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 MaraƱa, 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.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

National Tissue and Organ Donor Day

Did you know that this year today is not only Valentine’s Day but it is also National Donor Day? National Donor Day is a time to reflect on the gift of life that comes to many when they receive an organ, eye, tissue, or blood from another human being.

We all know that Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate love and giving an organ or tissue is a remarkable way to demonstrate love. Currently, there are over 120,000 people nationally who are waiting for a life-saving organ and each day 110 people are added to the national waiting list. One tissue donor has the potential to improve more than 50 lives and one organ donor has the potential to save up to eight lives. If you need more proof of the power of organ donation, I welcome you to stop by and visit our ‘Tree of Life.’ This permanent art installation, close to the Emergency Department Concourse, memorializes the selfless act of organ and tissue donation at GBMC. What’s great is that if you stop by The Tree of Life, there is a kiosk where you can designate to become a donor. Please consider doing so!

Give Blood, please!!!
This year, the extreme winter weather and a deadly influenza season have adversely impacted both donors and blood drive coordinators, resulting in the cancellation of many important drives across the U.S. This has created a shortage of blood. To add, many of us also, unfortunately, take the blood supply for granted. If your loved one had just had a serious injury or needed blood because of a significant disease, you would expect that blood would be available for them. We are very fortunate that blood is available when our loved ones need it…but it doesn’t magically happen.

At GBMC, it happens because of the American Red Cross, our community partners, and the many, many members of our dedicated and caring staff. It is because of those who take the time out of their very busy schedules that we often meet or exceed our blood donation goal each time we have a drive. We also have community members who come to GBMC to donate because they want to support their community hospital and health care system!

So, I am asking the GBMC family to help in our next blood drive slated for Thurs., February 15 in the Civiletti Conference Center from 5:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Please click here to schedule your life-saving donation! By the way, members of the community who come specifically to donate blood will receive a FREE meal ticket to the GBMC Dining Room, FREE parking and cookies. Employees will also receive the FREE meal ticket and cookies along with a special "Jeans Day" pass for Friday, February 16!

I am so proud of the teamwork displayed through these drives, helping GBMC to be a leader in blood donation. I hope you all consider coming out and helping us with this very important endeavor.

Protecting GBMC
About a month ago, two healthcare facilities in the U.S. experienced separate ransomware cyberattacks that compromised their patient files, patient portals, and their datacenter. This attack ultimately compromised the personal information of their patients and made it difficult to deliver care. To make sure that this doesn’t happen at GBMC, we need your help.

We all know that ready access to information on all aspects of care delivery is important, but is not without its risks. Through the Internet, health systems and other industries are under attack from criminals who look to profit from stealing information that should be private. The unfortunate situations, mentioned above, should serve as a reminder not to click links unless you are sure it’s safe, not to go to websites you aren’t familiar with and to ask IT for guidance if something doesn’t seem quite “right.”

You all recently received a notification from our Cybersecurity team with an important message regarding safeguards that were recently installed in our e-mail system.  All email is now subject to GBMC’s security filters and any mail that has characteristics of a phishing or other attack, will now be sent to the Junk folder. Unfortunately, this includes some internal emails. Please check both your outlook inbox and your junk folder daily.

We must all be vigilant and own the security of our information systems. Please bring the same questioning attitude that you use when delivering patient care to your use of e-mail, the electronic record, and other applications. Remember that it takes all of us to keep GBMC safe from cyber attack.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JP Morgan Chase Unite to Purchase Better Healthcare Value

Last week, the news headlines included a story that got my attention! The CEOs of Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JP Morgan Chase decided they would no longer tolerate the high cost of healthcare in the U.S. These corporate leaders know that we spend 40 percent more per capita on healthcare than any other country in the world and that despite higher spending, health outcomes are often the same or worse than in other countries. They also know that the U.S. has the best trained and most hardworking doctors, nurses, and clinicians in the world. The CEOs know people aren’t the problem.

The cost of healthcare varies dramatically from place to place — frequently from hospital to hospital. These CEOs are aware that sometimes there are differences in clinical outcomes between providers, but it doesn’t make sense to pay higher prices when the clinical outcomes and care experience are the same. They want to buy higher value.

Value= clinical outcome + care experience

It seems these corporate leaders believe they can use their clout as the purchasers of healthcare for more than one million employees to find the highest value. They want the best health outcomes with the best care experience at the lowest cost. They want to send their employees to the providers that can deliver the highest value. After all, if they know that hospitals X and Y will both do a great job at removing your gallbladder, but it will cost 50 percent more at hospital Y, shouldn’t they be sending everyone to hospital X? If, on the other hand, hospital Y’s outcomes and care experience are better, paying more makes sense.

I think they have a great shot at reducing their expenses while giving their people better healthcare. I have argued that the individual patient cannot drive value and actually has a hard time figuring out who has the best outcomes and who has the lowest prices. But moderate and large size employers know what they are paying and can demand data from hospitals and physician groups and use it to buy healthcare in much the same way they buy everything else. Of course, there is a fear that healthcare providers will just lower prices for those with clout and make the prices even higher for everyone else. (But in Maryland, since we are a rate-regulated state, this “cost-shifting” won’t be possible for hospital care.)

I applaud this initiative and I hope to see more business leaders demanding this in our market. We will all be better off. What do you think? Will it work?