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!