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


Currents July 7

To Medical Center Employees:
As we close out fiscal year (FY) 2008/2009 I want to thank you for your dedication and hard work. We began the year with a financial loss of almost $4 million for the month of July 2008 after being in the red at the end of FY 2007/2008. Due to the efforts of many, we turned around our monthly deficits, reduced costs in the neighborhood of $40 million and increased patient volume. Preliminary financial reports indicate we will end FY 2008/2009 with a positive bottom line and we are optimistic about continued progress during FY 2009/2010.
During the year, a number of accomplishments led to our improved performance. I would like to share some examples of how we have enhanced our financial performance and operational practices.
We employed a large number of contract staff (e.g., travel nurses) last year as we staffed the new Ashley River Tower (ART). As of June there were no contract nursing positions. Our intent is to limit contract staff to 10 or less in FY 2009/2010.
We adopted new staffing ratios in clinical and other areas to achieve improved standardization and decrease variance. While this was a very difficult process, we have improved our scheduling process while also increasing patient census.

We reduced duplication of emergency rooms by closing CMH. This was done without a significant disruption of emergency services at the university hospital. We have nearly completed necessary arrangements with DHEC to soon accept ambulatory patients at ART chest pain center.
During FY 2008/2009 we also focused on medical/surgical supply cost reduction. Through improved standardization, inventory control and price negotiations, we are projecting a savings of $5 million in this area.
Our average census improved with the opening and staffing of all 156 beds in ART. Also, in the university hospital we fully renovated and reopened 10W, 9W and 9E to provide additional inpatient medical/surgical capacity. In FY 2008/2009, we observed a 12.8 percent growth in operating room cases. During FY 2009/2010, renovations will be completed on 7E in the university hospital to provide much needed expansion of pediatric beds.
Thanks to the hard work of OCIO, we made significant improvements with implementation of clinical IT systems within the medical center. Major progress was observed with nursing clinical documentation, the pharmacy closed-loop medications applications and the provider order entry systems. By the end of this summer all of these applications are scheduled to be implemented in ART. The PICIS peri-operative system is scheduled to be operational in all operating rooms by the end of August.
Currently we are in the process of implementing a new employee evaluation system and compensation plan that will serve us well into the future. Also, we have gained more experience with our MUSC Excellence initiatives and this will continue to serve as the framework for our goal setting, communication and accountability mechanisms.
There were numerous other accomplishments that cannot reasonably be covered in this report. Suffice to say everyone continued to provide compassionate and quality care while focusing on opportunities to improve operational efficiency and control costs.
Finally, on another matter, we continue to receive results from Press Ganey, our survey firm, on the Employee Partnership Survey. Our overall participation rate was 66 percent and the mean score was 71.5. At the July 28 Leadership Development Institute (LDI) a presentation will be made to the management team on the results. The LDI presentation will include an explanation of survey format changes made by Press Ganey and how to interpret the information. We will then make plans to conduct department-based meetings to roll out the results and develop action plans. We will also, as in the past, develop an organizationwide action plan to discuss at future town hall meetings.
Thanks again to all for a job well done.

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

People—Fostering employee pride and loyalty
Janis Newton, program director at the MUSC Harper Wellness Center, shared details about the 2009 Fall MUSC Healthy Charleston Challenge, Sept. 10 to Nov. 19. She’s currently recruiting MUHA employees to form teams. This will be the fourth consecutive challenge managed by MUSC to help participants achieve weight loss and adopt healthier lifestyles.

So far, the program has hosted 260 total participants (from MUSC and the Lowcountry community) for a cumulative weight loss of almost 5,000 pounds. The 2009 Spring HCC had 11 teams of 10-12 participants and recorded a total 1,827 pounds lost.

Newton introduced seven MUSC-HCC graduates who talked about their weight loss successes: Katy
Kuder, Tom Hubbard, Christ Murray, Joan Herbert, Pam Smith, Cindy Abole and Yvonne Martin.
Applicants must be 25-plus pound overweight and ready to commit to a weight loss and lifestyle change.

Applications are available at the Wellness Center or registering at Call 792-4141 or e-mail

HR update
Helena Bastian, MUHA HR director, addressed managers on the following: PTO Cash-in incentive will not be available in July, however, it may be reconsidered for December. Eligible employees will have the option to request PTO conversion to ESL; in July and December, an eligible employee may choose to convert up to 40 hours of PTO to ESL;  in order for an employee to convert to PTO to ESL, the PTO conversion form must be completed and submitted to the respective supervisor/manager; request forms may be accessed at; request forms should be submitted to payroll by July 17 to be reflected in the July 22 pay check. For information, contact MUHA Payroll or Human Resources.

Implementation of compensation program

Effective July 5, MUHA implemented a new compensation program which is comprised of market-based competitive pay grades; benchmark jobs have been assigned to pay ranges based on market pay levels. Non-benchmark jobs will be assigned through comparison to benchmark jobs in each job family; MUHA HR has met with directors to review pay grades; compensation Policy #15 has been modified to reflect the new program.

Online Posting Process
Quarterly postings were discontinued as of July 1 (with exception to HOP positions); approval for hire by vice president for clinical operations and executive director, MUSC Medical Center was discontinued as of July 1.

Policy updates (
HR Policy #4—Employment procedure was revised to reflect the medical center’s new employment procedures; HR Policy #6—Licensure, registration and certification verification; HR Policy #32—Visitor and career exploration program (new).

SuccessFactors update
Maggie Thompson, service excellence manager, updated managers on the implementation. Currently, 339 employees have completed training (62 super-users also were trained and are assisting with employee training).
Login to be added to MyRecords. By visiting the SuccessFactors Web site (link on intranet under News You Can Use) employees can view online training calendar for schedule of remaining classes and drop-in sessions as well as a goal library achievement guide for help in entering pillar goals.
Reminders—All employees must have a 2009 performance evaluation on the “old form” (with exception to employees hired after April 1); employee position descriptions must be loaded into SuccessFactors by Aug. 31; all employees must have reviewed/signed their planning stages acknowledgement forms in SuccessFactors by Aug. 31.

Best work place campaign
Marilyn Schaffner, Ph.D., R.N., clinical services administrator, and Allison Livingston, medical center administrative resident, reviewed details about MUSC’s involvement in the 2009 Modern Healthcare’s 100 Best Places to Work in Healthcare campaign.

For the second year, Modern Healthcare and the Best Companies Group initiated this program to recognize national employers in the health care industry. Benefits for involvement include attracting/retaining top talent and enhancement of reputation, plus its free to register.

Schaffner helped organize a task force to help guide this effort. There are two parts to the application: employer benefits and policies questionnaire; and an employee engagement and satisfaction survey. The survey will be sent to 400 randomly selected employees for completion. Livingston urged managers to help promote the surveys and employee participation. Communication of the survey is being finalized.

To help promote MUSC’s effort, organizers are launching an “I’m Proud” campaign. Everyone is asked to share why they like working at MUSC and what makes it one of the best places to work. Participants may share their thoughts in a 15-30 second recorded testimonials. The videos will be shared and posted on the MUSC Excellence Web site and possibly used in employee orientation. Filming will take place in the next few weeks and at the July 28 LDI meeting.

Standard of the Month—July
Reece Smith, medical center compliance officer, shared the July Standard of the Month:  Confidentiality and Privacy. Employees are reminded to not share passwords, discuss patient/confidential information in public areas, place patient information in confidential shred bins, etc.

Quality—Providing quality patient care in a safe environment

Kim Haynes, Web resources manager in Business Development & Marketing Services, spoke about the features and missions of MUSC’s two Web sites: and (Business Development & Marketing Services) is the hospital’s Web site designed for patients, consumers and referring physicians
Goals: increase patient referrals, appointments and revenue for MUSC Health; secure position as regional leader for Web-based health information and services; extend care management process; provide online tools and resources for patients/families; simplify processes for patient referrals. (Linda Austin, M.D., and Mary Mauldin, Ed.D.) serves students, faculty, employees, researchers, general public, educators, health care professionals, patients, regulators, news media, etc.
Goals: Recruit students, employees, research and clinical faculty; promote continuing education opportunities through multiple programs; improve communications throughout institution; promote statewide collaborations/partnerships; support research funding/patient recruitment for research studies; and streamline research administration operations and support services.

National Patient Safety Goals
Carl Kennedy, Outcomes & Quality Management/Patient Safety and a member of the Joint Commission Survey Readiness Rounds team, continued his review of the 2009 NPSGs and best practices. He reviewed elements of performance goals related to National Patient Safety Goal (NPSG) #3: Improve the safety of using medications.
Elements of Performance: 3.03.01—The hospital identifies a list of look-alike/sound-alike medications used by the hospital. The list includes a minimum of 10 look-alike/sound-alike medication combinations selected from the tables of look-alike/sound-alike medications posted on The Joint Commission Web site,
The hospital reviews the list of look-alike/sound-alike medications at least annually.
The hospital takes action to prevent errors involving the interchange of the medications on the list of look-alike/sound-alike medications.
3.04.01—Medications and solutions both on and off the sterile field are labeled even if there is only one medication being used. Labeling occurs when any medication/solution is transferred from the original packaging to another container.
3.05.01—Hospital implements a defined anticoagulation management program to individualize the care provided to each patient receiving anticoagulant therapy. To reduce compounding/ labeling errors, the hospital uses oral unit dose products, pre-filled syringes or pre-mixed infusion bags when these products are available.
Contact Kennedy, or 792-2719.


  • Dan Altman, MUHA Clinical and Support Services, reminded managers about proper disposition of expired medical supplies from their respective areas and costs involved. Altman reminded managers that the removal of expired medical supply items by clinical staff or any purpose (medical mission projects, transfer, personal use, etc.) from a facility within MUHA by anyone other than properly designated Materials Management staff is a violation of policy. Furthermore, the only cost involved with expired products is the cost of replacing them with usable product. Staff are reminded to contact appropriate Central Supply Departments to arrange pickup and proper disposition of expired medical supplies – University Hospital/Children’s Hospital Central Supply, 792-3091; Ashley River Tower, 876-7287; and Rutledge Tower, 792-4005.
  • The next meeting is July 21.

Friday, July 10, 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.