Friday, March 29, 2019

Connecting the Addicted to Treatment

GBMC has just completed its first year of the SBIRT program. SBIRT, which stands for Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment, is as an evidence-based, comprehensive, integrated, public health approach to the delivery of early intervention for individuals with risky alcohol or drug use, and the timely referral to more intensive substance abuse treatment for those who need it.

Over the last year, we have screened every adult who has come through our Emergency Department (ED) for addiction. If they screened positive, we have offered them a brief interview with a peer recovery coach; someone who has had an addiction and is in recovery. The peer recovery coach provides non-clinical services intended to aid patients with getting into treatment. The coaches work as part of the ED team to provide education about the risks of the unhealthy behavior and, if indicated, help the patient get to a recovery program with a warm handoff.
GBMC was asked by The Maryland Department of Health to participate because screening helps to identify those at-risk individuals who have not previously sought substance abuse services. Research has shown that a brief intervention helps some people change their behavior around substance use, even when they are not thinking about changing. Please join me in thanking our peer recovery coaches:

Daron (Ron) Brodie – Community Outreach Peer Recovery Coach
Latanya (Tanya) Hill- Peer Recovery Coach (PRC)
Jessica Pieper- Peer Recovery Coach (PRC)

Thanks to Our Physicians!
Today is National Doctors’ Day, when we reflect on the hard work of our physicians and thank them for their dedication.

To celebrate Doctors' Day at GBMC, we had breakfast earlier this morning and those physicians in attendance could visit several wellness stations. This afternoon, we are holding an ice cream social in the physicians’ lounge as another way to show our appreciation for their tireless efforts.

So, as we celebrate National Doctors’ Day, please join me in thanking our physicians for all that they do to drive us closer to our vision: To every patient, every time, we will provide the care that we would want for our own loved ones.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Improving Our Emergency Department

GBMC has an outstanding Emergency Department and the community knows this. While the region is seeing about the same number of ED visits as last year, our ED visits have increased by 10%! This is because people know the quality of our care and that we are working to become the healthcare system where every patient gets the care we want for our own loved ones. Emergency Medical Technicians and ambulance drivers know that we are welcoming to them and that we are actively working to improve our efficiency every day.

We also know that we need to make changes to our physical plant. From all the sounds coming from our Emergency Department concourse, you can tell that there are renovations taking place. We started this work a few weeks ago.

The changes are designed to reduce delays in admitting patients by improving flow. Stacey McGreevy, our Vice President of Support Services, Russ Sadler, our Manager of Capital Resources and their teams have been working hard to make the transition as easy as possible for our patients and employees.

The Emergency Department Entrance renovation will allow for wider hallways, greater patient privacy, a re-designed registration area, and improvements to overall workflow to provide better patient through-put during the registration process. By relocating the main registration desk, creating more efficient triage rooms, and adding a secondary waiting area for triage and registration, we will be better able to register patients without having long lines resulting in cramped hallways. The design team included physicians, nurses, and registrars.

I want to thank everyone involved with these renovations as well as our patients and employees for their patience while we improve.  The target date for completion of the project is June 30, 2019.

March is National Professional Social Work month and I want to extend my appreciation to our fabulous GBMC social workers.  I am always amazed by the resourcefulness and fortitude of this group. Our social workers deal daily with the many challenges that come with the social determinants of health and without them, our system would come to a near standstill.
They have helped GBMC attain low readmission rates and have designed a system that assures that our patients with advanced illness receive the continued support they need after they leave our hospital. Please take the time to say, “thank you” for all they do!

P.S. March 29 is Doctors’ Day – do you have a physician you’d like to honor or recognize for exceptional care? If so, please go to

Friday, March 15, 2019

Celebrating Patient Safety Awareness Week

This week is Patient Safety Awareness Week (March 10-16).  This annual recognition is meant to urge the public to learn more about healthcare safety and for hospitals to share their work on patient safety and safety culture. The goal is for healthcare systems to improve patient safety while developing lasting partnerships among staff, patients, and the community.

Safety is at the core of our vision. We owe it to our patients to keep them free from harm when they are in our care. We have come so far in eliminating error, but we still have so much to do.

We have worked hard to create a just culture, in which we begin from the premise that humans will make mistakes and they should not be punished unless they are consciously violating safe practices. We console those who make an error and we coach those who drift away from safe practices. We build systems to catch human error so that the mistake doesn’t reach the patient. A good example of this is scanning all medications to make sure that the drug has been ordered by a provider and verified by a pharmacist to prevent giving a patient the wrong medicine.

We are delighted to work in partnership with our patients. Patients and family members play an important role in preventing harm. At GBMC, we educate patients on their disease processes, we teach them about their medications, and we encourage them to ask questions. An informed patient, who is comfortable speaking up, is less likely to experience harm.

Here are some facts that the GBMC family can be proud of:
--We were one of only eight hospitals in Maryland to receive an ‘A’ in The Leapfrog Group’s Hospital Safety Grades in 2018. These grades measure how well hospitals protect patients from harm.
--We’ve only had ONE surgical site infection for hip and knee replacement surgeries since January 2016. Prior to that, we had averaged approximately one surgical site infection per month.
--Unit 36 and Unit 58 have been Central Line Associated Bloodstream Infection (CLABSI)-free for over four years.
--Unit 45 has not had a Catheter Associated Urinary Tract Infection (CAUTI) since 2012 and Unit 35 has been CAUTI-free since 2013.

These results did not happen by chance. We put evidence-based standard work in place to prevent these episodes and we hold ourselves accountable to follow the standard work. Whether staff members have direct or indirect contact with patients, everyone plays an important role in preventing harm. I want to thank all our GBMC physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, and everyone in our system for their tireless efforts as we work towards zero harm.

Come Out and Walk for A Great Cause!
Did you know that one in three women and one in six men in the U.S. have experienced some form of sexual violence in their lifetime? To raise awareness on this very important issue, we are holding our annual Walk a Mile in Their Shoes event during Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

This powerful event, which takes place on Saturday, April 6, is hosted by the GBMC Foundation and presented by the GBMC Volunteer Auxiliary. It’s a great opportunity to educate the community about sexual assault and domestic violence. Participants will walk one mile around GBMC’s campus to shed light on this extremely important issue.

Walk a Mile in Their Shoes, which financially supports our SAFE and Domestic Violence Program, has continued to grow over the past four years. We are proud of the impact that this program is having, and we are grateful for all the community support that allows GBMC to provide these necessary services across the region.

I want all of you to consider walking with us and/or financially supporting the event. For more information, please visit:

Advanced Practitioners Week
This year GBMC is celebrating advanced practitioners in a very unique way. The theme of the week was “The Resilient Practitioner: Wellness and self-care for those who care for others.” The theme was inspired by the book, “The Resilient Practitioner: Burnout and Compassion, Fatigue Prevention and Self-Care Strategies for the Helping Professions.” The week-included a variety of wellness and resilience-based activities such as: flower arranging, pet therapy, yoga, eating cupcakes, and making essential oil sprays. Today, we ended with a ceremony to honor advanced practitioners who exceed expectations in skill and professionalism. GBMC is the home to more than 150 advanced practitioners who apply their skill and hard work every day to move us closer to our vision. Happy Advanced Practitioner Week!

Friday, March 8, 2019

Someone Who Has Overcome

Last week, we hosted our annual Black History Month celebration. This event honors the culture and accomplishments of African Americans in our society and celebrates the spirit and life work of the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with the presentation of the Spirit of King award. This year’s program, entitled “Songs of our Souls: We Shall Overcome,” featured Maryland Delegate C.T. Wilson, along with music from the Milford Mill Academy String Orchestra and Honors Chorale.

After the opening musical numbers, Delegate Wilson began this year’s program with his keynote. C.T. is from Charles County, and was featured in the Netflix docu-series “The Keepers.” He successfully advocated for legislation to extend the statute of limitations in child abuse cases in Maryland. When I first met him a few years ago, I was immediately impressed with his passion to help those without a voice. C.T.’s personal story is one of true hardship and perseverance. Thrown out of his home at the age of 4 by a drug-addicted mom who explained to him, "It's time for you to be a man." His life went from bad to worse. Orphaned at a young age, he was moved from foster family to foster family, and then when he was adopted at age nine, he was sexually abused by his adopter. Somehow, he got through the pain and suffering to build a better life for himself, his community, and his family. Today he is the state's primary advocate in the fight against child abuse and he has sponsored legislation to give child victims more time to file lawsuits against their abusers.

Prior to the start of the event, Delegate Wilson and I spoke briefly about GBMC’s vision of being the community-based true system of care that can deliver on our promise “to every patient, every time we will provide the care that we would want for our own loved ones.” I told him of our work to help victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence. I also mentioned that since the closing of Franklin Square Hospital’s Pediatrics department about a year ago, GBMC’s SAFE (Sexual Assault Forensic Examination) program has seen an increase in childhood assault and sexual abuse cases. As a result, we recently created a Child Protection Team, comprised of a pediatrician and social worker, who evaluate and treat all children where abuse is suspected. The team serves as a liaison between GBMC and governmental agencies which investigate child abuse and they educate medical providers and families on the recognition, reporting, and prevention of child abuse. Dr. Michelle Chudow is the medical director of the Child Protection Team and she works closely with the SAFE program team, led by its clinical program manager, Laura Clary, RN, FNE-A/P, SANE-A, to make sure that adolescent victims of sexual abuse or assault get the care they need. Delegate Wilson praised us for our efforts and encouraged us to continue to work to protect children from abuse.

Delegate Wilson’s presentation (click here to watch) was very moving and served as a motivator for everyone present. We all fought back tears because his story is so hard to hear. In the end, however, we all realized his resilience and strength. He told those gathered that he was not looking for pity, but rather a commitment to work for justice for all. I am very grateful that Delegate Wilson came to our event in the middle of the legislative session and shared his story with us. We will not forget it and we will redouble our efforts to help the abused and to educate our community towards the goal of eliminating abuse.

After Delegate Wilson’s speech, we presented the Spirit of King award which recognizes an individual who embodies the spirit and life's work of the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and who is dedicated to serving their local community. The winner of this year’s Spirit of King award was Lisa Anglin, care coordinator at our GBMC Health Partners Primary Care – Perry Hall patient-centered medical home. Please join me in congratulating Lisa and all the nominees!

I am grateful to my colleagues on the Diversity and Inclusion Council for hosting this event and helping to bring us closer together. Thanks also to the Milford Mill Academy String Orchestra and Honors Chorale and our Black History Month committee for putting together the outstanding celebration.