A New Home For Health Pros
The Medical Society takes over new digs.
Once known as the MBNA Bowman Conference Center, the gleaming white edifice in Newark is now home to a family of community activists: The Medical Society of Delaware.
Besides a formal re-naming and new inhabitants, the 15,000-square-foot building underwent some significant structural modifications, executive director Mark Meister says. The former 400-seat auditorium is now home to conference rooms and audio-visual equipment to enhance and facilitate communication for member physicians across the state. With the addition of the Community Health Outreach Center, complete with a computer lab and health information technology software, members have easier access to patient files and data.
With the purchase of a permanent residence, the society will save an estimated $43,000 per year on rent—a sum Meister says will expand programs like Covering Kids and Families, which provides medical care for the uninsured.
“How we deploy our resources depends on the needs of our members and our community,” Meister says. “We are a rather dynamic organization, and we’re always reinventing programs and services like the Outreach Center. The money saved in buying this building can simply be reinvested into our existing or new programs.”
Though the former Bowman Center is revamped, the spirit of its former inhabitants remains.
“[Former MBNA CEO Charles] Cawley invested greatly in community for various causes, and even as the MBNA empire has been dismantled, we are now meeting the ideals of community involvement they perpetuated,” Meister says. “That’s a really special thing for us.” —Emily Riley
Page 2: Beebe’s As | The Lewes hospital earns a major ranking for quality care.
The Lewes hospital earns a major ranking for quality care.
Thanks to Beebe Medical Center, nationally-ranked healthcare services can be added to the list of things people think of when they picture a visit to the beach.
HealthGrades, an independent healthcare ratings company, awarded the Beebe team with the Distinguished Hospital for Clinical Excellence Award, making Beebe one of only 269 hospitals ranked in the top 5 percent in the nation for overall patient outcomes.
Hospital honors spanned departments, with five-star rankings bestowed for the treatment of heart attacks, pneumonia and strokes, but the orthopedic team earned the lion’s share of accolades, meriting the Orthopedic Excellence Award. The honor hardly surprises vice president for corporate affairs Wallace Hudson.
“It all starts with our orthopedic surgeons, then it’s having a dedicated staff that cares about what they’re doing,” Hudson says. “We have specific protocols in place to prevent things like hospital-acquired conditions and infections at wound site, allowing our patients to get up and start walking quickly after surgery.”
HealthGrades examined Beebe’s patient outcome data for knee and hip replacements, spinal surgery, hip and fracture repair, and back and neck surgery. It granted a five-star rating in all areas, a feat accomplished by no other hospital on Delmarva. According to Hudson, the accomplishment is due to the recently remodeled James P. Marvel Orthopedic Center and its eight orthopedic specialists.
“We’re constantly analyzing the developments in equipment, implants and techniques,” he says. “We’re always using the best resources available.” —Emily Riley
Page 3: Record Attempts | Two local women try to help you organize important medical information.
Two local women try to help you organize important medical information.
Many of us have been there. You find yourself in the emergency room, but you can’t recall what medications you, or your loved one, are allergic to. Is it Penicillin or the other one that sounds just like it?
To avoid potentially life-threatening complications in the event of a medical emergency—even for a routine visit to the doctor—it is important to keep all information about prescriptions, insurance, allergies, doctors, family history and more—in one place.
Two Delaware women, Laura Messinger and Lillian Shah, have made the task easy. Their book, “Keeping Healthy by Keeping Track, A Complete Guide to Maintaining Your Own Medical Records,” provides all the necessary materials for organizing your family’s most important health information. It includes a CD with 95 charts to make managing medical records easy.
“Having this information is so important,” Messinger says. “And having it somewhere you can retrieve it is even more important.”
Both women have acted as caregivers for their ill family members. They say benefits of staying organized include saving money by avoiding duplicate tests, documenting insurance claims, being prepared with questions during doctor visits, and understanding legal issues. In addition, the charts make it simple to track diet, fitness, allergies, and personal and family medical history.
“In today’s world, healthcare is so fragmented,” Shah says. “You have doctors, specialists, labs, testing centers and medications that you need to keep track of. It’s weblike, and the responsibility falls on you.” —Katharine Gray
Page 4: Kicking Butts | Don’t strike that match. Bayhealth has extended its tobacco ban.
Don’t strike that match. Bayhealth has extended its tobacco ban.
For nearly six months, the countdown was on—and as of January 1, Bayhealth Medical Centers have become totally smoke-free.
Though Bayhealth hospitals had been internally smoke-free for years, smoking is now prohibited on all parts of Bayhealth campuses. The move was part of a program launched by Bayhealth’s Healthy Lifestyles Task Force, which conducted a survey and found that many Bayhealth employees desired a smoke-free campus.
“I think the biggest thing we wanted to was give our employees enough time,” says Bonnie Perratto, Bayhealth’s senior vice president and chief nurse executive. A smoke-free campus also benefits the community Bayhealth serves. “We are a healthcare organization, so we do have the responsibility to make sure we exemplify what a healthy organization should be.”
Bayhealth has also increased the number of smoking cessation classes it offers, says Terry Towne, Bayhealth’s tobacco cessation coordinator. The Freedom From Smoking classes, funded by the American Lung Association of Delaware, meet once a week for seven weeks. Towne says the classes have been composed mainly of community members so far, but Bayhealth is reaching out to employees.
Nicotine replacement products are available at outpatient facilities and as prescriptions at Kent General Hospital and Milford Memorial Hospital.
Towne says quitting smoking is never easy, but Bayhealth is ready to help those who are ready to give it a shot. “It just takes a real commitment,” she says.
The program is made possible through the Delaware Division of Public Health’s Tobacco Prevention Community Contract. Funding for the contract is provided by the Delaware Health Fund and managed by the American Lung Association of Delaware. —Alexandra Duszak
Page 5: Breathing Easier | A Lung Association report says that, in some ways, Delaware is. In others, there’s a way to go.
A Lung Association report says that, in some ways, Delaware is. In others, there’s a way to go.
Since the state’s Clean Indoor Air Act went into effect in 2002, Delaware has maintained a smoke-free environment, earning the state an A in the clean air category from the American Lung Association 2009 State of Tobacco Control report. The bad news? Delaware earned an F for not helping smokers kick the habit.
“We do have the first Clean Indoor Act in the country, which we are extremely pleased with, but the tobacco epidemic hasn’t ended,” says Deborah Brown, CEO of the ALA of the Mid-Atlantic. “I think we still have a lot of work to do.”
The act prohibits smoking in indoor public places and work environments, including bars, restaurants and casinos. The F was based on lack of help for state employees and Medicaid recipients who want to kick the habit.
For funding of tobacco prevention and control programs, Delaware received a B. The state’s average cigarette taxation rate earned a C.
Six states received straight Fs. No state earned straight As. Delaware averaged a C+ overall.
In Delaware, the costs of smoking are over $678 million a year. Tobacco-related illness is responsible for an estimated 1,200 deaths annually.
“When you have a combination of [grades] but at varying degrees, you aren’t doing the best that you can as a state to help those who are currently smoking and those who we want to never start smoking,” Brown says. “We need to continue looking at all four issues and make sure we offer the highest level of tobacco control for all Delawareans.” —Caitlin Maloney
Page 6: No Dummies | High-tech mannequins help new doctors learn more about medical care.
High-tech mannequins help new doctors learn more about medical care.
Dr. Glen Tinkoff recalls his early years as a medical resident, when shaky hands and unsteady scalpels were common among his peers and wracked the nerves of his patients. As he teaches a new set of hospital freshmen, any would-be mishaps are now cured with the help of virtual technology and a few plastic friends.
The Virtual Education and Simulation Training Center at Christiana Hospital is the new training grounds for Christiana Care staff. It is complete with all aspects of a healthcare environment, from clinical examination rooms to a trauma bay and operating rooms. Inside the rooms, patients are replaced with human patient simulators—life-like mannequins designed to give birth, go into cardiac arrest and respond to medicine—to safely instruct trainees on proper medical procedures.
“Prior to this effort, much of the teaching in medicine has been done on live patients,” Tinkoff says. “Clearly that’s not an optimal situation, and we had to figure out how to get through the learning curve without inflicting the incompetence of the novice on a patient. We have to give them enough experience to be comfortable and safe.”
Training ranges from performing a standard physical to completing life-saving surgeries with the safety net of working with a non-human specimen. In this controlled environment, medical emergencies are safely replicated so that errors become quickly mended learning tools rather than disasters.
The 9,000-square-foot center, which opened in March, has already been certified as a Level II Educational Institute by the American College of Surgery, a designation for providers of basic education in enhancing patient safety through simulation. —Emily Riley
Page 7: A First for Hospice Help | St. Francis opens an in-patient center for end-of-life care.
A First for Hospice Help
St. Francis opens an in-patient center for end-of-life care.
The goal of hospice is to care for sick people in the final stages of life at home, but sometimes that’s not possible—especially when a patient’s symptoms are difficult to control.
With the opening of the Compassionate Care in-patient unit at St. Francis Hospital in January, hospice patients whose care cannot be managed at home will be able to get the medical attention they need.
“It was exciting to know that we would be the first in-patient hospice unit in Delaware and the only in-patient hospice unit in Delaware,” says St. Francis Hospital President and CEO Julie Hester.
The purpose of the facility is to provide short-term care for patients and get their symptoms under control while maintaining a comfortable atmosphere. “We want to keep it like home as much as we can,” says Cathy Peoples, clinical coordinator of the facility.
The unit will have a staff of 22 people who will be assisted by volunteers. The refurbished area, on the sixth floor, includes 14 in-patient rooms, a spacious kitchen, homey sitting areas and a meditation room for the patients’ families.
Tom Taylor, regional director of Compassionate Care, says the hospice facility will help eliminate emergency room visits and numerous trips to the hospital. “It really does decrease the anxiety of patients and families,” he says.
Partnering with Compassionate Care seemed like a natural fit. “We have similar visions and similar desires as far as care goes,” Hester says. —Alexandra Duszak
Page 8: The Gold Standard | Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in Seaford becomes the state’s first certified stroke center.
The Gold Standard
Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in Seaford becomes the state’s first certified stroke center.
Nanticoke Memorial Hospital may be a small community hospital, but it’s taking big strides in stroke care. In October Nanticoke earned the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval as Delaware’s only Certified Stroke Center, says Annedreea Webber, stroke coordinator and progressive care director at Nanticoke.
The hospital has about 150 stroke-certified nurses, and all of its staff—even cafeteria workers and security guards—know what to do should they witness someone having a stroke.
Dr. Bruce Dopler, medical director of Nanticoke’s stroke center, developed state-approved stroke education classes that helped nurses become certified and helped educate hospital employees. “Part of the requirement is that everyone needs to know about stroke care and what to do,” Webber says.
Earning the Gold Seal of Approval was no small task. “We have to show that we’re consistently meeting the goals of the Joint Commission,” Webber says. “We’ve shown time and time again, we do meet that criteria.”
The Get With The Guidelines database, which compares stroke treatment centers across the country, also awarded Nanticoke a Bronze Award.
Hospital president and CEO Steven A. Rose says he hopes the Joint Commission certification will help people realize the quality of care available to them at Nanticoke.
“Health care is very personal to people,” Rose says. “When you go to a physician or come to a hospital, you want to believe that you’re getting the best possible care. We at the hospital may believe we’re doing everything right, but sometimes getting the public to realize that is not that easy.”
Nanticoke is also working toward diabetic education and emergency room staff certifications. —Alexandra Duszak