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MUSC Rumor Mill separates fact from fiction

Medical University Hospital Authority
In June Medical University Hospital Authority employees received an e-mail from Stuart Smith stating the following: In an effort to recognize the competitiveness of the local health care market, MUSC Medical Center is pleased to be able to offer discounted parking for its employees who are in the MUSC parking system. When the Bee Street garage opens in the fall, Medical Center employees who park in the MUSC parking system will see their parking rate lowered by one half the routine charge. Recently, I was offered a spot in the new Bee Street garage, but the price quoted to me was $55 a month, not $27.50. Which is correct?
Answer: Medical University Hospital Authority employees who park in the MUSC parking system will see their parking rate lowered by one half the routine charge. This should be reflected in the check employees receive Nov. 5.

Pizza shop
I  heard that the pizza shop that is open until 3 a.m. for night staff will be offering more nutritious dinner options such as different salads, grilled meats, vegetables, and more fruit. Is this true?
Answer: The pizza shop is offering more salads and pasta dishes at night and will continue to try new items as sales warrant. The only approved cooking equipment  in A la Carte is a pizza oven so the options for hot items are limited.

MUSC Options
I heard that MUSC purposely overinflated the cost of MUSC Options during the past few years with the intent of coaxing employees to disenroll?
Answer: The State Employee Insurance Program has been overseeing the MUSC Options HMO medical insurance from its inception in 1998.  MUSC Options is a self-funded plan, which means that the premiums are not inflated to generate any profits. Recently, however, the money paid out in claims has been exceeding the premiums collected, and MUSC Options ran into financial problems resulting in last year’s significant increase in employee premiums. As a result, the number of employees electing this coverage dropped from 2,148 to 761 beginning 2008. Unfortunately, this state of affairs has not improved during the past two years and, for this reason, the State Employee Insurance Program will discontinue offering MUSC Options effective Jan. 1, 2009.

Artwork at Ashley River Tower
“The artwork is an essential part of the Ashley River Tower building, its design and its function, in much the same way that natural lighting and family relaxation areas are provided.” You supplied that in your response to the artwork at ART. How in the world is artwork an essential part of the building and its function? Seems to me, and probably many others, that other items are essential to its function. Unless that money was specifically designated to purchase artwork for ART, then it should have been put to better use. I cannot be the only person who thinks the same way.
Answer: The money was raised specifically for the purchase of the artwork at Ashley River Tower. To use this money for other purposes would be inappropriate.

CARTA buses
I know that MUSC employees ride the bus for free if they show their badges, but one of the bus drivers said that MUSC employees really don’t ride for free, but that it comes out of our paychecks. Is this true?
Answer: This is not true.

Are there any plans for CARTA to have a stop at the corner of Ashley/Calhoun or maybe even Rutledge/Calhoun to make it easier on the employees that work in Rutledge Tower, who barely make it to the bus stop, in the afternoon?
Answer: CARTA makes all decisions regarding its schedules and stops. At this time CARTA does not plan to make additional stops in the MUSC area.

Manager performance evaluation
I have heard that if the employee surveys were not favorable for a department,  the management is reducing the percentage-weight given to the survey on their performance planning documents.
Answer: This rumor is not true. The evaluation weight is set in advance of the survey.

University performance reviews
I’m afraid that supervisors will give employees lower EPMS (Employee Performance Management Systems) ratings than they deserve due to their knowledge of their area’s budget and the auto-implementation of raises based on the EPMS score, especially in light of the recent state budget cuts. What checks and balances are in place to prevent this and what grievance procedures do employees have should they believe this has happened?
Answer: Performance evaluation ratings should be directly aligned with actual performance and behaviors demonstrated. The immediate supervisor is responsible for discussing the evaluation with an employee. In the event an employee feels there are specific elements of the evaluation that warrant further explanation or consideration then he/she may discuss it with the reviewer (i.e. the next level supervisor).

Name badges, certifications, education
I heard that even though AIDET (AIDET— Acknowledge the patient; Introduce yourself, your skill set, your professional credentials and your training; Duration with an explanation of the test and how long it will be to complete; Explanation of the test and what to expect; Thank you for choosing MUSC)  is in place, we still do not allow for educational designation along with primary role identification, or additional specializations to be recognized on name badges. When I had my name badge made, they did not allow me to place R.N., BSN. They also do not allow CCRN, etc. recognition on name badges. Wouldn't this help support the AIDET culture we are striving toward?
Answer: The new badges were designed primarily with the Lewis Blackman Hospital Patient Safety Act in mind. The act requires that the position of the employee be indicated on the badge in terms that a lay person can understand and that the font be large enough to be easily read. For this reason it was decided to identify an R.N.  as registered nurse, and a physician as attending physician rather than using multiple degrees/certifications that may not be understood by the lay public.

Hollings Cancer Center Healing Garden
Has the healing garden at Hollings Cancer Center become open to the public (patients, families, etc)?
Answer: It is hoped that the Hollings Cancer Center Healing Garden will be open by the end of October.

Bee Street garage
I was excited to get a parking space in the new garage only to go to leave yesterday and find both exits under a couple feet of water. I also had to walk through water to even get to the garage. There was no rain, just high tide. I hear people say that Bee Street has always flooded that way. Why would they build a garage in the middle of a river?
Answer: The tidal flooding that is occurring in and around Bee Street is a relatively new challenge that is unrelated to the construction of the Bee Street garage. MUSC affiliated and City of Charleston engineers believe that the flooding is likely caused by a failure of tidal valves in the underground drainage system located on or near V.A. property. Engineers are working diligently to determine the problem and develop appropriate and timely solutions. Anyone wishing to cancel his/her parking in the Bee Street garage and return to a former parking location because of the flooding conditions is welcome to do so. We would ask that you stop in the parking office located in the President’s Street garage to complete the transfer. While we cannot hold a space for those who cancel assignments in the new garage, we will place his/her name at the top of the waiting list so that when the problem is resolved reassignment to the garage will be prompt.

Aquarium Bus
The Aquarium Bus has been stopping at Rutledge Tower, which is great. We often take it across downtown for lunch. CARTA states that the bus stopped coming to Rutledge Tower on Sept. 22. I still see the bus coming by (and it is past Sept. 22). How much longer will we benefit from this route change?
Answer: Effective at  close of business on Friday, Oct. 3,  the MUSC Aquarium Parking program will end. At the same time the CARTA Aquarium Route 210 stop on Rutledge Avenue will be discontinued and Route 210 will revert to its normal route-schedule. The opening of the Bee Street parking garage provides the campus with sufficient parking options such that the special Aquarium Parking arrangement is no longer needed at this time. Staff members from the Office of Parking Management will be communicating directly with the MUSC employees who participated in the Aquarium Parking program to discuss the parking options for next week and beyond. If you have any questions or concerns about your participation in the program, call the Office of Parking Management at 792-3665.

Merit raises
I’ve heard that MUSC is not going to be giving merit raises due to the financial problems at Ashley River Tower.
Answer: This rumor is not true. However, Medical University Hospital Authority leaders and others are working  to control costs and improve revenues. A decision on the timing of merit raises will be made during the next couple of months.

Weekend Work Option (WWO)
Rumors are flying that the WWO program will be discontinued. Is this true, and if so what is the time table, since most if not all weekend staff would probably make alternative employment decisions.
Answer: Like all forms of premium pay, WWO is being examined. No decision has been reached. The options may be to do nothing, limit the number of participants, revisit the premium pay rates, or phase down over time. Again, no decision has been made.

CARTA Route-Johns Island
I’ve heard from several employees that CARTA is planning on getting a route that comes on Johns Island. In The Catalyst, they have the Johns Island Park and Ride listed at Citadel Mall but that is so out of the way for many of us. Is there or are there any plans in the works to actually bring a bus physically on Johns Island for MUSC employees?
Answer: Based on the agreements that CARTA has with local municipalities, CARTA is not chartered to provide service to Johns Island. CARTA’s service responsibility stops at or near the Stono River. The Rural Transportation Management Authority (RTMA) serves Johns Island. The RTMA provides service to the Citadel Mall where  employees can transfer to CARTA Express service.

I have heard complaints about not having enough parking spaces available in the Super K-Mart (Rivers Avenue) parking lot for riders, and that CARTA claims this is not true.  Who’s responsible for this problem?
Answer: CARTA is responsible for the contracts with the owners of the property where its park-and-ride services originate. Any questions about the parking areas that CARTA uses can be directed to  Peter Tecklenberg, CARTA route planner, at 724-7195.

I heard that Hagood parking lot was going to be paved and it would no longer be free to park there. Is this true?  
Answer: There is no truth to this rumor.

Reproduced from

Friday, Oct. 3, 2008
Catalyst Online is published weekly, updated as needed and improved from time to time by the MUSC Office of Public Relations for the faculty, employees and students of the Medical University of South Carolina. Catalyst Online editor, Kim Draughn, can be reached at 792-4107 or by email, Editorial copy can be submitted to 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.