Friday, April 24, 2015

Recognizing Our Leaders: The Celebration Continues

This week we continued our 50th Anniversary Celebration with our Because of Leadership Event A Tribute to our Visionaries, Founders, Leaders and Benefactors. At the event were representatives of our founder organizations, members of our Virginia Sherwood and Kroh Societies, current and present HealthCare and Gilchrist Board members, members of the Philanthropy Committee and many other people from the community who have been important in the history of GBMC. We recognized three acts of leadership: service, innovation and philanthropy. Jamie Costello the nightly anchor of ABC News 2 –WMAR served as the master of ceremony and Cal Ripken, Jr. gave an excellent address on leadership.

Among the highlights of the evening were the playing of the tape recording of the invocation given by Reverend Richard H. Baker at the dedication of the hospital in 1965 and a video celebrating GBMC’s founding that included the voices of Milton and Dwight D. Eisenhower, the former President of the United States. The evening was a wonderful event and a great opportunity to celebrate our leaders past and present.

Central Sterile Processing

Last month we began the work to protect our operating rooms and central sterile processing from electrical outages like the ones that caused the cancellation of numerous surgeries last summer. The first step was to relocate the central sterile operations to a temporary location in order to rebuild the department and to add heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) upgrades to improve the temperature and humidity controls.

Since then, temporary CSP trailers, compliant to The Joint Commission (TJC) and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) standards, have been stationed in the Bluebell parking lot.  These trailers are equipped with similar state-of-the-art equipment to what we have had in the main department to assure that all of our surgical instruments are processed according to our high standards.

As most folks may or may not be aware, the CSP department plays a vital role in reprocessing reusable devices (primarily surgical instrumentation) for GBMC. Currently, the construction is on target with an estimated completion date of Friday May 1, 2015. CSP staff will be able to reoccupy the space beginning Wednesday May 6, 2015.

Please join me in thanking Steve Adams, the Manager of Central Sterile and his Team for their outstanding work. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

GBMC has the Top Nurses!

On Wednesday evening, I had the privilege of attending Baltimore magazine’s dinner reception saluting 50 of the region’s top nurses for their contributions to healthcare.  I am proud to say that the GBMC family was well represented with SEVEN of our registered nurses being recognized by their peers for outstanding care in FIVE of 18 different specialties.  Having our nurses represented (7/50 = 14% of the winners!) on this list is evidence of what we already knew – our HealthCare system has the best nurses!

Please join me in congratulating the following nurses:
Cynthia Arnold, CRNP Pediatrics/Neonatal
Amanda Hindle, RN Pediatrics/Neonatal
Jaclyn Mueller, RN Emergency Department
Marla Newmark, RN Pediatrics/Non-neonatal
Ganotong Tongprom, RN   Medical-Surgical Nursing
Carol Hay, RN – Gilchrist Hospice Care Hospice/Home Health/Palliative
Kristin Metzger, RN – Gilchrist Hospice Care Hospice/Home Health/Palliative

I’ve been at GBMC for almost five years and I have learned how talented and hard working our nurses are.  I’ve also had the opportunity to see, each and every day, their true dedication to our patients and our vision.  Our nurses and nursing support technicians are the face of GBMC. They spend the most time with our patients and are critically important members of the healthcare team. Their untiring work in improving patient safety and redesigning systems to improve care has been remarkable.

Once again, congratulations and thank you for your hard work and dedication!

The inaugural “Top Nurses” issue will hit the newsstands soon.  Please make sure you grab your copy!

This week we are celebrating National Volunteer Appreciation Week. As you may know, with more than 900 volunteers in the hospital and at Gilchrist Hospice Care, GBMC has one of the largest volunteer auxiliaries in Maryland.  Over the last 50 years, our volunteers have donated more than 2.4 million hours of service and raised more than 20 million dollars to support patient care at GBMC.

I must admit, we have the best group of volunteers in the state.  I am always struck by how, to the average person, they seem so joyful in their service to our patients.  I meet them in our hallways and by the front desk, but, no matter where I walk within our hospital, I am proud to say that I am always greeted by at least 3 or 4 smiling volunteers.

I am so grateful for all that they do, from the smiles they share, to their dedication and commitment to our health system and our patients. Please take the time to say “thank you” for all they do.

Speaking of Baltimore magazine:  That’s right! It's that time again - Baltimore magazine is collecting votes for its best selling TOP DOCTORS issue.  Please vote for the doctors you most respect!  Remember, Top Doctors voting is done by physicians only.  The survey may be found at:

Join the GBMC 50th Team for the Baltimore Aids Walk & Run on Sun., May 3rd
I am still looking for GBMC colleagues to join team GBMC 50th.  This squad is slated to participate in the AIDS Walk & Run on Sun., May 3rd.  The walk and 5K run is taking place at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore to raise money for AIDS awareness and testing.  Again, please consider coming out and walking or running with me as another fun way to celebrate our 50th Anniversary and give back to our community.  If you want to get some exercise that morning or lend financial support (or both!), click on this link and follow the directions under “Join a Team”:

Friday, April 10, 2015

Gaining Recognition for Excellence

About a year ago, I was speaking with Mark Lamos MD, the Medical Director of Greater Baltimore Medical Associates, and the heart and soul of our advanced primary care strategy, and I was concerned that we would not be able to attract outstanding primary care physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants fast enough. To truly be able to coordinate care across our community we needed more outstanding clinicians to add to the ones we already had, both as employed and private practicing doctors and mid-levels. With a new recognition of the value of primary care, how would we ever be able to do this with everyone looking for these providers?

Was I ever wrong! What I did not realize was that since we were building patient-centered medical homes that helped the physicians and mid-level providers do what they were trained to do and loved to do, they would flock to us. This week, there were a bunch of news stories about other companies opening new primary care offices. But their model had not changed…limited hours of operation, no embedded care managers and no hope for the providers to truly have a team to help them get the job done. Providers running as fast as they can where the goal is to churn as many visits as they can is not attractive to those looking for a job these days.

Our model, on the other hand, which is focused on the measurable outcomes of better health, better care experience, and less waste, thereby allowing the provider to have more joy in their day is what primary care clinicians are looking for. They want the help of the care managers and the rest of the team to do things like improve the diabetes composite score of their patients to make them live longer and healthier lives! They want to work in a system that is available for people when they have a need and doesn’t use the emergency department as the pathway of least resistance. An example of how attractive GBMA advanced primary care now is to physicians can be found in the fact that all 3 current Chief Residents of the University of Maryland Family Medicine Residency Program will be joining us this summer! They are: Janna Becker, MD who will be joining our Hunt Valley practice; Peter Burkill, MD who will be joining Family Care Associates in the North Pavilion; and Margaret Sass, MD who will be joining our Perry Hall team. One of their mentors, Dr. Kevin Ferentz, recently joined us as the lead physician at our Owings Mills practice. And we have other great new colleagues either recently arrived or coming:

Lisa Carey, DO Medicine/Pediatrics (Hunt Manor)
Deanna Shapiro, PA (Hunt Manor)
Elizabeth Shemin, NP (Texas Station)
Kevin Carter, MD (Owings Mills)

I am also excited that our Greater Baltimore Health Alliance colleagues from Jarrettsville Family Care, Linda Walsh, MD, Mary Elizabeth Craig, MD and physician assistants Bridget Diehl and Kristen Jubb, have decided to become employed by GBMA as well!

So, if you need a primary care provider or if you know someone who does…you have a lot of great choices! It is wonderful to be recognized as the system of choice for outstanding primary care physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

Opening Day Fun!

It would not be an Opening Day in Baltimore without Orioles gear at GBMC. Please check out pictures from today's celebration at the Sandra and Malcolm Berman Cancer Institute!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Our Culture of Safety: A Colleague Speaks Up

In last week’s blog, I used the example of our volunteers in the GOR waiting room reminding me to wash my hands as an illustration that our culture of safety was improving. The fact that volunteers or others would feel comfortable stopping a senior executive is a great example of people feeling secure to do the right thing.

Well, one of our colleagues read the blog and sent me an email. Her message was clear (although she did not use these precise words): “Not so fast! We still have those that abuse their position on the authority hierarchy. Our safety culture needs more work”. She told me of instances where a very few physicians were still getting angry when a staff member, usually a nurse, stopped them if they were going to deviate from a procedure designed for safety. Our colleague was concerned that even a manager who confronted a physician who didn’t want to follow the rules would be at risk for retribution by administration.

I met with our colleague directly to reassure her that no one would suffer retribution if they “stopped the line” to get the safe practice followed. I also met with the manager who reassured me that she believed that she was safe in confronting anyone who wouldn’t follow a safety procedure but she was getting a bit tired of confronting a very small number of individuals.

I again thanked the manager for her hard work and I reassured our colleague that we would get all of our leaders involved and if individuals persisted in acting up, that there would be further action.

I know that almost all of our physicians and nurses are marvelous collaborators who treat their colleagues with respect every day. And I also know that the evidence is not always crystal clear and that there is room for honest debate about some of our safety procedures. We want our clinicians to speak up if they think a rule needs to be changed. But everyone needs to know that we shouldn’t debate the rule at the bedside of an individual patient (unless of course we have evidence that following the rule will hurt that patient). The correct approach is to follow the rule in the moment and then meet with the leader who can change the procedure. Those leaders are usually our clinical department chairs, our physician service line leaders and our nurse managers and directors working together as a team.
I did not intend last week to suggest that our culture of safety is now perfect – it clearly is not – but we have made progress. Now, we must unite as a family to make the culture even better to protect our patients and ourselves. We must respect those with differing opinions and channel them to effective forums where their voice can be heard and when appropriate, the procedure changed. But we must simultaneously stop abusive behavior even if the abuser believes that their intent is pure. We must always make it safe and comfortable for people to speak up.

National Doctors’ Day
This past Monday (Mar. 30th) was National Doctor’s Day. This is the one day of the year that we reflect on the many contributions made by our physicians. I want to thank all the doctors on the GBMC medical staff who work extremely hard to care for patients as they would want their own loved ones cared for. We have physicians throughout our healthcare system that are making a tremendous difference in the lives of patients every day.  From the surgeons and hospitalists to the ED physicians, primary care doctors and specialists all throughout GBMC, thank you for caring for patients and their families.

Town Hall Meetings
Starting next week, through the end of June, we will be holding a series of Town Hall Meetings. These meetings present an opportunity for direct and provide an opportunity to ask questions, raise issues and share ideas.  All are encouraged to attend a meeting!  The value of these meetings is directly related to your participation so we look forward to seeing you there! For more information please visit http://infoweb/body.cfm?id=23&action=detail&ref=614

Happy Holidays
On a final note, the GBMC HealthCare family sends its best wishes to everyone celebrating Easter this Sunday and the eight-day festival of Passover.