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Currents May 6

To Medical Center Employees:
National Nurses Week and National Hospital Week are celebrated May 5 –
10 and May 11 – 17 respectively. Numerous activities have been scheduled to recognize accomplishments and to express appreciation for exceptional service.  A summary of activities is posted on the Medical Center Intranet (
The May Standard of the Month for the medical center is “Communicate any concerns, suggestions and ideas to my supervisor in an open and honest manner.” This standard is in keeping with our commitment to communicate at all levels. 
The May standard has been posted on the MUSC Excellence Web site and department-based communication boards should be updated to include the May Standard of the Month poster.
We have a number of communication vehicles in place including routine departmental meetings, town hall meetings, Currents newsletter, department or division-based newsletters, the employee perspective survey and action plans and other forms of communication. While all of these communication tactics are good, the most effective is face-to-face communication.  Everyone is encouraged to bring forward any concerns, ideas and suggestions for improvement . . . and to express appreciation to others for a job well done.  Supervisors must be accountable to respond promptly and appropriately.
Thanks to everyone for a job well done.

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

Service—Serving the public with compassion, respect and excellence
Fred Miles, hospital maintenance manager, and Ronnie Bailey, Otis Elevators announced plans for planned elevator upgrades in the main hospital from May to July. Upgrades to Elevator #6 will include new stainless steel doors, controller within a new hospital-style interior, card reader, plus upgraded safety enhancements. The project begins May 27 and will continue for the next eight weeks.
Staff should use the “D” Elevators #1 and #2, main hospital and “B” Elevator #13, Clinical Sciences Building. Eventually, these elevators will have the new “Code Blue” card reader capability identical to Elevator #6 when completed.
Otis will also install remote elevator monitoring technology, which helps monitor problems and manages faster service response time to service calls. Another program, EMS Panorama, will provide Miles with a real-time elevator monitor and control tracking system for all campuswide elevators to improve services.

People—Fostering employee pride and loyalty
Marilyn Schaffner, Ph.D., R.N., reviewed details of the medical center’s initiative with discharge calls.
According to Schaffner, implementing discharge calls, calls made to patients within 48-hours of discharge, helps establish and solidifies trust; gives staff an opportunity to connect with patients following discharge and finally, connects what we do to purpose.
Discharge calls provide an understanding of how the patient feels about MUSC, the service they received and improvements to care. It gives the registered nurse an opportunity to demonstrate empathy and concern and provides an opportunity to: improve clinical outcomes; pass on positive responses which recognizes and rewards deserving staff; gather process improvement suggestions and; trend data to see where we have gaps and opportunities for improvement.
From an MUSC Excellence perspective, discharge calls are about results and directly impacts all pillar goals. Discharge calls represent the entire package and ensures that great care is always delivered to all patients. 
At MUSC, a discharge calls pilot was conducted on 8 West (medical oncology from May 2007 to date) and was implemented in the Adult Emergency Department in January. The pilot compared the effectiveness of pre-discharge and post-discharge calls (mean score was greater than 90th percentile with discharge calls). The study found that the combination of discharge calls and hourly rounding increased patient satisfaction among staff and generated overall satisfaction among nurses and physicians. Currently, overall patient satisfaction at 8West has reached the 89th percentile.
ART staff completed education and training and initiated the practice of discharge calls April 30. The main hospital, Institute of Psychiatry and Children’s Hospital has scheduled education training and will implement discharge calls June 4.
Development of Standards Program
Kathleen White, Facilities Management and Construction & Design, introduced the Interiors Team— Stephanie Whited, Liz Price, Debbie Smith and Kathleen White. The team is under the Department of Facilities & Capital Improvements.
White and Whited reviewed Facilities Management’s Standards Program, which is the result of a collaborative, ongoing, two-year planning process working with a design firm to review current trends in health care facilities and make recommendations. All recommendations must pass administrative approval from the Aesthetics Committee.
A number of trial projects have already been introduced in various hospital areas including the 7th floor main hospital waiting room, ultrasound corridor, main hospital elevators, etc. White reminded managers to expect broader design changes around the medical center that complement the hospital’s realignment project. White reminded the audience that the effort offers designers a unique opportunity for making broad, sweeping improvements to the hospital. She also explained that design contributes to the overall healing process of patients within a hospital facility and that research supports evidence-based design. The projects will incorporate the use of natural elements in all design (fossil leaf, bamboo, sea grass), soft patterns (arcs, bars), earth tones color palettes (blue, green, tan, creams), flooring—wood grains, textures and lighting (indirect, natural). Design improvements are being planned for hospital patient rooms and renovations in the STICU, Peds Radiology, MRI/CT Waiting Area, Adult ED expansion and Interim Peds ED.

HR update
Helena Bastian, Human Resources director, provided details of MUSC’s National Hospital Week activities — May 11-17.
  • Monday, May 12—Administrator/Manager/Supervisor breakfast welcome: Participants will be at the main entrances of clinical buildings distributing fruit and bagels for both morning and afternoon shifts. Hospital Week giveaways also will be distributed to staff.
  • Tuesday, May 13—Employee Photo Contest: Submit to any of three categories (people, landscape/nature and pets). Judging will occur 2:30 p.m., Children’s Hospital Lobby. Sam’s Wholesale visit, ART, 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, May 14—Harper Student Wellness Center is offering a free one-week membership during the month of May.
  • Thursday, May 15—Sam’s Wholesale visit, 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Children’s Hospital lobby. Pizza party for night staff beginning at midnight.
  • Friday , May 16—Employee Bake-Off. Submit in any of four categories (cake, pie, cookies/brownies, other). All entries must be submitted between 1:30-2 p.m., MUHA Cafeteria.
Employee Benefit of the Month—May
Bobby Shaw, Harper Student Wellness Center director, introduced a new trial incentive for employees and students throughout May. In honor of National Hospital Week, MUSC participants can try out the exercise/fitness facilities and wellness programs for one week throughout the month. Participants can activate their complimentary week pass by visiting or calling the membership desk, 792-5757.

Employee Standard of the Month—May
Employees are encouraged to speak up and communicate their concerns, suggestions or ideas to their area supervisor or manager in an open and honest manner. Leadership should respond promptly.

Finance – Providing the highest value to patients while ensuring financial stability
Steve Hargett, MUSC medical center controller, presented the medical center’s financial statement ending March fiscal year (FY) 2008. Net patient revenue is up to $52 million during the same period last year, but $26 million below the 2008 budget.
Several factors have driven up gross and net revenues, mainly the rate increase and inpatient surgical volume. Operating expenses have increased to $69 million compared to the same period FY2007. This is mainly due to inflation and start up expenses with ART. When compared to the year-to-date budget, operating expenses are favorable by $23 million.
Productivity indicators are negative reflecting on ART new hirings, while volume has remained static. The number of paid FTEs, including contract personnel, have increased by 370 compared to FY2007.
Supply costs on a volume-adjusted basis are 1 percent above last year and 20 percent above the current budget year. Actual operating income is $16.4 million with a net income of $7.6 million.
Cash on hand is $22.6 million for 10.4 days. The average number of days to collect on accounts receivable is 59 days compared to a budget of 55 days and 59 days in prior years.
Hargett reported that Medicaid has changed how the hospital is paid regarding disproportionate shares. In- stead of quarterly estimated payments, MUHA is now paid through increased per diem rates (DRGs). Therefore, a payment is sent only after a patient has been billed—slowing cash input. Analysis shows that the hospital has been underpaid by $8 million under this new method. A request for an interim settlement has been submitted. Other items that reflect a negative impact on cash are inventory build up for ART ($4.8 million and additional FTEs). Investment income is improving as MUHA is more aggressive in investing excess cash at this time.

  • Green Ribbons for Great Kids— Children’s Mental Health Week, May 5-10—Employees, staff and students are encouraged to support Lowcountry children through the purchase of a green awareness ribbon and Friday blue jeans/dress down day on May 9. Green ribbons are $5. Proceeds will benefit the Institute of Psychiatry’s STAR and IMPACT children’s psychiatric day treatment programs. For information, call 792-7340.
  • MUHA will host the next LDI #10 event beginning 8 a.m., May 21 at the North Charleston Convention Center. Save the date!
  • Karen Driggers, R.N., was named the new nurse manager, Department of Family Medicine, Calhoun Street office. Driggers was a former SEI nurse manager and Meducare program director.
  • MUSC Night at the Battery is May 9. Watch the Charleston Battery vs. Miami FC Blues at 6 p.m. (game time is 8 p.m.), Blackbaud Stadium. Highlights include a half-time soccer match between doctors and nurses, fireworks and MUSC water bottle giveaways. Employees can purchase discounted tickets at $5/each (Maximum of four tickets per person) online at
  • Kim Curnell-Pean, R.N., has been named the new nurse manager of 2 Center Medical-Surgical Admit Unit.
  • Linda McDonald, R.N., Joint Replacement Unit (JRU), will serve as the interim nurse manager of 2JRU and 7East, assisting former nurse manager Nancy Tassin, R.N., who has accepted a new position as administrator for the new neuromuscular service line.

Friday, May 9, 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.