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MUSCMedical LinksCharleston LinksArchivesCatalyst AdvertisersSeminars and EventsResearch StudiesPublic RelationsResearch GrantsMUSC home pageCommunity HappeningsCampus NewsApplause


Currents Oct. 6

To Medical Center Employees:
Unfortunately a large lot of seasonal flu vaccine from Novartis was destroyed due to freezing (rendered ineffective) during shipment to nationwide distribution centers. The shipment included 13,000 doses designated for MUSC and this greatly reduces our supply. Our pharmacy department is working to identify additional sources at this time but the outlook is not very good. 
Specific instructions have been widely disseminated by e-mail concerning criteria for vaccination of high priority ambulatory patients and inpatients.
Our original plans to provide vaccine to all employees have changed. Work is under way to identify high priority employees in order to make the best use of our vaccine doses. Additional details will be issued soon and steps are being taken to begin vaccination of priority groups. Any employees wishing to obtain the seasonal flu vaccine right away are encouraged to visit their primary care physician or local pharmacy.
This does not affect the H1N1 vaccine. We expect to receive the H1N1 vaccine in the days ahead and specific instructions will be issued concerning employee vaccinations. 
On another matter, last week we wrapped up 14 town hall sessions attended by approximately 900 employees. The attendance was down compared to some previous town hall sessions, but I want to thank everyone who attended.
While everyone is encouraged to attend town hall meetings, I know it’s difficult for many to schedule time. Highlights of the town hall were included in a previous Currents newsletter. The town hall slides will be posted on the MUSC Excellence Web site (
Thank you very much.

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

People—Fostering employee pride and loyalty

Richard Gadsden, information security office, spoke to managers about updated policies related to IT security.

Policy changes were made for two reasons -- new state and federal laws that require MUSC to comply. New data breach notification laws have been updated that require institutions to inform victims in the event protected information is lost or exposed. Secondly, because of lessons learned from security incidents.

Data breach laws

  • State (New) -- S.C. Financial Identity Fraud and Identity Theft Protection Act–(July )
  • Federal (New) -- HIPAA/TITECH (September)–applies to patient information

Security incidents include cyber criminal attacks (hacking, malware and phishing), loss and theft of laptops, loss of storage media (i.e. USB thumb drives) and improper disposal of computers and storage media.

Changes to MUSC Computer Use Policy applies to all University, MUHA and University Medical Associates employees include the following:

  • All users share the responsibility for protecting information and systems and need to understand and meet their responsibilities.
  • Users of all systems must maintain security of passwords accounts. Passwords must be kept in strictest confidence and never be shared. Nor should anyone request password information.
  • Attaching devices to MUSC’s network -- users are responsible for the security of the device they attach. If a computer or other device has not been secured, it should not be attached to the network.
  • Users should refrain from storing sensitive information on end-user devices (desktops, laptops, PDAs, thumb drives, memory cards and communication devices such as cell phones and smart phones). If there is an unavoidable business need to do so, then the user must adhere to MUSC standards for protecting the information, including the use of MUSC-approved encryption software.

A reminder that anyone within the institution who is aware of any type of security breach or serious vulnerability that could result in a security breach, is required to report it.

Device and Media Controls Policy--state law requires only designated individuals within an organization be certified to “scrub” electronic media prior to disposal. Employees must not dispose of office computers and media themselves. Instead, all media must be taken to specific facilities: disks in good working condition (25 Erhardt Street); other disks and tapes (main data center); media that can be shredded (recycling office); and all other media, call OCIO-IS Help Desk, 792-9700.

EEG, Neuro recognition
June Darby, Neurosciences Service Line administrator, recognized Clinical Neurophysiology lab services’ Zie Zhang (EEG) and Adam Kornegay, manager, and Jill Loli (neuro-interoperative monitoring) for their work in managing the five-year accreditation process in each of these specialty areas. MUSC is one of the first five national hospitals to receive the neuro-interoperative monitoring accreditation. The team is currently working to achieve one final modality accreditation in the neurophysiology lab. Also, the new 9Center Dr. Phanor Perot Neuroscience Critical Care Unit was dedicated Oct. 8 with a presentation at SEI auditorium. 

HR update
Helena Bastian, MUHA HR director, reviewed the following information:
Human Resources Policies Update (refer to MUHA HR Web site)

  • HR Policy 24 – Americans with Disabilities Act -- Policy revisions to sections include definitions, details regarding reasonable accommodations, procedures on online job postings, health screenings for candidates, roles of supervisor/manager instead of hospital administrator for final decision, complaints filed within 30 days to University’s Office of Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action
  • HR Policy 38 – Secondary Employment – Deleted FLSA language in Section A statement: An exempt employee is limited to one shift per week (up to 12 hours) in a non-exempt role in order to maintain exempt status [as defined by FLSA—deleted].
  • HR Policy 39 – Checkout Procedure and Separations Procedure – Changes to Section B: Clarify “affiliated entity” as Medical University of South Carolina as “university” and University Medical Associates as “UMA.” Also in the checkout procedure, clarified payment process of accrued but unused PTO (section d & e)
Departmental responsibilities: Section A (inserted that a copy of separation notice will be sent to payroll. Also deleted section, “Request to Pay PTO Form” as this process is automatic with separation process

Performance Pay:

  • Effective for eligible employees Oct. 11 pay period. Increases to be reflective in Nov. 4 paycheck.
  • No other pay/status changes will be implemented with the Oct. 11 effective date. Any PEARS previously sent will need to be amended.
  • Probationary employees employed prior to April 2009 will be eligible for “meets” pay adjustment. Employees employed prior to Sept. 1 will be eligible to receive a one percent pay adjustment.
  • MUHA HR should be notified if an increase needs to be withheld due to poor performance.

Open enrollment period – MUHA benefits (Oct. 1 to Oct. 31)

Staff is encouraged to make their changes online via S.C. Employee Insurance Program at

For information, contact Mark Stimpson, 792-9320 or 792-0826. Visit

October Benefit of the Month
MUSC’s MoneyPlu$ program is MUHA’s medical flexible spending account and health savings account that permits eligible employees to pay for some out-of-pocket medical expenses with pre-tax dollars (Federal, state and FICA) that are bigger tax breaks than a 401K. Employees can decide how much to deduct from their paycheck. New employees must complete an enrollment paper form. Renewals may be conducted online.

Visit the other benefits link under the Medical Center Human Resources page using the MUHA intranet.

Think Pink Oct. 14 event
MUSC is a 2009 sponsor of the Susan G. Komen Lowcountry Race for the Cure. Join other employees between 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Oct. 14 in the Horseshoe. Wear pink for an MUSC Think Pink photo at 12 p.m.

Seasonal influenza and H1N1 update
Chris Rees, Quality & Patient Safety director, reviewed two aspects of the medical center’s preparation for seasonal influenza and H1N1. The first was that a visitation policy is being assessed. All Charleston-area hospitals are looking into limiting hospital visits of children, ages 17 and younger and a multi-hospital task force is engaged in evaluating such a plan. Further details will be released once the task force has completed its work and made recommendations to the hospital’s leadership.  

Rees informed managers that the original seasonal influenza vaccines dates scheduled for early October is temporarily suspended. Vaccine manufacturer, Novartis, recently lost a large amount of seasonal flu vaccine due to improper storage. As a result, the expected shipment due this week to MUSC was not received. Pharmacy Services is trying to secure alternative doses of the vaccine. A hospital group is now collaborating to establish a staff prioritization list of employees who will receive the flu vaccine from available limited first supply. Employees are encouraged to seek vaccination elsewhere if one does not want to wait until the medical center receives additional seasonal flu vaccine. DHEC will provide MUSC with a supply of H1N1 vaccine sometime in mid-October. Once the H1N1 is received, vaccination dates will be scheduled.

Medical center search tool
Michael Irving, clinical informatics manager, spoke to managers about new search options available on the MUHA intranet. The tool is now available on the search dropdown list of many intranet toolboxes. Users can conduct a secured search of three areas: the MUHA intranet, clinician order forms and medical center policies. The search utilizes a Google search appliance that employs the same logic and algorithms (word/phrase matches) as the original Google tool, but allows a search within MUHA’s document or Web collections. Irving is working with Sujit Kar, Business Development and Marketing Services, and other staff to further expand these search capabilities. Currently, these tools are only available within the MUHA intranet firewall.

Quality – Providing quality patient care in a safe environment

Joint Commission Jeopardy
Joe Avant, University Risk Management and Occupational Safety & Health, and Carl Kennedy, Outcomes & Quality Management/Patient Safety, reviewed both environment of care and 2009 National Patient Safety Goal (NPSG) questions organized in a fun, interactive Jeopardy quiz.

This week’s game challenged the audience with questions about Wal-a-Roos, Employee Health Services, PASS phrase, Code Pink, unit specific fire plans and hazardous waste. Other questions focused on NPSG Goals including universal protocol, labeling specimens and NPSG #9 fall and injury reduction. To review the 2009 NPSGs visit

Periodic Performance Review
Marilyn Schaffner, Ph.D., R.N., Clinical Services administrator and chief nursing executive, spoke to managers about MUHA’s Periodic Performance Review (PPR) action plan. The review is a compliance assessment tool that helps the hospital with continuous monitoring of performance and performance improvement activities. This report card is used for Joint Commission readiness. PPR provides the framework for standards compliance with a focus on critical systems and processes that affect the hospital’s patient care and safety.

Managers should review Policy C-116 with staff; review electronic reports and continue with audits and follow up with staff.


  • Chris Zensen, R.N., has been named interim DD-ICU nurse manager at ART. Zensen was formerly MUSC Stroke Program coordinator prior to returning to work at the DDC.
  • Steven Rublee was named interim IOP administrator.
  • The next meeting is Oct. 20.

Friday, Oct. 9, 2009

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.