Tag Archives: University of Maryland Medical System

University of Maryland Medical System Now Providing ‘Virtual Safety Net’ to ICU Patients in Nine Maryland Hospitals

University-of-Maryland-Medical-SystemALL EASTERN SHORE HOSPITALS NOW CONNECTED FOR REMOTE INTENSIVE CARE UNIT MONITORING BY UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND eCARE  

University of Maryland Medical System Now Providing ‘Virtual Safety Net’ to ICU Patients in Nine Maryland Hospitals 

BALTIMORE, Feb 5, 2014 —  The University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) today announced the addition of all three University of Maryland Shore Regional Health hospital intensive care units (ICU) to its University of Maryland eCare service, bringing the total hospitals served by expert remote ICU monitoring to nine across the state.  By adding this service at UM Shore Medical Centers at Chestertown, Dorchester and Easton, UMMS intensivists can now help direct care for up to 100 ICU patients who are able to stay closer to home.  With the addition of the three Mid-Shore medical centers, University of Maryland eCare services are now provided in all hospitals with ICUs on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

From a central operations hub on the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) campus in Baltimore, telemedicine technology allows intensivists and critical care nurses to oversee patient care in off-site ICUs during the night and weekend hours, providing a virtual safety net for smaller facilities when the local physician staffing levels are lower.  The local staff can also get immediate consultation from a critical care expert who is able to see the patient and their real-time medical data through cameras and live feeds of data.

“University of Maryland eCare exemplifies one of our core strategies in the University of Maryland Medical System — to make sure we have the right patient in the right place at the right time,” says Robert A. Chrencik, president and chief executive officer of UMMS.  “University of Maryland eCare allows us to extend our expertise in time-sensitive critical care medicine to rural areas, without bringing the patient to Baltimore unless absolutely necessary, easing the burden on patients and their families, and potentially lowering healthcare costs.”

University of Maryland eCare uses special cameras in patient rooms along with continual electronic feeds of information such as patients’ vital signs, laboratory and pharmaceutical data, to pick up even slight changes in a patient’s physical condition. An “eLert” button in each patient room also allows local ICU staff to request eCare assistance or a consultation.

“UMMS is at the forefront of medical care evolution with its leadership in the tele-ICU world,” says said Marc. T. Zubrow, MD, vice president of telemedicine for UMMS and medical director of University of Maryland eCare. “Approximately 12 percent of ICU beds across the country are under such a program, marking an important advancement in patient care at rural hospitals,” says Zubrow, who is also an associate professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Rural hospitals across the United States are increasingly challenged to keep their ICUs open due to the limited availability of trained specialists — called intensivists — who specialize in the complex care of ICU patients that often have several different medical issues simultaneously.

Hospitals with ICUs in Maryland monitored by University of Maryland eCare include:

-Calvert Memorial Hospital – Prince Frederick

-Peninsula Regional Medical Center – Salisbury

-St. Mary’s Hospital – Leonardtown

-Atlantic General Hospital – Berlin

-Union Hospital of Cecil County – Elkton

-Meritus Medical Center – Hagerstown

-University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Chestertown

-University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Dorchester

-University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Easton

About University of Maryland Medical System

The University of Maryland Medical System is a 12-hospital system with academic, community and specialty medical services reaching every part of the state and beyond. UMMS is a national and regional referral center for trauma, cancer care, neurocare, cardiac care, women’s and children’s health and physical rehabilitation. It also has one of the nation’s largest kidney transplant programs, as well as many of other programs that improve the physical and mental health of thousands of people daily. UMMS hospitals employ more than 21,000 employees, and operate approximately 2,300 licensed beds in Maryland.  The medical system’s annual gross patient revenues are $2.8 billion.  For more information, visit www.umms.org.

Queens Anne’s County Reaches Agreement for Enhanced Health Services

After lengthy negotiations Queen Anne’s County yesterday reached an agreement with Shore Health System (SHS) and University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) for the provision of enhanced health services in the County. SHS owns and operates the Memorial Hospital of Easton (MHE) and UMMS is the parent company of Shore Health System.

Highlights of the enhanced services are: an ambulatory surgery center at the professional office building abutting the emergency room at Route 50 and Nesbit Road; the offering of in-home dialysis with a future commitment to seek a provider for in-center dialysis, once there is sufficient experience to evaluate the success of the in-home dialysis offering; mental health and diagnostic services for County seniors; and an effort to raise the level of emergency services that can be offered at the Nesbit Road emergency room

The agreement also adds seven years to SHS/UMMS’s present three year commitment to operate the Nesbit Road emergency room 24/7 and provides security for Hospice of Queen Anne’s County’s continued offering of hospice services to County residents.

The agreement includes provisions furthering SHS’s stated goal of transitioning to be the true regional provider of health care services to the region including Queen Anne’s County. In this regard, SHS has agree that there will be at least two County residents on the reconstituted SHS Board of Directors and that a plan for the provision of health services will be provided to the County. An ongoing process is envisioned by which SHS will give biannual plan updates. It is specifically provided that the plan and its updates will consider input from the County and its Health Officer.

With the agreement, Queen Anne’s County will not engage in the deliberations regarding SHS ‘s pending application before the Maryland Health Care Commission for authority to move MHE from downtown Easton to a location near the Easton Airport on Route 50. The County had raised concern that the new location would not adequately address the expanding health care needs of its citizens. But, with the SHS/UMMS’s commitments to offer new services and to future engagement with the County it was decided that involvement in that process was not warranted.

Commission President Steve Arentz and Vice President Phil Dumenil engaged in the negotiations as the team the full Commission designated. Both Senators Pipkin and Senator Colburn also engaged, aggressively pushing for an agreement. And, the Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, Charles County Senator Mac Middleton intervened as the facilitator.

“The negotiations were challenging, but I am very pleased with the result,” said Commission Vice-President Dumenil. “The citizens of Queen Anne’s County were the real winners, as the agreement means their health care needs will be better served.”

“We had a lot of help,” explained Commission President Arentz. “Our own E.J. Pipkin opened the door to the negotiations through his persistent advocacy for the County getting ‘a seat at the table’ and, once we got that seat, the County’s dear friend, Mac Middleton, pulled an agreement together. He deserves special thanks since his Charles County constituents’ interests were not an issue. He’s a true statesman. I remain optimistic that this agreement provides a firm foundation for Shore Health working closely with the County to make sure our citizens’ health needs are addressed.”

Queens Anne’s County Reaches Agreement for Enhanced Health Services

After lengthy negotiations Queen Anne’s County reached an agreement with Shore Health System (SHS) and University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) for the provision of enhanced health services in the county. SHS owns and operates the Memorial Hospital of Easton (MHE) and UMMS is the parent company of Shore Health System.

Highlights of the enhanced services are: an ambulatory surgery center at the professional office building abutting the emergency room at Route 50 and Nesbit Road; the offering of in-home dialysis with a future commitment to seek a provider for in-center dialysis, once there is sufficient experience to evaluate the success of the in-home dialysis offering; mental health and diagnostic services for county seniors; and an effort to raise the level of emergency services that can be offered at the Nesbit Road emergency room.

The agreement also adds seven years to SHS/UMMS’s present three year commitment to operate the Nesbit Road emergency room 24/7 and provides security for Hospice of Queen Anne’s County’s continued offering of hospice services to county residents.

The agreement includes provisions furthering SHS’s stated goal of transitioning to be the true regional provider of health care services to the region including Queen Anne’s County. In this regard, SHS has agreed that there will be at least two county residents on the reconstituted SHS Board of Directors and that a plan for the provision of health services will be provided to the county. An ongoing process is envisioned by which SHS will give biannual plan updates. It is specifically provided that the plan and its updates will consider input from the county and its health officer.

With the agreement, Queen Anne’s County will not engage in the deliberations regarding SHS’s pending application before the Maryland Health Care Commission for authority to move MHE from downtown Easton to a location near the Easton Airport on Route 50. The county had raised concern that the new location would not adequately address the expanding health care needs of its citizens. But, with the SHS/UMMS’s commitments to offer new services and to future engagement with the county it was decided that involvement in that process was not warranted.

Commission President Steve Arentz and Vice President Phil Dumenil engaged in the negotiations as the team representing the full commission. Both Senators Pipkin and Colburn also engaged, aggressively pushing for an agreement. Additionally, the Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, Charles County Senator Mac Middleton intervened as the facilitator.

Throughout the negotiations, the county’s Health Officer and Emergency Services Medical Director, Dr. Joe Ciotola provided vital support. “I am most excited about the offering of in-home dialysis which brings better outcomes and is where dialysis is likely heading,” explained Dr. Ciotola. “I intend to partner vigorously with Shore Health to make sure our county’s citizens are aware of this service and the other new services for seniors that will be offered.”

“The negotiations were challenging, but I am very pleased with the result,” said Commission Vice-President Dumenil. “The citizens of Queen Anne’s County are the real winners, as the agreement means their health care needs will be better served.”

“We had a lot of help,” explained Commission President Arentz. “Our own E.J. Pipkin deserves the credit for fueling the negotiations. He opened the door with his persistent advocacy for the county getting ‘a seat at the table.’ Once he got us that seat, the county’s dear friend, Mac Middleton, pulled an agreement together. He deserves special thanks since his Charles County constituents’ interests were not an issue. He’s a true statesman. I remain optimistic that this agreement provides a firm foundation for Shore Health working closely with the county to make sure our citizens’ health needs are addressed.”

Boards of Chester River Health and Shore Health Vote Unanimously to Merge

The boards of Chester River Health and Shore Health have announced the merger of the two health systems. The merger will maximize health care accessibility for Mid-shore residents, while maintaining the financial strength of local healthcare in the face of rapid changes in health care delivery and reimbursement, ensuring a sustainable path to the future of the Mid-Shore’s health care. Both systems are members of the University of Maryland Medical System, which has approved the merger.

“The Boards’ vote for the merger was unanimous and we are very excited to combine our health systems,” commented the Board chairs, Wayne Gardner of Chester River Health and John Dillon of Shore Health, in a joint statement. “Together, we can reach new levels of quality care and our communities deserve it.”

Dillon commented, “We have prepared our health systems in the best possible way to meet the challenges of a health care environment that is rapidly changing due to healthcare reform. This enables us to provide seamless and efficient care across our region. We are confident that the thorough process we have pursued has led us to the right decisions.”

“Our boards have come together to build a sustainable health care system and that is really trailblazing here in Maryland,” remarked Gardner. “Our collaboration will improve care and outcomes for our patients while increasing access to quality healthcare services, programs and specialists to residents of the Mid-shore region.”

The unanimous votes taken by the two boards will result in the following:

• Effective July 1, 2013, Shore Health System and Chester River Health System will merge into a single entity, with a single board governance structure.
• Effective July 1, 2013, the health system’s executive management team will be unified. Ken Kozel, current CEO and president of Shore Health System, will serve as CEO and president of the unified system. Jim Ross, current CEO and president of Chester River Health, will continue to serve until the merger is complete.
• On a date yet to be determined, the health systems’ medical staffs will be unified.
• By January, 2014, the health system’s middle management team will be unified.
• Once timelines and transition plans are developed, staffing may be added, relocated or eliminated based upon regional needs.

All three existing hospitals in the system will remain open and will continue to operate as acute care inpatient facilities with emergency departments. The combined health system will operate hospitals in Cambridge, Chestertown and Easton; a freestanding emergency center and adjacent medical pavilion in Queenstown; a nursing and rehabilitation center in Chestertown; and outpatient care and diagnostic centers in Cambridge, Centreville, Chestertown, Denton and Easton. Home care and hospice services will be continued throughout the region by the combined system.

Foundations will continue to raise funds for their specific hospitals and funds raised in each unique community will stay in each community. Auxiliaries and volunteers will remain locally based in support of the individual hospitals they serve and support.

In addition to approving the merger, the Boards have endorsed modification of clinical services to reflect regional needs and resources. Clinical changes at the health systems that have already been implemented include:

• The addition of new medical specialists in Kent County, including a urologist, a nephrologist, and a neurologist.

• The completion of the Shore Medical Pavilion in Queenstown has expanded access to services in the region including primary care, cardiology, ENT, urology, physical and occupational therapy, speech therapy, a regional sleep study center and extensive diagnostic imaging services, including mammography, MRI, xray, ultrasound and bone densitometry.

Clinical changes expected to be implemented near term include:

• Enhanced access to regional services and programs, including but not limited to a women’s breast center, a diabetes program, telemedicine and hospice and palliative care, for the Chester River community.

• Centralizing diagnostic cardiac catheterization services at Memorial Hospital. The cardiac catheterization lab currently in operation at Chester River handles fewer than 50 diagnostic procedures annually, and is in need of replacement at an estimated cost of $1 million. Certain invasive cardiac procedures currently performed in the Chester River cath lab, such as pacemaker implantation, will be moved to the Chester River Hospital operating rooms, where new investments are being made in radiology equipment.

The decision to merge the two organizations was taken after a comprehensive review of the population health needs of the five Mid-Shore counties, which was conducted by the Regionalization Study Committee (RSC) comprised of Board members and administrative leaders from both health systems over the past year. The study process included a series of community forums held throughout the region, as well as multiple forums for physicians and the health systems’ employees and volunteers.

The new organization will address the unique challenges of delivering health care in rural areas and will be in a better position to address these challenges, which include provider shortages, scarcity of specialty care, and a predominately aging population with multiple chronic conditions.

The Regionalization Study Committee will remain in place and will continue to meet through June 30, 2013, while management staffs at both health systems plan and coordinate the important next steps that will include the development of a transition plan; name and branding; timelines for new program implementations; service delivery; and a unified budget.

About Chester River Health System

The Chester River Health System was formed in 1997 to offer state-of-the-art health care to the residents of Kent and Queen Anne’s counties. Chester River Health System, a member of the University of Maryland Medical System, includes Chester River Hospital, Chester River Home Care & Hospice, Chester River Manor Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, and Chester River Health Foundation. The system provides health care through a network of community-based services and is recognized throughout the community for providing quality, compassionate care with a personal touch.

Chester River Hospital, established by community citizens in 1935, is a not-for-profit community hospital which provides inpatient services, 24-hour emergency care, surgical services, outpatient diagnostic services, rehabilitation services, and oncology services. The hospital is staffed by more than 400 employees. The medical staff currently consists of more than 100 active and consulting physicians representing more than 20 specialties. For more information, visit www.chesterriverhealth.org

About Shore Health System

Shore Health System was formed in 1996 through the affiliation of the Memorial Hospital at Easton, located in Talbot County, Maryland, and Dorchester General Hospital, located in the city of Cambridge in Dorchester County. Both hospitals have served their communities for over 100 years. Today, Shore Health System is a regional, not-for-profit network of inpatient and outpatient services with facilities in Talbot, Dorchester, Caroline and Queen Anne’s counties. Shore Health is staffed by more than 2000 employees and a medical staff of 200 primary care and specialty physicians.

In 2006, Shore Health System merged with the University of Maryland Medical System to expand clinical programs and facilities, and to facilitate physician recruitment. The two Shore Health System hospitals have 188 inpatient beds, including the 20-bed Requard Center for Acute Rehabilitation at Memorial Hospital and a 16-bed inpatient behavioral health unit for adults at Dorchester General Hospital. The Queen Anne’s Emergency Center near Grasonville opened in 2010 and operates 24 hours a day, every day, to respond to minor injuries and illnesses as well as to strokes, heart attacks, and traumatic injuries, with seamless coordination when patients need to be transported by ambulance or helicopter to a hospital. The Shore Health System regional network of outpatient services includes primary and specialty physician practices for people of all ages along with diagnostic testing, medical rehabilitation, cancer care, diabetes management, digestive health, home health care and hospice. For more information, visit www.shorehealth.org.

About University of Maryland Medical System
The University of Maryland Medical System is a 12-hospital system with academic, community and specialty service missions reaching every part of the state and beyond. UMMS is a national and regional referral center for trauma, cancer care, neurocare, cardiac care, women’s and children’s health and physical rehabilitation. It also has one of the nation’s largest kidney transplant programs, as well as scores of other programs that improve the physical and mental health of thousands of people daily. UMMS has 18,000 employees, approximately 2,300 licensed beds, over 120,000 annual patient admissions and gross patient revenues of $3 billion. Additionally, the Medical System generates nearly $3.5 billion in economic activity in Maryland. For more information, visit www.umms.org.