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


Currents March 31

To Medical Center Employees:
Recently, we completed 15 town hall sessions attended by approximately 1,200 individuals, and I want to thank everyone who attended.
The town hall agenda included an update on our pillar-based goals, a summary of results to date of our cost savings initiatives and highlights of the American Hospital Association’s general outlook for the direction of health care under the new administration.
Everyone is encouraged to attend the town hall meetings, but I know it’s difficult for many to schedule time. The town hall presentation slides are posted on the MUSC Excellence Web site ( The results from the town hall evaluations completed by those who attended will be posted on the site later.
At the March 31 communication meeting Steve Hargett, medical center controller, reported favorable financial results for the month of February. We still have a negative bottom line for the year, but if we continue the progress made during February we should end the year with a positive bottom line. Additional details are outlined in this newsletter.
Like other hospitals and employers, we have faced exceptionally difficult challenges this year. Although we will need to continue to remain focused on operational efficiency, there are clear signs, thanks to everyone’s efforts, we are making good progress in controlling costs while providing high quality and compassionate care. We have good reason to be optimistic about the future.
Helena Bastian, medical center human resources director, updated the management team during the communication meeting on plans to roll out our annual employee perspective survey. This online survey will be used to measure progress with employee satisfaction and engagement by department as well as organization-wide. The results of the survey will also be used to set goals for next fiscal year. Individual responses will be confidential. The survey will be conducted April 27 through May 8. All Medical Center employees are asked to participate.
This year Press Ganey, a leading national survey firm that we have used for several years, has modified its survey to measure both satisfaction and engagement. “Engagement” involves building enduring relationships with employees to achieve our goals. This year’s modified survey will be streamlined by reducing questions from 67 to 51. We will still have the capability to compare core questions and results to those included in our previous surveys. Press Ganey points out the new survey will also help pinpoint the most promising opportunities for improvement.
Again, I want to thank everyone for your hard work and dedication.

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

People—Fostering employee pride and loyalty

Gwen Brown, Ambulatory Care business operations coordinator, announced April’s standard of behavior is hand hygiene (Policy IC#3-008 and Policy A-04), which is the most basic infection prevention.
Brown reminded staff that germs are present in our hands and can affect quality safety care and cause illnesses throughout the organization.
Hands should be thoroughly washed with antiseptic soap and water and decontaminated with an alcohol hand antiseptic. Proper hand washing takes about 15 seconds or equivalent to singing two versus of the song, “Yankee Doodle.”   Infection Control and Prevention’s Linda Formby, R.N., demonstrated a hand washing check with several managers using glo germ liquid to demonstrate proper hand washing using an ultraviolet light. Sharon DeGrace, R.N., Dave Neff, Bill Springs and June Darby, R.N. participated in the demonstration. Wanda Beardsley, R.N., and Lee Ann Boyd, R.N., a visiting nurse from the UK, assisted. Formby reminded managers that a hand washing hygiene kit is available for check-out by units. For information, contact Charmaine Wilson at 792-4308.

HR update
Helena Bastian, MUHA Human Resources director, reported on the following:
  • Press Ganey’s new Employee Partnership Survey (replaces the Employee Perspectives Survey)—They enhanced their past employee survey model to include satisfaction and employee engagement.
  • Other Press Ganey clients, who’ve reached the 90th percentile or greater, scored high in both the satisfaction and engagement areas.
  • New survey has been redesigned to be direct, relevant and eliminates redundancies.
  • Standard questions have been reduced from 67 to 39 questions.
  • An additional 12 custom questions will be included.
  • Focus on five partnership principles —Leadership and Systems (job security, input on decision making, information); resources (pay, physical environment, equipment); team work (respect, coordination); direct management (feedback, coaching, trust, communi-cations, recognition); and engagement (purpose, fulfillment, openness)—job, work or organizational.
  • MUHA Human Resources will lead a communication campaign to provide definitions for senior leadership, direct management, etc.
Enhancement to reports
  • New employee partnership report will be shorter, easier to understand (reduce from 30 pages to eight pages)
  • Managers will have online access to reports.
  • Employee partnership score will replace the overall mean score. The partnership score will be an all-inclusive measurement of satisfaction and engagement. Separate scores will be provided for overall satisfaction and overall engagement.
  • Press Ganey suggested that we repeat two questions used from the 2008 survey for the 2009 survey for comparison.
  • As managers prepare their departmental/units action plans, please communicate any specific issues.
  • 2009 Employee Partnership Survey will take place between April 27 and May 8. It will be available online only. Management information packets will be forthcoming.
  • Performance Management Process Transition Update—plans are to move forward with selected vendor; collaboration with legal office; replacement of a Web-based form; transition meetings scheduled for April and May
Human resources training
  • CATTS Admin Access—9 to 11:30 a.m., April 1, Room 438, Education Center/Library Building
  • HML Discussion—1 to 2 p.m., April 6, Room 628, Clinical Sciences Building
  • Selecting Talent—8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., April 8, Room 2408, Ashley River Tower
  • Medical Terminology I—2 to 3:30 p.m., April 8, 2West Classroom
  • Dealing with Difficult People, 10-11 a.m., May 6, Room 628, Clinical Sciences Building
  • CATTS Primary Source Verification training — 9 to 10:30 a.m., April 6, April 15, April 22 and April 28
Benefit of the Month—April
Bastian introduced the April benefit of the month: Rapid Access Center, University Internal Medicine provides personal health care for adults. Employees can utilize the Rapid Access Center. It provides fast, same-day primary care appointment needs for adult care patients. It is located on the 8th floor of Rutledge Tower and is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Rapid Access is designed to support all MUSC/MUHA, UMA employees and their adult family members. Call 876-0888.

LEM tool update
Maggie Thompson, service excellence manager and member of the leader evaluation manager (LEM) team, spoke about updates to the LEM tool, which is used by leaders to track goals. A reminder was sent out via e-mail. The information also is posted at the LEM Web page via the MUHA intranet. Thompson urged managers to look at the last document. The tool will be unavailable from April 2 to April 3 and a revised tool will be available beginning April 6. The URL link to the tool will change, so users must update desktop shortcuts.
All links to the tool from the Intranet and HBI will be updated. Username and password remain the same. The LEM team is offering goal development sessions in May. Jane Scutt sent out an e-mail with information.
Administrators are encouraged to contact Torri Jacobsen, 792-7274, to schedule their service line or group. LDI leaders also will receive e-mail communications with dates/times of available drop-in sessions.
Finance—Providing the highest value to patients while ensuring financial stability
Stephen Hargett, medical center controller, gave the financial report emphasizing a continued track for progress since the last quarter.
For the month of February, MUHA demonstrated a $2.6 million gain, resulting in three months in a row and four out of the last five months that the medical center reflects gains. This brings the total down to -$3.4 million loss year to date.
Hargett commended MUHA staff for managing their productivity during this period. MUHA is able to handle more acute and surgery/medical patients while managing staffing. The hospital’s case mix index, which reflects the intensity of the hospital’s patients, is higher than ever during this period. Although patient admissions remain steady, the average daily census is up resulting in an increase in the average length of stay.
Cash in February was lower than January. However, the hospital expects to receive a large Medicaid program payment in early April.

  • Heather Kokko, PharmD, and SCCO clinical assistant professor, was named interim director of the Department of Pharmacy Services for MUHA. She replaces Paul Bush, PharmD, who left to assume a new position as director of pharmacy at Duke University.
  • Rachel Abbonizio, R.N., is the new nurse manager in the Digestive Disease Service Line managing the GI Medicine and Surgery clinics, outpatient scheduling and nurse coordinators. Abbonizio has been at MUSC since 2002 and was previously Clinical Operations coordinator, Prep and Recovery, Heart & Vascular Center.

Friday, April 3, 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.