MUSC Medical Links Charleston Links Archives Medical Educator Speakers Bureau Seminars and Events Research Studies Research Grants Catalyst PDF File Community Happenings Campus News

Return to Main Menu

Currents Sept. 16

To Medical Center Employees:
Our financial performance did not meet budget projections and we finished
the year with a loss. In previous Currents newsletters, I explained the reasons for our financial performance. Our efforts in recent months have focused upon cost containment by improving operational efficiency and increasing patient volume. 
During the past six weeks much effort has been devoted to align nurse staffing levels with patient care needs. We have standardized unit staffing models according to best practices for high quality. This standardization will enable us to operate more efficiently and contain costs. I realize the changes involved have been stressful for many. I believe with experience we will improve our ability to anticipate volume and flex staff to meet our needs.
In connection with our work to standardize staffing models, we are reviewing the roles of nurse managers, educators, operations coordinators (or assistant nurse managers), clinical associates and clinical administrative support staff.  We also are working to more clearly define and standardize the duties of the charge nurse role. 
We sought to include many in this work to standardize clinical units. Through standardizing the roles and more clearly defining expectations of these positions and roles, we will operate more efficiently. 
Work has just begun on improving our ability to quickly communicate shift opportunities (in similar areas) for nursing staff who may not be needed in their “home” unit. Also, travel nurse staff are being methodically replaced with regular staff. 
Our focus on efficiency and cost containment will not be limited to clinical units. Work is underway to look at all ancillary, support and administrative areas. Cost savings opportunities related to supplies and contracts are also being examined. 
Within the next week, I will solicit ideas for cost containment and operational efficiencies through an online survey. It’s expected this survey will be open for three weeks. Details will be disseminated soon.
In regard to increasing volume, a number of moves have been planned. These moves will enable us to take advantage of bed capacity in Ashley River Tower (ART) and we will have additional capacity as renovation is completed in the Medical University Hospital (MUH). Moves planned during the next several months include:
  • 8W MUH Oncology/Bone Marrow will move to 5W ART effective Sept. 22
  • 2 Center MUH Med/Surg will move to 8 West MUH in September.
  • 7W MUH Ortho/Trauma unit will be moved in November to 10W immediately following renovation; 7W will remain open for Neurosciences patients. 
  • 9W MUH renovation will be completed in November; 7E MUH Neuro will move to 9W.
  • 7E MUH renovation will begin following move of the 7E Neuro unit —following renovations, 7E MUH will be occupied by Peds Med/Surg
  • 9E MUH is currently under renovation and is expected to be completed in the February/March timeframe. 7W Neuroscience will then move to 9E making 9E and 9W Neurosciences units.
Next month we will kick off a series of town hall meetings. The schedule will be announced soon. We will provide a goals update including our progress in addressing our financial situation at the town hall meetings.
Thank you very much.

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

People—Fostering employee pride and loyalty
Chris Rees, director of quality & patient safety, shared an organizational win regarding MUSC’s success in meeting quality measures for pneumonia care specifically the pneumococcal vaccinations for patients.
An audit performed in August showed MUSC above the state and national average for compliance in this area. Efforts were conducted by the Quality Department and the Nurse Alliance Quality Council chaired by Lisa Langdale, Center for Professional Development and Clinical Services Education.

HR update
  • Employee Perspectives Rollout—Materials are available on the MUHA LDI Web site under the resources link. Additional rollout training will be scheduled and announced at a later time.
  • Staff are reminded to review their PTO balances.
  • Standardization of non-clinical staff orientation unit/department template—This provides staff with a customizable template for any department. Imple-mentation of the new form is scheduled for Sept. 29. Departments with non-clinical staff are to transition to this form for staff orientation. The form is available on the HR intranet Web site. For information, contact Karen Rankine, 792-7690,
  • Code of Conduct and Compliance—All documentation for new hire attendance will be entered into CATTS. As a reminder, employees who are late 15 minutes or more for compliance training are asked to attend the next session.
MUHA open enrollment—October
Mark Stimpson, HR benefits manager, reviewed the upcoming annual benefits enrollment period.
Between Oct. 1 and 31, MUHA employees may make changes to their benefits specifically to an employee’s health plan, increase optional life insurance, enroll for dependent life insurance, enroll/re-enroll in the Medical and Dependent Day care spending accounts.
Specific to this year’s plan is the elimination of MUSC Options as of Jan. 1, 2009. Employees currently in this plan must select a different coverage or otherwise be automatically switched to the Standard State Health Plan (BCBS).
Employees are encouraged to make their benefit changes online using the MUHA Intranet.
Benefits-eligible employees will be notified via e-mail regarding open enrollment information. Hospital employees are invited to attend the MUHA Benefits Fair on Oct. 15 at the Children’s Hospital lobby. Additionally, there will be 10 benefits briefings scheduled throughout October, including late evening sessions. The computer lab will be available for employees without online access. HR will also be available to provide one-on-one counseling or schedule department presentations (by appointment only).

Standard of Behavior—October
Kim Phillips, Transplant Service Line administrator, emphasized the benefits to hardwiring AIDET best practices with all staff.
AIDET (acknowledge the patient; introduce yourself, your skill set, your training and professional credentials; duration with an explanation of the test and how long it will take to complete; and saying thank you for choosing MUSC) has proven to be a basic and effective communications tool between patients and staff. Practicing AIDET reduces stress and anxiety and can contribute to the healing process of MUSC patients, according to Phillips.

eCareNet update
Mark Daniels, patient care systems team manager (OCIO), gave a report on the eCareNet project status rollouts. Using a graph chart, Daniels’ update was based on the percentage of work completed from a bed count perspective.
  • OASIS—Activated as of spring 2008 in the medical/surgical areas of ART, Medical University Hospital (MUH), Institute of Psychiatry, Charleston Memorial Hospital (CMH) and Children’s Hospital (CH). Roll out in critical care areas include ART, MUH, CMH and CH.
  • Clinical Documentation Package (ClinDoc)—Activated in ART,MUH and CMH. Planners have begun the design for IOP. In critical care areas, roll out was completed in ART and the main hospital under limited capacity using three out of four forms. The fourth form (24-hour record, vital notes, etc.) is not currently being used.
  • Bedside Med Administration Project (Admin RX)—Activated in ART. MUH is scheduled to go live in specific areas. CMH also is ready for activation.  Planners have not evaluated IOP or CH. Admin RX was scheduled to follow the ClinDoc system.
  • Horizon Meds Manager Medication System (eMeds)—Activated since 2006 throughout the entire enterprise (ART, main hospital, IOP, CMH and CH in both medical/surgical and critical care areas. 
  • Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE)—3West (ART) is scheduled to go live Sept. 17.
Planners are currently assessing remaining ART/Cardiovascular areas and will schedule activations throughout  fiscal year 2009. CPOE is considered the most complex and least mature of eCareNet’s ongoing projects.

Quality—Providing quality patient care in a safe environment
Carl Kennedy, outcomes manager with patient safety and a member of the Interdisciplinary Survey Rounding team, reported on the progress of Interdisciplinary  Survey Readiness Rounds. The team was created to help with hospital readiness for upcoming Joint Commission inspections. Kennedy reported on the team’s findings regarding readiness issues:
  • Mayday carts—Forms should be updated for the current month. Carts should be checked off twice a day for every 24-hour work day period.
  • Medication management—Medications should be current. Contact Pharmacy regarding any questions.
  • Documentation issues—To help meet compliance, charts must contain a date, time and signature. Time outs, pain assessments and hourly rounding reports should also be documented.
  • Unit personnel file—Update competency certifications and TB skin testing.
  • Environment of care—Issues with linen that is not properly placed properly marked bins. Inappropriate items in clean linen rooms.
  • Hallways—Items, especially chairs, should be removed from hallways. Unattended items left in hallways longer than 30 minutes will be cited.
Finally, Kennedy urged all staff to review the list of top 10 standards that can make/break a survey. Currently, the medical center is preparing for a behavioral health extension survey (IOP-Seasons Psychiatric Intensive Out-patient and PHP—McClennan-Banks) and the triennial survey for the main hospital behavioral health survey (anytime between March 2008 to December 2009).

  • Carol D. Brown has joined Decision Support Services as the new ANSOS coordinator since Sept. 2. Brown came from the Department of Pediatrics and also worked at a competing facility where she gained experience in the installation, testing and training for using ANSOS.
  • The next communications meeting is Oct. 7.

Friday, Sept. 19, 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.