Thursday, July 12, 2018

Good Food, Hula Hoops, and Karaoke

On Tuesday, we had the 2018 Employee and Volunteer Appreciation Luau. This event was a great opportunity for the GBMC family to come together and celebrate what we’ve accomplished as a healthcare system while also having some fun! We cannot reach our vision without a fully engaged workforce, and can’t have a fully engaged workforce unless people feel appreciated. Our fourth Aim  ̶  More Joy — requires that we take time to have some fun. There’s no doubt that the work of healthcare is hard and requires self-sacrifice and dedication.

The luau came in the middle of GBMC Spirit Week, a time for us all to show the pride we have in our organization and our caring for each other. This year, to accommodate all members of our workforce, we started the festivities earlier than usual and we made sure that we offered similar activities to our hospital night shift employees, Gilchrist, and our off-site locations.

The barbecue began at 11 a.m. and hamburgers, hot dogs, veggie burgers, BBQ chicken, watermelon salads, desserts, and beverages were served by Rouge Catering. The Kona Ice truck was also on site providing shaved ice for a cool treat.

Everyone enjoyed the music, good food, luau-themed games, a surprise visit from the Oriole Bird, and having a relaxing time with friends and colleagues. Many enjoyed participating in or watching the hula hoop contest, relay race, egg toss, and the flamingo ring toss. We assembled again from 10 p.m. until midnight to BBQ and play games with the night shift staff.

We also hosted a Legacy Chase Hat Contest in which teams decorated wide-brimmed floppy hats to show support for Legacy Chase and the Oncology department. A huge thank you to all the departments, units, and practices who participated! There were 27 hats submitted, and attendees voted on their favorites in three categories: Best Legacy Chase (Equestrian) Theme, Best Cancer Awareness Theme, and Best Department/Unit Theme. I hope many of you voted for your favorite!

Here are the winners in each category, pictured below from left to right:

From left to right: Best Legacy Chase (Equestrian) Theme submitted by Nursing Education; Best Cancer Awareness Theme submitted by The Milton J. Dance, Jr. Head & Neck Center; Best Department/Unit Theme submitted by The Emergency Department

We also had raffles and games sponsored by departments raising money to win a tent at Legacy Chase!

Our Philanthropy Team, led by Jenny Coldiron, our Human Resources Team, led by Anna-Maria Palmer, and our Marketing and Communications Team, led by Greg Shaffer, put on a fabulous event! Special thanks to Kim Davenport from Marketing, Shannon Baumler from Philanthropy, and Tina Hughes from Human Resources for their hard work on this event, beginning early in the morning and stretching all the way through the night shift.

It was a great opportunity to celebrate together and leave our work behind, even if only for an hour or so. I am honored to be a part of the GBMC HealthCare family and I am very grateful for all that our people do. I am delighted to show my spirit. 

All in all, we had a great day celebrating our employees! Check out the photos.

What did you think about the luau?

Congratulations to Dr. Celano!

As we celebrated at the GBMC employee and volunteer recognition luau, I am pleased to share some wonderful news from a donor who also recognizes the hard work that you do. In July, the Samuelson Foundation made a generous pledge to name in perpetuity the Herman and Walter Samuelson Medical Director of The Sandra and Malcolm Berman Cancer Institute held by Dr. Paul Celano. The trustees of the Samuelson Foundation made this gift to show their appreciation for the remarkable job that physicians, nurses, and the entire staff of GBMC does to provide cancer patients with evidence-based and compassionate care.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Summer Reflections

I was very fortunate to be on vacation this week, spending time with extended family members and friends who I hadn’t seen in a while. On the Fourth of July, I was thinking about the Declaration of Independence and that “all men are created equal with certain inalienable rights, among them Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness...” I believe that healthcare is a right that allows us to live life to the fullest and to pursue happiness.

When we gather with friends and family, we discuss all the happenings since our last visit, - both good and bad. Inevitably we discuss illness, who was just diagnosed with what disease and how they are coping. These conversations always bring me back to GBMC HealthCare and our vision of being the community-based healthcare system that can deliver the quadruple aim to every patient, every time.  It is a very noble cause, which I am so fortunate to be part of along with my 3,000+ colleagues.

So, I am going to spend a few more days away enjoying family and friends, the beach, some good meals, good music (of course Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers), and then return to GBMC recommitted to help move us closer to our vision.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Communicating in a “Large” Company

I think of our healthcare system as being small, which is good because we can change faster than bigger companies in our industry. On the other hand, with more than 3,000 employees, we are a pretty big organization and trying to make sure that all of our people know what we are trying to do and what is changing is really difficult. There is no one good way to communicate. So, we use many methods. One of those methods is the Town Hall Meeting.

This week, we started our summer Town Hall Meetings. These meetings attempt to narrow the gap between what the frontline staff knows and what the front office staff knows. The meetings are meant to be two-way communications, a sharing up and down of information. The bigger the group, the harder it is to make this happen.

One of the goals of holding these Town Hall Meetings is for our employees to come away feeling informed about our healthcare system and what is going on around it. These meetings are a place to learn more about your role in moving us closer to our vision and are one of your opportunities to have your opinion heard.

We welcome everyone to come with questions and ideas, and I encourage all GBMC staff members to attend at least one of the 12 scheduled meetings that run through August 14 on the GBMC campus, in Owings Mills, and at the Gilchrist headquarters. I am willing to come at other times and to other locations. If you wish to schedule a session, please call Tina Hughes at ext. 2495.

Some of the important topics we will be covering include:
An update on our system performance
The results of our recent employee engagement survey
Facilities improvements
The new fitness center on campus

The detailed schedule is available on the GBMC HR’s InfoWeb page.

Again, these meetings provide an opportunity to ask questions, raise issues, share information, and clarify key objectives. If you would like to submit a question prior to the meeting, please submit it via email to Tina Hughes at

All are encouraged to attend!  The value of these meetings is directly related to your participation, so we look forward to seeing you there!  Please mark your calendars!

New NICU Opens Its Doors
On Wednesday, we officially started treating patients in our new NICU. Here are a couple of photos from Day One. Again, I want to thank Howard Birenbaum, MD, the NICU medical director, Drs. Maria Pane and Sabah M. Helou, and our incredible nursing staff, led by manager Kristin Trawinski, as well as our pediatricians, nurse practitioners, and talented and dedicated therapists who provide the best care to our tiniest patients.

Tragedy In Annapolis
We are all sad to hear about the tragic event that took place at The Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis. We extend our deepest sympathies to the family, friends, and colleagues of those killed and injured in yesterday's event.

Finally, I want to wish everyone in our GBMC family a safe and happy Independence Day. July 4th marks the birthday of our great country, the land of the free and the home of the brave. Let's take some time to reflect on what we can each do to make our country even better than it is today. 

Friday, June 22, 2018

Helping the Tiniest of Our Patients

For years, GBMC has been called “the baby hospital.” We are known as a premier birthing center, but we are also an outstanding center for the care of premature and sick babies. Our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) treats roughly one in ten of the 4,000 babies born at GBMC annually.

On Tuesday, June 26, GBMC will officially open the doors to a new NICU that will allow us to continue to achieve excellent clinical outcomes in a state-of-the-art setting.

The new NICU will provide individual private spaces for babies and their families. Each of our new 13 rooms (10 single and 3 multiple-birth rooms) will allow for an individualized environment in terms of lighting, temperature, and sound.

Now, with this new NICU, we will provide an enriched environment for the infant and family to complement the leading-edge care provided to these highly vulnerable patients. We anticipate that the new NICU will further promote the short- and long-term clinical outcomes we are proud of at GBMC. As a member of the Vermont Oxford Neonatal Network (VON), we can compare our own outcomes annually as well as with a universe of tens of thousands of low birth weight infants each year.  Here are some key examples:

  • Utilizing VON definitions, we have reduced our incidence of chronic lung disease in very low birth weight babies by 75 percent since 2002.  These improvements were the result of our group adopting a standardized approach to the initial support and management of these infants, avoiding intubation and mechanical ventilation, improving nutrition, and adhering to tighter parameters for the provision of oxygen. For several of the past years, none of our babies were discharged home on supplemental oxygen therapy.  These quality improvements have been published in Pediatrics and other journals, and continue to be referenced in other peer-reviewed publications.

  • Similarly, with our improvements, our length of stay has also fallen significantly during the same period, and on average about 10 fewer hospital days than that of VON.

We know we have outstanding neonatologists, including Howard Birenbaum, MD, the NICU medical director, and Drs. Maria Pane and Sabah M. Helou.  We are also fortunate to have an incredible nursing staff is led by manager Kristin Trawinski, pediatricians, nurse practitioners, and talented and dedicated therapists. None of this though would be possible without the phenomenal support of our community, which over the past 30 years, has provided us with the financial assistance to provide expert around-the-clock, comprehensive care to our tiniest patients.

This past Sunday, I ran in our 30th annual Father’s Day 5K. As always, it was great to see so many parents of former NICU babies, as well as so many other people from the community and the GBMC staff, come out and participate in this terrific cause.

This year’s event, once again presented by the GBMC Volunteer Auxiliary, was incredible because it raised $184,000 towards the $4 million cost of the newly renovated NICU!  I want to thank the more than 700 participants, who ran or walked, and who spent part of their Father’s Day with GBMC to help support the NICU babies and their families.

Lastly, I want to thank everyone involved in our community Wellness Village, which featured health-related vendors. Additionally, MIX 106.5 Radio was on-site with its Friends and Neighbors van playing music and sharing prizes. Great work, everyone!!!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Do you see the clutter?

On Wednesday, we were walking through the Pediatric Department and we saw the 6S that was going on in the supply room. You will recall that 5 (or 6) S stands for sort, separate, shine, standardize, sustain, and (#6) safety. Everything was in its proper place, beautifully labeled, and easy to find. Having items arranged and organized is fundamental for a high-performing unit or department. When things are not in their place, people waste time and effort looking for them. In addition, when spaces are cluttered, various items may be in the way, which can potentially lead to harm. 

Last week, one of our employees was injured after crashing into a chair that was obstructing her path. This injury could have been avoided if the chair had been placed where it belonged.

When things are routinely left in random places, we get “immunized” against seeing the disarray…we begin to accept it. On the same day, I was walking on another unit of the hospital and found two stretchers in the hallway. This hallway would be an exit route from the unit if there was a fire! I informed the local manager who told me that he would have them moved immediately, but this was not the point. I wondered who had left the stretchers there and how many people had passed them by without removing the safety hazard? Did people not “see” them? Or were some people leaving them there as hoarders because they did not trust the hub to send them back expeditiously when they were needed?

What do you think? Please let me know by commenting below. Thanks.

Congratulations Laurie Beyer!

Becker's Hospital Review has named its 150 Hospital and Health System Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) to Know, and our very own Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Laurie R. Beyer, BS, MBA, CPA, made the list. She has served as CFO for the GBMC HealthCare system since late 2017. According to Becker’s, the executives that were recognized across the country lead financial departments for large health systems as well as small community hospitals and play an integral role in their organization's strategic planning, growth and transactions. They have also been recognized by their peers and serve on the board of directors for community organizations.

Celebrating Survivorship

Last week, I was delighted to be with over 400 cancer survivors, their caregivers, friends, and family members as they celebrated life at our annual Cancer Survivorship Celebration.

This annual event provides an opportunity to commemorate our patients’ courage and our caregivers' commitment to their treatment. Every year, more than 2,000 individuals turn to the experts at The Sandra and Malcolm Berman Cancer Institute at GBMC when faced with potentially life-changing medical diagnoses. Our Berman Cancer Institute is recognized both locally and nationally and is fully accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer.

The number of people who attend this event continues to grow. Congratulations to our survivors, their families, and our caregivers!

Closing Time…

Voting for this year’s BALTIMORE Magazine: TOP DOCTORS issue is wrapping up soon. Docs, if you haven’t done so already, please vote for the colleagues that you most respect by NO LATER than Monday, June 18th! The survey can be found at:

I’m sure your colleagues will greatly appreciate your vote! Thank you.

Monday, June 11, 2018

From Usually to Always

Imagine you are on a commercial flight from Baltimore to Chicago. The co-pilot comes out of the cockpit and you engage him or her in a conversation. You ask the co-pilot to tell you about the process for determining which runway to land on and the co-pilot says: “We usually get our instructions for the landing from the air traffic controller, but sometimes the captain likes to bypass the system and we pick the runway ourselves…it’s usually faster.” What would you think? Ok, I know that this is a ridiculous example of an unreliable system (reliability= what should happen happens and what should not happen, doesn’t). But you get the point.

Healthcare can be as high-risk as commercial aviation. It wasn’t too long ago that everything in healthcare was done the way that the most powerful person in the decision wanted it done that day. We are in a much better place today. As an example, we have nearly eliminated catheter-associated urinary tract infections by standardizing the process, according to the evidence of what works best, how a catheter is put in, how it is maintained, and when it comes out. There are some things in healthcare that shouldn’t be standardized because there is no one best way or there is no evidence as to what works best. Patients are not all the same and not everyone will benefit from the same therapy. But to leave time to make these more difficult decisions, we should standardize what we can.

On Lean Daily Management Rounds, we are often asking what is our standard work. When we get an answer that starts: “Well, usually…”, we know that we have not created standard work, people don’t know that we have created it, we have not properly enrolled them in the standard work, or we are not holding them accountable.

What examples do you have of what should be moved to standard work? Please let me know below. Let’s move more things from usually to always!

GBMC Wins Award for Diversity
I am proud to announce that the GBMC Healthcare System was a recipient of this year's Rouse Excellence in Diversity Award. The James W. Rouse Diversity Award is presented annually by the Chesapeake Human Resources Association (CHRA) to a local organization which best exemplifies an attitude and environment of acceptance and inclusion. James Rouse was dedicated to diversity and CHRA's Rouse Diversity Award was established to honor his memory and vision of building a better way to live and work through diversity, which was embodied in his many nationally known urban redevelopment programs.

At GBMC, we know the importance of being inclusive and welcoming everyone to join our family. We were selected for the award because of our Celebration and Education Initiative, which provides employees with experiences and resources that incorporate celebrating diverse cultures and learning about diversity and inclusion. Components of this initiative include: monthly cultural celebrations, a calendar of celebrations and events, an annual corporate competency, orientation presentations, and other learning and development initiatives promoting a diverse workplace.

I want to congratulate GBMC’s Diversity & Inclusion Council and our Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Jennifer Maraña, Ph.D., for their leadership and for receiving this award.

Decentralized Parking Project Update 
What’s Completed?
The utility rough-ins, concrete islands, and road work have been completed at the South Chapman lot(s), F-Lot/Valet lot, Tulip (PPN) Garage, Lily (ED) Garage, and Rose lot. Most of the new parking control equipment has been set at these locations but will remain inactive until all the parking areas are completed.

What’s in Progress?
Daffodil (PPW) Garage is currently closed for the parking infrastructure installation and is scheduled to be re-opened on Tuesday, June 12th. The installation of the equipment at the parking areas as well as the pay-on-foot stations inside of the buildings will continue throughout the month of June.

What’s Next?
Iris (PPE) Garage will be closing on Wednesday, June 13th for approximately 3 weeks to complete the utility rough-ins, concrete islands, widening of the entrance/exit, and installation of the equipment. As equipment gets placed throughout campus, work is also completed to connect the equipment to the hospital’s electrical, network, and security systems and test it for proper operation.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Global Budgets: A Way to Save Rural Hospitals?

This week, I participated in a conference at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHBSOPH) entitled: State Policy Academy on Global Budgeting for Rural Hospitals. I was invited along with three other healthcare leaders: Leslie Simmons from Carrol Hospital, Joe Ross from Meritas, and Barry Ronan from Western Maryland Health System. The conference included an address from the new Executive Director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, Adam Boehler, and a panel discussion that included Donna Kinzer, the Executive Director of Maryland’s Health Services Cost Review Commission (HSCRC).

The goal of this meeting was to educate healthcare leaders from other states who are looking for ways to support their rural hospitals. My friend and colleague, Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, JHBSOPH’s Vice Dean for Public Health Practice and Community Engagement, gave a compelling argument in favor of guaranteed global budgeting for rural hospitals. He cited Maryland’s success with this strategy and the fact that there are over 800 rural hospitals in America at risk of closing. Small hospitals cannot withstand variability in demand for their services in a fee-for-service world, and yet our citizens need dependable access to healthcare.

We met with leaders from Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Hawaii, Colorado, and several other states and told them about our ability to increase - funds to services and programs that are truly needed but are not reimbursed adequately in fee-for-service.

I learned a lot about the challenges of rural healthcare and I have great respect for people who are helping this underserved group of Americans. Pennsylvania will implement global budgets for rural hospitals beginning in January 2019. It will be interesting to see how this works and if other states also give it a try.

Stroke Center Award
I want to congratulate our Primary Stroke Center which recently received the Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. This award recognizes us for our commitment to ensuring that stroke patients receive care based on the latest scientific evidence. We earned this recognition by meeting specific quality requirements for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients, which will increase their chances of maximal recovery and lower mortality.

We also received the Target: Stroke Honor Roll. To qualify for this recognition, we must meet quality measures developed to reduce the time between the patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment.

These awards are the result of the hard work and expertise of our entire stroke team and demonstrate GBMC’s high level of commitment to caring for stroke patients. Great work, everyone!

Friday, May 25, 2018

GBMC Recognized for Excellence

The GBMC HealthCare team has recently received several awards. The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN), the world's largest specialty nursing organization representing the interests of more than a half-million acute and critical care nurses, recently recognized our Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) with a silver-level Beacon Award for Excellence. Our hospital is just one of five in Maryland to achieve this prestigious recognition.

This award recognizes the incredible contributions that have been made by the MICU staff members who are driving us towards our vision daily. They don’t rest on their achievements; they ask how they can make the clinical outcomes and care experience of their patients even better. It takes teamwork and a strong culture of improvement to earn this recognition.

I am truly honored by and proud of our magnificent MICU staff. Congrats to Rachel Ridgely RN, the MICU Nurse Manager, Monica Goetz, MSN, RN, CCRN, our Assistant Director, and all the MICU team!

Kudos to Our Lactation Support Team
GBMC was also acknowledged by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE) and the International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA) for excellence and dedication in supporting and promoting breastfeeding.

The IBCLC Care Award is reserved for hospitals and community-based facilities that protect, promote, and support breastfeeding. Specific criteria include having dedicated lactation specialists available five to seven days per week for breastfeeding families and having staff that is currently IBCLC (International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant) certified. This recognition validates the efforts being made by our multi-disciplinary team of nurses, nursing support technicians, lactation consultants, obstetricians, midwives, pediatricians, and anesthesiologists to provide breastfeeding mothers support prenatally, during their hospital stay, and beyond discharge.

GBMC is one of three hospitals in the Baltimore region to receive this designation until the year 2020!  Congrats to Jodie Bell, BSN, RNC, IBCLC, Assistant Director of GBMC’s Women’s and Children’s Services, and her colleagues for their strong commitment to our patients.

Gilchrist Named a Great Place to Work
Gilchrist was recently certified by independent analysts as a Great Place to Work®. Gilchrist earned this distinction based on feedback from their recent Great Places to Work/Best Workplace in Aging employee survey. Cathy Hamel, President of Gilchrist and Vice President of Continuing Care at GBMC, feels that being named a “Great Place to Work” is a ringing endorsement of the employee culture at Gilchrist. This award will greatly enhance recruitment efforts to attract more of the outstanding, compassionate employees that make Gilchrist so special. I couldn’t agree more. Well done, everyone!

ACR Ultrasound Accreditation
The American College of Radiology (ACR) recently awarded GBMC with a three-year term of accreditation in ultrasound. I am pleased to let you know that we passed with flying colors, and not one deficiency was noted on any of the cases submitted for review. Accreditation by the ACR is approved for 1st Trimester OB, Gynecological, General, Pediatric, and Vascular (Peripheral, Cerebrovascular, Abdominal, Deep Abdominal). This accreditation wouldn’t be possible without the commitment of our sonographers, who are required to maintain ongoing continuing education to ensure they are current in their field. I’d like to congratulate Tracey Stroosnyder, Clinical Supervisor, and her whole team on this accomplishment.

Great job, GBMC Ultrasound!!!

GBMC Awarded for Including Minority-Owned Businesses
Over the last year, our Construction Management Department has worked to improve our inclusion of minority business enterprises within our construction process. Last fall, we held a minority business fair and conducted interviews with several companies that had an interest in partnering with GBMC HealthCare. Because of this intentional work, we now have several minority-owned companies on our pre-approved contractor list. In recognition of our efforts, GBMC was awarded Best Healthcare Provider for Minority Business Enterprises from the Maryland-Washington Minority Companies Association. I want to commend Stacey McGreevy, CPA, Vice President of GBMC HealthCare Support Services, and Russ Sadler, GBMC Capital Resources Manager, for this noteworthy recognition.

Honoring Our Heroes
Monday is Memorial Day, a special day when we honor those who have given their lives during military service to our country. Many of our GBMC HealthCare System employees have family members serving in the armed forces. Some are veterans themselves. So, on this Memorial Day holiday, let’s make time to honor all our veterans and their commitment to safeguard our security and be mindful of our heroes — living and deceased. Let this be a moment to recognize our nation’s champions with appreciation and respect.

Tragedy Strikes Our County
Earlier this week, we were saddened to hear the news that a Baltimore County police officer was killed in the line of duty. Our condolences and prayers go out to the family of fallen patrol officer Amy Caprio and her fellow officers at the Baltimore County Police Department. As members of the community, we must remember and be thankful for all those who risk their lives to keep us safe.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Continuing To Build A More Rational Health Care System

On Monday, Governor Larry Hogan announced the federal approval of Maryland's Total Cost of Care All-Payer Model, also known as the “Maryland Model.” This long-awaited announcement sets in motion the next phase of Maryland’s move towards a more value-driven healthcare system. Since January of 2014, Maryland has used global hospital budgets as a way to reduce costs and incentivize hospital leaders to improve health outcomes and the patient care experience. This was done to help these leaders build better systems of care and move away from the fragmented model in which they were providing acute care services but bearing little responsibility for how those services fit together to improve the health of the population they serve.

Setting revenue budgets for hospitals can be done in Maryland because we are the only state in the nation where hospitals don’t negotiate rates with individual insurance companies. In our state, the Health Services Cost Review Commission (HSCRC) sets the rates that all payers, including Medicare and Medicaid, will pay a hospital. The rates that are paid can vary from hospital to hospital by up to 60%, so the buyer must beware. Since the HSCRC controls the rates, beginning in 2014, it began to guarantee the total annual revenue for services under its purview to each hospital. If the hospital then reduced hospital utilization by keeping patients healthier, it did not need to worry that its total revenue would go down. This system gave hospital leaders more flexibility to spend money on things that prevent disease or better manage patients who are already sick with a chronic disease, like diabetes.

Maryland’s current model has saved Medicare more than $586 million through 2016, compared to national spending, and the new model is expected to provide an additional $300 million in savings per year by 2023 — a total of $1 billion over five years.

The Maryland Model aims to control the growth in healthcare costs, both at hospitals and community providers such as physician practices and nursing homes. Hospitals will be responsible for reducing the total cost of care for Medicare beneficiaries. Readers of this blog will know that GBMC has been building a system of care capable of improving health outcomes and the care experience while reducing wasteful spending for seven years. To do this, we embraced the concept of the patient-centered medical home. We created teams led by physicians that included nurse care managers, care coordinators, behavioral specialists, addiction specialists, and psychiatrists. We extended our hours of operation, created disease-state registries, and implemented a single medical record (Epic) across our whole system to improve care coordination. We made our specialty care even better than it was and made it easier to communicate between primary and specialty care. Now, there will be even bigger incentives for others in the state to do what we have done.

A piece of the new deal is the Maryland Primary Care Model. This program will financially incentivize primary care physicians to improve patient outcomes and ultimately lower cost by using care managers and others, as GBMC has already done. Since small primary care practices will not be able to afford to hire these new team members, new entities, called Care Transformation Organizations will be set up to provide care management and other services to small practices. GBMC will apply to become a Care Transformation Organization through our existing subsidiary company, Greater Baltimore Health Alliance. 

We are excited about this next phase of redesign in our state. The financial incentives of the Maryland Primary Care Model will make it easier for us to move closer to our vision of being a community healthcare system where every patient, every time, gets the care we would want for our own loved ones! Stay tuned.

Celebrations Galore!
Last week was full of events to celebrate GBMC HealthCare and our people. It started on Monday with the 30th annual GBMC Golf Tournament. Hats off to the entire golf committee, the many employees who helped with the event, and to Jenny Coldiron and the GBMC Philanthropy staff, all of whom worked together for a great event. Approximately 200 golfers supported our efforts and raised more than $195,000 to benefit GBMC. Dr. Bernard McGibbon, posthumously, and Dr. Rob Stoltz were each recognized; the first for having created the event and the second for his many years of service as the Chair of the Golf Tournament committee. 

We also held our annual Donor Recognition Dinner, and again I was honored to spend time with donors, members of the GBMC HealthCare System family, philanthropy committee members, and volunteer auxiliary members. Heidi Kenny-Berman, Chair of the GBMC Philanthropy Committee, was the host of the event, along with her husband, Steve Berman. Heidi and Steve did a fabulous job. The event featured a wine and food pairing that was educational and fun. Thank you to all for everything you do to help us continue to move towards our vision and remain an independent, community-owned and controlled healthcare system.

Lastly, on Friday we had our annual Art of Nursing celebration. We formally celebrated all that our incredible nurses give to GBMC and to our patients and highlighted the winners of the 2018 Art of Nursing Awards. Congratulations to the winners and to all those who were nominated! I also would like to thank everyone who made the Art of Nursing so successful, especially the emcee for the night, Denise Koch, and our GBMC Nursing Ambassador, Matt Stover!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Happy Mother’s Day

Today is Mother’s Day. It's a day that we set aside to reflect on motherhood and thank our mothers for their love and support.

So to all the mothers, within the GBMC HealthCare family, thank you and enjoy your day!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

GBMC Has The Best Nurses

National Nurses Week is celebrated annually from May 6 (also known as National Nurses Day) through May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. We are very fortunate in the GBMC HealthCare System to have the best nurses anywhere.

I see evidence of this daily on LDM rounds. Our nurses are not only working hard to bring the best caring and evidence-based practice to every patient, every time, they are also studying our processes and testing changes to make them even better. They display exemplary leadership every day.

Nursing requires selflessness and commitment. The 1,200+ nurses across the GBMC HealthCare System are critical to attaining our vision. Dedication to helping others is a defining characteristic of a nurse.

Nursing has always been a marvelous profession and it is exciting to see how many young nurses we have attracted. We have been able to recruit new nurses and keep our experienced nurses due to the vision of Dr. JoAnn Ioannou, our Senior Vice President of Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer. JoAnn and her nursing leadership team have created a professional development model for nurses that helps them choose their career direction and grow and develop their skills.

We are blessed to have phenomenal nurses in our inpatient units, our operating suites, our outpatient areas, our physician practices, and in our hospice. Our nurses move us closer to our vision every day.

We will be celebrating The Art of Nursing this Friday night and I look forward to seeing many of our nurses at the event. I am very proud of all of them and honored to call them my colleagues!

How has a nurse touched your life, either professionally or personally? Share your comments here and show our nurses just how important they are to GBMC and to our patients.

Accolades from Baltimore magazine for GBMC’s Top Nurses! 
I am proud to acknowledge our six colleagues who were chosen by their peers from among thousands of nurses throughout the Baltimore region. These outstanding nurses were selected in five different specialties and represented 12% of all the winners! Another fact to support my belief that we have the best nurses!

Please join me in congratulating those recognized in Baltimore magazine’s “Excellence in Nursing”

Greater Baltimore Medical Center
Lisa Groff Paris, DNP, RN – Women’s Health
Deborah Higgins, MS, RN – Educator
JoAnn Ioannou, DNP, MBA, RN, NEA-BC – Management, Nurse Executives
Alexis Schultz, BSN, RN – Pediatrics: Neonatal

Karen Bartosz, MSN, RN, CHPN – Hospice/Home Health/Palliative Care
Renee Ennis, BSN, RN, -- Hospice/Home Health/Palliative Care

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

The “Excellence in Nursing” issue is already on newsstands. Please make sure you grab your copy!

Speaking of Baltimore magazine: Physicians, it's that time again! Baltimore magazine is collecting votes for its Top Doctors issue. Doctors, please complete the survey below to vote for the colleagues you respect most! The magazine will only accept online voting for this issue.  Visit to cast your vote today!

National Hospital Week:  Time to Celebrate Those Who Care for Others 
We are also celebrating National Hospital Week from May 6 through May 12. According to the American Hospital Association, the week is “a celebration of the history, technology, and dedicated professionals that make our facilities beacons of confidence and care.”  This year’s theme is “Caring Is Our Calling,” something that our committed GBMC, Gilchrist, and GBMC Health Partners staff – more than 4,0000 employees across the system – do daily.

We have excellent facilities and technology within GBMC HealthCare, but a hospital is always more than a building and equipment. What makes our medical center great is our people. Physicians, nurses, technicians, therapists, other clinicians, environmental services workers, administrators, transporters, food service workers, supply technicians, librarians, volunteers, groundskeepers, fundraisers, human resource experts, telephone operators, information technologists, maintenance and facilities workers, and everyone else. At all hours of the day and night, all year long, GBMC and its dedicated staff are here to serve our community in our mission of health, healing, and hope.

I am very grateful for all that our hospital team does every day. Thank you to all!

The Passing of Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz
Today, we are all sad to hear of the passing of Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. The County Executive was a friend to GBMC HealthCare and our mission and a true advocate for our vision. He was a public servant who worked tirelessly for our community. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife and children.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Stepping it up to Reduce the Tragedy of the Opioid Epidemic

Baltimore City Mayor Catherine Pugh and Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen, along with representatives of all 11 Baltimore City hospitals, announced a new initiative this week to respond to the opioid epidemic.

The program will be built on levels of care that come from evidence-based techniques to identify and treat addiction when patients arrive in the emergency department or are admitted to the hospital. The plan is based on a similar initiative in Rhode Island, where overdose deaths decreased after its implementation. You may learn about the levels of care and what is required at each level here:

GBMC is not formally participating in this program since our hospital is in Baltimore County, not in the city, but we are already doing much of what is required to be in the highest level of care and we will continue to build to this capability. In our ED, we have peer counselors available and we begin addiction treatment for those who are willing. GBMC has also started working to prevent addiction or treat it in its earliest stages by having behavioral health consultants, substance use consultants, and psychiatrists in our patient-centered medical homes. Our goal is to identify depression and other mental illness early in the disease progression, so we can treat the disease early and hopefully prevent substance use.

I am delighted to see the work that is being done to stop this horrible epidemic. We will continue to partner with the community to bring this scourge to an end.

Hand Hygiene
It’s no secret that cleaning your hands can prevent the spread of germs, including those that are resistant to antibiotics and are more difficult to treat. Practicing hand hygiene is a simple, yet effective way to prevent infections

This Saturday, May 5 is “World Hand Hygiene Day.”  The day has been designated to remind healthcare workers and to encourage patients and their families to practice good hand hygiene. Many patients in the U.S. are affected by healthcare-associated infections and many of these situations could have been prevented by caregivers properly cleaning their hands at key moments in patient care.

Thank you very much to all of you for washing your hands!

GBMC Represented Again In The Daily Record’s Top 100 Women
I am once again proud to announce that two of our esteemed colleagues in the GBMC family were honored by The Daily Record as Top 100 Women. Barbara P. Messing, MA, CCC-SLP, BCS-S, Administrative-Clinical Director of the Milton J. Dance, Jr. Head and Neck Center, Johns Hopkins Head & Neck Surgery and Johns Hopkins Voice Center at GBMC, and Cathy Hamel, President of Gilchrist and our system’s Vice President for Continuing Care, (pictured left to right) were both honored for being exemplary citizens, for exhibiting a commitment to their community, and for actively participating in future leader mentoring. Congrats to you both!

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Remembering Joe Keelty and Celebrating Our Donors

This week, we had our annual Keelty Society dinner at Hayfields Country Club. The Society recognizes lifetime financial giving to GBMC of $250,000 or greater. This year, we welcomed 12 inductees. The inductees were:
  • Dr. and Mrs. Albert L. Blumberg
  • Mr. Phillip Dunk
  • Mr. Louis and Mrs. Phyllis Friedman
  • Mr. Lowell Glazer
  • Mr. and Mrs. H. Hudson Myers Jr. 
  • Mr. Thomas and Mrs. Lynne O’Donnell
  • Perinatal Associates
  • Mrs. Nancy Smith
  • Mrs. Emmy Lee Steigelman
  • Dr. Robert Bond Welch
  • The estate of Elizabeth M. Christhilf
  • The estate of Andrew Trost

Joe Keelty was a very accomplished, yet very humble man. He would have been proud of these members of our community who have generously supported our HealthCare system. But Joe would not have wanted any attention given to him. He gave to help others, not to be recognized for his philanthropy. We miss him, but his spirit lives on.

Passing of A Titan
For over 20 years, Dr. McGibbon served as GBMC’s chief of plastic and reconstructive surgery. During his surgical career at GBMC, he mainly performed reconstructive breast surgery, following breast cancer, and toward his later years, performed a significant amount of general cosmetic surgery. He retired in 2002 to spend full time as a professional artist.

He was also the founder of the annual GBMC Golf Classic. The event was initiated by Dr. McGibbon who realized the need for a special occasion to encourage togetherness among the GBMC family.  Since 1988, the annual event has generated tremendous camaraderie among the participants and has raised approximately $4 million to support our clinical programs.

In 2013, Dr, McGibbon was honored for his service as a GBMC surgeon and as the founder of The GBMC Golf Classic with a portrait located on the paneled wall behind the reception desk adjacent to the hospital’s General Operating Room registration and waiting areas. Dr. McGibbon’s picture is alongside other significant GBMC physicians James H. Dorsey, M.D., former chief of the Department of Gynecology, Pedro Garcia, M.D., former chairman of the Department of Anesthesiology and Geary L. Stonesifer, M.D., the first chairman of the Department of Surgery.

GBMC and the entire medical community benefited greatly from his presence and his actions. We will miss him dearly.

Kudos to Dr. Sternlicht!
Congratulations to Jeffrey Sternlicht, MD, on being named the 2018 Physician of the Year by the Maryland Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP). Each year, this award is given to a Maryland physician who has made significant contributions in the field of emergency medical services (EMS).

The award acknowledges Dr. Sternlicht as a leader who motivates, inspires, and challenges his team while encouraging others to make the most of their strengths and using weaknesses as a chance to improve. His leadership and insight have taken his department to a higher level of emergency care.

Dr. Sternlicht is, without a doubt, deserving of this award and we are grateful for his service and dedication. Congratulations!

And It's Medical Laboratory Professionals Week!
This week is Medical Laboratory Professionals Week. According to The American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science, there are almost 300,000 practitioners of medical laboratory science in the country. This group of medical professionals have a vital role in the diagnosis and prevention of disease and are key members of any healthcare team. We are truly blessed and lucky to have an outstanding team of pathologists, technicians, phlebotomists, and staff. These behind-the-scenes heroes are essential members of the patient care team. I am so proud of our lab team who have always demonstrated excellence.

Thank you!!!
I want to thank everyone who participated in our third Walk a Mile in Her Shoes®:  The International Men’s March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault & Gender Violence. We had about 250 participants and we raised approximately $37,500 for our SAFE and Domestic Violence programs. On Saturday, male and female participants walked a mile around GBMC’s campus in high heels (or red tennis shoes) to shed light on this problem and to show support for the victims.

I am proud that GBMC continues to be a leader in helping the victims of sexual assault and domestic violence and in educating the community to reduce these attacks. I want to thank the GBMC Foundation, our Volunteer Auxiliary and all parties who worked together to make this year’s event another success!

Friday, April 20, 2018

Thank You to Our Volunteers!

This week, we're celebrating National Volunteer Appreciation Week and it is a special opportunity for GBMC HealthCare to pay tribute to the volunteers who devote their time, energy, and talent to serving the patients and associates at our hospital. We cannot achieve our mission of health, healing, and hope without them.

Volunteering is a great way to give back to the community and help those in need. With more than 900 volunteers in the hospital and at Gilchrist, GBMC has one of the largest volunteer auxiliaries in Maryland.

Our volunteers give selflessly to others, and they understand the value and importance of a friendly smile and the comfort of kind words in the healing process. The efforts of our volunteers are rewarding for them, in addition to being of great service to our patients and our employees. I’m extremely grateful for their dedication and hard work and for the wonderful job that they do.

This week, I was able to attend a few of the volunteer appreciation lunches to serve food, have a bite to eat and to say, “thank you” to them. I really enjoyed myself and was reminded again that at GBMC we are truly blessed to have such a fantastic volunteer auxiliary.

To all our volunteers, you’re a critical part of our healthcare team and I thank you for dedicating your time to make our health care system better.

How Good is GBMC as a Place to Work? Hearing from Our People
Among my responsibilities as the Chief Executive, I must ensure that GBMC is constantly in action to improve as an organization to work for. Our fourth aim is to exhibit our joy in serving others. This is not possible if our people are not feeling the support of our company. If they do not feel supported, they cannot fully engage in the other three aims of delivering the best health outcome with the best care experience and the least waste of resources.

So, every year we ask our people to complete our Employee Engagement Survey.

The survey is open through this coming Monday, April 23, and it should only take a few minutes to complete. I ask that all our employees complete the survey honestly. We need to know what you think to make the GBMC HealthCare system an even better place to work.

The survey is administered by Press Ganey, who compiles the data for us. We at GBMC never see individual responses. Your responses to the survey will remain CONFIDENTIAL. If you do, however, choose to include additional comments, these will be shared with your manager, but your name will not be given.
This summer, all employees will receive feedback on the survey results and action plans will be developed based on these results. Many of you last year asked for a shorter survey so this year the survey has 11 fewer questions!

Thank you so much for taking the survey.

If you have any questions about the survey, please call your Human Resource Business Partner.

Put on Your Red Shoes and Let’s Go for A Walk!
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and the statistics are quite alarming. Did you know that on average, there are over 320,000 victims of rape and sexual assault, a year, in the United States and in 8 out of 10 cases of rape, the victim knew the person who sexually assaulted them?

Our Sexual Assault Forensic Examination (SAFE) and Domestic Violence programs do so much for our community and we are grateful for their work in helping the victims of sexual assault and in educating the community to reduce these attacks. The assessment and treatment of victims of sexual assault are very complex. Expertise and caring are required not only to address the medical and psychological needs of the patient but also to complete the forensic work necessary to aid law enforcement in the identification of the perpetrator and to see that justice is served.

GBMC also serves survivors of domestic violence, including survivors of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV). Our domestic violence program includes providing 24/7 in-house victim advocacy.

Sexual assault and domestic violence patients not only get quality medical-forensic treatment but also receive much-needed crisis intervention and safety planning. Under the leadership of, Laura Clary, our SAFE program is growing and expanding in new directions helping us to better meet our mission of health, healing, and hope for those in our community and our vision of serving everyone the way we want our own loved ones served.

Registered nurses in GBMC’s SAFE program are specifically trained and certified by the Maryland Board of Nursing to provide care for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence of all ages in a confidential, non-judgmental atmosphere. At no cost to the patient, these nurses focus on re-empowering survivors to begin the healing process, in addition to working toward ending sexual assault and IPV in the community.

To date, GBMC’s Domestic Violence Program has provided services to approximately 1,000 individuals and our SAFE program sees close to 200 patients annually. We come nowhere close to covering the cost of these programs with health insurance billing, so we require the financial help of the community.

So, tomorrow, Saturday, April 21, I encourage everyone to grab their friends and family and come out to the GBMC campus for our third annual Walk A Mile In Her Shoes®: The International March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault, and Gender Violence. Men, women, and children will walk a mile around GBMC’s campus with many in red high heels (or red Converse). All proceeds from the event will benefit GBMC’s Sexual Assault Forensic Examination (SAFE) and Domestic Violence programs.

To learn more about how you can continue to help victims and this critical program that supports the health and wellness of our community click here. I hope that you will come out and walk with us and/or financially support the event.

Congratulations Harry!!
Harry S. Johnson, Esq., previous Chair of the Board of Directors and current member of our GBMC HealthCare Inc. Board, is being recognized with a lifetime achievement award by the Daily Record publication. This award recognizes attorneys and judges whose body of work over their careers makes them stand out. They are well respected in their profession, active in their community, and dedicated to growing the next generation of legal leaders.

Harry’s been involved with GBMC since the mid-1980s as a lawyer handling medical negligence cases on behalf of GBMC and its physicians. He was an inspiring and strong leader as Chairman from 2011 to 2014.

For those of you who know Harry, you know he is a very passionate man who has also accomplished a great deal in his life. As a partner at the law firm of Whiteford, Taylor & Preston, he has become one of the most distinguished attorneys in Maryland and is a past President of the Maryland State Bar Association. He serves on many prestigious committees of the American Bar Association and has served a myriad of community organizations through the years.

I can’t think of anyone who is more deserving of this award than Harry Johnson!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Proud of What We Have Accomplished Together

Last week in Chicago, I did a little bragging about the GBMC HealthCare System and what we have accomplished under our four aims (the areas that best describe the care we want for our own loved ones): Best health outcomes; Best satisfaction; Least waste; Most joy for those providing the care. I gave a workshop along with my friend and colleague, Keith Poisson, our executive vice president and chief operating officer, at the annual congress of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

The title of our workshop was “A Community Health System Manages the Health of a Population.”

We described our work over the last eight years creating our vision and delivering on it. We talked about how strong our hospital has been for more than 50 years, and how we have built upon the excellent work of our hospital, hospice, employed physicians, and private practicing physicians to create a system of care that the patient would experience as a system. Keith presented the work with our service lines and how we have used continuous performance improvement tools such as Lean Daily Management to move closer to our vision every day. I presented about our development of advanced primary care using the patient-centered medical home and how this work has been aided by Maryland’s waiver and the global budgeted revenue system.

As we were presenting, I couldn’t help but reflect on how many of our people have worked hard on redesigning our systems to get us to where we are today, and how lucky I was to be associated with each one of them. Thank you!

Dr. Robert Ferguson recently received the 2018 Dema C. Daley Founders Award from the Association of Program Directors in Internal Medicine (APDIM).

Dr. Ferguson, an attending physician and valued member of the teaching faculty for our Internal Medicine residency program, was recognized by APDIM for his dedication to exemplary teaching and innovative educational program management.

APDIM is the professional organization of accredited internal medicine residency programs whose core mission is to support program directors in the pursuit of excellence in graduate medical education for internal medicine.

The APDIM Dema C. Daley Founders Award is the organization’s highest distinction and honors a member of the internal medicine community recognized nationally as an educator, innovator, and leader. Congratulations, Dr. Ferguson!

Friday, March 30, 2018

Improving Parking on Our Campus

We've recently started communicating with the GBMC family about changes to our traffic flow and parking on our campus. We have begun to put gates on our garages and lots. In June, we will remove the gatehouse and install ticket dispensers and “tap and go” readers at six locations: Rose Lot (Visitors Only), Daffodil Garage, Iris Garage, Lily Garage, Tulip Garage, and South Chapman.

These changes are needed to make the entrance to our campus safer for vehicular traffic and to reduce delays when entering and exiting from our grounds during peak hours while also improving parking accessibility for our patients. Stacey McGreevy, our Vice President of Support Services, and her team have been working hard to make the transition as easy as possible for our people. As we implement this decentralized parking model, we are conducting periodic studies of our parking capacity to make changes in employee assignments. Our goal is to allow employees to park as close to their work site as possible with the caveat that capacity for patients and visitors is our number one priority. If there are changes to your parking assignment, employees will be notified in May.

All GBMC employees will receive an assigned home lot or garage and will be able to “tap and go” their badges to enter and exit our medical campus. Your GBMC ID badge will be automatically programmed to function at your assigned parking lot or garage’s reader and stickers will still be issued to monitor compliance at free parking areas such as the Bluebell and the Labor and Delivery parking lots, that will remain as patient-only parking. We will not be erecting parking gates at these lots as parking will be free for our patients. Any employees found parking in these lots will be towed. Employees who work at locations other than the GBMC Main Campus, such as Gilchrist employees and our primary care off-sites, will have open access to park in any garage due to the infrequency of visits to the campus.

Patients will use pay-on-foot stations, which will be installed at high-volume pedestrian locations or pay from their vehicle using cash or credit at garage gates. To ensure a smooth transition there will be attendants stationed at gates during the initial rollout. Patients and visitors will have four payment options:
1. Pay with cash or credit at a pay station, receive a ticket, and put the validated ticket in the ticket reader at the gate from their vehicle.
2. Pay with cash or credit at the gate pay station from their vehicle.
3. Pay the gate attendant with cash or credit.
4. Use a discounted or free parking ticket, if they received one, at any of the above payment location options.

Thank you for complying with our parking rules so that parking spaces are always available and accessible for our patients. All existing passes will be used during the transition. The booths will be staffed, and the existing passes will be accepted. Once existing passes have been exhausted, new passes will need to be purchased.

Doctors' Day
Today is National Doctors' Day across the United States. Because this year March 30th is a holiday in multiple religions, we are celebrating on Monday, April 2. We are very fortunate to have a wonderful medical staff, who work very hard and do marvelous things. Our physicians throughout the healthcare system make a tremendous difference in the lives of patients every day. I am glad that at least one day a year we reach out and thank physicians for all the things they do 365 days a year.

In honor of Doctors' Day and your physician, please share your thoughts and inspiring stories of patient care here… 

Happy Holiday
On a final note, the GBMC HealthCare family sends its best wishes to everyone celebrating Passover and Easter this Sunday.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Calling of Gilchrist Kids: End of Life Care for Children and Support for Their Families

The recent rebranding campaign for Gilchrist was designed to inform the community that it is more than hospice. Gilchrist provides outstanding elder care for fully active seniors, patients with chronic disease and frailty, and those nearing end of life. Annually, Gilchrist delivers elder medical care to 7,500 individuals, hospice care to 5,400 patients, and grief counseling and bereavement services to 6,500 people. The organization also counsels people on advance care planning, guiding them through decisions about their treatment and helping them make informed choices about their end-of-life care. They truly are living up to being “more than hospice.”

What many people do not realize is that Gilchrist also has a pediatric hospice program, which provides all-inclusive end-of-life care for infants, children, and young adults with life-limiting illnesses. It is the only facility in the state with inpatient children’s hospice beds. Gilchrist Kids cares for children dying from cancer, cardiac disease, untreatable infectious disease or blood disorders, life-limiting genetic or congenital diseases, and other conditions. The program also offers perinatal support for parents-to-be who have learned that their unborn child may have an incurable illness, as well as respite care, which is critical in improving the quality of life for terminally ill children and their families.

Gilchrist opened over 20 years ago as a small hospice organization serving a few dozen people It has grown to now serving thousands of individuals throughout Central Maryland—in homes, in skilled nursing and residential care facilities, and in three inpatient hospice centers in Towson, Howard County, and Baltimore.

To find out more about Gilchrist kids, I encourage you all to watch the following two interviews with staff members from Gilchrist Kids from the shows “To Your Health” and “Greater Living,” which were broadcasted last week on the GBMC Facebook page. I think you will find them very enlightening and you will be very proud of all that they do.

To Your Health

Greater Living

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Learning Together with Our Colleagues from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

On Monday, we were delighted to host my dear friend and colleague, Dennis Wagner, the Director of the Quality Improvement and Innovation Group at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and several of his colleagues from CMS on our Lean Daily Management rounds.

I worked with Dennis and learned so much from him when he was the director of  The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) national initiative to increase organ donation and I was the national co-chair. Dennis is an expert in social marketing and leading groups to attain bold goals. He co-leads CMS’s Partnership for Patients collaborative, which has been incredibly successful in improving care in U.S. hospitals and in which GBMC participates. I previously visited CMS and participated in their LDM walk, so I was grateful that Dennis came to see ours.

We got some great insights from Dennis and his team that will only make our rounding better. Dennis was very impressed with the spirit of improvement that he found throughout our healthcare system.

Thank You to Our Social Workers!
March is Professional Social Work Month and I would like to thank the devoted group of social workers who serve GBMC. Our social workers help inpatients and outpatients navigate the complexity of the medical care world and prepare them for discharge along with our care managers. They’ve helped GBMC maintain one of the lowest readmission rates in the state. Please thank our social workers for all that they do to move us closer to our vision.

Left to right: Chris Greenawalt, MD &
Rekha Motagi, MD
New Director of our Hospitalist Program
Chris Greenawalt, MD, has been named as our new Director of the Hospitalist Program. Dr. Greenawalt has been a leading member of the GBMC hospitalist group since 2003.

He received his medical degree from Wake Forest University School of Medicine and is board-certified in Internal Medicine. He not only has vast experience in working as a hospitalist, but also in helping hospitalist programs flourish.

“Hospitalists” are physicians who specialize in hospital medicine and devote their time exclusively to caring for inpatients. They communicate during admission and discharge with the primary care physicians, assuring continuity of care.

During Dr. Greenawalt’s time at GBMC, he served as the Assistant Director of the Hospitalist Group for six years and participated in multiple committees, including the Credentials Committee. In addition to his new leadership responsibilities, Dr. Greenawalt will continue to care for patients in the hospital as an attending physician. I would also like to thank Dr. Rekha Motagi, who is stepping down as Director of the Hospitalist Program for her years of outstanding service. Rekha will continue to see patients in the Hospitalist group.

Thank you to Dr. Motagi and congratulations to Dr. Greenawalt!

Friday, March 2, 2018

Pulling the Andon Cord

It’s been two years since we discussed our work to assure that nurses always have the medication to give to patients when they need it. In January of 2016, we reviewed the tremendous reduction in “missing medications” that had been achieved because of the improvement work in the pharmacy and our inpatient nursing units.

This week, on Lean Daily Management rounds, Maxine Lawson, our Assistant Pharmacy Director, explained to us that there had only been one missing medication to Unit 34 out of the last 400 medications dispensed! Only one defect in the system for that unit. How did they accomplish this? Redesigning the system to get to high reliability has taken some time. We suffered a significant setback after Epic implementation as many sub-systems had to be recreated. Today, we have now returned to our pre-Epic implementation state by studying the misses as they happen, during the day, to find the root cause and fix it so it doesn’t happen again.

Toyota gets credit for being the first company to perfect the study of defects as they happen to learn the cause of the issue. Before that, auto manufacturers would either find defects as the cars came off the assembly line or when their customers found the problem. Toyota implemented the Andon cord (now a button that can be pushed), that immediately stops the assembly line and brings managers to the person who pulled the cord, so they could study what happened and find a fix.

Now when the nurses on Unit 34 are “missing” a medication they need, they do the equivalent of pulling the Andon cord…they call the pharmacy. Maxine and her team immediately (during the day) go to the unit and study what happened. They then use what they learned to test changes to their system to assure that the miss doesn’t happen again. What Toyota learned and what we now know is that it is much better to study one defect well when it happens than to get sophisticated reports of many defects over time before scheduling meetings to figure out what happened and what we should do about it. I am very proud of our outstanding pharmacy team and our smart and hard-working nurses. Together, they are driving us to ever higher reliability! They are happy to help any group learn how to use the immediate Andon cord technique to make things better.

A Wonderful Friend and Colleague Heads to Retirement 
This Thursday was George Bayless’ last day at GBMC.

George joined GBMC’s Executive Leadership team about 11 years ago as Vice President of Finance.  With more than 30 years of corporate financial experience in the public accounting and healthcare industries, he was responsible for the development, implementation, and maintenance of accounting systems that provide for the financial control of the entities of GBMC HealthCare. George was also responsible for system-wide financial planning and the annual operating and capital budget processes.

George recently assumed additional responsibilities when he took over as Interim Chief Financial Officer prior to Laurie Beyer’s arrival. That’s the George everybody knows. He’s a person who will do whatever it takes to help his colleagues and our healthcare system. George is great learner and teacher.

Congratulations, George, and thank you for everything you have done through the years for your colleagues at GBMC, for our healthcare system, and for our patients!

Kudos to Laura Clary (again!)

I want to also congratulate Laura Clary BSN, RN, FNE-A/P, SANE-A, CFN, CPEN, Clinical Manager of our SAFE program, who was recently named Baltimore County Woman of the Year by the Baltimore Commission for Women. This program honors female residents of Baltimore County who have made significant, unique, and lasting contributions to their community. I echo Dr. JoAnn Ioannou’s words that it’s no surprise that Laura is repeatedly given accolades because she is an extremely knowledgeable nurse, scientist, and phenomenal team leader. Congrats again, Laura!

Friday, February 23, 2018

Honoring a Staunch Supporter of GBMC

On Monday, we held a dedication ceremony to officially rename the Physicians Pavilion North (PPN) to the William E. Kahlert Physicians Pavilion North. The naming was made possible by The Kahlert Foundation’s $5 million pledge during GBMC’s 50th anniversary celebration.

The Kahlert family has become part of the GBMC family and has been supporting us for the past 18 years. Bill and Yvonne were both GBMC patients and began giving to our healthcare system in gratitude for the care they received.During Bill’s battle with cancer, he developed a strong relationship with Dr. Ronald Tutrone and later with Dr. Paul Celano. Bill and Yvonne first supported GBMC HealthCare in the year 2000, four years before Bill developed a relationship with Dr. Tutrone, with a $250,000 to name the William E. Kahlert Cystoscopy Suite. This gift was soon followed by a $500,000 gift to secure the daVinci Surgical System that allowed GBMC to provide robotic urologic surgery. Three years after that, Bill personally made the bold step to endow a Urologic Research Fund to support research efforts under the direction of Dr. Tutrone. The Kahlerts also endowed the William E. Kahlert GBMC Chair in Urological Research which was the first of its kind at GBMC and has inspired a host of others to honor physicians and the great care they provide.

In 2009, to demonstrate his gratitude to Dr. Celano and the oncology team who cared for him as his cancer battle continued, Bill established a fund to promote multi-disciplinary medical research, which has helped GBMC to increase enrollment in oncology clinical trials by 25%.

Bill and Yvonne’s son Greg and his wife, Roberta, as well as their children, Heather and Scott, have continued the family’s support of GBMC. In 2014, The Kahlert Foundation gave $1 million to name our chapel in honor of Yvonne and to fund a second chaplain position. With the latest $5 million gift, their family and the family foundation have donated more than $13 million to our system!

Please go see the beautiful plaque and inscription in the Kahlert Pavilion lobby and the wonderful new signage on the exterior of the building.

I was honored to help commemorate Bill’s life through this dedication and we at GBMC are extremely grateful for the ongoing gifts from The Kahlert Foundation. We applaud Greg, Roberta, Scott, and Heather for continuing their family’s support of our work in the community.

Vanta Brewster
Celebrating Dr. King!
Yesterday, we hosted our annual Black History Month celebration. This year’s program, titled Black History Month and Spirit of King Awards Celebration, started off with a keynote presentation by Patrice Sanders, co-anchor of WBFF-TV’s weekday morning newscast, along with live music from the Dunbar High School Jazz Band. The winner of the inaugural Spirit of King award was Vanta Brewster. Congratulations Vanta and to all the nominees!

I am grateful to Jennifer Maraña, our Director of Diversity and Inclusion, and all of my colleagues on the Diversity and Inclusion Council for hosting this event and helping to bring us closer together. Thanks also go out to members of the Dunbar High School Jazz Band and our Black History Month committee that put together the outstanding celebration.

Random Acts of Kindness…
Last week, we celebrated “Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) Week” and this year, more members of our GBMC family helped to spread kindness throughout our healthcare system.

Dee Brown               Samantha Gendler

Kindness Kits were distributed to each hospital department, GBMC Health Partners practices, and Gilchrist units, so the GBMC family could display kindness to each other. This year had a new twist, as representatives from KIND also came to the hospital last Wednesday to hand out KIND bars and Valentines to passersby.

We also awarded our annual Random Acts of Kindness Ambassadors. The RAK Week planning committee received many worthy submissions and choosing the winners was extremely difficult. Congratulations to Dee Brown (Gilchrist Subacute) and Samantha Gendler (Marketing) for being selected as the co-recipients of our second Random Acts of Kindness Ambassador Award.

Thanks to everyone who helped with this event for making it such a success.

Book Drive…
Sticking with acts of kindness, just a reminder that we’ve been accepting donations of new and/or gently used books for the Reading Partners “Take Reading Home” program that will help provide support to children from kindergarten through fourth grade. Donations will be accepted until Wednesday, Feb. 28. Please consider leaving your books at our drop-off locations which include the main lobby of the hospital, the Human Resources department, the Marketing office (South Chapman building (Suite 102), Family Care Associates in the William E. Kahlert Physicians Pavilion North, or at any GBMC Health Partners primary care office.