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Currents Oct. 21

To Medical Center Employees:
Recently we held six town hall meetings attended by approximately 800 employees and three more sessions are planned. Several town hall sessions  will also be held for the convenience of large departments. Additional general town hall sessions will be scheduled if needed. I have been pleased with the good attendance.
The medical center and university are facing financial challenges at this time, as discussed in the town hall meetings. Highlights of the meetings will be in the Oct. 31 issue of The Catalyst.
Our objective is to control costs, enhance revenue and preserve employment. Since our cost savings initiatives began in July, we have made good progress in controlling costs by aligning staffing with patient volume and other cost control measures. Through minimizing hiring, the reduction of travel nurses, and careful use of overtime, we have reduced the equivalent of 300 positions since July. 
While controlling costs, we are committed to high quality and compassionate patient care.  Patient care and safety will not be compromised. The staffing model we use is aligned with best practices and is carefully monitored. 
During this challenging period of time we will take our communication up another notch.  The management communication meeting will be held weekly instead of every two weeks and highlights will be disseminated through this newsletter. Also, I expect leaders to keep up their rounding and I plan to issue more frequent medical centerwide e-mails and communicate more often through other methods.
On another matter, for 11 years in a row, MUSC has been the recipient of the National Research Corporation’s (NRC) 2008 Consumer Choice Award. Each year, NRC identifies hospitals that health care consumers chose as facilities that possess the highest quality and image within 180 markets around the United States. The annual survey is focused on the Tri-county area and was submitted to consumers via the Internet in April.
The survey evaluated several categories. MUSC led the market in: best overall quality, best image and reputation, most preferred for all health needs, best doctors, best nurses, highest patient safety, best community health programs, latest health technology and equipment, widest range of health services, best accommodations/amenities and hospital web site used most often.
In clinical areas, MUSC also obtained the highest score in cancer treatment, heart care, bariatric surgery, pediatric services, Women’s GYN, neurology, mental health, orthopaedic treatment/surgery, hospital emergency room, imaging services and outpatient/same day surgery.
Congratulations to everyone for helping MUSC receive this prestigious award. Your hard work and dedication continues to make this a great place for patients to receive care, employees to work and physicians to practice.
Finally, to date we have been pleased with the number of employees who have received the flu vaccine. If you haven’t had the vaccine, please take advantage of this benefit. Check out or click on Flu Vaccine Information on the MUSC home Web page for dates, times and locations. Evening shift employees should note the locations the vaccine is available beginning at 4 a.m.

Thank you very much.

W. Stuart Smith
Vice President for Clinical Operations
and Executive Director, MUSC Medical Center

People—Fostering employee pride and loyalty
During the Oct. 7 Hospital Communications meeting, Trident United Way (TUW) spokesman Tom Walker stated that about 86 cents out of every dollar pledged to the TUW stays locally to help fund various programs. MUSC and the Trident United Way have teamed up to conduct the 2008 campaign. Each year, the TUW continually brings people, businesses, government and agencies together to help identify service problems and solutions to assist needy Lowcountry families.
This year’s campaign goal is $215,000. MUSC employees and donors may submit their gift via pledge card or give electronically via payroll deduction, credit card, or cash/check until Dec. 15. Visit The campaign code is MUSC; username  is MUSC and the password is MUSC2008.

CPC accreditation
Pamela Smith, R.N., Chest Pain Center (CPC)/ART and CMH ED nurse manager, shared results from August’s CPC accreditation visit by the Society of Chest Pain Centers. The CPC met qualifications for Cycle 2 accreditation as a Chest Pain Center with PCI. Accreditors met and visited with Charleston County EMS, Adult ED, CPC, Meducare and Cath Lab. Smith thanked all members of the ACS Quality Committee for their commitment in this effort. Reviewers also named MUSC as a best practice site for the collaboration between the CPC, ED and Cath Lab. Smith formally presented the accreditation certificate to Sharon DeGrace, R.N., Surgery Acute Critical Care Service Line administrator.

Standard of the Month—November
Kim Phillips, service line coordinator for Transplant Services and co-chair of the MUHA Excellence Standards Committee, announced that November’s standard of the month is the MUSC Angel Tree Project. Liz Nista, Blood and Marrow Transplant, reminded employees that 2008 marks the fifth year MUSC has supported this program on behalf of the Salvation Army. Eligible families/individuals are assured to receive support through a Thanksgiving and December holiday meal, plus children, ages 12 and under, will receive a toy or present on Christmas morning. She distributed a Salvation Army Angel Tree flyer promoting application deadlines to assist Tri-county needy families. MUSC has the distinction of being the program’s single largest contributor in both the Charleston area and Southeast. Nista and her team plan to distribute MUSC Angel Tree tags to employees and departments starting mid-November. For information, contact either The Salvation Army, 763-9881, or Liz Nista, 792-8382.

HR update
Helena Bastian, MUHA HR director, announced the following updates:

  • Secondary Employment Policy (#38) —A review and confirmation of what is considered secondary employment. Defined as employment and compensation for services rendered which clearly do not fall under the employee’s primary job; an exempt employee who works a shift in a non-exempt role (limited to 12 hour in one week); an hourly employee working additional shifts is not considered secondary employment (OT would be paid according to Fair Labor Standards Act regulations and to be paid by outside of the home department); a university employee who is also a MUHA employee is not considered secondary employment; two new forms (Secondary Employment and Certification form and a MUHA Employee Secondary Employment time sheet) are available on the HR Web site.
  • CATTS deadline is Dec. 1. For information, contact Latonia Allen, 792-2805.
  • Separation notices—Managers are reminded to use the updated, fillable forms at the HR Web site. The original, completed form should be sent to HR with a copy sent to Payroll. Payroll is responsible for processing separations in the system.
  • Parking discounts—The MUHA employee parking discount was effective as of the Oct. 12 pay period. Discounts will not be reflective until the Nov. 5 paycheck. Also, MUHA employees who are eligible to receive the S.C. Aquarium parking bonus will be paid out Oct. 29.

Education rollout update
Laurie Zone-Smith, Ph.D., R.N., manager for the Center for Professional Development and Clinical Education Resources and interim manager, Dialysis and Hemapheresis, reviewed outcomes from the Oct. 16 meeting and savings project updates. Topics discussed include usage of the Bard Implanted PowerPort, medication reconciliation transfer order form, Aspart insulin and poster revision. Zone-Smith also reviewed the three savings projects approved by MUHA administration. They include the BLS prior-to- hire savings project; nurse new graduate nurse education (NGNE) project; and Standardization of Patient Care Technicians (PCT)/Student Tech project.

Quality—Providing quality patient care in a safe environment
Lois Kerr, accreditation manager, shared results from the Oct. 16-17 Joint Commission’s recent interdisciplinary readi-ness extension survey at ART and Mount Pleasant Outpatient Eye Surgery Clinic.
The survey resulted in three recommendations for improvement in the areas of endoscopy infection control, management/completion of post-operative notes (estimation of blood loss) and patient safety (time outs/team affirmation). Next, the hospital must submit an action plan for improvements on each recommendation to the Joint Commission within 45 days. The hospital is then required to measure effectiveness and conduct audits over a four-month period. This survey concludes all extension surveys for the medical center.

Tom Hubbard, R.N., is the new director of the Surgery Acute and Medicine Acute Critical Care Service Lines. Hubbard, who has worked at the medical center for two and one-half years, was previously Surgical/Trauma ICU manager and interim nurse manager at the STICU, NSICU and Adult ED.


Friday, Oct. 24, 2008

The Catalyst Online is published weekly by the MUSC Office of Public Relations for the faculty, employees and students of the Medical University of South Carolina. The Catalyst Online editor, Kim Draughn, can be reached at 792-4107 or by email, Editorial copy can be submitted to The Catalyst Online and to The Catalyst in print by fax, 792-6723, or by email to To place an ad in The Catalyst hardcopy, call Island Publications at 849-1778, ext. 201.