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


Currents Feb. 3

To Medical Center Employees:
At the Feb. 2 management communications meeting Meredith Strehle, Children’s Hospital Marketing and Service Excellence manager and co-team leader of the Standards Team, announced the Standard of the Month for February. This month’s standard is “keep all interactions positive and discuss internal issues only with those who need to know.” The standards are based upon and are intended to support our organizational values. The intent of having a medical center (MUHA) monthly standard is to consistently communicate all standards.
Strehle explained that we are announcing a “code word” for employees’ use when behaviors are observed that are not in keeping with our standards. This code word is “excellence” and should be used to politely communicate with one another when our standards appear to be compromised.
The medical center’s (MUHA’s) behavioral standards are essentially the same standards adopted by the College of Medicine (COM) and University Medical Associates (UMA). MUHA and the COM/UMA routinely announce a quarterly standard for the entire clinical enterprise. The quarterly standard serves as the MUHA “quarterly focus.” The current quarterly focus is based upon our value of “respect” and is “help lost guests find their way by walking them to their destination.”
Thanks to everyone for supporting our behavioral standards. Through embracing these standards we make the medical center a great place for patients to get their care, a great place to work and a great place for physicians and other clinicians to practice medicine and teach.

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

People—Fostering employee pride and loyalty
Sandy Gould, 1W Adult ED nurse manager, and Julie Heckman, Pediatric ED nurse manager, praised progress with the new immediate bedding process used in both areas. This process improvement initiative focuses on decreasing the time from patient arrivals to bed assignment, shortening door-to-doctor time and improving collections.   In the Adult Emergency Services, staff were able to bring patients directly to an available room bypassing the ED triage process. Since the project was initiated, Gould reported that Adult Emergency Services achieved a 95th percentile ranking in patient satisfaction. Also the ED Business office reported an increase collections by more than 500 percent.
Heckman also praises the success of the Immediate Bedding project, which was piloted in their area in 2007. Since moving to their new expanded area, scores have vastly improved. Staff have used call backs successfully, which has led to more satisfied families. Heckman praised the support of Lisa Cooper and the admissions staff for their help.

Business Continuity Sustainable Planner
Wayne Brannan, University Risk Management director, recognized details with the MUSC Enterprisewide Business Continuity Plan (BCP). He introduced Jennifer Taylor and Juli Dorn, who will work with medical center staff. Started in 2006, the plan is a Joint Commission’s performance standard. BCP practices require hospitals to  respond and recover from emergencies especially if  it involves MUSC. Health care organizations are typically involved regarding to emergency response. Businesses consider business continuity as an information technology effort.
Eventually, 494 unit plans will be developed. Using a bottom-up approach, individual plans will roll up into division plans and division plans will roll up into one enterprisewide BCP effort. Senior leadership will have the information necessary to manage a complete recovery of MUSC activities regardless of the scope/size of the event.

Organizers will use a Web-based system featuring BCP and survey questionnaire software. As BCPs are developed across the MUSC enterprise, the project will include a system featuring a recovery time objective; unit task lists; recovery resource requirements (staff, supplies, emergency purchases); vendor lists; and business impact analysis (critical applications, interdependencies, financial impacts)
User training with the survey will be accomplished within one hour. Organizers adopted a centrally-managed approach to manage the plan.
Finally, Brannan reviewed the latest BCP accomplishments. So far, 52 surveys were identified in University Finance & Administration. A total of 40 plans have been completed and 47 liaisons have been trained. In November, beta testing was conducted in the Academic Division and Research areas with a planned roll out in February.
Organizers have started beta testing in MUHA departments with six liaisons already trained and five plans in progress. Hematology/Oncology was the first department to complete their plan.
Next steps include: Identification/verification of departmental/unit plans are needed; identification of departmental/unit Business Continuity liaisons; and completion of surveys and development of uniform BCPs.
Target completion date is April 30.

Standard of Behavior—February
Meredith Strehle, marketing and service excellence manager for Children’s and Perinatal Services and co-chair of the MUHA Excellence Standards Team, reviewed February’s best practice and standard of behavior—keep all interactions positive and discuss internal issues with those who only need to know. The team is introducing a best practice of applying the key word “excellence” as a peer-to-peer, positive cue to all employees to follow the standards of behavior in the workplace. Look for examples of proper use/application of the code word in future e-mails and the communications Web site.

HR update

  • N-95 Respirator Fit Testing for February and March—The mass fit testing is open to students and employees who use this item. An OSHA Respirator Medical Evaluation Questionnaire for fit testing must be completed and signed off by a registered nurse. Any staff who answers yes  must go to Employee Health Services for an evaluation. Dates are Feb. 9 and 23, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and March 9 and 23, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. All at 2W Amphitheater.
  • MUHA’s Tuition Assistance Policy #17 had some modifications to the policy as of October 2008.

Eligible employees must complete Section A: The employee must be considered by the Authority to be in a regular, permanent position and have successfully completed the one year probationary period.
Section B—Modified maximum tuition assistance to $5,250 per fiscal year. Note: The modification of maximum amount applies to requests for tuition assistance course work received for approval after Oct. 6, 2008. However, the change from calendar year to fiscal year was effective Oct. 6, 2008.)
Service Commitment is calculated based on one month of full-time employment for each $400 tuition assistance received.
IWR report is available. The report will be modified by Feb. 7-8 to include payback amount. (Managers should contact MUHA HR for final payback amount). Employee must sign a promissory note and is responsible for service commitment or repayment.
Benefit of the Month—February
Mark Stimpson, benefits manager, shared details regarding the change between Aetna and Prudential for long-term care insurance or nursing home care insurance. It provides financial help for someone dealing with a debilitating illness or injury that is unable to perform daily living activities.
Care may be provided at home or at a licensed facility by a professional or informal caregiver (friend or relative). Long-term care insurance supports patients with spinal cord injuries, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s or stroke recovery patient.
MUHA HR will offer an open enrollment period to employees from Feb. 16 to March 6.
Employees who enroll during this time can avoid the need to prove good health. Coverage would begin on April 1 and is completely portable. Premiums are paid to Prudential and not payroll deduction.

Employees may apply for coverage for spouses, parents, grandparents and themselves at any time throughout 2009, but need to declare their past medical history. Prudential has the right to decline coverage based on this.  
To enroll, call (877) 214-6588 or visit
Additionally, a Prudential represent-ative will conduct informational sessions at the medical center: Feb. 18 , 11 a.m., SEI Auditorium and 1 p.m., Room 628, Clinical Sciences Building; and Feb. 24, 2 p.m. and 3 p.m., 2W Amphitheater.
For an appointment, call 792-9320.

Service—Serving the public with compassion, respect and excellence

Melissa Feather, Medu-care clinical manager, answered questions re-garding changes to the Patient and Family Shuttle. The service has expanded support to include MUSC staff as well as patients and families to ride a continuous, set route between McClennan Banks, Hollings Cancer Center, Clinical Sciences Building, Rutledge Tower  and Ashley River Tower. With three separate shuttles, all are on a rotating schedule.
Since it is a patient-centered service, the shuttle does not follow a set schedule. Wheel-chair patients, patients and their families will always be a priority with this service.

Quality—Providing quality  patient care in a safe environment

Mary Stoll, Environment of Care program, updated managers on the Joint Commission Interdisciplinary Survey Readiness Rounds. Stoll reviewed the topic of obstructions, especially in all corridors and with fire safety equipment. She reviewed photos of common obstructions throughout the medical center. Items such as beds, carts, Wallaroo workstations, wheelchairs, ladders, and other items can be found in corridors. The team reviewed needed changes with staff in order to stay compliant. Mayday carts are the only items that are allowed to be stored in hallways.
For bed surplus pick-up, call Environmental Services, 792-4571; For surplus items, fax PEA form to 876-7004 or call 876-7285/7000. For special situations, call Safety & Security, 792-6902. Other questions, call 792-5176.

Melissa Meara Martin, R.N., is the new procedural nurse manager of Hema-pheresis, Dialysis and Radiology Nursing. Management thanked Laurie Zone-Smith, Ph.D., R.N., Elizabeth Perry, R.N., Carol Corbin, R.N., Stephanie Severance, R.N. and Kathie Lubert, R.N., who helped cover these areas since last July.
The next meeting is Feb. 10.

Friday, Feb. 6, 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.