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Currents May 19

To Medical Center Employees:
At the May 19 communications meeting Annette Drachman, J.D., MUHA Director of Legal Affairs, updated the management team on four important new policies. These include a new Identity Theft Policy; Conflict of Interest Policy; Professional Relationships Policy; and Conflict Management Policy.
The Identity Theft Policy applies throughout MUSC in compliance with federal and state law. This policy addresses the protection of information such as patient accounts, payroll information, social security numbers, credit card information, medical records and other sensitive information. The policy will be posted on the intranet right away and be effective immediately. Training and education will be provided. Additional policies will be revised to support and implement this program.
The Conflict of Interest Policy was recently approved by our Board of Trustees and, like the Identity Theft Policy, applies to all MUSC components. We have long been covered by the State Ethics Reform Act, but this new policy serves to bring greater clarity to the ethics law. It also ensures for our fulfillment of a relevant standard required by our accreditation body, the Joint Commission. Among other things the policy requires disclosure of conflicts or potential conflicts of interest. We will provide training and additional communication on this policy and it will be posted in multiple locations in the near future.
The new Professional Relationships Policy applies to MUHA and also has been adopted by the College of Medicine. This policy might be viewed as an extension of the Conflict of Interest Policy and focuses particularly on employees’ interactions with organizations (e.g. vendors) that have business or financial relationships with the medical center. Among other things, the policy prohibits accepting gifts, meals, entertainment, travel and so forth that may influence or appear to influence performance of duties. Adoption of similar policies has become a common practice among academic medical centers throughout the nation. This policy will be posted in the days ahead and will become effective immediately. Additional training and communication will be forthcoming.
The Conflict Management Policy is a MUHA policy and is required by a Joint Commission standard. This policy provides additional structure to the “old” conflict management practices coordinated by Human Resources. The purpose is to provide a methodical process to resolve conflict and ensure patient safety and quality of care are “not affected by interpersonal or interprofessional differences.” The policy will be posted and will be effective right away.

Thank you very much.

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

Start spreading the news At Your Request Dining Services will soon be available at the University Hospital. 

To get everybody acquainted with this program and help better serve MUSC patients, introductory classes for all nursing staff will be held.

Sessions will last approximately a half hour and will be held in Room 107, Colbert Education Center/Library building:

May 21 - 2 pm

May 22 - 2 pm

May 26 - 2 pm

May 27- 2 pm

May 28 - 9 am and 2 pm

May 29 - 9 am and 2 pm

People—Fostering employee pride and loyalty

Dennis Frazier, administrator for facilities and capitol planning, addressed recent and planned renovations and planned projects throughout the medical center. Major projects completed include the opening of ART (February 2008); BMT, relocated to 5W; ART (November 2008); 10W (November 2008);  9W (November 2008); Pediatric ED (November 2008); 9E (March) May’s DDCICU bed expansion (in progress).
Other projects started this spring include 7E, STICU/9C/CTICU, university hospital cafeteria (two phases—dining area and servery; Subway relocation and Pizza/A la Carte renovation (by November).

Current and planned projects include IOP inpatient bathroom renovation and other patient care upgrades; 5th floor Surgery and procedure areas; Children’s Hospital; Pharmacy (clean air renovations—multiple stages from June to December); Sterile Processing Department move some activities to ART and renovate remaining space at Children’s Hospital; university hospital bi-plane areas (third floor); NNICU nursing station; ART stress lab; Gamma Knife, DeAerator replacement; Rutledge Tower transformer/electrical distribution; paint and patch projects, plus other activities.

HCC NCI designation campaign
Alex Sargeant, Business Development & Marketing Services advertising director, reviewed the communications campaign for Hollings Cancer Center’s (HCC) National Cancer Center Institute (NCI) designation.
Since March, Sargeant and his team have utilized public relations, op-ed pieces, statewide public information announcements, physician communications, internal communications, etc. The campaign’s goal was to promote HCC awareness, relate the importance of achieving NCI designation, increase appointments and referrals for local, statewide and regional patients, etc. Initial reports from the referral call center already show an increase in physician referrals to HCC.
Smoker rates/MUHA health insurance
Mark Stimpson, MUHA benefits manager, addressed managers about changes for smoker rates for state health insurance beginning January 2010. According to EIP, the state agency that oversees MUSC’s health insurance plans, smoking-related illnesses contribute about $75 million to additional in costs. These increases will affect insured, benefits eligible employees and their insured dependents. Insured employees and their dependents will need to attest and certify their tobacco use by Nov. 15, otherwise their health insurance premiums will increase by $25 per month (surcharge is not levied per person). Certification can be found under “forms” at the MUHA HR Web site or can be conducted online. Employee’s benefits identification number is required.
Tobacco use is defined as cigarettes, cigars, pipes, snuff or chewing tobacco (not nicotine gum). Subscribers to the Standard, Savings and Blue Choice, plus CIGNA HMO may participate in the Free & Clear Quit for Life Program, 1-866-QUIT-4-LIFE (784-8454). Employees who successfully quit for six months may submit their certification at any time and the surcharge will cease.
For information or to schedule a presentation, contact Stimpson at or 792-0826.

Quality—Providing quality patient care in a safe environment
Carl Kennedy, Outcomes & Quality Management/Patient Safety and a member of the Joint Commission Survey Readiness Rounds team, began a comprehensive review of the 2009 National Patient Safety Goals (NPSG) and best practices.

NPSG #1—Improve the accuracy of patient identification
Use at least two patient identifiers when providing care, treatment and services—Identify patients visually, audibly and by wristband on the patient;
Eliminate transfusion errors related to patient misidentification—staff should conduct this adjacent to the patient; labeling of all blood products should not be removed.
American Hospital Association wristbands use a color code system to help identify patients: yellow (fall risk); red (allergy) and purple (code status—advance directives, DNR, etc.); Staff are reminded to check patient’s charts and not write status on the patient’s wrist band.

Review of NPSG metrics
The team continues to collect data through employee interviews and surveying patients for feedback in order to make recommendations. Kennedy reminded employees that policies are not put in place to make people do more; they’re created because others have worked together through interdisciplinary projects to arrive at solutions/recommendations that help employees avoid medical errors in the future.


  • Karen McAllister is the new business manager of the Heart & Vascular Center. McAlister was formerly business manager of Oncology Services.
  • The next meeting is June 2.

Friday, May 22, 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.