Friday, September 21, 2018

Going LIVE…

Back in July, I discussed how our healthcare system has been growing its presence on social media channels like Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook (more on this below). Social media has been a great way to promote subjects and specialties that don’t often receive coverage on local and regional broadcast news or print. For more on our social media strategy and how it encourages two-way communication between our workforce and customers, click here.

Last week, I was part of our monthly Facebook LIVE program, “To Your Health,” which allowed me to connect with a studio audience and Facebook viewers to talk about patient safety. If our patients are not safe when receiving our care, we will not achieve the care we want for our own loved ones because they will not have a good health outcome. To watch the interview, please click on the icon below.

I am very proud of the GBMC HealthCare System because we stay focused on our vision, but I am frequently asked: “How can we do a better job of getting the word out about our vision and how we are different?” The use of social media like Facebook LIVE is one way. Can you suggest others?

Be A Part of Our Celebration...

On Saturday, September 29, we will have our 18th annual Legacy Chase steeplechase event at Shawan Downs in Hunt Valley. This year’s race will again benefit GBMC’s Oncology Services at the Sandra & Malcolm Berman Cancer Institute.

Legacy Chase has become a signature event for GBMC HealthCare, combining the excitement of steeplechase racing with a celebration of our patients and the services we provide to the community. There’s more to the event than great horse racing and there is something for everyone. Many of the crowd-pleasing traditions continue this year, such as the kids’ Stick Pony Race, and we have added some exciting new components to help make the event another memorable success.

The Sandra & Malcolm Berman Cancer Institute is the only comprehensive community cancer program certified with distinction by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer in the Baltimore region. GBMC has invested in talent and technology to provide the best care for oncology patients. We coordinate care across the continuum for more than 2,000 new cancer patients annually!

Make this year’s event a family affair and come and enjoy a day in the country. For more information visit I hope to see you there!

Cancer Program Gets National Recognition…Again!

Congratulations to our team at the Sandra & Malcolm Berman Cancer Institute, who recently earned the Accreditation Award with Commendation from the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (CoC). In each of the last four surveys, the CoC recognized The Berman Cancer Institute for treating every cancer patient as if they were a loved one.

Accreditation indicates that a cancer program has met or exceeded 34 standards of quality measurement, while Commendation is awarded only to programs that exceed all required standards, plus 7 out of 7 commendation standards at the time of its triennial survey. Of the 1,500 CoC-accredited cancer programs nationwide, fewer than 40% earn Commendation.

Please thank our cancer team and congratulate them on this recognition of their excellence!

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Saving Lives and Leaving Great Impressions

Last week, we had the formal grand opening of our new Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Dr. Timothy Doran, our Chair of Pediatrics, also shared with me an email from grateful parents of babies who were recent patients in our NICU. The email reminded me that I am very fortunate to be the CEO of the GBMC HealthCare system. I get so many wonderful letters, emails, or thank you cards about members of the GBMC family who do marvelous things for our patients. The family had twins, but unfortunately each baby required special care. Happily, after almost eight weeks in the NICU, mom and dad have both babies at home.

Here is an excerpt from a letter I received this week: 
I never in my wildest dreams would have guessed just how big of a role the NICU would play in our lives. When you become pregnant, you imagine a chubby little bouncing baby, healthy as can be. You don’t ever expect that your baby (or babies) will need any extra help after they’re born. When I was told that my babies were going to the NICU, I was sad of course, but I felt content knowing that my little ones were in the best hands possible. We had met with Dr. Pane before they were born, and we trusted her and knew that the team upstairs were more than capable and knowledgeable. I didn’t realize just how much help we would be getting from the GBMC NICU staff. I didn’t realize just how much they had to offer and just how much they could do to help not only these tiny babies, but us parents, too…

I want to thank every single doctor, nurse, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, student, tech, secretary, respiratory therapist, lactation consultant, milk donor, social worker, speech pathologist, volunteer, and even housekeeper that we have had the joy of crossing paths with.

“Thank you” doesn’t even cut it when it comes to how completely grateful I am, but here it goes anyway: Thank you for your knowledge, compassion, understanding, and empathy.

Thank you for always asking how we’re doing, for explaining things in ways we can understand, for answering our questions, for taking our concerns and suggestions seriously and even implementing them in treatment, for always making sure we had everything we needed, and for being a shoulder to cry on/someone we could vent to.

I thank God, every day for the individuals that saved my baby and I thank modern technology and medicine that gives you all the ability to do what you do. I don’t know how you all do it, but I can tell that every single one of you is passionate about these tiny fragile babies and their families.

There will always be a place in our hearts for every single person that we’ve grown to know and love. God bless all of you, and thank you a million times over. ❤️”

Over the last eight years, we’ve been working hard to drive towards our vision. In 2010, we made a clear decision that we would become the healthcare system where everyone, every time, got the care we would want for our own loved ones. Our vision statement talks about physicians leading teams to deliver this. We have had a dialogue among us in the GBMC family that we want the best health outcome and the best care experience with the least waste of time and money, and with the most joy for those providing the care. Our vision is about a relationship between a physician, his or her team, and a patient. It is about a promise to that patient to work with him or her to maximize his or her health. It is about having the time to reflect on patients’ health between visits, to make sure that they are getting what the evidence says will keep them well.

The letter above is a great example of teamwork and rallying around a patient and her family! We need to continue our work to make this happen for every patient, every time. I am very grateful for all the nurses and technicians that this patient thanked and Dr. Maria Pane for exemplifying the kind of expert, compassionate care that we would all want for our own loved ones. I know how hard their work is and I am very, very grateful to them for not forgetting why they do what they do. Our NICU team is moving us closer to our vision. Let me add my thanks to all our GBMC colleagues who are moving us closer every day to our vision.

Neonatal Nurses Day… 
Last Friday (9/15) was Neonatal Nurses Day. It’s a time where we honor our nursing colleagues and celebrate their hard work and dedication. With more than 4,500 babies born at GBMC annually, we are very fortunate to have such a high-level NICU to care for those babies who are born too small, too sick or too soon. Our NICU has an exemplary group of nurses and I want to thank them for all they do.

Environmental Services Week…
Last week was also Environmental Services (EVS) & Housekeeping Week (Sept 9--15) and I want to take time to recognize the contributions of our EVS staff. Cleanliness is everyone’s job at GBMC, but, our EVS staff members are the experts in cleaning who work tirelessly to get the job done. They spend countless hours in their vital role in keeping us clean and helping to prevent infections. There are more than 100 EVS associates working around the clock at GBMC in a variety of roles, servicing over 1.2 million square feet of facility. So, please join me in honoring all the men and women of EVS.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Kosher Pantry Grand Opening

Last Thursday, we held the dedication ceremony for our new Kosher pantry, located near the main entrance of the hospital. The pantry was built to meet the dietary needs of members of the observant Jewish Community.

The pantry was made possible through the hard work and commitment of our Chaplain, Rev. J. Joseph Hart, M.Div., BCC, and Rabbi Pinches Rabinowitz, with the help of Bikur Cholim of Baltimore, a non-profit organization dedicated to meeting the needs of the observant Jewish Community in healthcare settings. Bikur Cholim will stock the room with kosher meals and snacks. There is no charge for the food and observant family members will have special access to the locked pantry.

Kosher Pantry Ribbon Cutting
The pantry has a refrigerator and freezer, separate dairy and meat microwaves, and disposable utensils. It is stocked with non-perishable foods including fresh food options that will be double-wrapped in the refrigerator for Shabbot each Friday. Other amenities include two sinks, kitchen cabinets, a dining table with four chairs, sofas, and lighting fixtures, and prayer/faith and life books.

GBMC has always been welcoming to all members of our community, but we realized over the past few years that we had no options for nutrition of the family members of our observant Jewish patients. It is fitting that we had the grand opening last week as Rosh Hashanah started last night and Yom Kippur is next week.  I want to wish a Happy Rosh Hashanah to our family and friends who are celebrating!

WOW!! What a surprise…
A couple of weeks ago, I talked about our SAFE (Sexual Assault Forensic Examination) program receiving tremendous support from the band Breaking Benjamin. Each member of the group was seen during a recent concert wearing t-shirts that highlighted our program, giving it the visibility it deserves on a big “stage.”

Much to my surprise this week, I was given two electric guitars, signed by each member of the band, from Laura Clary, BSN, RN, FNE-A/P, SANE-A, CFN, CPEN, Clinical Manager of our SAFE program, and Ashley McAree, RN, FNE-A/P, CFN, forensic nurse examiner with our SAFE program. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Why does he need two?” No worries, I plan on giving one to my son, Mike, who is a huge Breaking Benjamin fan. It’s the least I can do after he invited me to the band’s concert last month.

I want to thank Laura, Ashley, and the members of the band for these special gifts, but most importantly, I want to express my appreciation to all members of our SAFE and Domestic Violence (DV) programs who do so much for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence and in educating the community to reduce these attacks.

Speaking of our SAFE program…
I want to congratulate Valerie Weir, BSN, RN, FNE-A/P, CMSRN, who has been named the new Domestic Violence Coordinator for our DV Program. Valerie has been part of the GBMC family for 17 years and has held many positions across the organization. According to Laura Clary, Valerie brings a unique perspective to her new role as she is certified to care for patients of all ages, who have been victims of sexual assault, rape, child abuse/neglect, intimate partner violence, and human trafficking.  She has been a great asset in aiding the SAFE and DV Programs in expanding their pediatric resources. She is an active member of the Baltimore County Sexual Assault Response Team (SART), as well as the Maryland Child Abuse Medical Providers (CHAMP).

Please join me in welcoming Valerie into her new role!

I would also like to thank Colleen Moore for her many years of service at GBMC. Colleen did an outstanding job in victim advocacy and other support services. Thank you, Colleen, for all your hard work at GBMC and in the community.