Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Reflecting on what we have accomplished over the last decade!

As 2019 comes to an end and we gear up for 2020, it’s important to look back at GBMC HealthCare System’s accomplishments over the last decade.

2010 was a year of change for GBMC. After the departure of Larry Merlis, (who did an excellent job leading GBMC), Dr. John Saunders took over as interim president in the winter of that year. I arrived in June and we began planning for change. In the fall of 2010, the Board of Directors conducted a visioning retreat to set a new course for our company. That retreat created our vision statement, and our now well-known vision phrase “to every patient, every time, we will provide the care that we would want for our own loved ones.”  

The new vision statement created the game plan for every change that has followed since. We began our redesign with embracing the patient-centered medical home as a fundamental building block. These advanced primary care groups no longer focused just on visits but became accountable for their patients’ health outcomes. Carolyn Candiello, Vice President of Quality and Patient Safety, and Dr. Saunders, our former chief medical officer (CMO) of the GBMC HealthCare System, began building a robust quality and patient safety program for the system as GBMC adopted continuous performance improvement as its business model.

Under the direction of Cathy Hamel, President of Gilchrist and Vice President of Continuing Care at GBMC HealthCare and Dr. Tony Riley, Chief Medical Officer of Gilchrist, began adding programs to improve elder care from complete independence, through home and facility care, chronic symptom management and end-of-life care. Our hospital, which had always been excellent, became even more patient-focused. In 2017, our physician company changed its name from Greater Baltimore Medical Associates (GBMA) to GBMC Health Partners, and with Ben Beres, former GBMA Chief Operating Officer, and Dr. Harold (Hal) J. Tucker, Chief Medical Officer and President of GBMC Health Partners, at the helm, the physician enterprise became much stronger and better able to meet the needs of our patients. We added physician specialists to our practices and made them more accessible to our patients and to our primary care physicians for consultation. Keith Poisson, our Chief Operating Officer, oversaw the creation of highly functioning service lines with dyadic leadership teams and built a very strong strategic planning and strategy deployment process. Over the decade, our core competency truly became redesigning care and we added or strengthened programs needed by the community like our Sexual Assault Forensic Evaluation and Domestic Violence program and our Comprehensive Obesity Management Program.

Through the decade, Jenny Coldiron, Vice President of Development and President of the GBMC Foundation, has built a community-based health system philanthropy program that is second to none and which allows us to do so much for the community that we could not accomplish without this financial support.

In 2015, we celebrated GBMC’s 50th Anniversary and remembered our past while continuing to build for the future. With the arrival of Dr. JoAnn Ioannou as Senior Vice President of Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Office in that same year, we implemented a professional excellence model that elevated the role of nurses within our system. This fact was highlighted by the annual Art of Nursing recognition celebrations.

In 2017, our system responded to the opioid epidemic and the mental health crisis by adding masters-prepared behavioralists, addiction specialists and psychiatrists to the patient-centered medical homes and by adding peer counselors to the Emergency Department to work with substance addicted patients.

GBMC did an outstanding job at managing risk through the work of Susan Martielli, our General Counsel and Risk Manager. By collaborating closely with clinical leaders and our quality and patient safety team, Susan helped make our care much safer and our Ruxton Insurance Company much more successful.

Through the decade, GBMC became a much more responsive employer and became known as a company that goes out of its way to celebrate its people. These efforts are led daily by Anna-Maria Palmer and our wonderful Human Resources team.

GBMC has always been known for its excellent medical staff. Over the past decade the staff has become even better in part because of the very strong oversight of the medical staff leadership. We have been blessed that Dr. John Saunders, Dr. Harold Tucker, and our first female Chief of Staff, Dr. Melissa Sparrow, have been such outstanding leaders.

This year, the Greater Baltimore Health Alliance began functioning as a Care Transformation Organization to work with our advanced primary care offices and some private practicing primary care physicians in the Maryland Primary Care Program. This program was created to financially incentivize advanced primary care to drive better health and better care at lower cost for the citizens of our state.

This spring, we opened our first patient-centered medical home in Baltimore City: GBMC Health Partners at the Helping Up Mission. We are now providing the same advanced primary care that we offer in our other practices to 500 Helping Up Mission clients and more than 1,500 alumni who have struggled with addition, poverty, and homelessness. The practice will soon open its doors to all residents of the Jonestown neighborhood of East Baltimore, an area with a critical void of preventative care.  The continued growth of GBMC Health Partners, not only in primary care but also in specialty care is being overseen by Dr. Tucker and Erlene Washington, Chief Operating Officer of GBMC Health Partners, who has been a great addition to our team.

This year we updated our master facilities plan and submitted a certificate of need application for a three-story hospital addition. We named the program to build the addition The Promise ProjectStacey McGreevy, Vice President of Support Services, and her team are overseeing the construction planning.

In late September of this year, we hosted nine examiners from the Malcolm Baldrige Performance Excellence Program. The examiners visited all three of our work systems: Greater Baltimore Medical Center, Gilchrist, and GBMC Health Partners and assessed our use of the Baldrige criteria. Although we did not achieve the Baldrige award, we were recognized for our role-model practices in leadership, earning a category best practice recognition.

Also, this fall, GBMC achieved the Davies Award of Excellence from the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS). This is the highest achievement for the use of electronic records. Dave Hynson, our Vice President and Chief Information Officer, and his team exhibited great collaboration with our clinicians to achieve this recognition.

Through these changes, GBMC maintained its A and A2 bond ratings and its very strong financial position grew even stronger. Our finances are overseen daily by Laurie Beyer, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, and our excellent finance team.

Other notable 2019 milestones:
Best Hospital & Best Audiology Services  – The Baltimore Sun readers
110 “Top Docs” in Baltimore magazine
7 Nurses recognized for “Excellence in Nursing” in Baltimore magazine
Best-in-State Employer – Forbes
GBMC among the nation’s “100 Hospitals and Health Systems with Great Oncology Programs” – Becker’s Hospital Review magazine
The American Heart Association (AHA) Stroke Honor Roll Elite
GBMC’s Sub Acute Unit received the highest possible rating on U.S. News & World Report’s 2019 list of the Best Nursing Homes
Most Wired Hospital - College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME)
Magna Cum Laude – Epic’s Honor Roll Program
AHA Membership Milestone
The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for Advanced Certification for Total Hip and Total Knee Replacement

I know that I have left out many GBMC accomplishments over the past decade and that there are many more examples of our work in care redesign that I could have included. With these highlights, you can see we have undergone a significant transformation over the past decade. What others do you want to mention? Please share your thoughts.

I’d like to share the brief video above of some of the notable GBMC events of the 2010s. I want to thank our Marketing and Philanthropy Departments and especially Tyler Scheff, our Digital Marketing Producer, who worked so hard in putting this video summary together. Nice job everyone!

I am grateful for the fabulous efforts of the entire GBMC HealthCare family and I look forward to many more successes in 2020 and beyond as we continue to drive towards our vision.

Best wishes to you and your loved ones for a happy & healthy 2020!

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Welcoming a Great New Leader

Last week, I was happy to welcome Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski and members of his team for our Lean Daily Management walk and an opportunity to meet with our staff and volunteers.

Mr. Olszewski was impressed with our focus on standard work and continuous performance improvement along with our core competency of redesigning care. During our walk, he learned about many improvement initiatives throughout the hospital. The County Executive is early in his first term in office and said that he and his team would take the learning from Lean Daily Management and adapt the concepts to their management of Baltimore County.

I told Mr. Olszewski that the GBMC team will work alongside him to make Baltimore County an even better place to live and work. He is a bright, young leader, but he cannot do the job alone. The entire community needs to get engaged to fix the problems and build on Baltimore County’s strengths. We are so grateful to the County Executive for caring and taking time from his very busy schedule to come and see how we are moving towards our vision.

On behalf of the entire GBMC family, I want to extend best wishes for a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season for those celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa. Enjoy your time with family members and think about the things that are important in your lives. For those staff members working during the holidays, a special “thank you” for taking care of those who can’t be at home during the holiday season. I will see many of you on LDM on Christmas Day.  I am so lucky to be associated with my GBMC colleagues and I am very grateful for all of you. Happy Holidays to everyone!

Friday, December 20, 2019

GBMC Recognized Again for Excellence in Information Technology

I am proud to announce that GBMC has received the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Davies Award of Excellence. This recognition acknowledges organizations that have applied health information technology to substantially improve clinical care delivery, patient outcomes, and population health.

Readers of this blog will recall that within months of our Epic go-live, GBMC achieved the highest level of recognition (level 7) from HIMSS for both inpatient and ambulatory electronic records. The Davies award requires implementation and evidence of significantly improved outcomes, in part, because of the use of the technology.

Among the examples that we presented to the Davies examiners was our use of informatics to improve the treatment of stroke. We recognized that we had not been using tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) as often as we should have. Treating thrombotic stroke patients with tPA within three to four hours of the incident can greatly improve recovery rates and speed. Our Aim was to leverage our electronic health records (EHRs) to improve recognition of qualified patients for tPA treatment and to administer it more safely and efficiently through workflow improvements.

Our measures were door to CT scan time and door to needle time. One of our tests of change was the development of a nurse-driven triage protocol and provider order set to make it easier to do follow the correct processes.

To drive the use of the new protocol and to ensure the effectiveness of the new functionalities in the EHR, we created a clear governance strategy to implement these workflow changes. With these new workflows, we were able to recognize more patients who might be experiencing a stroke and expedite tPA treatment to qualified patients, surpassing our goal of 11% usage rate, thereby exceeding national and state average performance, while also adhering to the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines standards.

Thanks to faster identification through our new design, more than half of our ischemic stroke patients were discharged to their home or to acute rehab.

I am honored that we have received this and award and I want to congratulate Dave Hynson, Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Cindy Ellis, Epic IT Application Director, Mary M. Swarts, BSN, RN, Clinical Informatics Quality and Safety Specialist, and all who were involved in helping us achieve this recognition.

A quick reminder from the GBMC Cybersecurity Team…
As you are getting ready to enjoy the 2019 Holiday Season with your family and friends, there are a few things that our cybersecurity team would like for you to remember to keep your personal information safe when purchasing items online.

All devices connected to the internet have the potential to be exploited by wrongdoers. This can result in stolen credit card data, passwords/passphrases, and even your social security number. Please review these pointers to help keep your information safe.
1. To avoid theft, do not keep your phone in your back pocket. Keep it in your front pocket, jacket, purse, or backpack.
2. Be cautious when using public Wi-Fi without the protection of a reliable mobile Virtual Private Network (VPN) client installed on your device. A VPN can help protect you while shopping. Also avoid "Free for Life" offers, and look for the country of origin of the VPN.
3. Check with your wireless provider or anti-virus software vendor about VPN services.
4. Be careful when using apps like Venmo, PayPal, and social media to transfer money to friends and family.
5. This is the time of year when there’s an increase in social media giveaway scams.
6. Cybercriminals create a sense of urgency with words like “limited-time” or “free giveaway” offerings or by telling victims they need to share the content with others to open more offers and free giveaways.
7. While shopping online…be careful of impersonating sites, otherwise known as “site spoofing” and of adding extensions to your internet browsers as some are malicious and can be used to steal personal information. If you are prompted to install an extension when visiting a site, do not click on the link and promptly close the page. Recently 60,000 shoppers were tricked by a spoofed Walmart site that prompted a Chrome extension installation.

I want to thank our Information Technology and Cybersecurity team for working hard to educate us about the threat of attacks on our computer systems and for continually working to minimize the harm from attacks. Our ITS team does an excellent job in defending our networks while preserving the efficient delivery of healthcare. As technology and threats change, they are continually adjusting.

Please remember that cybercrime is a serious and relevant threat to you and to GBMC. Don’t click links unless you are sure they are safe, don’t go to websites you aren’t familiar with, and ask IT for guidance if something doesn’t quite “seem right.” Let’s work together to keep our healthcare system safe from cybercrime. Thank you!

Earlier this week, I attended the Daily Record Icon Awards ceremony with Harry S. Johnson, Esq., previous Chair of the Board of Directors and current member of our GBMC HealthCare Board, where he was honored with the Icon award.

According to the Daily Record, “the Icon award recognize business leaders around Maryland who are over the age of 60. The award salutes them for their notable success and demonstration of strong leadership. The honorees also have moved their businesses and the state of Maryland forward by growing jobs and community involvement.”

I can’t think of anyone who is more deserving of this award than Harry Johnson! Please join me in congratulating Harry.

A Well-Earned Retirement
This week, I attended the retirement celebration for Phyllis Tyler, an outstanding Infection Control Practitioner. Phyllis spent 50 years at GBMC and was recognized at this year’s employee recognition celebration. Please join me in thanking Phyllis for her tremendous work in keeping our patients safe over all her years of service.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Welcoming a Maryland Leader to Our Campus

Last week, I had the privilege of welcoming Robert R. Neall, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Health, to the GBMC campus for our Lean Daily Management (LDM) walk and for a tour of our Family Care Associates (FCA) practice. The Secretary was very complimentary of our use of LDM to drive improvement and was impressed with our use of the patient- centered medical home concept.

During Secretary Neall’s visit to the FCA practice, Dr. Sarah Whiteford, one of our lead physicians, did an excellent job of explaining to him how the office was designed to reduce waste, highlighting the fact that there is no patient waiting room. Secretary Neall was impressed with the patient flow and ease of access in the evening as well as during weekends and holidays. Dr. Whiteford also showed him how the rooms are replenished with supplies from the “off-stage” area outside the room.

Sarah Fogler, our Senior Director of Population Health, discussed GBMC’s Care Transformation Organization and how our primary care teams are driving measurable improvements in the management of chronic disease, especially diabetes. Secretary Neall was grateful for our work in redesigning care, as he is the leader responsible for Maryland’s Primary Care Program (MDPCP), which is funded through an agreement with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation.

Secretary Neall was intrigued by the design principles used in the practice and how the use of these principles has led to better health outcomes and a significantly improved patient and provider experience.

I was grateful for all the time that the Secretary spent with us and was delighted to show him our successes. Prior to his departure, the Secretary told me how much he truly appreciates our work in transforming care and how impressed he was with our use of hospital revenue to move upstream to better manage and prevent chronic diseases. We should all be very proud of what we have accomplished in building a system of care that the patient experiences as a whole!

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Moving Proximate

Baltimore is a fabulous place. We have the natural beauty of the Inner Harbor and the Chesapeake Bay, world-class universities and museums, many fabulous neighborhoods, a growing number of excellent restaurants and the return of a marvelous jazz scene, among many other wonderful traits. (Super Bowl. Anyone?)

But we also know that our wonderful city has its challenges. Our crime and murder rates are unacceptable. While suburban Baltimore is well served by the healthcare community, many of our inner-city neighborhoods lack primary care. Experts have stated that to make significant inroads on a social problem of scale, you must move closer to the problem. You must “get proximate.” https://www.carnegiefoundation.org/blog/empathy-and-social-justice-the-power-of-proximity-in-improvement-science/

So, the GBMC HealthCare System is doing just that. Last Friday, we held a reception to celebrate our newest advanced primary care practice in Baltimore City that has been serving men dealing with substance abuse who are residents at the Helping Up Mission (HUM).

We partnered with HUM because they needed us to deliver accountable primary care to their residents and to get ready for the opening of their new facility, currently under construction, that will serve addicted women and their children. 

Since June, under the direction of James Baronas, MD, Medical Director for GBMC Health Partners at Helping Up Mission, the facility has delivered advanced primary care to more than 500 of HUM’s clients and more than 1,500 graduates, who are encouraged to continue their recovery and remain accountable through the HUM Alumni Program.

When we agreed to build a patient-centered medical home at HUM, we did it under the condition that we could use the site to also serve the Jonestown neighborhood – to move proximate. There's just a huge need for people living in this community to get the medical care they need from experts who will hold themselves accountable for our four aims along with those they serve.

Under the guidance of Harold J. Tucker, MD, Chief Medical Officer and leader of GBMC Health Partners, and Erlene Washington, Chief Operating Officer of GBMC HealthPartners and GBMC Vice President for Physician Practice Management, our team-based approach to care will help to bring the neighborhood back.

And as I have mentioned previously in this blog, what makes this relationship even more special is it brings GBMC back to its roots; the site of GBMC at Helping Up Mission once housed the Presbyterian Eye, Ear & Throat Charity Hospital, one of GBMC's founding institutions.

Please join me in celebrating the official opening of our newest practice and congratulating Dr. Tucker, Dr. Baronas, practice manager Ericka Easley and their excellent staff at HUM, along with Mr. Robert K. Gehman, Helping Up Mission CEO, for moving proximate to help those in need. 

Happy Thanksgiving!!
I would like to wish a happy Thanksgiving to all my GBMC colleagues. Thanks for your expertise, hard work, and compassion that helps us move closer to our vision of being a community-based health system where every patient, every time, is treated the way we would want our own loved ones treated. I am also grateful for the community of patients who entrust their care to us.

I also want to extend a “Thank You” to our people who are working on Thanksgiving, or during the extended holiday weekend, caring for our patients and helping to support their loved ones and visitors.

Again, wishing you all a joyful Thanksgiving!

P.S. What are you thankful for during this time? I’d love to hear about it – please leave me a comment!

Friday, November 22, 2019

Recognition for an Outstanding Service to Our Community

GBMC has a long history of caring for women and their babies before, during, and after childbirth. We are very proud of our obstetrical services (with good reason!).

The Joint Commission began offering Advanced Perinatal Certification a few years ago. So, we decided to apply for this special certification. We were also very interested in the improvement opportunities inherent in comparing our current performance against best practice standards. We submitted our application this past July, and this week we hosted two Joint Commission Surveyors for our site visit.

I attended the opening session and continue to be very impressed with all that we are doing to deliver the kind of care that we would want for our own loved ones. I also attended the closing session, during which the surveyors complimented Dr. Victor Khouzami, our Chair of Obstetrics, and Lisa Groff, RN, our Director of Women’s Services, for the excellence of our perinatal program. While we have not yet received the official word, I am convinced that we will hear that we have achieved the certification, and when we do, we will be the first and only hospital in Maryland with this distinction. We are confident that through this process, we will improve our program to provide even better care for future patients and their families. Congratulations to all!

Tribute wall recognizes historic and significant impact of volunteers 
On Wednesday, we held a dedication of our new tribute wall to recognize the historic and significant impact of our volunteers. The tribute wall provides a glimpse of the unique history of the GBMC Volunteer Auxiliary and how a community of volunteers helped bring the organization to life in the early 1960s. It celebrates the role of volunteers in the growth of GBMC HealthCare through the decades, including the creation of Gilchrist in 1994. Tribute is also payed to those volunteers who have reached significant milestones in their individual volunteer journeys.

Today, their legacy is a system of care that includes more than 1,000 volunteers who donate their time and talent to GBMC HealthCare. Since 1963, our volunteers have given more than 3,376,000 hours to support the patients of both GBMC and Gilchrist and have all played a unique role in the delivery of care. Many of them have loved ones who received care, or they have been patients themselves. As patients and volunteers, their voices are represented in every aspect of care delivery. They serve on numerous committees, including the Patient and Family Advisory Councils, Quality and Safety, Medical Ethics, Spiritual Support, Philanthropy, and many others.

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 employees. I’m extremely grateful for their dedication and hard work and for the wonderful job they do.

I want to thank Carmen C. Baeza, GBMC Director of Volunteer Services, and everyone who helped to make this wall possible, especially our Philanthropy Department.

GBMC Thanksgiving Day Turkeys and the Community
As part of our time-honored tradition, GBMC provides turkeys for our employees and volunteers across our healthcare system to share with their families during Thanksgiving. While many on our team receive their turkeys, many choose to donate their turkeys to local charities. Chaplain Joe Hart and his team work along with our community partners to forge relationships of support during various occasions and holidays throughout the year. Thanksgiving is a season when we donate turkeys to the Assistance Center of Towson Churches, the William S. Baer School for Children with special needs, and the Maryland Food Bank. These agencies have food assistance programs and our turkey donations assist in supporting families in need. In this season of gratitude, we are thankful for our staff and volunteers who support our community in this way.

Speaking of giving…Two weeks ago, I wrote in my blog about gun violence and how it’s a public health issue. Earlier this week, I was informed that for this year’s Thanksgiving holiday, our Internal Medicine Residency Program donated their GBMC turkeys and canned food to an organization that helps mothers who have lost their children to gun violence. The loss of a child is any parent’s greatest nightmare, and I hope this donation helps to ease their grief and allows them to find comfort when they’re feeling anything but thankful. You can learn more about this organization from their website tearsofamotherscry.org

Debbie Jones-Shook, CRNP, recently received the 2020 American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) Maryland State Award for Excellence. This prestigious award, founded in 1991, is given annually to a dedicated nurse practitioner in each state who demonstrates excellence in their area of practice.

Debbie will be recognized for her achievement during the 2020 AANP National Conference in June 2020. She has been a certified registered nurse practitioner with GBMC since her graduation in December 1999. She was inspired to pursue an advanced career in nursing because she wanted to have a more active role in the care of patients. She told me that “becoming a nurse practitioner allowed me to continue to use my nursing skills of patient care and education, but further enabled me to work with and build relationships with my patients, educate, guide, and follow them through their life span.” Recently, she also became certified as a diabetes educator, which has further improved her care to her patients.

Congratulations Debbie!

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Recognized Yet Again!

As you all remember, we hosted nine examiners from the Malcolm Baldrige Performance Excellence Program in September. The Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) manages the Baldrige National Quality Award.

We were selected as one of only 12 organizations to be granted a site visit this year. The examiners came to validate what we put in our application and they also looked for best practices to highlight on a national stage for others to follow. They visited all three of our work systems: Greater Baltimore Medical Center, Gilchrist, and GBMC Health Partners. Everyone went out of their way to tell them our story.

Today, I am honored to officially announce that although we did not achieve the Baldrige award, we have earned a Category Best Practice Recognition for Leadership! This category examines how senior executives guide and sustain the organization and how the organization addresses governance, ethical, legal, and community responsibilities. The GBMC HealthCare System was the only organization this year to receive recognition in leadership and to receive a category best practices recognition for 2019.  We are now officially the first healthcare system in Maryland to be recognized by Baldrige for best practices.

This national recognition validates our work in designing systems to achieve better results.  Receiving this recognition from the Baldrige Award judges strengthens our efforts to redesign care and move us closer to our vision and promise “to every patient, every time, we will provide the care that we would want for our own loved ones.” We have learned so much through the years as we have implemented the Baldrige criteria. Our work is not finished, and we will continue our journey of improvement.

I want to again express my profound gratitude to all members of the GBMC family for your efforts to highlight our outstanding healthcare system. I cannot name all of those who worked so hard for us to achieve this recognition, but I do want to name a few. Carolyn Candiello, our Vice President for Quality and Patient Safety, and her whole team in the Quality Department worked tirelessly, as did Lisa Groff, RN, our Clinical Director of the Women and Children service line. Keith Poisson, our Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, and all our operational leaders did a fabulous job as well. Let me also thank the rest of the Senior Team and all my clinical colleagues and support staff in the hospital, at Gilchrist, and in GBMC Health Partners. You all should be very proud of this achievement.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Gun Violence is a Public Health Issue

This week, I participated in a webinar led by Mr. Michael Dowling, the President and CEO of Northwell Health in New York, on gun violence. Mr. Dowling wrote a letter to healthcare CEO’s on this topic that was published in the New York Times.

Listening to Mr. Dowling, I started to reflect on the reality of gun violence in Baltimore. Seventeen people were shot in Baltimore over the weekend of October 11-13 and we are on pace to have our fifth consecutive year with 300 homicides or more. Many of these homicides are the result of gun violence. And although there are individuals working on the problem, there is no real public outcry for this to be fixed.

Our new Police Commissioner, Michael Harrison, is working on a new anti-crime initiative, but the police force can’t solve this problem on their own. The community must work with the police to get criminals and guns off the streets. We know that this is necessary but insufficient to end violent crime. We must also work on the root causes of despair, gang membership, and marginalization. We must rebuild our neighborhoods, improve our schools, and create more viable jobs in our city. This will clearly not be easy, but with the concerted efforts of members of the community, we can make real progress.

In his comments, Mr. Dowling drew a comparison between the outcry about injury and death from vaping with the relative silence on gun violence. He laid out a game plan for healthcare leaders to advocate action from elected officials and the community. I believe that we all must become more involved and I am going to learn more about what we, in the GBMC HealthCare System, can do to reduce gun violence. What do you think?

Thanking Our Veterans on Veterans Day and Every Day
On Monday, we will commemorate Veterans Day. We enjoy our freedom because these individuals were ready to make the ultimate sacrifice. Please join me in thanking all members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families who have served and made tremendous sacrifices to preserve our freedom.

Acknowledgements for this week
This week, we are recognizing various members of the healthcare team here at GBMC. Let’s celebrate Medical Surgical Nurses Week (Nov. 1-7), National Medical Staff Services Week (Nov. 3-9), and National Radiologic Technology Week (Nov. 3-9). Please join me in thanking each of these colleagues for helping us provide the care we would want for our own loved ones to every patient, every time.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Community Support for Sexual Assault Investigations

Earlier this week, I took part in a press conference led by Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski that highlighted a $300,000 grant from Nancy Hackerman and the Hackerman Foundation to Baltimore County and the Baltimore County Police Department to aid cold case sexual assault investigations and improve current and future investigations. This funding will support the testing of rape kits taken before April 2018 and slides that have been stored at GBMC since the 1970s.

Readers of the blog may recall that in 2016, GBMC honored Dr. Rudiger Breitenecker as a Physician Titan. Dr. Breitenecker is credited with collecting forensic evidence that was ahead of its time. He founded GBMC’s Rape Care Center, a precursor to the hospital’s current SAFE Program, and he kept the pathology slides of the materials recovered from victims, which remain in storage to this day. Prior to joining GBMC’s department of pathology in 1967, Dr. Breitenecker worked as a medical examiner.

This new funding supports key recommendations from the Baltimore County Sexual Assault Investigations Task Force’s recently released final report to improve sexual assault investigations. The Task Force has a diverse roster of members, including our very own Laura Clary, BSN, RN, FNE-A/P, SANE-A, CFN, CPEN, Program Manager of the GBMC SAFE/DV Program.


Nearly 13,000 physicians in the region voted for the physicians, in a variety of specialties, to whom they would send a member of their own family if they needed care. The Baltimore magazine annual “Top Doctors” issue was recently released, and it’s with a great deal of pride that I share this news with you: 110 GBMC HealthCare physicians, in 65 specialties, were recognized as “Top Doctors.” Several of these medical staff members were recognized in more than one category, and some have been recognized many years in a row!

Being recognized as a “Top Doctor” is an extraordinary honor because it is a selection by peers. We are so fortunate to have outstanding surgeons, internists, pediatricians, family physicians, and other wonderful specialists. Congratulations to all our physicians who were named 2019 “Top Doctors.” View a complete listing of our “Top Doctors” honorees here.

Speaking of Baltimore magazine, it's that time again - Baltimore magazine is collecting votes for its Excellence in Nursing issue. Please vote for nursing colleagues you most respect! The survey ends in late November and you can vote here. The results will be published in the May 2020 issue of Baltimore magazine and the winners will be invited to a special reception.

Congratulations to Dr. Blumberg
I want to congratulate Dr. Albert Blumberg, a retired GBMC radiation oncologist and one of our 50 Inaugural Physician Titans of Care, for recently being awarded the American College of Radiology Gold Medal for his extraordinary service to the College and to the discipline of radiology. Dr. Blumberg’s career spanned for more than 35 years at GBMC and he was part of a team that brought significant advances to the department. He truly deserves this recognition and we are proud of him for earning this prestigious honor.

Thank You, Readers, of Baltimore style magazine
Our medical center was recently recognized by readers of the publication as “Best Hospital.” I want to THANK all who voted for recognizing the hard work and dedication of our clinicians, support staff, and volunteers.

And yet another recognition….

Our Gilchrist Sub-Acute Unit was one of three units in Baltimore that received the highest rating on the U.S. News & World Report's 2019 list of the Best Nursing Homes. U.S. News & World Report released its annual report this week, which ranks nursing facilities nationwide on a 1-to-5 rating scale based on evaluations from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, considering factors like patient care and safety outcomes, staffing data, and health inspection reports. The other two top-rated nursing facilities in Baltimore were the Maria Health Care Center and Transitional Care Services at Mercy Medical Center.

To read more about the award click here.

Happy Halloween! Here are some photos of our spirited staff dressed for the holiday: Radiation Oncology decorated as the Emerald City and our Maternal Child Health Nursing Leaders as Dominoes!

Friday, October 25, 2019

Good News for Individuals Buying Health Insurance

Many people have had “sticker shock” since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, when they have gone to purchase health insurance through the exchange. Well, this year, as we approach the annual open enrollment period, there is some good news; premiums are dropping by an average of 4% for 2020 plans. Here are some links to news stories if you want to learn more:

Obamacare premiums are dropping 4% for 2020 plans

HealthCare.gov Premiums to Fall 4% in 2020

I am proud to announce that GBMC recently received the Surescripts White Coat Award, making it the first time we’ve earned this honor. The White Coat Award is Surescripts' highest recognition and it acknowledges organizations that are positively impacting patient safety, speed to therapy, first-fill adherence, and patient satisfaction by improving e-prescription accuracy.

Quality assurance in medication e-prescribing is vital in establishing a safer healthcare system. Optimizing the e-prescribing process can greatly improve care quality, reduce costs, and enhance patient safety—all while ensuring higher quality information every time the prescription data is used thereafter, such as in medication reconciliation

I want to congratulate Dave Hynson, Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Cindy Ellis, Epic IT Application Director, Kay Everett, Epic IT Clinical Applications Manager, and all who were involved in helping us achieve this recognition.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

The Science and the Art of Medicine

This past week, I have done a lot of reflecting on the balance of standardization in healthcare processes and allowing experienced physicians and nurses to make decisions “in the moment” for their patients. My reflection was prompted by several conversations I’ve had with my colleagues about their challenges with creating this balance. While standardized processes are incredibly valuable, it’s difficult to standardize certain aspects of care, like the frequency of going into a room to check on a patient. We talked about the role of experts in healthcare and how they have to make decisions based on each individual patient.

In the early 20th century, when modern healthcare was still in its infancy, healthcare leaders began to realize that it was inappropriate for professionals to make treatment decisions that went against rigorously-researched best practices. Patients needed the assurance that their healthcare providers would follow scientific evidence and give them the best chance of recovering from their disease or injury. The Flexner Report of 1910 created standards for medical education and was seminal in creating a workforce of physician and nurse scientists, who were able to read the literature and distinguish facts from conjecture. The so-called evidence-based medicine movement began in the 1980’s and has continued to steer the industry away from autonomous experts making decisions however they saw fit.

At a meeting this week, a colleague was articulating the fact that some physicians are unclear in their role now that we have shifted towards becoming more standardized and protocolized. He also raised the concern that we may have gone too far in undervaluing experience.

My belief is that when we standardize what should be standardized, we create time for professionals to think about more complex decisions that cannot be standardized. When done correctly, standardization should be liberating for professionals, giving them the opportunity to use their experience as they search for answers to more complicated problems.

What do you think? Please let me know by responding to this blog.

Healthcare Security and Safety Week

Please join me in recognizing the GBMC security staff as this week is Healthcare Safety and Security Week (Oct. 13-19). This is a great time to thank those who keep us safe every day!

It is no easy task to protect the GBMC family on our campus, but it’s one that the GBMC security team does well, around the clock. They can be seen walking or stationed throughout our medical center from the emergency department to labor and delivery. Thank you to our security staff for their hard work and commitment, and the diligence they display in the practice of their profession.

National Cyber Security Awareness Month

I want to thank Dave Hynson, GBMC’s Chief Information Officer, and his team for working hard to educate us about the threat of attacks on our computer systems and for continually working to minimize the harm from a potential attack.

Our ITS team has made great strides in defending our networks while preserving the efficient delivery of healthcare services. As technology and threats change, they are continually adjusting.

Remember…Don’t click links unless you are sure they are safe; don’t go to websites you aren’t familiar with, and ask IT for guidance if something doesn’t quite “seem right.” Let’s work together to keep our healthcare system safer from cybercrime. Thank you!

International Infection Prevention Week

This week is also International Infection Prevention Week (Oct. 13-19) and it’s a time to highlight the importance of infection prevention and raise awareness of everyone’s role in protecting the public from healthcare-acquired infections. Because of the significant rise in measles cases nationally, this year’s theme is: Vaccines Are Everybody’s Business.

Our Infection Prevention team members are healthcare professionals whose mission is to protect patients, visitors, volunteers, employees, and providers from healthcare-associated infections.

Please join me in thanking our Infection Prevention Department on a job well done!

Maryland and Our Nation Lose a Leader

On behalf of the GBMC HealthCare family I want to extend our condolences to the family, friends, and all of those touched by Congressman Elijah Cummings. He was a leader for Baltimore, Maryland, and our country. His advocacy on behalf of our community is irreplaceable.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

GBMC: A Leader in Breast Care

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, so it’s fitting that I write about the Sandra and Malcolm Berman Comprehensive Breast Care Center at GBMC. Since its inception, the Center has provided evidence-based care with kindness and compassion. Led by Director, Lauren A. Schnaper, MD, and Associate Director, Sara P. Fogarty, DO, the Breast Center team uses education and support to take some of the fear out of a breast cancer diagnosis. Aided by their colleagues, Angela M. Murrell, CRNP, and Barbara Raksin, RN, they have been delivering multidisciplinary care since before it was the standard for breast centers. The Center was designed with breast imaging capabilities and radiologists, who are experts in diseases of the breast, co-located within the breast surgeons’ office space. This facilitates quicker diagnoses through same-day needle biopsies and expert second opinions on abnormal imaging.

Patients learn about their therapeutic options and the incumbent risks and benefits. The team works to remove cancer and leave the smallest and least obtrusive scars possible, helping patients heal more quickly and mentally move forward after their treatment. The Center is proud of its cure rates and cosmetic results. Breast conservation is very important at our Center and the team’s mastectomy rate is less than 30 percent.

The Breast Center collaborates with other members of the GBMC Sandra and Malcolm Berman Cancer Institute, including social workers, integrative care providers, and oncology support staff. They also collaborate with medical and radiation oncologists and pathologists to diagnose, treat, and follow hundreds of women with new diagnoses of breast cancer every year. This group of talented professionals has an extremely collegial working relationship that allows them to provide outstanding and compassionate care to every patient. Let me thank them for all that they do for GBMC and for our patients.

Thank you!!!
This week, I would like to express my gratitude to the men and women who work hard to keep the patients and staff fed. This group of employees does much of its work “behind the scenes,” but the impact on our hospital and patient care is truly vital. So, as part of Healthcare Foodservice Week (Oct. 6-12), when you see members of our food service staff, please thank them and tell them what a great job they’re doing!

Please join me in celebrating all GBMC physician assistants (PAs) this week during National PA Week (Oct. 6-12). This is the week when PAs celebrate their profession and showcase the value they bring to today’s healthcare team. Let me thank our PAs for their commitment to their patients and for all their hard work every day.

This week is also Healthcare Supply Chain Week (Oct. 7-13), which celebrates resource and materials management professionals for their important contributions to healthcare. During Lean Daily Management (LDM) this week, I visited with our materials management team, led by Kendrick Wiggins, Kevin Edwards, our Supervisors of Materials Management, Brian Riemer, our Director of Materials Management, Ginger Brooks, our Clinical Manager of Value Analysis, and Michelle Bunty, our Purchasing Manager. I am so grateful for their work and that of those who work with them. We all benefit from the work of our entire supply chain team. Thanks for everything you do every day to assure that we have the supplies we need to get the job done.

Congratulations Dr. Semenza!!
I would like to congratulate Dr. Gregg Semenza, Director of the Vascular Research Program at the Johns Hopkins Institute for Cell Engineering. He was one of a trio of researchers who, on Monday, was awarded this year’s prestigious Nobel Prize in Medicine. Dr. Semenza and his colleagues won this award for their pioneering work into how human cells respond to changing oxygen levels. Their research has been instrumental in understanding the mechanisms of disease, especially in anemia, stroke, myocardial infarction, and cancer. Congratulations Dr. Semenza!

Friday, October 4, 2019

A Well-Deserved Recognition

Earlier this week, I met with a few staff members from the Maryland Hospital Association (MHA) and talked about some of the major issues facing our state’s healthcare system. Toward the end of our conversation, one of the MHA employees congratulated me on all the transformation work that the GBMC HealthCare System is doing. We talked about many specific redesigns like our patient-centered medical homes and our most recent opening at the Helping Up Mission, as well as our Elder Care in the Home program and Gilchrist Center Baltimore. The MHA staff was particularly interested in learning about our Sexual Assault Forensic Examination (SAFE) and Domestic Violence (DV) program. I told our colleagues how proud I was of this team and how much their work means to our community.

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Our domestic violence program, led by Valerie Weir, BSN, RN, FNE-A/P, CMSRN, Domestic Violence Coordinator, provides 24/7 in-house victim advocacy and serves more than 350 patients annually. Under the leadership of Laura Clary, BSN, RN, FNE-A/P, SANE-A, CFN, CPEN, our SAFE program is also a key resource for victims of sexual assault and survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV). At no cost to the patient, our SAFE and DV nurses focus on empowering survivors to begin the healing process, in addition to working toward ending sexual assault and IPV in the community.

Last week, several members of the GBMC SAFE and DV program presented at the 13th Annual Baltimore County In Plain Sight Domestic Violence Conference. This year’s event had approximately 250 attendees, which included representatives from several county offices, along with the Baltimore County Office of the States Attorney, Family Crisis Center of Baltimore County, and the Baltimore County Domestic Violence Coordinating Committee. Joining Valerie at this conference were her colleagues Roz Berkowitz, BSN, RN, FNE-A/P, Lisa Brengle, BSN, RN, FNE A/P, Evelyn Kim, BSN, RN, FNE A/P, SANE-A, and Ashley McAree, RN, FNE-A/P, SANE-A. They presented on the topics of the neurobiology of trauma, non-fatal strangulation, and forensic nursing and human trafficking.

Let me thank them for their hard work and expertise, and for educating our community. Their work is being noticed and held up as an example for others to follow.

Another Great Legacy Chase

The 19th running of The Legacy Chase at Shawan Downs last weekend was a major success. Nice weather, beautiful horses, a scenic countryside setting, and many family and friends – there were more than 6,000 attendees this year – coming together created a spectacular event.

It was all for a good cause, as the more than $225,000 raised will go toward Oncology Support Services at the Sandra & Malcolm Berman Cancer Institute.

I thank all who attended and all who donated time or treasure. Special thanks to the GBMC Philanthropy and Marketing Departments, which worked so hard in putting the event together.

Congratulations, Dr. Ioannou!
I am proud to announce that JoAnn Ioannou, DNP, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, our Senior Vice President of Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer, was recently named a 2019 Woman to Watch by The Baltimore Sun.

Dr. Ioannou was one of 25 women selected by the newspaper. She was chosen because she has “positioned GBMC HealthCare at the forefront of a nursing revolution in which we celebrate nursing as an art form — the art of science, knowledge, and caring – and because of her passion for nursing.” Congrats JoAnn!

Friday, September 27, 2019

Thank you!

This week, we were very fortunate to host nine examiners from the Malcolm Baldrige Performance Excellence Program. The Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) manages the Baldrige National Quality Award. Over the past few years, GBMC has been using the Baldrige criteria to improve and to move us faster towards our vision. In the spring, we submitted a 50-page application responding to questions about our deployment of systems in the categories of leadership, strategy, customer, measurement and knowledge management, workforce, operations, and results. Out of the 26 organizations across multiple industries that applied (16 were in healthcare), only 12 received a site visit. GBMC was one of only 5 healthcare organizations that got chosen!

The examiners came to validate what we put in our application and they also looked for best practices to highlight on a national stage for others to follow. One example of an exceptional business practice at GBMC is Lean Daily Management (LDM).

There has been a buzz in the air all week. From the opening session, where we got to tell the examiners a bit about who we are and about our vision to become the community-based healthcare system where every patient gets the care we want for our own loved ones. There has been a tremendous sense of pride on display for all that we have accomplished.

The examiners visited all three of our work systems: Greater Baltimore Medical Center, Gilchrist, and GBMC Health Partners. Everyone went out of their way to tell them our story. I am so proud of all of you!

I cannot name all of those who worked so hard to make the examiners visit a huge success, but I would be remiss if I didn’t name a few. Carolyn Candiello, our Vice President for Quality and Patient Safety, and her whole team in the Quality Department worked tirelessly, as did Lisa Groff, RN, our Clinical Director of the Women and Children service line. Keith Poisson, our Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, and all our operational leaders did a fabulous job as well. Let me also thank the rest of the Senior Team and all my clinical colleagues and support staff in the hospital, at Gilchrist, and in our physician practices.

So now that the visit is over, the examiners will file a report that will be reviewed by the Baldrige judges, who will determine if we have achieved the award. We will learn of their decision before the end of the year and receive a thorough feedback report from which we will learn and continue to make our system even better than it is today! Regardless of the outcome, we have so much to be proud of and it really showed this week!

All I can say is thank you, thank you, thank you! We will be doing some celebrating. Stay tuned.

Legacy Chase is this Saturday!
What better way to relieve the stress of the work week than by coming to this year’s Legacy Chase at Shawan Downs  THIS Saturday, September 28! Legacy Chase is our signature fundraising event benefiting Oncology Support Services at the Sandra and Malcolm Berman Cancer Institute.

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

Make this year’s event a family affair and come to enjoy a day in the country. Don’t forget that GBMC employees and volunteers receive ONE FREE Founder's Hill parking pass for ONE carload of passengers! So, fill up your car with family and friends, pack a cooler and picnic basket and spend a day in the September sun. To obtain your free pass, click here - add the Founder's Hill parking pass to your cart and use promo code GBMC at checkout. I hope to see you there

Friday, September 20, 2019

Recognized (Again!) for Being at the Forefront of Information Technology that Aides Clinical Care

Just two weeks ago, I wrote in this blog about our achievement of being one of only nine Epic sites across the world to attain 9 Gold Star status. This week we have yet another information technology accomplishment to celebrate! I am delighted to announce that GBMC, for the first time ever, is a recipient of the Most Wired Hospital award from the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) for both our acute and ambulatory services. A total of 16,168 organizations were assessed in the 2019 Most Wired program. Organizations were rated on the adoption, integration, and impact of information technology.

GBMC achieved Most Wired Certified Level 8, receiving the Quality Award. The Most Wired program conducts an annual survey to assess how effectively healthcare organizations apply core and advanced technologies to improve health and care in their communities. This award recognizes hospitals and health systems that are at the forefront of using healthcare IT to improve the delivery of care, to maximize the benefits of foundational technologies, and to embrace new technologies that support population management and value-based care.

To achieve Most Wired Certified Level 8, we had to reach a score within the 71-80 percent range. This award recognizes that we have deployed technologies such as patient portals and population health/cost-of-care analytics to achieve clinical and efficiency outcomes.

Let me once again congratulate our information technology professionals and our clinicians on this fabulous accomplishment!

Last Sunday (9/15) was Neonatal Nurses Day. It’s a day to honor our nursing colleagues who care for babies and to celebrate their hard work and dedication. With more than 4,500 babies born at GBMC annually, we are very fortunate to have outstanding nurses in our nursery and in our NICU. Please join me in thanking them for all that they do.

This week is Surgical Technologists Week. Surgical technologists prepare operating rooms and equipment, ensure a sterile and safe environment for patients, and assist during surgery. The work demands attention to detail and knowledge of surgical procedures. It’s hard to imagine how an operating room would successfully function if there were no surgical techs performing all these very detail-oriented tasks. They are an integral part of an operating room team and have a tremendous impact on patient care and our hospital operations. Please join me in thanking our surgical techs!

Did you know that approximately 80 percent of all infections that cause illness can be prevented by hand washing? This week is also International Clean Hands Week. It’s a good time to remind ourselves of the importance of good hand cleaning habits. Wash your hands!

To move toward our vision: “To every patient, every time, we will provide the care that we would want for our own loved ones,” we must continually improve our systems. I thank the professionals throughout GBMC, such as our Neonatal Nurses and Surgical Technologists, for their work in improvement.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Welcoming Our New Colleagues and Enrolling them in our Vision

Every two weeks, I spend an hour welcoming our new people at employee orientation. My task at orientation is to begin to enroll our new colleagues in our vision.

I begin explaining who we are by introducing our THREE work systems of Greater Baltimore Medical Center, Gilchrist, and GBMC Health Partners and our very important partners, the 600 or so private practicing physicians who we work with. I then introduce them to our Mission (our purpose of bringing health, healing, and hope to our community) our Values (the behaviors we hold each other accountable to) and our Vision (where we want to go). I tell them that they may not remember our vision statement word for word, but that they should remember our vision phrase: to every patient, every time, we will provide the care we want for our own loved ones. 

I then ask for a volunteer to help me identify what we mean by “the care we want for our own loved ones.” We always arrive at our four aims as the definition of that care: the best Health outcome, and the best Care experience, with the least Waste of resources, and the most Joy for those providing the care. 

I explain that the GBMC HealthCare System is a not-for-profit company and that as such, we are owned by the community. The Board of Directors consists of 27 unpaid community members who oversee GBMC and determine its direction. They wrote the vision statement in the fall of 2010 during a time of turmoil regarding the topic of healthcare reform. The vision statement talks about truly focusing on the patient, coordinating care, and moving upstream to keep patients out of the hospital. This vision statement is the game plan that I, as the Chief Executive Officer, am held accountable to carry out. It is this vision statement that has brought us components like our patient-centered medical homes, the richness of our SAFE program, elder medical care in the home, and our palliative and integrative medicine programs, just to name just a few. I tell them that we have created these things using our core competency of redesigning care.

I explain to them that our business model is a continual improvement and that Lean Daily Management is an important tool to move us faster towards our vision. I show them our leadership system model (left) and explain that their supervisors will demonstrate how the work of their department fits in with our organization-wide strategic objectives.

I thank them for joining us and I encourage them to come forward with new ideas to be tested to help us improve even faster. I wish them a great career with GBMC.

If you would like to see any of this, click here to view a video of this week’s orientation. You don’t need to watch the whole thing, but it should provide a “refresher” on connecting our work to our vision.

It is important that all of us in the GBMC system understand why we do what we do, and we should each be able to connect the purpose of our work to where we are going as an organization. We should also be able to talk about how we are improving towards our vision.

Environmental Services Week 
This week is Environmental Services (EVS) & Housekeeping Week (Sept. 8—14) and I am proud to acknowledge the dedication and professionalism of our EVS staff as we celebrate them.

Cleanliness is everyone’s job at GBMC, but our EVS staff members are the experts in cleaning and work tirelessly to get the job done. They spend countless hours in their vital role of keeping us clean and helping to prevent infections.

There are over 100 EVS associates working around the clock at GBMC in a variety of roles servicing more than 1.2 million square feet of facility. So, please join me in honoring all the men and women of EVS!

Monday, September 9, 2019

We Scored 9 Stars Out of 10

Recently, I met with Dave Hynson, our Chief Information Officer, and Cindy Ellis, our Epic IT Application Director, who had recently returned from the Epic Users Group Meeting. Dave and Cindy shared with me the news that we achieved a score of 9 out of 10 on the Epic Gold Star program. The Gold Star program exists to incentivize Epic users to get the most out of the software’s capabilities. Dave told me that only one organization achieved a 10 this year and that out of 400+ Epic organizations, only 9 had achieved a 9! In Epic’s own words, those organizations that achieve an 8 or higher are at the cutting edge and are using leading practices in electronic medical record use. Congratulations to our Epic team and to all in the GBMC family who have helped us achieve this status.

Local Produce on Our Campus…Again
Many of you remember the GBMC Farmer’s Market. It was a good way to support our local farmers while also promoting healthy eating to our employees.

Well, we have reinstituted this practice, as GBMC is now partnering with SNAP produce (Hungry Harvest). This gives our patients, staff, employees, and community members an opportunity to purchase healthy produce at an affordable price. The markets will be held on the first and third Fridays of the month from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Civiletti Conference Center. The first community market took place on Friday and was a huge success!

I encourage you all to come and shop your local neighborhood market. For more information, please visit produceinasnap.com.

Join the Celebration!
Please bring your family and friends to Shawan Downs on Saturday, September 28th, where once again, we will host Legacy Chase. Legacy Chase has become an annual social event, marrying the excitement of steeplechasing with the beauty of the countryside. The Hats, Horses, and Hope theme returns, and children are encouraged to come dressed as their favorite superhero to help fight cancer. They are also invited to attend Kids’ Korner for games, face painting, pony rides, and more.

Proceeds from the event will benefit oncology services at the Sandra and Malcolm Berman Cancer Institute. The Institute is the only comprehensive community cancer program in the Baltimore region to be certified with distinction by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer. GBMC has invested in talent and technology to provide the best for oncology patients. Whether they need outpatient, inpatient, home care, or survivorship services, the more than 2,000 new cancer patients annually at GBMC all get the care we would want for our own loved ones.

For more information, visit www.gbmc.org/LegacyChase

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, August 29, 2019

What I did on my summer vacation 2019

It’s important from time to time to spend time with family and to recharge your battery by resting and enjoying things other than work. So, this week I’ve been away, and I want to share a bit of what I have been up to.

Every morning, after making my coffee, I have spent an hour or so reviewing our Baldrige application. I know, I know, this doesn’t sound like leaving work behind, but our site visit is in a few weeks and reading the application makes me very proud of all that we have done using our core competency of redesigning care to move us closer to our vision.

I have also had a good time playing golf with my wife, Tracey, and going out to dinner. I have enjoyed jogging along the harbor where I ran into some ducks (almost literally).

But the highlight of the week so far was going with my son, Mike, to see Breaking Benjamin. Thanks to the band’s relationship to the GBMC SAFE program (see my previous blog post here) and the kindness of Ashley McAree, RN, FNE-A/P, SANE-A, human trafficking liaison, with GBMC’s SAFE program, we met the members of the band and watched the concert from the stage after being invited by Breaking Benjamin’s lead singer, Ben Burnley! This has really been an excellent vacation!

Career Growth for Our Great Nurses

We are in a nursing shortage. Our population is aging, and we need more nurses. Nursing is a very demanding profession that requires selflessness and commitment, and the 1,200+ nurses across the GBMC HealthCare System exhibit these characteristics every day.

Our nurses stay with the GBMC Healthcare System for an average of 11 years. Under the leadership of our Chief Nursing Officer, Dr. JoAnn Ioannou, GBMC has created new career pathways in nursing to make it easier for a nurse to spend her or his whole career with GBMC.

In September, we are offering our nurses two internal networking events, hosted by the Workforce Planning Committee and our Human Resources Department, that will be an opportunity for nurses to explore different internal career pathways.

Matt Ayers, RN, PHR, Director of Talent Acquisitions for GBMC HealthCare recently sat down to tell us more about the upcoming networking events, slated for Tuesday, Sept. 10th and Thursday, Sept. 19th from 7:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. in the Civiletti Conference Center. Click here to listen!

Congratulations Dr. Sunness!

I want to congratulate Dr. Janet S. Sunness, Medical Director of the Richard E. Hoover Low Vision Rehabilitation Services, who recently achieved the major milestone of having treated 5,000 patients. Dr. Sunness is a prolific clinician-researcher in maculopathy and has provided significant contributions to her field, most specifically in the understanding of and defining parameters in clinical trials for the “dry” form of advanced age-related macular degeneration. Dr. Sunness expressed her thanks to GBMC, the Department of Ophthalmology, and The Richard E. Hoover Low Vision Rehabilitation Services for “being a warm home for me, that has allowed me to help patients clinically and with research.” Actually, we should be thanking Dr. Sunness for being a fantastic clinician and researcher and for helping to improve her patients’ quality of life!

Labor Day

As our country celebrates the hard work of the American people this Labor Day holiday, many of us will enjoy a three-day weekend. But, many of my colleagues will be working. Please let me thank all the phenomenal people of the GBMC HealthCare System for their labor towards our vision. Thank you!

Friday, August 23, 2019

Our SAFE Program Visits Our Nation’s Capital

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has categorized human trafficking as a “modern-day form of slavery,” and human trafficking is considered a multi-billion-dollar-a-year industry on the rise in all 50 states. According to a recent report by the U.S. State Department, our country is, once again, ranked as one of the worst countries in the world for human trafficking.

Last week, Laura Clary, BSN, RN, FNE-A/P, SANE, our SAFE clinical program manager, Ashley McAree, RN, FNE-A/P, SANE-A, our human trafficking liaison, and Valerie Weir, BSN, RN, FNE-A/P, CMSRN, coordinator for GBMC’s domestic violence program, presented at a conference, which focused on human trafficking trends, how agencies are combatting the issue on local, regional and national levels, and human trafficking case studies and available resources. The seminar was held by the National Capital Region Threat Intelligence Consortium (NTIC), sanctioned by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as a critical strategic initiative for sharing information across a range of natural and manmade threats.

GBMC is the first hospital in Baltimore County, and one of only a few in our state, that has an official policy and protocol in place for responding to victims of human trafficking. Our SAFE program was the only one in the Maryland/Washington DC region to present at this seminar and to offer insight on the healthcare response to this devastating issue. Laura and her team talked about our SAFE program and how it’s available on a 24/7 basis for confirmed human trafficking cases coming into the Emergency Department, as well as for consultations throughout the hospital. They also discussed best practices for the identification and treatment of victims of human sex trafficking at a hospital.

I want to congratulate Laura, Ashley, and Val for being part of this important conference and for their efforts to help raise awareness and to combat this problem.

Shedding our normal colors for…

Green and white are GBMC’s colors, but on Wednesday, August 28, we will be subbing our normal colors for lavender in honor of the 19th annual Legacy Chase at Shawan Downs event!

This event annually benefits the Sandra & Malcolm Berman Cancer Institute. Money raised allows us to continue our investment in talent and technology to provide the best for our oncology patients. In addition to the treatment patients receive, they also gain support from GBMC's Oncology Support Services team, which provides free counseling, education, and connections to organizations that help patients and families shoulder their burden during their treatment.

Why lavender? Lavender is the color that represents all cancers. I encourage all our staff to participate by wearing lavender clothing, accessories, or shoes! You will also see many different areas of our campus going lavender that day in promotion of our Legacy Chase event. For more information, visit here.

Blood Drive…Thursday, August 29th
Blood donation is vital to our ability to care for our patients. Please consider giving blood at our next American Red Cross Blood Drive slated for Thursday, August 29. Help us reach our goal of 100 pre-registered donors! The drive is from 5:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and will take place in the Civiletti Conference Center. Register here to donate. Participants have the chance to win some great prizes! It’s easy, it doesn’t take much time, and you will literally be helping to save lives.

We recognize that there are individuals who are ineligible to donate for various reasons. If you or someone you know is ineligible to donate, ask a friend to donate on your behalf (you will both receive the perks)!

I am always very 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. Thank you!

Friday, August 16, 2019

Do you have what you need to meet your goals today?

We have been using the technique called Lean Daily Management (LDM) for over six years. It has been a great way to create a company of focused problem solvers and to narrow the gap between the “front office” and the “front line.” At the end of every visit to an LDM board, the executives ask those who have just presented, “do you have everything you need to meet your goals today?”

We ask this question because we want to know if anything is making it hard for us to deliver the kind of care that we want for our own loved ones. If something is missing or broken, we want to address it right away. The Senior Team (the vice presidents and me) don’t deliver care. Our role is to thank those who do, to foster problem-solving and care redesign to get us closer to our vision, and to remove barriers to the provision of care. “Do you have everything you need to meet your goals today?” is a way to identify barriers that the local leader has not been able to take care of on his own or by working up the standard chain of command.

At a town hall meeting this week, I was reviewing our core competency of redesigning care with some nurses and nursing technicians. I was reflecting on the first day of LDM, back in 2013, when I learned that their unit had 38 missing medications during the preceding 24 hours. I told them that I felt like crying that day because we were letting them down. So much of their precious time was spent searching for something that should have been there. At the town hall meeting, I was very happy when the nurses told me that we had made their jobs easier after redesigning the medication delivery system. Missing medication is now a rare event on their unit! Over the past six years, we have become much more competent at redesigning care and care delivery systems.

I still believe that we have a lot of work to do to make sure that our people have what they need to meet their goals every day. We are actively working to fill vacancies to make sure that all of our units are fully staffed, and we have enough people to do the job right. I have noticed instances where people wait until LDM to report missing resources or broken processes. If you notice something that isn’t working, report it to your supervisor right away.

What do you think? Do you have what you need to meet your goals today? Please let me know by replying in the comments.