Shore Medical Group – Pediatrics Welcomes New Provider

Ryan C. Davis, CPNP-PC

University of Maryland Shore Medical Group (UM SMG) announces the addition of a new pediatric care provider, Ryan C. Davis, RN, MSN, CPNP-PC, whose specialties include neonatal care and treatment of acute and chronic pediatric illnesses. With pediatricians Mark Langfitt, MD and Richard Fritz, MD, Davis is seeing patients at UM SMG – Pediatrics located at the Shore Medical Pavilion at Easton, 500 Cadmus Lane, Suite 210.

Davis joined UM SMG from Morristown, Tennessee where he served as a nurse practitioner for an outpatient clinic, Hamblen Pediatric Associates. In addition, he served at Pediatrix Medical Group, which provided newborn nursery rounding at Morristown Hamblen Hospital – Covenant Health.  Previously, he worked as an RN at the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and at the University of Tennessee Medical Center’s Pediatric Intensive Care Trauma Unit.

Davis earned his M.S. in Nursing – Pediatric Nurse Practitioner from the University of Tennessee in 2017 where he received the award for Clinical Excellence – Pediatric Nurse Practitioner.  He is certified in Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) and in Neonatal Resuscitation (NRP).

“Thanks to his experience in neonatal care and pediatric acute care, as well as in outpatient pediatric practice, Ryan Davis is an excellent addition to the UM Shore Medical Group – Pediatrics team,” stated William Huffner, MD, chief medical officer and senior vice president, Medical Affairs. “We are glad to have him on board with us.”

UM Shore Medical Group – Pediatrics may be reached by calling 410-822-8550.

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.

Staff Shortage at Kent Center Blamed on Low Wages and Stress

As Maryland’s minimum wage rises to $15 by 2025 so do concerns that direct support staff serving Maryland’s developmentally disabled will make a career change to McDonald’s, where working the drive-thru pays almost the same.

“Support staff wear many hats” and the work is stressful, said Kent Center’s Executive Director Karine Ireland at a legislative breakfast on June 28 to commemorate nearly 50 years of serving clients in Kent County. “The staff needs increased training and increased pay.”

Kent Center President Randy Cooper takes a moment with a Kent Center client, June 28, 2019

Low wages continue to plague recruitment and retention, which caregiver organizations in Maryland have called a “crisis.” They say starting wages must exceed the minimum wage by a wider margin than currently exists to recruit and retain a workforce.

There are over 200 organizations in Maryland like Kent Center that serve 25,000 developmentally disabled; they rely almost exclusively on Medicaid and state dollars that flow through the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Administration to pay support staff.

A third of new DDA support staff in the state quit after six months and nearly half resign after one year. The attrition is the result of high stress and low wages, according to the Maryland Association of Community Services, a group that advocates for caregiver organizations. Courtney Williams, administration director for Kent Center, said their retention rate was close to the state average.

Ireland said all support staff require emergency medical training and certification to administer medications. They also undergo extensive training in conflict resolution and mentoring — in order to provide the job coaching and life skills clients need to integrate into the community.

The breakfast included a tour of the facility on Scheeler Road where job readiness and mentoring programs are run. There are currently 12 clients employed in the community with the help of the center’s Supported Employment Services.

Delegates. Jay Jacobs, R-Kent, and Steve Arentz, R-Queen Anne’s, attended the breakfast and blamed the rising minimum wage on the chronic staff shortages in DDA funded facilities.

“A $15 minimum wage actually hurt this place, it didn’t help it at all,” Jacobs said. “That $15 may sound good in the outside world but it actually harmed the workers in the pay scales.”

Arentz and Jacobs voted against the $15 wage hike that passed in Annapolis this year.

But caregiver organizations lobbied in Annapolis for “the fight for $15” and asked for a 7% bump in DDA’s budget. The legislature cut the request back to 3.5% for 2020 and 4% for years 2021-2026.

As the minimum wage rises, entry-level workers in 2025 will make about 60 cents more than new hires at McDonald’s, the difference could be even less if the burger chain is paying more than the minimum wage by then. See figure 1.

The average starting wage in DDA facilities is $10.50 to 11.00. The Kent Center’s starting wage is $10.66 — just 56 cents above the current minimum wage, a gap of just 5%.

The staff turnover over at the Kent Center is 22%, which is slightly lower than the state average of 25%. The center needs 50 more recruits by February to run programs at the facility and staff 14 full-time residences in the community. The center currently has 150 support staff for roughly 80 clients.

In 2006 the reimbursement rate was 69% above the state minimum wage; this year the gap has narrowed to 19%. But new employees are actually paid much closer to the minimum wage because providers, mostly community nonprofits, must reward employees with tenure at a higher wage to maintain retention.

Figure 1. Maryland Association of Community Services

The state tried to address the gap in the Minimum Wage Act of 2014 and tied the reimbursement rate to the minimum wage. The Act came with a mandate that set the reimbursement rate to a level above the state’s minimum wage in order to attract and maintain the workforce.

“The current rate is not enough when you can [start] at Giant earning $12.35,” said Laura Howell, executive director of Maryland Association of Community Services in brief phone interview. She said the vacancy rate was compromising the safety of staff and clients in facilities like the Kent Center.

Ireland spoke of one success story at the center where a client landed a better paying job than the support staff who trained him. Williams said there were other instances where staffers quit after learning they could earn more where their former clients had found work.

The workforce shortage has also raised concerns among aging parents whose children rely on the Kent Center.

“If I’m not there or my husband is not there, someone has to be,” said Linda Cades, whose 40-year-old son has relied on the Kent Center for 20 years. “We need to get good people to do this. We need to know that our kids are safe because they are extremely vulnerable.”

She said the center provided the socialization her son needed to know people with and without disabilities. Her son was also able to perform work, participating in the contract mailing and shredding services the center offers.

In their 70s, Cades said she and her husband worry about their son’s care after they pass on.

“I need to know that when I’m not here to run interference he’s going to be OK, in a place where people care about him,” she said. “Wages have been so low over the years that it extremely difficult to recruit, train and retain people.” She said the staff vacancies were putting greater burdens on the existing staff doing “very difficult work” for as low as $21,000 a year.

The Kent Center receives 99% of its revenue from DDA. Only 1% comes from private donations, said Kent Center Chairman Randy Cooper. He is also the founder of Radcliffe Corporate Services in Chestertown.

Cooper said a $500 donation earns a $250 tax credit on the Maryland tax return.

Mobile Integrated Healthcare Program Kickoff

Mobile Integrated Healthcare provides connections to individually tailored community resources at home. We encourage all agencies interested to attend. Light refreshments will be provided. This event will be on July 17th at 12pm, Talbot County Operations Center, 605 Port St. Easton. Please email to let us know if you are attending or have any questions: gfries@talbgov.org

This program is brought to you by Talbot County Department of Emergency Services and Talbot County Health Department.

5th Annual Sporting Clays Raises More than $77,000

The recent 5th annual Sporting Clays Classic was a great success, netting $77,227 to benefit the breast imaging and biopsy equipment and program needs of the Clark Comprehensive Breast Center at University of Maryland Shore Regional Health.

Offered by UM Memorial Hospital Foundation at The Point at Pintail in Queenstown on June 9, 2019, the Sporting Clays Classic attracted 226 registered shooters who enjoyed morning competition, lunch for participants, various prizes, raffles and a silent auction of items donated by local businesses and community members.

“It was really a perfect day, sunny and breezy, and we had a great group of competitors,” said F. Graham Lee,vice president for philanthropy at UM SRH. “I am very grateful to this year’s Sporting Clays Committee and to our sponsors, both the businesses and the individuals who stepped up to support the event.”

Sponsorships from community members and businesses played a vital role in the success of the event. Key sponsors included Auxiliary of the Memorial Hospital at Easton, Paul and Joanne Prager, Preston Automotive Group, Jack and Susan Stoltz, Whiting-Turner Contracting Co., Doug James Real Estate Services, Attraction Magazine, The Point at Pintail, APG Chesapeake, Willow Construction, Bullock Construction, Inc., CBIZ MHM, LLC and BSC Group, LLC, Chaney Enterprises, Gillis Gilkerson, Roberta Lilly, MD, Nancy Morton, R. Scott and Courtney Clark Pastrick, Shore Radiology, Shore United Bank and Tidewater Anesthesia Associates, PA.

Last year, the Clark Comprehensive Breast Center team provided breast care to more than 2,100 patients, diagnosing more than 100 new cases of breast cancer and performing 452 breast biopsies. These numbers reflect a significant increase in patient volumes over previous years.

The goal of the 2019 Sporting Clays Classic was to raise $85,000 for an MRI Breast Coil, which will be used to fully image breast patients and perform MRI-guided breast biopsy. The $77,227 raised during the event means the UM Memorial Hospital Foundation is well on the way to reaching that $85,000 goal.

“All of us at The Clark Comprehensive Breast Center appreciate the continued support of our local community,” says Roberta J. Lilly, MD, medical director, Clark Comprehensive Breast Center. “Diagnostic and treatment technologies in cancer care are continually evolving, and we are very grateful to the Foundation, the volunteers and participants in the Sporting Clays Classic for their help in ensuring that we have state-of-the-art equipment to provide the best possible care for our patients.”

Prizes were given to each of the winners of the highest overall (HOA) score in their category, as follows:  Mike Parkhurst (men’s), Diane Sorantino (women’s), Jackson Eschelman (juniors’) and Team Jack Stoltz #1 (team). The top three of each Lewis class also received prizes, as follows: Lewis Class One, 1st place – David Collins, Sr., 2nd place – Bruce Jones, and 3rd place – Joseph Carroll; Lewis Class Two, 1st place – Mark Helmick, 2nd place – Daniel Carroll and 3rd place – Richard Blanchard; Lewis Class Three, 1st place – Carter Stanton, 2nd place – Lee Hurd, and 3rd place-Chris Wright.

Other winners were Ferris Butler, gun raffle winner; Jesse Hammett, game prize winner; and Dennis Green, Clay Conservation Award winner.

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 Shore Regional Health Takes Next Step in State Application Process

Shore Regional Health has announced that it will prepare a modified Certificate of Exemption (COE) application to the Maryland Health Care Commission (MHCC) to move inpatient behavioral health beds and services in 2021 from UM Shore Medical Center at Dorchester to UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown. If submitted and approved, the move would occur when the freestanding medical facility (FMF) opens in Cambridge in summer 2021.

Preparation of the modified COE is anticipated to take 60 to 90 days, with possible final approval by the Shore Regional Health and University of Maryland Medical System Boards to submit the COE in September 2019. After approval by the MHCC, construction of the inpatient unit at UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown could begin, toward a 2021 opening.

The modified COE will affect only the behavioral health beds; plans remain in place for the Dorchester hospital’s medical-surgical beds to be relocated to Easton when the FMF opens in summer 2021.

This timeline also enables UM Shore Regional Health leaders and behavioral health providers to develop a staffing transition plan and work with community partners to develop an expanded network of outpatient community-based support services throughout the five-county region.

“We are grateful for the physicians, advanced practice providers and team members at Shore Behavioral Health who provide such compassionate, quality care for our patients,” said Ken Kozel, CEO.  “Their dedication and healing work benefits patients under the most challenging circumstances.”

“Shore Regional Health’s Service Delivery Plan includes a commitment to join with our community partners to create a robust behavioral health continuum of integrated inpatient and outpatient services to serve the region. We are enthusiastic about the prospect of this plan and the positive impact it will have on health care in all five counties, including this opportunity, among others that may emerge in support of rural health care,  to enhance the stability of  inpatient services at Shore Medical Center at Chestertown,”said Kozel.

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.

Channel Marker Presents the Kevin Hines Story

‘Channel Marker presents the Kevin Hines Story’, an evidenced based suicide prevention, free speaking engagement open to the public.  Kevin Hines is a national suicide survivor, public speaker, award winning documentary filmmaker, and best-selling author. In the Year 2000, Kevin attempted to take his life by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. Many factors contributed to his miraculous survival including a sea lion which kept him afloat until the Coast Guard arrived. Kevin now travels the world sharing his story of hope, healing, and recovery while teaching people of all ages the art of wellness and the ability to survive pain with true resilience.

The event will be held at the Todd Performing Arts Center at Chesapeake College, on Thursday September 19, as a two-part speaking engagement. The Suicide Prevention Education for Professionals session begins at 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm.  CEUs will be provided by Mid Shore Behavioral Health, Inc. Mid Shore Behavioral Health, Inc. is an approved sponsor of the Maryland Board of Social Work Examiners for continuing education credits for licensed social workers in Maryland. This session is ideal for school professionals, first responders, veterans, healthcare and human service professionals.

The ‘Kevin Hines Story’ concludes the second session with a FREE Public event from 6:30 pm-8:00 pm.

Channel Marker welcomes you to partner with us as an event sponsor to help increase awareness of the importance of suicide prevention and education, encourage the community to start talking about the topic of suicide, and to promote healthy healing as well as shining a light on hope for individuals and their communities.

Our Mission

Channel Marker creates a healthy Mid-Shore community through mental illness prevention programs, wellness support, and adaptive community services to individuals and their families.

For more information about this event or to register for the Suicide Prevention Education for professionals session visit www.channelmarker.org.

Cancer Center Team and SRH Partners Provide Free Screenings for Skin Cancer

Dermatology physicians, advanced practice providers and volunteers from the Kent County Health Department, Easton Dermatology Associates and Shore Dermatology in Cambridge, along with staff and volunteers from the Cancer Center at UM Shore Regional Health screened 119 people for skin cancer during screenings held during May and June.

“It is really gratifying to work with our community partners, including the physicians and advanced practice providers and their staff, to provide these potentially life-saving screenings every year,” said Jeanie Scott, Cancer Center manager. “This year, the screenings resulted in 37 recommendations for biopsies or other follow up and two cases of melanoma were diagnosed, which really shows the value of taking advantage of screening opportunities.”

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.

Eastern Shore Health Education Center and Dorchester Looking for Children with Asthma

The Eastern Shore Area Health Education Center (AHEC) and Dorchester County Health Department (DCHD) are looking for children with asthma.

Asthma attacks are a major reason many children miss school days and parents miss time from work. These attacks can happen because environmental issues in the home, such as dust, pets, mold and tobacco smoke just to name a few.

AHEC and DCHD are working together to identify families who have children with asthma, educate them about their disease, and how to avoid triggers that can cause an asthma attack.

This program offers at least 3 home visits, provides asthma education and how to decrease flare ups. Supplies such as a hepa filter vacuum cleaner, mattress cover, and cleaning supplies are provided free of charge. Visit can be made around the family’s schedule, including evenings and weekends.

If your child, 18 years old or under, has asthma, and resides in Dorchester County, please call Kate Price with Dorchester County Health Department at 410-901-8183 for more information.

Talbot Declares Independence from Substance Abuse

The towns of Easton, Oxford and St. Michaels are again supporting Talbot Goes Purple with purple fireworks displays at Independence Day celebrations this year.

The purple fireworks are part of Talbot Goes Purple, an initiative from the Talbot County Sheriff’s Office and Tidewater Rotary that empowers our youth and our community to ‘Go Purple’ as a sign of taking a stand against substance abuse. Anyone who wishes to support the project can wear purple at the Independence Day celebrations. This is the third consecutive year for the fireworks, and the initiative.

“We’d like to again thank Al Bond at the Avalon Foundation; Amanda David, chairwoman of the St. Michael’s Fireworks Committee; and the Rotary Club of St. Michaels; and Vicky Van Loo and the board at Tred Avon Yacht Club for supporting our project,” said Lucie Hughes, of Tidewater Rotary. “This is our third straight year and we are continually amazed at the overwhelming support and generosity of our communities.”

Talbot Goes Purple promotes education and awareness, including the creation of purple clubs in our middle and high schools, through which students learn that they do not need drugs or alcohol to meet life’s challenges. The project also encourages the ‘new conversation’ between teens and parents, one that includes messages that prescription painkillers aren’t safe to use recreationally.

“We saw a decrease in overdose deaths across the state in 2018, but more progress is needed in order to drive those horrific numbers down even further,” said Talbot County Sheriff Joe Gamble. “We’ve got to continue the conversation and expand the discussion to include the ‘path to addiction’ that includes early use of substances that lead to addiction by our kids.”

Talbot Goes Purple is based upon THP Project Purple, an initiative of the Herren Project that helps people struggling with drug dependencies. Former NBA player Chris Herren founded both projects after speaking to a high school about his struggles with drug dependency. Herren visited Talbot County in the first year of Talbot Goes Purple.

For the third year of Talbot Goes Purple, a kick-off celebration is again planned for early September – more information will become available closer to the date.

Leading up to the kick-off and starting Sept. 1, local businesses and communities can again ‘Go Purple’ as a show of support and solidarity in addressing our substance abuse program. Lights and other materials are available online at www.TalbotGoesPurple.org.

Talbot Goes Purple is in partnership with Talbot County Public Schools and Mid-Shore Community Foundation.

More information is available at www.talbotgoespurple.org. Find us on Facebook @TalbotGoesPurple or contact us at talbotgoespurple@gmail.com.  Anyone wearing purple is encouraged to post pictures and tag us on Facebook.

All support is tax-deductible and made through the Mid-Shore Community Foundation.

Fireworks this year are scheduled as follows: Easton – Thursday, July 4; St. Michaels – Saturday July 6; Oxford – Wednesday, July 3. Please check with each respective town for additional information on scheduled activities and rain dates.

Theraplay Training to be Offered to For All Seasons Staff in June

Lesa Lee, LCSW-C, and Clinical Director at For All Seasons

For All Seasons received a grant from the Queen Anne’s County Local Management Board that will provide a four-day training in Theraplay for over 35 members of For All Seasons clinical team. Theraplay is a child and family therapy for building and enhancing attachment, self-esteem, trust in others, and joyful engagement. It is based on the natural patterns of playful, healthy interaction between parent and child and is personal, physical, and fun.

Theraplay interactions focus on four essential qualities found in parent-child relationships: Structure, Engagement, Nurture, and Challenge. In treatment, the Theraplay Practitioner guides the parent and child through playful, fun games, developmentally challenging activities, and tender, nurturing activities in each of the four dimensions.

According to Lesa Lee, LCSW-C, and Clinical Director at For All Seasons, who was the first to be trained in Theraplay, “The most common use of Theraplay is to build on the attachment between child and caregiver. It can also be used in individual therapy, especially in assessing and building a child’s capacity to manage challenges and tolerance for structure.”

Lee adds, “It assesses the strengths and vulnerabilities of child and family and can be used from a state of pre-pregnancy through adolescence. For at-risk mothers, it can help how a mother feels about her baby – creating an early attachment to her child.”

Theraplay sessions create an active, emotional connection between the child and parent or caregiver, resulting in a changed view of the self as worthy and lovable and of relationships as positive and rewarding.

For All Seasons serves Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne, and Talbot counties. For All Seasons Rape Crisis Center offers certified sexual assault victim advocates; counseling and support groups, free and confidential services in English and Spanish, support in the hospital, police department, and court, and referrals to social and legal services. For All Seasons English Hotline is 1-800-310-RAPE (7273) and Spanish Hotline is 410-829-6143.

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