MedStar St. Mary’s Earns ‘A’ in Leapfrog’s National Hospital Safety Grades for Fall 2018

Leonardtown, Maryland MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital has been awarded an “A in The Leapfrog Group’s Fall 2018 Hospital Safety Grade, recognizing the hospital’s superior efforts in protecting patients from harm and meeting the highest safety standards in the United States.

The Leapfrog Group is a national organization committed to improving health care quality and safety for consumers and purchasers. The Safety Grade assigns an A, B, C, D or F grade to hospitals across the country based on their performance in preventing medical errors, infections, and other harms among those they are treating.

“Patient safety is our top priority. Our associates work tirelessly to create a safe environment for those trusted in our care,” said Christine R. Wray, president of MedStar St. Mary’s.

“Leapfrog’s Hospital Safety Grades recognize hospitals like MedStar St. Mary’s that focus on advancing patient safety,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “This ranking provides an important resource for patients, and a benchmark for hospitals, to determine how care at one hospital compares to others in a region. Hospitals that earn an A Hospital Safety Grade deserve to be recognized for their efforts in preventing medical harm and errors.”

Developed under the guidance of a National Expert Panel, the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade uses 28 measures of publicly available hospital safety data to assign grades to more than 2,600 U.S. hospitals twice per year. The Hospital Safety Grade’s methodology is peer-reviewed and fully transparent, and the results are free to the public.

MedStar St. Mary’s was one of 855 facilities across the U.S. awarded an A in the Fall 2018 update of grades. Visit www.hospitalsafetygrade.org to learn more.

About The Leapfrog Group
Founded in 2000, The Leapfrog Group is a national nonprofit organization driving a movement for giant leaps forward in the quality and safety of American health care. The flagship Leapfrog Hospital Survey collects and transparently reports hospital performance. The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, Leapfrog’s other main initiative, assigns letter grades to hospitals based on their record of patient safety, helping consumers protect themselves and their families from errors, injuries, accidents, and infections.

About MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital
MedStar St. Mary's Hospital (MSMH) is a full-service community hospital, delivering state-of-the-art emergency, acute inpatient and outpatient care in Leonardtown, Maryland. Nestled in a waterside community, MedStar St. Mary's provides advanced technology with a dedication to excellence in all services provided. The not-for-profit hospital has been named among the nation’s Top 100 Hospitals™ and is an eight time recipient of the prestigious Delmarva Medicare Excellence Award. In addition, MSMH received the Maryland Performance Excellence award at the Platinum level in 2014 – the highest in the state. Our staff is committed to providing quality and compassionate medical care for all patients by coupling innovation with our outstanding team of Medical Staff members, associates and volunteers. Visit MedStarStMarys.org to learn more.

Diabetes Program Earns CDC Recognition

Leonardtown, Maryland – The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently recognized MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital’s Diabetes Prevention Program, Simple Changes. The program was awarded CDC Full Recognition which is reserved for “programs that have effectively delivered a quality, evidence-based program that meets all of the standards for CDC recognition,” according to a letter from the CDC.

To be recognized by the CDC, programs must:

  • Have trained lifestyle coaches who can help build participants’ skills and confidence to make lasting lifestyle changes
  • Have a diabetes prevention program coordinator who uses a CDC approved curriculum
  • Obtain a minimum average weight loss of 5 percent during the 12 month program
  • Submit program data related to attendance, weight loss, and physical activity

The CDC also requires at least 35 percent of participants in the programs be diagnosed with pre-diabetes through blood testing (or have a history of gestational diabetes).

As part of the MedStar Diabetes Institute, MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital also offers a diabetes education program recognized by the American Diabetes Association and provided by a registered nurse and a dietician trained in diabetes management. 

Visit MedStarStMarys.org/Calendar for class information or call 301-475-6019.

About MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital
MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital (MSMH) is a full-service community hospital, delivering state-of-the-art emergency, acute inpatient and outpatient care in Leonardtown, Maryland. Nestled in a waterside community, MedStar St. Mary’s provides advanced technology with a dedication to excellence in all services provided. The not-for-profit hospital has been named among the nation’s Top 100 Hospitals™ and is an eight time recipient of the prestigious Delmarva Medicare Excellence Award. In addition, MSMH received the Maryland Performance Excellence award at the Platinum level in 2014 – the highest in the state. Our staff is committed to providing quality and compassionate medical care for all patients by coupling innovation with our outstanding team of Medical Staff members, associates and volunteers. Visit MedStarStMarys.org to learn more.

Could Your Vitamin Impact Blood Test Results?

Many doctor’s appointments begin with the same question: what medications are you taking? Though going through the list might feel tedious, it’s important to share an up-to-date rundown every time to determine how these drugs may interact with each other — and even how they could impact important blood tests.

Last fall, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) issued a safety alert regarding the water-soluble vitamin B7, or biotin, frequently found in multivitamins and supplements. Daily biotin recommendations range from 5 to 35 micrograms, depending on one’s age, gender, and other factors including pregnancy. Biotin can also be ingested naturally through common foods such as sweet potatoes, mushrooms, eggs, and spinach.

“Many dietary supplements promoted for hair, skin, and nail benefits contain biotin levels up to 650 times the recommended daily intake of biotin,” states the FDA. “Biotin in blood or other samples taken from patients who are ingesting high levels of biotin in dietary supplements can cause clinically significant incorrect lab test results.”

The FDA has seen an increase in the number of reported adverse events — including one death — related to biotin interference with lab tests. Biotin in patient samples can cause falsely high or falsely low results, depending on the test, and the influence of biotin may not always be apparent to healthcare providers or laboratories.

“Incorrect test results may lead to inappropriate patient management or misdiagnosis,” the FDA cautions. “For example, a falsely low result for troponin, a clinically important biomarker to aid in the diagnosis of heart attacks, may lead to a missed diagnosis and potentially serious clinical implications.”

High levels of biotin can skew common tests used to diagnose conditions including pregnancy, cancer, thyroid disease, heart disease, anemia, and other hormonal-related conditions. Fortunately, often only a day without taking the supplement is required for accurate test results.

Keep an up-to-date list of your current medications on file with your physician to have them available for other medical providers. Be sure to note if you are currently taking biotin, and consider bringing your labeled multivitamin to appointments to be sure its contents are recorded.

Visit MedStarStMarys.org/Laboratory to learn more about laboratory services offered through MedStar St. Mary’s and prepare for your next blood test.

MedStar St. Mary's Laboratory Centers 

Belmont Building
23000 Moakley St.
Suite 205, Leonardtown

East Run Center
45870 East Run Drive
Lexington Park

MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital
25500 Point Lookout Road
Leonardtown

Hospital Team Earns 10 National Healthcare Marketing Awards

The MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital Marketing, Public Relations & Philanthropy team, from left: Jeni Irwin, Rachel Lytle, Holly Meyer, Deborah Gross, Megan Johnson, Ruby Hawks, Jennifer Davis, and Sandy Ondrejcak.

Leonardtown, Maryland – MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital’s Marketing, Public Relations & Philanthropy Department was recently honored with 10 awards from the Aster Awards Program and the Healthcare Marketing Report (HMR).

The Aster Awards Program is an elite competition dedicated to recognizing excellence in medical marketing, while HMR is a publications group focused on marketing news and information from around the nation in the field of higher education and healthcare.

Aster Awards received this year include:

  • Gold for STRIVE365, Internal Advertising Campaign
  • Gold for Diamonds and Pearls: Gala 2017, Special Events
  • Silver for The Pulse, Internal Newsletter Series
  • Bronze for the Eclipse Facebook Post, Social Media - Single

HMR Awards received were:

  • Gold for The Pulse, Internal Publication
  • Gold for Diamonds and Pearls: Gala 2017, Special Events
  • Gold for the Opioids Series, a Public Relations Program in Healthy Living
  • Bronze for STRIVE365, a Health Promotion Program
  • Merit for Sports Medicine, an Advertising Series
  • Merit for the Eclipse Facebook Post, Social Media

The staff includes Holly Meyer, director; Ruby Hawks, assistant director; Sandy Ondrejcak and Jennifer Davis, graphic designers; Jeni Irwin, marketing and philanthropy coordinator; Rachel Lytle, digital marketing coordinator; and Deborah Gross and Megan Johnson, writers.

“Creativity, communication, and excellent teamwork are the glue that binds our team together,” said Meyer. “We are proud to share news from MedStar St. Mary’s with our community, and honored by these recognitions for the work we love to do.”

About MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital
MedStar St. Mary's Hospital (MSMH) is a full-service community hospital, delivering state-of-the-art emergency, acute inpatient and outpatient care in Leonardtown, Maryland. Nestled in a waterside community, MedStar St. Mary's provides advanced technology with a dedication to excellence in all services provided. The not-for-profit hospital has been named among the nation’s Top 100 Hospitals™ and is an eight-time recipient of the prestigious Delmarva Medicare Excellence Award. In addition, MSMH received the Maryland Performance Excellence award at the Platinum level in 2014 – the highest in the state. Our staff is committed to providing quality and compassionate medical care for all patients by coupling innovation with our outstanding team of Medical Staff members, associates, and volunteers. 

Local Students Earn Scholarships from MedStar St. Mary’s

When a Career and a Passion Come Together

Leonardtown, Maryland – MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital recently awarded seven local students with scholarships totaling approximately $168,000 to pursue careers in nursing and allied health.

“We were very impressed by all of this year’s applicants,” said Rick Tepel, chair of the scholarship committee. “It is inspiring to meet all of the candidates and learn about their plans. We look forward to the great work they’ll be doing here in our community after graduation.”

This year’s scholarship recipients with their fields of study are:

  • Tucker Arvin of St. Inigoes, nursing
  • Amaya Butler of Waldorf, nursing
  • Kimberly Campbell of Lusby, medical laboratory science
  • Angela Cox of California, nursing
  • Sydney Marshall of Port Tobacco, radiology
  • Alexandra Myers of Great Mills, nursing
  • Madison Richards of Clements, nursing

At a May 24 reception, speaker Christine Taylor discussed how the hospital scholarship helped her to begin a nursing program at age 33.

“I was terrified, but I knew this would be the best move for my family,” said Taylor, who was encouraged to enroll by the doctors with whom she was then working as a medical assistant. “So with a five-year-old, a 15-month-old, a husband on shift work and a full-time job myself, I enrolled in my very first college class. Often I spent my nights with my son in one arm and a nursing book in the other.”

Taylor went on to graduate with honors from the College of Southern Maryland in 2010. She became an operating room nurse before transitioning to work as an outpatient care coordinator and breast navigator at MedStar St. Mary’s.

Taylor found renewed purpose in working directly with patients to navigate life beyond a breast cancer diagnosis — a cause close to her heart, as she herself is a survivor. Taylor became the Susan G. Komen grant facilitator in 2016 and also organizes the hospital’s monthly Breast Cancer Support Group.

“None of this would have been possible without the support of the hospital,” she continued. “This scholarship is what put me on the path to achieve my goals and be successful. It is a beautiful thing when a career and a passion come together.”

The Philanthropy Committee, formerly the St. Mary’s Hospital Foundation, is a subset of MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital’s Board of Directors. Including the 2018 recipients, 149 students have received tuition support to help ensure the future of quality local healthcare. Applications are due each spring. Visit MedStarStMarys.org/Scholarships to learn more.

Funds for the scholarship program are raised through the hospital’s annual Gala. This year’s event, A Mad Adventure, will be held Friday, Nov. 16, at the Hollywood Volunteer Fire Department’s Social Hall. Visit MedStarStMarys.org/MadAdventure to become a sponsor.

Left to right: Alexandra Myers, Madison Richards, Amaya Butler, Tucker Arvin, Angela Cox, Sydney Marshall, and Kimberly Campbell.

Leadership Southern Maryland Visits MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital

Leonardtown, Maryland (Jan. 25, 2018) – Nine members of Leadership Southern Maryland (LSM), an educational leadership program for executives, visited MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital on Jan. 18 as the program’s monthly focus turned to local healthcare.

Participants from the Class of 2018 arrived for a presentation with Stephen Michaels, MD, chief operating and chief medical officer at MedStar St. Mary’s, followed by a tour of the Leonardtown campus. Stops included Interventional Radiology, the Emergency Department, the MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital Wound Healing Center, and “Reflections,” the new history room.

Amy Magyar, CRN, VA-BC, demonstrated the vast capabilities of the Interventional Radiology department, including a discussion of kyphoplasty: a minimally invasive procedure used to treat spinal compression fractures. Through a small hole, kyphoplasty injects special cement into the vertebrae, which can alleviate back pain.

In the Emergency Department, Daniel Geary, MD, department chief, and Dawn Yeitrakis, MS, RN, CEN, department director, demonstrated Telestroke — a virtual connection to stroke experts at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. The electronic communication allows local emergency clinicians to consult with specialists in real time through a secure video link. Stroke patients may be stabilized and treated faster in Leonardtown with this specialty care, leading to better patient outcomes.

At the MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital Wound Healing Center, Richard Greengold, MD, medical director, and Lisa Nelson, RN, MHA, CWCN, clinical program director, spoke about hyperbaric oxygen therapy — one of many advanced treatments offered in Leonardtown. Patients breathe pure oxygen inside a pressurized chamber to stimulate the body’s natural healing capabilities. The department recently received the Center of Excellence Award from Healogics, the nation’s largest provider of advanced wound care services.

The Jan. 18 tour ended in “Reflections,” the first-floor history room, where participants learned more about the hospital’s role in the community since its founding in 1912.

 

Couple Finds Compassionate Care at Hospice House

When Diane Haderly’s cancer returned, she chose not to undergo treatment to extend her life, but instead wanted to spend her last few months traveling and enjoying life with her husband, John.

Upon removal of a tumor on her pancreas and completion of six months of chemotherapy, everything seemed to be fine for Diane Haderly. She felt great. After all, the Lexington Park resident beat breast cancer 17 years ago. This time around she wasn’t as fortunate.

A follow-up scan showed the cancer had spread. Diane discussed her options with John, her husband of 38 years. She could undergo an even more intense treatment or do nothing. The treatment could extend her life a few months, but Diane decided it wasn’t worth it.

“It came down to quality of life,” said John, recalling the toll the six months of chemo took on Diane. “She always said if she ever got really sick, she wanted to die at Hospice House.” So the couple went to Hospice House, learned about hospice services and chose her options for care. Being terminal, Diane was eligible for hospice care immediately, although she felt great. In fact, in the beginning, John said Diane would answer the door and the hospice nurse would ask to see the patient while Diane answered, “I am the patient.”

Diane and John sailed and traveled in their motorhome during their time together. They visited their blended family of five children and eight grandchildren, discussing Diane’s decision and what she wanted in addition to celebrating family occasions. Thanks to their hospice connection, John, a retired Navy officer with no medical training, always felt confident should they ever encounter an emergency while traveling. “Whenever we left home,” said John, “I let hospice know our routes and our destinations. They set up hospice services for us in those areas, although we never had to use them.”

According to Hospice and Palliative Care Interim Director Kathy Franzen, BSN, RN, a great number of patients and their families never discuss end-of-life options. Instead, decisions are crisis based, made under duress in the Intensive Care Center or the Emergency Department. “This places a huge burden on others.” Kathy and her staff ask patients and families “What’s important to you?” to help with decisions about palliative or hospice care. “This question can help with one of the most important conversations of our life,” said Kathy.

If unsure how to begin end-of-life conversations, she highly recommends The Conversation Project website at TheConversationProject.org for several helpful resources. “All of hospice care is palliative care, but all of palliative care is not hospice care at all,” Kathy said. Palliative care should start at the beginning of any serious or chronic illness. To be eligible for hospice, a terminally ill patient with approximately six months to live must have a physician referral.

Just as she wanted, Diane Haderly was at Hospice House for her final days. All of her family, including the dog, were able to come and say their goodbyes. John was so taken with his wife’s care that when his 95-year-old mother-in-law was in a nursing home dying of lung cancer, he arranged for her to go to Hospice House.

Once again, he was grateful for their skill and compassion. As a thank you, John helps care for the baby grand piano in the Hospice House living room, seeing that it stays well-tuned for all to enjoy. Diane loved music and John, a musician, served as the Navy Band’s tour director for most of his military career. “Hospice staff treated my wife, myself and our entire family with dignity,” John said. “They honored Diane’s wishes, provided comfort and support, and made the transition tolerable for our entire family. I’m also proud of our community for building the Hospice House. It’s a gift.”

Visit HospiceofStMarys.org for more information about hospice and palliative care.

Opportunities in Health Care

Consider a career in health care and explore all the possibilities at MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital. More than 1,200 associates comprise clinical and nonclinical teams serving our community hospital. Those who live and work in the community enjoy a short commute to work. Best of all, are the benefits of being a MedStar associate. One of the largest employers in the county, MedStar St. Mary’s offers many career opportunities, including:   

  • Clinical dietitian
  • Physical therapist
  • Radiology technician
  • Registered nurse
  • Nursing technician
  • OR Surgical technician
  • Certified tumor registrar
  • Physician assistant
  • Nutrition aide
  • Environmental services aid
  • Security guard

When Gina Steele, BSN, RN, began working part-time in Perioperative Services as a central sterile processing technician in 1985, her primary goal was to work full-time. So when she came across an opening for a surgical technician, she decided to apply for the job.

“I loved it in the operating room (OR),” said Gina, “and so I was thrilled when they agreed to provide on-the-job training.” Feeling fortunate to have had the opportunity to get her certification to become a surgical technician, she realized she wanted to achieve more and become a first assistant in the OR. To do that, she knew she needed a nursing degree. So Gina gathered her transcripts and began classes at the College of Southern Maryland. “The hospital supported me with financial assistance and also by shifting my hours so that I could fulfill my education requirements while I worked.”

As a registered nurse, Gina continued to grow her professional career. She eventually became director of Perioperative Services, earning her bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland along the way with a full hospital scholarship. Currently, she is working on her master’s degree and receiving financial support through a hospital grant funding program offered to nursing associates.\

“MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital is committed to the growth and development of registered nurses and all associates, and we offer educational assistance and other types of support to associates who are looking to advance their education and professional goals,” said Pam Barnard, MSN, RN-BC, CNML, PHR, SHRM-CP, assistant director of Organizational Learning & Research. 

“It’s very important for nurses to pursue their bachelor’s degree early on if you can,” encourages Gina. “It will make you aware of the big picture of nursing and why we strive to have best performance.” As far as financial support, Gina says, “It may take some work to find what’s available and go for it, but I think if you have goals and take the time to pursue them, the hospital will support you.”

To apply for a position in health care and start building a rewarding career, visit MedStarStMarys.org/Careers or call Human Resources at 301-475-6018.

Hospital Wins Seven National Healthcare Marketing Awards

Leonardtown, Maryland (July 3, 2017)MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital’s Marketing, Public Relations, and Philanthropy (MPRP) Department earned seven healthcare marketing awards from the Aster Awards Program and the Healthcare Marketing Report (HMR). The Aster Awards Program is an elite competition dedicated to recognizing excellence in medical marketing and HMR is a publications group focused on marketing news and information from around the nation in the field of higher education and healthcare.

Aster Awards received this year include:

  • Bronze for The Pulse, Newsletter/Internal – Series
  • Silver for Healthy Living, Publication/External – Series
  • Silver for Viva! A Night in Old Havana/Gala 2016, Special Events

HMR Awards received this year include:

  • Silver, The Pulse, Publications Internal
  • Silver, Viva! A Night in Old Havana/Gala 2016, Special Event
  • Bronze, Care That’s Tailored to Your Changing Life, Direct Mail
  • Merit, Raising the Bar/Nursing Annual Report, Annual Report

“We have a talented and creative team that works diligently to accurately and professionally communicate the news from our hospital as well as our services,” said Holly Meyer, director of Marketing, Public Relations and Philanthropy at MedStar St. Mary's. “Teamwork is the main ingredient that helps us continually tackle challenging projects with creative marketing solutions.”  

The MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital Marketing, Public Relations and Philanthropy team pictured, from left to right: Holly Meyer, director; Sandy Ondrejcak, marketing and public relations specialist; Rachel Lytle, digital marketing coordinator; Ruby Hawks, marketing and public relations specialist; Jennifer Green, writer; Jeni Irwin, marketing project coordinator; and Deborah Gross, writer.

Medical Respite Program Now Available

Coming Together to Help the Homeless

respite-house-grand-opening-fade
Respite House Grand Opening

Filling the gaps in health care for the homeless is the primary goal of a new medical respite program, one of several new services offered through the Veterans Housing Outreach and Assistive Services facility recently opened at the Three Oaks Center in Lexington Park. Patterned after Baltimore City’s Health Care for the Homeless program, St. Mary’s County is only the second location in the state to offer such a service.

“Due to the affluence of our county, the problems of our homeless are often not as visible,” said Lori Werrell, director of Health Connections, the community outreach program of MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital. “This program will help us address the issues faced by the homeless and the homeless veterans in our area.”

The multi-bed facility will offer individuals a place to recuperate from acute illness or surgery after being discharged from the hospital. Unlike most homeless shelters which only provide overnight accommodations, the medical respite program offers 24-hour access to a bed during a person’s prescribed recovery time.

In addition, the program connects discharged homeless patients with Care Coordinators from MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital, who will follow their recovery, help them find primary care, schedule and set up appointments and coordinate services with a Neighborhood Wellness Advocate who can help arrange transportation to appointments or other needed services. The facility also gives the person a physical address where they can receive services such as visits from a Home Health nurse.

The program is a joint effort between the Three Oaks Center, MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital, St. Mary’s County Office on Aging, St. Mary’s County Health Department, Walden Behavioral Health, Pathways, Maryland Department of Health and Human Services and the St. Mary’s County Housing Authority.

“One of the primary goals of the program is to help stabilize these individuals’ lives by connecting them to services and benefits, which eventually may move them out of homelessness,” said Lori. “The hope is to transition these individuals to permanent housing and a better quality of life.”