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Currents March 10

To Medical Center Employees:
A total of approximately 525 individuals have attended the five Medical Center town hall meetings conducted recently. Seven more open town hall meetings are planned as indicated in the schedule below and three town hall sessions for large departments are also planned. Attendance is encouraged.
The town hall agenda includes an update on our goals with particular focus on patient satisfaction results, a progress report on our cost savings initiatives and highlights of the American Hospital Association’s general outlook for the direction of health care under the new administration. Updates are also being provided on the positive results of hourly nurse rounding and our plan to transition to a new performance management system in the new fiscal year.
All town hall attendees are asked to complete an evaluation of the meeting. We are following up right away on any narrative comments included in the town hall evaluations. Also, we will tabulate ratings for questions included in the evaluation form and share results in a future Currents newsletter.
In regards to our patient satisfaction, our inpatient score currently stands at the 68th percentile and our outpatient ranking is an impressive 87th percentile. Our goal is the 80th percentile. Of significance, Heart & Vascular inpatient services currently stands at the 94th percentile for the Jan. 1 to March 10 time frame. Everyone needs to be attuned to the satisfaction scores for your respective area and focus upon our MUSC Excellence “Must Haves” to improve results.

Thank you very much.

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

Town hall meetings
Friday, March 13, 10 a.m., ART Auditorim; Monday, March 16, 11 a.m., SEI Auditorium; Tuesday, March 17, 11 a.m., ART Auditorium; Wednesday, March 18, 11 a.m., SEI Auditorium; Thursday, March 19, 3 p.m. SEI Auditorium, Monday, March 23, 3 p.m., ART Auditorium; and Tuesday, March 24, 11 a.m. IOP Auditorium

People—Fostering employee pride and loyalty
Chris Rees and Sharon Dunning, both from Quality and Patient Safety, recognized leaders and staff in honor of Patient Safety Awareness Week (March 9-14). Organizers focused on two areas and initiatives to help build safety awareness throughout the organization, zero mislabeled specimens and increased event reporting. Rees reminded managers that these are areas should be routinely focused. There are five initiatives that have been planned to spotlight patient safety awareness.
Twenty-two hospital areas were recognized for meeting criteria for zero mislabeled specimens (>150 specimens submitted and correctly labeled) between the period of March 1-7. Nine administrators were presented with balloons and goodie bags to be shared with staff. All areas were eligible to win a unit pizza party in a drawing, which was won by 6East (Transplant).

Administrators and units recognized were: June Darby, 9West Neuro; Sharon DeGrace, Transitional Care Unit, 8West Med/Surg; Vicki Marsi, 6E/ART and 6W/ART; Dave Neff, Family Medicine-Calhoun, RT-UIM and RT-UIM (Resident); Kim Phillips, 6East; John Sanders, 7B-Peds, NNICU, Cannon St.-OB and Cannon St.-GYN; Marilyn Schaffner, 5W/ART, HCC-Adult, HCC-Hem/Onc, Ambulatory Surgery; Bill Spring, 3W/ART-Cardiology, 4E/ART-CT Surgery, 4W/ART-CTICU and 5E/ART and Nancy Tassin, 7W.

For occurrence reporting, awards were presented to individual (those who submitted the most PSNs) and unit-based winners. Individual winners received a certificate for a $20 meal card supplement for use in the hospital cafeterias. Unit-based winners received a certificate for a pizza party. Children’s Hospital’s 8D was recognized as the unit with the most individuals submitting PSNs for the first time. The four-week challenge resulted in a 5.4 percent increase in reporting with an average of six additional PSNs entered per day.

Recognized were: Sharon DeGrace, Individual-Jennifer Fox, 8E; Joan Herbert, Individual-William Emery, 3N; Vicki Marsi, Individual-Catherine Sailors, ART-DDICU; Kim Phillips, Individual-Sandra Fort, 6E; John Sanders, Individual-Amy Allen, Peds Ambulatory Care; Ambulatory Unit-RT Peds Primary Care, 6D/CH; Marilyn Schaffner, Clinical Support Area Improvement Laboratory; Unit Improvement-HCC Chemotherapy and Nancy Tassin, Individual-Toschua Bays, 10W and Individual-Gayle Wadford, 10W.

Rees and Dunning thanked attendees for their continuing efforts in improving patient safety. Rees also thanked staff for their responses to the culture of safety survey.

Clinical interventions
Brian Fletcher, R.N., Clinical Services Disaster Preparedness coordinator, distributed a new clinical interventions document outlining failure of equipment/utility system failure procedures. The document supplements the medical center’s Departmental Emergency Response Plans and is supportive to the new 2009 Joint Commission emergency management requirement affecting clinical and non-clinical areas.  

HR update
Helena Bastian, MUHA HR manager, reviewed several reminders:

  • Supplemental Medical Leave (SML) Utilization—Employees may request SML for personal or family member(s) and/or dependent(s) illnesses and/or doctor appointments. Request(s) for SML must be submitted on a Request for Leave form.
  • South Carolina Law, Financial Identity Fraud and Identity Protection Action—restricts the use of SSNs. Managers should review forms and reports and update as appropriate, plus limit the printing of SSN as necessary
  • March Training (Register via CATTS)—HML Training is scheduled: 10 a.m., March 24, Room 624, Clinical Sciences Building, and 1 p.m., April 6, Room 624, Clinical Sciences Building; Management orientation—Session I, March 20, Session II, March 26 and Session III, April 2
  • Mock Survey follow up reminders—Primary Source Verification—Renewals for staff must be verified prior to the expiration date; BLS must be current; complete orientation forms and other education and training documents (to include dates and signatures); documentation of training when job duties change (i.e. RN II transfer to staff educator/coordinator); dates and signature are missing.

Any questions, call Bastian, 792-5098 or Karen Rankine, 792-7690.

Benefit of the month—March
Mark Stimpson, benefits manager, reviewed differences between the Basic and Dental Plus State Dental Insurance Plans.
Employees can change plans during the open enrollment period every two years (October). Employees receive the free basic program or pay $20.60 per month for Dental Plus. Full family premiums are $21.34 per month (Basic) and $82.30 (Dental Plus).
Basic provides each insured individual up to $1,000 (Basic) reimbursement per calendar year and $2,000 (Dental Plus). Both provide four classes of benefits, which reimburse at different rates, but the fee schedule is different for each of them. The fee schedule is a list of every covered dental service recognized by the state and base amount against which the reimbursement percentages listed below are levied. Basic amounts are set at approximately 50 percent; Dental Plus is approximately 90 percent of the fee schedule.

Stimulus Tax Credit
Patty Burn, MUHA Payroll manager, and Vicky Nash, Payroll Kronos support person, spoke to managers about details with the new Stimulus Tax Credit. Effective March 11 pay date, payroll will implement the new federal tax tables created by the Stimulus Tax Credit called The Making Work Pay Tax Credit. All paychecks after this date will reflect the change. New withholding tables may reduce the amount of income tax withheld from an employees’ wages. Employees should compare their federal withholding from previous paychecks.
The credit will provide a refundable tax credit of up to $400 for working individuals and $800 for married taxpayers filing jointly. Eligible workers will not need to fill out a W-4 withholding form. Changes may result in an increase in take-home pay averaging $13 per week.

Quality—Providing quality patient care in a safe environment
Ray Shingler, Radiology Services and a member of the Joint Commission Interdisciplinary Survey Readiness Rounds committee, reported results from 20 units surveyed between August to December 2008. Of the units, two were compliant to using the clinical safety checklist for Mayday cart inspections. Since January, rounding was done with 17 units resulting with five areas being compliant (29 percent). Four of the five were Rutledge Tower clinics.
To assure compliance in this area, the committee and Sheila Scarborough, R.N., have met with Pat Cawley, M.D., medical director, to discuss other ideas for more management accountability.
Other findings included an inspection of all 146 Mayday Carts throughout the medical center. One issue relates to an overuse of copied Mayday check-off sheets. Sheets are updated annually and new sheets should be printed monthly from the intranet Mayday Committee Web page.
New staff that check the cart may not be familiar with Mayday Cart items. Scarborough is available to conduct in-service training for staff regarding carts and contents. Call 792-2997.
Carts are still being used inadequately as supply storage. And prior month check-off sheets are being stored on clipboards. Use current month on clipboards and file prior sheets up to three years.
There is no mandatory requirement that Mayday carts be covered. Carts should be covered with a red cover. Bed sheets should not be used to cover carts. If carts are not covered, they must remain “white glove” clean.
For information, visit the MUHA intranet under the staff toolbox under Mayday.


  • Christine Armenia, R.N., was named interim nurse manager of 5E/ART. Armenia has worked for MUSC since 2005 and previously worked in 9PCU and 5E/ART as a regular charge nurse and active on several committees within the Heart & Vascular Center.
  • The next meeting is March 17.

Friday, March 13, 2009

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