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  • January 06, 2022

    Christine R. Wray announces Jan. 2022 retirement after 42 years of service in healthcare

    CLINTON, Md.Christine R. Wray, FACHE, president of MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center and MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital who also serves as a senior vice president for MedStar Health, announced that she will be retiring on January 28, 2022.

    Wray was named president of MedStar Southern Maryland in September 2014, two years after MedStar Health acquired the hospital located in the Clinton area of Prince George’s County. With Wray at the helm, MedStar Southern Maryland saw the development and growth of several new service lines.

    In 2016, the hospital received national recognition from U.S. News & World Report, having ranked among the top 50 of best hospitals for neurology and neurosurgery. In 2017, MedStar Southern Maryland joined the prestigious MedStar Heart and Vascular Institute-Cleveland Clinic Alliance. Wray also helped facilitate the opening of the MedStar Georgetown Cancer Institute at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center in February 2020. This 25,000 square foot facility offers unmatched medical expertise, leading-edge therapies, and access to robust clinical research, all under the same roof.

    Moreover, the construction of MedStar Southern Maryland’s new Emergency Department (ED) expansion project took place under Wray’s leadership, and remained on schedule despite the COVID-19 pandemic. The $43 million ED expansion project has been deemed the largest construction project in the hospital’s history. The new emergency department opened its doors in April 2021 to provide local residents with seamless access to the most advanced care.

    Wray’s focus on providing quality care has helped MedStar Southern Maryland build a foundation of excellence that will serve local communities for decades to come. MedStar Southern Maryland is grateful for the innumerable and lasting contributions that Wray made throughout her 42-year healthcare career.

    “I have so cherished working with all of you in our commitment and service to our wonderful communities. It has truly been an honor and a privilege,” Wray said in an announcement that was emailed to hospital associates. “Please always be proud of the work you do and how you care for each other as you care for our patients. It is incredibly important work and you are the best of the best!

    Dr. Stephen Michaels, who currently serves as the chief operating and medical officer for MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital, will take over as president of MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center.

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  • Front of MedStar Health Towson at Hillside Avenue
    March 02, 2021

    Towson Community Benefits from Choice of Two MedStar Health Urgent Care Clinics

    Columbia, MD – MedStar Health has reopened the urgent care location at 7825 York Road near Towson University formerly owned by Righttime Medical Care. The clinic is the first of 19 urgent care centers to be rebranded since MedStar Health acquired Righttime on December 1, 2020.  The urgent care location closed in April 2020 after Towson cancelled in-person classes and the number of patients sharply declined.

    MedStar_Health_Urgent_Care_in_Towson_at_Hillside_Avenue_Lobby_Area“The opening of this additional site is an advantage to the community we serve in Towson,” said Elizabeth Delasobera, MD, Medical Director, MedStar Health Urgent Care.  “Patients will now benefit from access to high-quality medical care with greatly reduced wait times. We also look forward to serving students at Towson University when they need us for after-hours care as they return to in-person learning.”

    This new location, called MedStar Health Urgent Care in Towson at Hillside Avenue, has three newly renovated exam rooms and is open 12 hours a day. This new MedStar Health Urgent Care location is about a mile and a half from the existing MedStar Health Urgent Care in Towson at Anneslie Shopping Center, also on York Road.  

    MedStar_Health_Urgent_Care_in_Towson_at_Hillside_Avenue_Exam-RoomTo date, MedStar Health Urgent Care centers have conducted more than 200,000 COVID-19 tests and have served as a “front door” for COVID-19 patients to access more advanced treatments when needed, including monoclonal antibody therapy within the MedStar Health system. The acquisition of Righttime’s 19 urgent care locations across the state of Maryland means MedStar Health now offers care at 33 locations across Maryland, Northern Virginia, and Washington, D.C.,

  • February 25, 2021

    Clinton, MD – MedStar Georgetown Cancer Institute at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center has recently launched a new lung cancer screening program. The program aims to reduce lung cancer deaths by screening high-risk patients before they exhibit any symptoms. The 2011 National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) concluded that early detection of lung cancer by low-dose CT scans can cut the lung cancer death rate by 20 percent. The hope is that people with lung cancer can have their disease caught while it’s still at an early stage, when there are more treatment options available and cure rates are better.

    “Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer mortality in both men and women, and most long-term lung cancer survivors are individuals who were diagnosed when the cancer was at an early stage,” said Stephen “Eric” Rubenstein, MD, medical director of MedStar Georgetown Cancer Institute at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center. “Our new lung cancer screening program will help identify people while their cancer is at an earlier stage, increasing the possibility that their cancer will be treatable.”

    Physicians will refer patients to the program who fit the high-risk profile for lung cancer: people between the ages of 55 and 80 who are current smokers or have quit within the last 15 years. In addition to fulfilling those criteria, patients must have had a 30 pack-year smoking history – equivalent to a pack a day for 30 years, or two packs a day for 15 years.

    “One out of 100 people who fit these criteria and get screened will have lung cancer, and one in 300 will avoid dying from lung cancer,” said Sheil Shah, DO, diagnostic radiologist who will be leading the screening program at MedStar Georgetown Cancer Institute at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center. “Identifying it in the early stages, where it could potentially have a cure, is the program’s goal.”

    Screenings will take place at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center using sophisticated low-dose CT technology that uses much less radiation than a traditional CT scan does. A diagnostic radiologist will review the scan and provide a report of findings, along with recommendations for follow-up care or future screening. If the radiologist identifies a suspicious area on the scan, the patient may be referred to MedStar Georgetown Cancer Institute at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center for additional scans or biopsies. The cancer center, opened in late 2019, combines unmatched medical expertise, leading-edge therapies, and robust clinical research, all under one roof.

    “The test was easy. I had no discomfort,” said Temple Hills resident Orville Fogle, 65, who was the lung cancer screening program’s first participant. “I’ve had a couple of scans in the past, but MedStar Southern Maryland was the first hospital that actually gave me a clear diagnosis about what was going on with my lung, which was scar tissue.” Mr. Fogle is now in the process of quitting smoking and is pursuing follow-up care for the scar tissue in his lung.

    Nationally, approximately 60 percent of low-dose CT scans uncover lung nodules and incidental findings that require additional care. Patients who are found to have other, noncancerous disease in their lungs or nearby organs will benefit from the coordinated, multidisciplinary expertise – from pulmonology to cardiothoracic surgery – available throughout MedStar Health. The program will also incorporate smoking cessation counseling and follow-up communication with the patient’s primary care provider.

    MedStar Georgetown Cancer Institute at Medstar Southern Maryland Hospital Center, which is fully accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer, offers 25,000 square feet of treatment space with a state-of-the-art infusion center, women’s imaging suite, and robust radiation therapy capabilities that include Zap-X®, the first radiosurgery system of its kind on the East Coast, and Halcyon™, a new kind of radiotherapy offering faster, more accurate treatment.

    For more information about our program, please call 301-877-5588.


    About MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center:
    MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center, located in Clinton, Maryland, is a 182-bed acute care hospital serving the Washington, D.C., metro and Southern Maryland area. The hospital is focused on caring for patients and their loved ones utilizing advanced technology under the guidance of expert clinicians. Quality, Safety, Wellness, and Patient Satisfaction are achieved.

  • February 22, 2021

    Columbia, MD – Georgetown University, in collaboration with the MedStar Health Institute for Quality and Safety, has announced the development of a second track for The Executive Master’s in Clinical Quality, Safety, and Leadership Program focused on human factors engineering and systems safety. The new Human Factors Engineering track, in partnership with MedStar Health National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare will instruct on prominent principles and methods drawn from multiple disciplines like industrial engineering and cognitive psychology, and apply them to real-world patient safety and quality issues and challenges. The development of the second track compliments the existing Quality & Safety track which focuses on healthcare policies, regulation, and economics, along with how leaders are creating and leading sustainable change within healthcare.

    “The development of the additional track came after a close review of the existing educational market, and how there are still very few opportunities in this field,” said Kristen Miller, DrPH, CPPS, scientific director, National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare at MedStar Health and faculty in the Executive Master’s program. “As the complexity of healthcare increases with technological advances and information overload-the field of human factors engineering offers practical approaches to evaluate problems, mitigate risk, and improve outcomes.”

    The human factors engineering track will be available starting fall 2021. The Georgetown University Executive Master’s in Clinical Quality, Safety and Leadership is an online asynchronous program led by international experts in patient safety, clinical quality and human factors engineering. For more information on the Executive Master’s and to enroll visit: patientsafetymasters.georgetown.edu.

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    About the MedStar Health Institute for Quality and Safety
    The mission of the Medstar Health Institute for Quality and Safety is to partner with patients, their families, and those that take care of them to improve patient care outcomes and reduce the global burden of preventable harm. Established by Medstar Health, the largest healthcare provider in Maryland and the Washington, D.C., region, the Institute provides a global infrastructure in which leaders, front-line care givers, patients and family members jointly develop, educate, assess, and advocate for patient safety and clinical quality initiatives. For more information, visit www.medstariqs.org.  

    About the MedStar Health National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare

    The MedStar Health National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare (the Center) is an applied research, usability, safety advisement, and education center committed to the scientific study of how humans think, work, and interact within the healthcare environment.

    Located in Washington, D.C., the Center was founded in 2010 within the MedStar Institute for Innovation and moved to its new organizational home in the MedStar Health Research Institute in July 2020. Working in close collaboration with these teams and the MedStar Institute for Quality and Safety, the Center is the largest human factors program embedded within a U.S. healthcare system. For more information, visit www.medicalhumanfactors.net.

  • February 19, 2021
    As health systems deploy a variety of digital health tools in the fight against COVID-19, new MedStar Health research published in Nature Partner Journals’ npj Digital Medicine suggests one of the latest technologies may help in unexpected ways—chatbots, or conversational agent software programs that communicate via text and voice.
  • February 17, 2021

    Philanthropic Contribution will Fund Mobile Health Center Providing COVID-19 Vaccine to Underserved Communities

    Columbia, MD The Verstandig Family Foundation - a philanthropic organization established by digital innovator, entrepreneur and venture capitalist Grant Verstandig, with a focus on increasing public access to quality healthcare - today announced a $250,000 philanthropic contribution to MedStar Health, in support of ongoing COVID-19 vaccination distribution efforts in underserved communities in the Baltimore and Washington, D.C., area.

    The Verstandig Family Foundation giftwill be used to support MedStar Health’s innovative Mobile Health Center, which is currently traveling to underserved communities to raise awareness for the COVID-19 vaccine and administer the vaccine onsite. Led by a registered nurse practitioner, the mobile clinic brings quality health care directly to those in need and is currently serving vaccine eligible seniors living in community housing.

    “The Foundation is thrilled to support MedStar Health’s important work to deliver the COVID-19 vaccine to the underserved communities in Baltimore and Washington, D.C., area,” said Grant Verstandig. “All too often, those with the most urgent health care needs confront significant obstacles, from work to child care to transportation. MedStar Health’s Mobile Health Center is a resource at the right time and place, addressing hardships upfront and bringing quality health care to those in need. This important work aligns with our Family Foundation’s mission to make quality healthcare accessible to all.”

    “MedStar Health is grateful to receive philanthropic support from Grant Verstandig and the Verstandig Family Foundation as we partner to ensure COVID-19 vaccinations are quickly distributed to some of the region’s highest risk residents,” said Ken Samet, president and chief executive officer of MedStar Health. “Philanthropy partners like Grant Verstandig are making a significant impact on our ability to enhance the great work already happening in this effort through our community health programs. We are humbled by this support and generosity.”

    The initiative is being coordinated through the Community Health Program at MedStar Health. In addition to supporting the mobile unit, the gift contributes to enhancing educational awareness  to improve vaccine confidence among minority populations; the distribution of “COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics in a Box” sends clinical teams to low-income, senior housing facilities, as well as safety-net clinics; and the implementation of vaccine distribution activities in collaboration with the Baltimore City Health Department and DC Health, in accordance with CDC guidelines.

    MedStar Health is the first medical provider in the region to deploy a mobile clinic for COVID-19 vaccinations, completing its first round of vaccinations at the Cherry Hill Senior Manor in Baltimore in late January. The 65 residents of the center will receive their second dose when the MedStar Health Mobile Health Center returns on February 26.

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    “It is an amazing feeling to bring the COVID-19 vaccine directly to patients,” said nurse practitioner, Kelli McCallum, CRNP, who leads the mobile care team. “Many of these seniors are already dealing with health issues and are challenged by transportation barriers to get to a vaccine center. Being able to be here and speak with them one on one, where they are most comfortable, also offers a comfort zone.  If they have questions about vaccine safety, we can answer them. We are so proud of the trust we have been able to build through our Mobile Health Center. This extremely generous gift from the Verstandig Family Foundation will allow us to reach even more of our most vulnerable communities.”

    With this philanthropic contribution, the Verstandig Family Foundation builds on a long-term commitment to the greater Baltimore-Washington community. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Foundation donated $1.3 million to the BSTRONG program to fund the procurement and delivery of personal protective equipment to more than 200 hospitals, clinics, and facilities in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.,

    Verstandig advises multiple government organizations, including serving as a senior advisor to the National Security Agency on advanced analytics, technology, and Artificial Intelligence. Verstandig is also a member of the National Council for the American Enterprise Institute and is a founding member and Director of the Greater Washington Partnership.

    In addition to healthcare, the Verstandig Family Foundation also supports various initiatives in education, national security, and entrepreneurship. The Foundation is anchored in the philosophy of the Power of Purpose for giving and leveraging new ideas in philanthropy

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    About the Verstandig Family Foundation 
    Launched in 2017, the Verstandig Family Foundation embraces partnerships with a mission to engage thought leaders, drive policy outcomes and build substantial programs in education, entrepreneurship, national security, health and wellness, and animal rescue. 

    About MedStar Health
    At MedStar Health, we use the best of our minds and the best of our hearts to serve our patients, those who care for them, and our communities. Our 30,000 associates and 4,700 affiliated physicians are committed to living this promise through our core SPIRIT values—Service, Patient first, Integrity, Respect, Innovation, and Teamwork—across our more than 300 locations including 10 hospitals, ambulatory, and urgent care centers. As the medical education and clinical partner of Georgetown University, MedStar Health is training future physician leaders to care for the whole person, and is advancing care through the MedStar Health Research Institute. From our telemedicine and urgent care services to the region’s largest home health agency, we’re committed to providing high-quality health care that’s also easy and convenient for our patients. At MedStar Health—It’s how we treat people. Learn more at MedStarHealth.org.

  • February 09, 2021

    MedStar St. Mary’s to offer increased access to prevention programs

    Leonardtown, MD – Thanks to funding from Maryland’s Health Services Cost Review Commission (HSCRC) Regional Partnership Catalyst Grants program, MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital will be teaming up with four other hospitals in the region to help tackle one of the most common chronic conditions suffered by residents of Southern Maryland, diabetes.

    In November 2020 the HSCRC granted $30 million to Totally Linking Care in Maryland (TLC MD), a collaboration between MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center, MedStar St. Mary’s, University of Maryland Capital Region Health, Doctors Community Health System, and Adventist Healthcare Fort Washington Medical Center. The funds are to be split among two initiatives—regional diabetes care, just over $7 million, and behavioral health access in Prince George’s county, $22.8 million. As part of the program, MedStar St. Mary’s will offer increased access to its National Diabetes Prevention program (Simple Changes) and its diabetes self-management program. Additionally, eligible participants will also have access to community health workers.

    “Diabetes is unlike many other chronic health conditions in that good daily self-management can make a remarkable difference in long-term outcomes. Helping people prevent and manage diabetes is most effective when it happens not in the hospital, but in the community, with the most effective programs including a suite of wraparound services designed to close the gap between an individual’s social determinants of health and the excellent diabetes care they deserve,” said Stephen T. Michaels, MD, chief operating and medical officer, MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital.

    “This work, in collaboration with our regional partners, is evidence of our commitment to population health initiatives designed to improve our community’s health before they ever come through our doors. Projects like these can reduce hospitalizations and readmissions, expand equitable access to care, and support individuals with programs and resources to help them manage chronic conditions and live well,” said Christine Wray, president of MedStar Southern Maryland and MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital. “We are proud to continue our collaboration with hospitals across the region through TLC MD.”

     


    About MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital
    MedStar St. Mary's Hospital is a full-service community hospital, delivering state-of-the-art emergency, acute inpatient and outpatient care in Leonardtown, Maryland. Nestled in a waterside community, MedStar St. Mary's provides advanced technology with a dedication to excellence in all services provided. The not-for-profit hospital has been named among the nation’s Top 100 Hospitals™ and is an eight-time recipient of the prestigious Delmarva Medicare Excellence Award. In addition, MedStar St. Mary's received the Maryland Performance Excellence award at the Platinum level in 2014 – the highest in the state. Our staff is committed to providing quality and compassionate medical care for all patients by coupling innovation with our outstanding team of Medical Staff members, associates and volunteers. Visit MedStarStMarys.org to learn more.

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