsosOn March 8, 2017, Talbot Hospice will hold its 2nd annual community outreach event Caring for Individuals with Memory Disorders: State of the Art 2017. The featured speaker is Constantine G. Lyketsos, M.D., M.H.S., Interim Director of the Johns Hopkins Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and world renowned expert in Alzheimer’s and Dementia. The event is open to the public at no cost and will be held at the Easton High School auditorium beginning at 6 p.m. Providers will be available in the lobby for the first half hour to distribute materials and answers questions. The main presentation begins at 6:30, and afterwards a panel will field questions from the audience. Registration can be made online at TalbotHospice.org/events or by calling 410-822-6681. Presenting sponsors are Avon Dixon and Shore United Bank.

“A component of our mission at Talbot Hospice is education and outreach, and we are pleased to be able to bring Dr. Lyketsos’ to Talbot County,” said Executive Director Vivian Dodge. “We have chosen this topic because Alzheimer’s and the other dementias affect a vast portion of our aging population, and we believe that the information will be very helpful to both caregivers and providers in our community. Because of the present regulations governing hospice qualification, Talbot Hospice can only assist in the care of these patients when it has been determined that they have a less than six month life expectancy from whatever cause.”

Head 1An active clinician, teacher, and researcher on the Johns Hopkins faculty since 1993, Dr. Lyketsos’ primary areas of interest are neuropsychiatry and memory disorders. Many of his clinical and research interests are integrated in the Johns Hopkins Memory and Alzheimer’s Center which he founded as a collaborative partnership between the departments of psychiatry, neurology, and geriatric medicine to offer patients comprehensive evaluation and innovative treatment for a range of conditions that affect cognition and memory, including Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, traumatic brain injury, and brain vascular disease. Dr. Lyketsos has carried out pioneering work on the epidemiology and treatment of neuropsychiatric features of Alzheimer’s and related dementias. His interest in traumatic brain injury has led him to leadership roles in military and veteran’s health and collaborations with the NFL Players Association.

Dr. Lyketsos has authored or co-authored over 350 scientific articles, chapters, commentaries, as well as five books. He is the recipient of the 2016 Jack Weinberg Award in Geriatric Psychiatry from the American Psychiatric Association, the 2012 Distinguished Scientist Award from the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry, and the 2006 William S. Proxmire Award for “extraordinary leadership in the fight against Alzheimer’s” from the Copper Ridge Institute. Castle-Connolly has named Dr. Lyketsos as one of America’s Top Doctors every year since 2001.

A native of Athens, Greece, Dr. Lyketsos graduated from Northwestern University and Washington University Medical School in St. Louis (1988). He completed residency and chief residency in psychiatry at Johns Hopkins (1988-92), followed by a fellowship in clinical epidemiology.

UM Shore Regional Health Announces Nominees for 2017 Nursing Awards

University of Maryland Shore Regional Health has announced the 56 nominations for the 2017 Nurse Excellence Awards program, set for May, 8, 2017 at the Rufus M. and Loraine Hall Todd Performing Arts Center at Chesapeake College.

According to Ruth Ann Jones, senior vice president, Patient Care Services and chief nursing officer for UM Shore Regional Health (UM SRH), the annual nursing awards ceremony, now in its sixth year, will as a kick-off event for the celebration of National Nursing Week, May 8-15, 2017. “The Nurse Excellence Awards recognize nursing excellence and serve as a great tribute to their hard work and commitment to our patients and to Shore Regional Health,” Jones said.

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2017 Nurse Excellence Awards Committee, L to R: Kathy Elliott, RN, Jackie Moriarty, Elizabeth Todd, RN (chair), Jean Volz, RN, Jamie Riley, RN, Jane Flowers, RN, Tara Smith, RN and Kathy Cvach, RN. Not shown are Eden Kinser, RN, Dawn Ford, RN and Bill Shertenlieb, RN.

There are six categories in the Nurse Excellence Awards program — five awards given to individual nurses and one to the nursing staff of a unit or department. Nominations are submitted through an online process that is open to all staff throughout UM SRH and managed by the Nurse Excellence Awards Committee.

Nurses nominated this year for the award, Commitment to Others, are: from Chestertown, Michael Parker, Kimberly Seward and Marjorie Shaffer; from Dorchester, Tonya Barker; and from Easton, Alyssa Baker, Robin Ford, Dannielle Fretterd, Dawn Ruby, Amy Saia, Emily Uyttewaal, Karen Van Trieste, Dorothy Waters and Taffie Wilson.

Professional Nursing Practice award nominees are: from Chestertown, Jeanette Mooday-Walsh; from Easton, Alyssa Baker, Renee Edsall and Gretchen Maans; and regional, Hope Honigsberg.

Nominated for the Leadership award in nursing are: from Chestertown, Rebecca King, Kellee McLean and Cindy Simmons; from Dorchester, Tammy Bradshaw; and from Easton, Kim Brice, Lisa Eisemann, Grace Gonzalez, Dawn Ruby, Melissa Smith, Vernon Usilton, Dorothy Waters and Jason Weaver.

An award for the most “Promising Professional” is new to the Nurse Excellence Awards this year. First-ever nominees for this honor are; from Chestertown, Sarah Postles; from Dorchester, Lashon Adams and April Ewing; and from Easton, Joseph Brun, Heather Downes, Ashley Higgs, Rebecca Lyons, and Kelsey Mills.

The 2017 nominees for the nurse excellence award in Mentorship/Advocacy are: from Chestertown, Debbie Fulton and Melanie Iacona; from Dorchester, Tonya Barker; from Easton, Dianne Baxter, Connie Collins, Dawn Ruby, Dyshekia Strawberry, Keri Tucker and April Venables; and regional, Madeline Steffens.

Several nursing inpatient units and outpatient services were nominated for the unit award for excellence in Empirical Outcomes, as follows: from Chestertown, Chester River Home Care and the Infusion Clinic at UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown; from Easton, the Birthing Center, the Emergency Department, and the 2 East and 3 East units of UM Shore Medical Center at Easton; from Queenstown, the Ambulatory Surgery Center; and regional, the Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation program.

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.

Talbot Hospice Offers Memoir Workshop

Anne McCormick

Anne McCormick, M.Ed.

Talbot Hospice is offering an eight-week memoir workshop – Looking Back with Gentle Eyes – facilitated by Anne McCormick, M.Ed.,Tuesday mornings 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m., March 7 – April 25, 2017. The class is free of charge and open to the public. Class size is limited to ten participants. Advance registration is required and can be made by calling 410-822-6681.

McCormick is the retired Associate Director of the Learning and Counseling Center and adjunct professor of English at American University, Washington, D.C. She is the co-author of two books and numerous journal articles about accommodating college students with disabilities. Since retiring to the Eastern Shore, Anne has co-offered numerous workshops in memoir writing and served on multiple advocacy boards for individuals with disabilities.