Friday, April 26, 2019

Orthopaedic Care that You Would Want for Your Loved Ones

GBMC recently earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for Advanced Certification for Total Hip and Total Knee Replacement.

We are only the third hospital in Maryland to earn this distinction. The advanced certification is for Joint Commission-accredited hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers seeking to elevate the quality of their care.

We underwent a rigorous onsite review in late January 2019, when Joint Commission experts evaluated compliance with advanced disease-specific care standards and total hip and total knee replacement requirements, including orthopaedic consultation, and pre-operative, intraoperative, and post-surgical orthopaedic surgeon follow-up care.

Valid for 24 months, this advanced certification is evidence of the high standards of GBMC and our commitment to continually improve. Led by Leroy Schmidt, MD, our fabulous team of orthopaedists, advanced practitioners, nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, primary care providers, and other clinicians has generated outstanding outcomes with an excellent care experience.

In the past, joint replacement surgery meant a possible hospital stay of 1 to 2 weeks with significant post-operative pain, a significant risk of infection, and a lengthy recovery. Advances in joint replacement surgery have substantially reduced post-operative pain and complication rates, enabling us to discharge most patients after an overnight stay. I am happy to report that the risk of infection has been significantly reduced. In the past six months (September 2018-February 2019), we had 117 hip surgeries with 0 infections and 222 knee surgeries with 0 infections.

Our Enhanced Recovery After Surgery program (ERAS) allows for outpatient joint replacement surgery in selected cases. And, now we’ve started the Episode of Care Improvement Program (ECIP) to further improve the care experience and reduce waste. This innovative approach allows us to better prepare the patient for surgery and to eliminate the need for inpatient rehabilitation. Members of the care team educate joint replacement candidates about medical conditions that can negatively affect the outcome of their surgery and how to better manage these pre-existing conditions. In addition, the patient's functional mobility and support system is assessed to assure that they can receive their physical therapy in their dwelling rather than in a skilled nursing facility.

In addition to Dr. Schmidt, I want to thank all the members of our Joint & Spine Program for helping us attain this major achievement, especially April Asuncion Higgins, RN, BSN, CMSRN, Joint & Spine Program Coordinator, and Joy Reynolds, RN, Nurse Manager U58, and Joint & Spine Program.

It’s Medical Laboratory Professionals Week!
This week is Medical Laboratory Professionals Week. Medical laboratory professionals play a vital role in the diagnosis of disease and are key members of our healthcare team. These colleagues work out of the limelight and don’t often get the credit they deserve. I am so proud of our lab team, which has always demonstrated excellence. We are truly blessed to have an outstanding team of pathologists, technicians, phlebotomists, and staff.

Make Sure Your Voice Is Heard!
Please complete the employee engagement survey! This is a tool to make GBMC an even better system in which to work. The April 29 deadline is quickly approaching.

The survey is administered by Press Ganey, which compiles the data for us. So far, 63% of our colleagues have responded. The survey is anonymous and confidential. If you choose to include additional comments, these will be shared with your manager, but your name will not be given.

If you have any questions about the survey, please contact Angela Wilson, at

Remember, we need your opinion! And thank you to those of you who have already taken the survey!

Friday, April 19, 2019

Beautiful Voices at GBMC!

This past Tuesday was World Voice Day, a day which serves as a reminder of the value and significance of vocal health in everyday life and encourages the public to act to improve or maintain good voice habits.

Last Friday, I enjoyed the second annual World Voice Day vocal showcase with special guest
performances by members of Technicolor Motor Home, a Steely Dan tribute band, in the Civiletti Conference Center!

This employee-only event, allows members of the GBMC family to display their singing talents. The concert showcased 15 incredibly talented performers, who sang songs from multiple genres. I was really impressed with the great vocal talents from across the GBMC system.

I want to congratulate Dan Sherwood, MS/CCC-SP, HSE, our clinical vocologist at the Johns Hopkins Voice Center here at GBMC and his colleagues for their hard work in putting this great event together. I’m looking forward to next year!

GBMC Is Again Represented in the Daily Record’s Top 100 Women
I am proud to announce that three members of the GBMC family were honored by The Daily Record as Top 100 Women.

Heidi Kenny-Berman, Esq., HealthCare Board of Directors member and Philanthropy Committee Chair, Elizabeth Dovec, MD, FACS, FASMBS, bariatric surgeon and Medical Director for the GBMC Comprehensive Obesity Management Program, and JoAnn Z. Ioannou, DNP, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, Senior Vice President of Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer for GBMC Healthcare, were all honored for “outstanding achievement in professional life, community leadership, and mentoring.”

Congrats to all three of these GREAT  leaders!

Happy Holidays
On a final note, the GBMC HealthCare family sends its best wishes to everyone celebrating the start of Passover and Easter.

Friday, April 12, 2019

We are Grateful for Our Volunteers – National Volunteer Appreciation Week 2019

This week we are celebrating National Volunteer Appreciation Week and we are so grateful for all that our volunteers do to help us meet our mission of health, healing, and hope.

With more than 1,100 volunteers serving the hospital and Gilchrist, we have one of the largest volunteer auxiliaries in Maryland. Every day, our volunteers share their talents and spread kindness throughout our hospital. They are all accomplished members of our community and we couldn’t achieve our vision of providing to every patient, every time the care that we would want for our own loved ones without them. 

Over the last 50-plus years, our volunteers have donated approximately four MILLION hours of service and raised more than 25 million dollars to support patient care at GBMC!

So please, when you meet a GBMC or Gilchrist volunteer this week please take the time to say, “thank you” for all they do.

Donate Life Month

April is Donate Life Month, which brings awareness to the need for organ and tissue donors and honors those who have already donated. Earlier this month, I was privileged to be part of a very special ceremony at GBMC. We and The Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland held a flag raising ceremony to honor the memory of donors as we celebrated their gifts of life to others.

Today is the National Donate Life Month Blue and Green Day. The goal is to bring awareness to the importance of organ, eye, and tissue donors and to celebrate those that have saved lives through their donations. I hope that you all wore blue and green!

Every ten minutes, a person in the United States is added to the national organ donation waiting list, which has approximately 114,000 people on it. One person’s donation can make a huge difference for the people on this list. A single tissue donor has the potential to improve the lives of 50 people and one organ donor can save up to eight lives!

Please remember that you have the power to save lives. April is the perfect time to register as a donor if you haven’t already. Those wishing to register as an organ, eye, and tissue donor can do so at the MVA or at

Helping our SAFE & DV program…
I want to thank everyone who participated in our fourth annual “Walk a Mile in Their Shoes” event. We had close to 500 participants and we raised more than $90,000 for our Sexual Assault Forensic Examination (SAFE) and Domestic Violence (DV) program! Last Saturday, under beautiful sunny skies, participants walked a mile around GBMC’s campus to shed light on and show support for an extremely important issue for women and men of all ages. Click on the image (left) to watch a video summary of our event.

Registered nurses in GBMC’s SAFE program are specifically trained and certified by the Maryland Board of Nursing to provide care for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence of all ages in a confidential, non-judgmental atmosphere. At no cost to the patient, these nurses focus on empowering survivors to begin the healing process, in addition to working toward ending sexual assault and intimate partner violence in the community.

This year, our team decided to change the name of the event to “Walk A Mile in Their Shoes” to reflect that our healthcare system, and our SAFE and DV program, treats patients of all ages, genders, and ethnicities. When MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center’s pediatric program closed last year, GBMC immediately decided to create a child abuse team to fill the gap in services for children. It was the right thing to do. We couldn’t walk away from the need to care for and protect the most vulnerable segment of our population…children.

Prevention is key to putting an end to sexual assault and intimate partner violence. Our SAFE team has worked hard to expand across our healthcare system and into the community, and our primary care and emergency department teams have been trained on the signs of abuse and the steps to take when they see red flags.

The success of this year’s event would not be possible without the support of our generous sponsors, donors, and walkers. I was really impressed to see many of the football players from Stevenson University came out to support our program.

We understand the necessity of our Walk a Mile event and I am proud that GBMC continues to be a leader in helping the victims of sexual assault and domestic violence and in educating the community to reduce these attacks. I want to thank Dr. Fred Chan and Bonnie Stein and our committee members, along with the GBMC Philanthropy Department, Marketing Department, our Volunteer Auxiliary, and all parties, who worked together to make this year’s event another success!

We want to hear from our employees…
Every year, we ask our people to complete our Employee Engagement Survey. This year, the theme is Let's Get Better Together, and our goal is to have 80% (or more!) participation.

We need to know what you think to make the GBMC HealthCare system an even better place to work. We know we have the best employees at GBMC, Gilchrist, and GBMC Health Partners and we can't wait to hear your feedback!

Earlier this week, you should have received the survey link in your employee email. The survey is open through Monday, April 29, and it will only take a few minutes to complete. I ask that all our employees complete the survey. Please respond honestly, as the survey is completely CONFIDENTIAL. If you include additional comments, these will be shared with your manager, but your name will not be given.

Thank you for helping us make GBMC an even better employer. If you have any questions about the survey, please contact Angela Wilson,

Thank you so much for taking the survey.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Walking with a Purpose

The numbers tell the story. One in three women and one in six men in the United States have experienced sexual violence in her or his lifetime. These are not just numbers, though. They are real people – mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, grandparents, spouses, friends – whose lives are forever impacted. For this reason, our Sexual Assault Forensic Examination (SAFE) and Domestic Violence (DV) Program is expanding to care for more survivors, including a growing number of children.

I am writing about this in the blog this week to ask that you consider participating tomorrow and register NOW for the Walk a Mile in Their Shoes event! Online registration closes at 2 p.m. TODAY, but in-person registration WILL BE AVAILABLE tomorrow prior to the start of our event.

Learn more about the program by clicking the image below and watching Valerie Weir, BSN, RN, FNE-A/P, CMSRN, SAFE & DV Program Coordinator, discuss how to stop teen dating violence and sexual assault on BMORE Lifestyle.
Valier Weir Discusses Sexual Assault
Please click here to register before 2 p.m. today! I hope to see many of you walking with a purpose tomorrow!

Remembering Those Who Served
Last Saturday, Gilchrist held its second annual Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day Celebration honoring the brave men and women who served during the Vietnam War. Hundreds of Vietnam War Veterans attended the event, which provided a day of healing for them and their families. It also gave others in attendance the opportunity to thank those who served and give them the welcome home that they deserve.

Gilchrist is proud to honor and support those who have served in the United States Armed Forces and has honored thousands through their salute to service and pinning ceremonies. Over 10 percent of Gilchrist’s hospice patients are veterans. Gilchrist’s Welcome Home celebration honors the veterans in their care and in the community, recognizes the unique needs of these veterans, and thanks them for their sacrifice and service to our country.

In addition to Vietnam War Veterans, the Welcome Home Celebration had several extraordinary Iraq War veteran speakers who shared their messages of hope and healing. Captain George G. Forrest, a community hero who saved many of his soldiers’ lives when he served in Vietnam, was the emcee. Other speakers included: Cathy Y. Hamel, MA, President of Gilchrist, Lt. Diane Carlson Evans, USA-Army Nurse in Vietnam, Founder of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial Project, and the first woman in U.S. history to spearhead a campaign to place a national monument in Washington, D.C.; Senator John Astle, USMC-Marine, Vietnam veteran and sponsor of state legislation, and Governor Larry Hogan who signed a bill in 2015 that established March 30 as Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day in Maryland.

Congrats to Gilchrist for hosting this great event and thank you to all those in attendance for your service!

Let’s Go O’s!
Yesterday was opening day at Orioles Park at Camden Yards and I was graciously invited to the Oncology Services Opening Day Luncheon Celebration, which has become a wonderful annual event that brings joy to our oncology team and their patients. The food (hot dogs, mac and cheese, pretzels, salads, etc.) was delicious and I really enjoyed the singing of our National Anthem by Rocelle Feria, RN!