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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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  • July 28, 2021

    Columbia, MD - MedStar Health has released a toolkit to improve the early diagnosis of hepatitis C and the frequency with which hepatitis C patients are treated in the primary care setting. The toolkit, called A Pragmatic Guide for Primary Care Practitioners: The Diagnosis and Treatment of Patients with Hepatitis C Virus includes practical steps health practitioners can follow related to screening, testing, workup, treatment and post-cure to improve the diagnosis and treatment of hepatitis C. The toolkit was informed by over two years of work with 18 subject matter experts and 38 primary care providers throughout Maryland and the District of Columbia.

    The number of reported acute hepatitis C infections have more than quadrupled from 2010 to 2018, and The US Department of Health and Human Services has identified untreated Hepatitis C infection as associated with more deaths than the top 60 reportable diseases combined. It is estimated that only 56% of individuals infected with HCV are aware of their infection[1]. Safe and effective treatments that can cure hepatitis C are now available, but many primary care providers find the integration of new guidelines and processes into practice daunting. The toolkit was developed to support the integration of HCV identification and care in the non-specialist clinic.

    The toolkit was developed by the MedStar Health Institute for Quality and Safety and the MedStar Health Research Institute under a grant awarded from the Coverys Community Healthcare Foundation. Lead authors of the toolkit were Dr. Christine Goeschel, Assistant Vice President, MedStar Health Institute for Quality and Safety and Professor of Medicine, Georgetown University, Dr. Dawn Fishbein, Scientific Director, Viral Hepatitis Research, MedStar Health Research Institute, and Sara Miller, Vice President of Quality Improvement and Patient Safety, Med-IQ.

    For more information or to download A Pragmatic Guide for Primary Care Practitioners: The Diagnosis and Treatment of Patients with Hepatitis C Virus visit: www.medstariqs.org/research-programs

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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 Coverys Community Healthcare Foundation

    The Coverys Community Healthcare Foundation, Inc. provides grant funding and donations to organizations and innovative programs that improve patient care and safety, promote healthy lifestyles, and support individuals and organizations providing healthcare services. The development of the Foundation exemplifies Coverys’ dedication to being an affirmative and active corporate citizen in the healthcare community and the communities in which it operates.

    [1] “Awareness of chronic viral hepatitis in the United States: An update from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey,” Journal of Viral Hepatitis, May 26, 2019.

  • July 27, 2021

    Only Nationally Ranked Heart Program in the Washington Region

    Washington, D.C. – Once again, MedStar Washington Hospital Center has been recognized among the nation’s top cardiac centers in the 2021-22 U.S. News & World Report “Best Hospitals” rankings. Its Cardiology and Heart Surgery program climbed to No. 30, up seven from last year’s survey. It is the only nationally recognized heart program of its kind in the Washington region. MedStar Washington also received the highest rating possible in aortic valve surgery, heart attack, heart bypass surgery, heart failure, and transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR).

    U.S. News evaluated more than 4,750 medical centers nationwide in 15 specialties and 17 procedures and conditions. In the 15 specialty areas, 175 hospitals were ranked in at least one specialty.

    “Our continuing and ascending stature amongst the best regarded cardiovascular centers in the country is a tribute to the tireless teamwork and dedication of our physicians and associates who strive to put the principle of keeping patients at the heart of everything they do,” said Stuart F. Seides, MD, physician executive director of the MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute. “And to all those patients and their physicians who entrust us with their care, we offer our most sincere gratitude.”

    MedStar Washington Hospital Center, home to MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute, has one of the highest-volume cardiac programs in the nation. It integrates the cardiovascular programs and services of all 10 MedStar Health hospitals and outpatient practices in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Its clinical and research alliance with Cleveland Clinic Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute, again ranked No. 1 in the nation by U.S. News, has continued to flourish since 2013.

    U.S. News also cited MedStar Washington’s Urology program as high-performing. Six other common procedures and conditions, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), colon cancer surgery, diabetes, kidney failure, pneumonia, and stroke, received the highest ratings, too. "High Performing" is the highest rating U.S. News awards for these types of care that were significantly better than the national average, as measured by factors such as patient outcomes.

     The complete rankings are available at https://health.usnews.com/best-hospitals/rankings.

     

    MedStar Washington Hospital Center is a not-for-profit, 912-bed, teaching and research hospital in the nation’s capital, and is a major referral center for treating the region’s most complex cases. Its cardiology program is highly acclaimed, and its cardiac surgery program has consistently earned the highest national rating–three stars–from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. MedStar Washington operates the region’s first Comprehensive Stroke Center and the District’s only Cardiac Ventricular Assist Device program, both certified by The Joint Commission. The hospital is also home to MedSTAR, a nationally verified level I trauma center with a state-of-the-art fleet of helicopters and ambulances, and also operates the region’s only adult Burn Center.

  • July 15, 2021

    Sewa International distributing PPE and other critical supplies to the Caribbean and India

    Columbia, MD – As COVID-19 hospitalizations remain low in the United States, MedStar Health is donating a significant amount of surplus PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and clinical equipment to several countries still working to contain the virus.

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    The donation is being fulfilled through a partnership with Sewa International, a not-for-profit organization that has been distributing disaster relief around the world since 2003. Following the hand-off of six truckloads of equipment to Sewa, the supplies are now on their way to facilities in Trinidad, Guyana, Suriname, the Bahamas, and India where frontline healthcare workers, patients, and the public are in need of as much protection as possible.

    Siva Subramanian, MD, chief of Neonatology at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, spearheaded the effort with support from MedStar Health leadership.

    “This is something that is going to be a tremendous help in containing this very contagious COVID-19,” Subramanian said. “As someone who takes care of patients, I know this type of protective equipment is so important and it makes me very proud that we are able to share this from MedStar Health.”

    The donation includes KN-95 masks, reusable surgeon masks, cannisters of disinfecting wipes, packages of hand sanitizer for Caribbean nations and two CPAP machines to be distributed in India. MedStar Health successfully maintained its primary supply of N-95 masks throughout the pandemic, which made its emergency surplus of KN-95 masks available for donation.

    “We bought a lot of these masks because the supply of N-95 masks was very uncertain and we weren’t going to take any chances,” said Ed Robinson, vice president of Integrated Support Operations for MedStar Health. “Fortunately, we are in a position now where we can support this very noble humanitarian effort by Sewa International to provide much needed support to other parts of the world that are in great need right now.”

    Representatives from Sewa International graciously accepted the donation in person at a MedStar Health supply facility in Prince George’s County, Maryland where the equipment was officially transferred.

    “In this COVID situation, the entire world is one. There is no discrimination. It does not discriminate based on economy. It doesn’t discriminate on anything,” said Shree Sreenath, PhD, MBA of SEWA International. “We at SEWA International are really happy to receive this from MedStar Health so that we are able to help our brothers and sisters in the Caribbean and in India, where supplies are extraordinarily needed.”

  • July 15, 2021

    Columbia, MD - MedStar Health is proud to announce a new research partnership with COTA, Inc., an oncology real-world data and analytics company. COTA will support MedStar Health in its use of real-world data to accelerate scientific discovery and improve patient care.   “Our partnership with COTA will support our ongoing efforts to leverage deep clinical data to power research that will improve outcomes for cancer patients,” said Neil J. Weissman, MD, FACC, FASE, president of MedStar Health Research Institute and chief scientific officer for MedStar Health. “As a leader in oncology real-world data, we are excited to work with COTA to drive innovative research that will change how cancer is studied and treated.”  Read more.

  • July 13, 2021

    Columbia, MD - Medstar Health is proud to announce that we have joined with 16 other healthcare systems as members of Truveta, a company with a vision of Saving Lives with Data. Founded by the member healthcare systems, the Truveta platform will bring clinical data from across the country to advance patient care and accelerate development of new therapies through research. Truveta will include data representing more than 15 percent of U.S. patient care with even greater racial and ethnic diversity. “With our mission to promote learning, discovery and innovation, we believe insights from Truveta can help providers learn more and have better informed conversations about inequities and health outcomes to make progress on this important topic,” said Kenneth Samet, president and CEO of MedStar Health. Please visit theTruveta website to learn more about this exciting partnership.

  • Mia and Jeff pose for a photo in a home kitchen.
    July 09, 2021

    The Aunt Bertha Social Care Services Platform, integrated with MedStar Health’s electronic health records, allows patients to connect with everything from groceries and transportation to health insurance, ID cards and diaper banks

    Columbia, MD - MedStar Health is pleased to announce a new software integration that pairs the Aunt Bertha Social Care Services Platform with electronic health records to treat patients more holistically by connecting them with needed services like food and transportation.

    Jeff Jones, 61, of Washington, D.C., thought he was having bad heartburn in March of 2021 but a trip to the emergency department at MedStar Washington Hospital Center revealed that he was having a heart attack.

    Through the course of his treatment, Jones was screened for health-related social needs within his electronic medical record. He was then connected with MedStar Health Community Health Advocate Mia Afowerk who helped him access the Social Needs Tool powered by Aunt Bertha’s platform.  “The platform lists thousands of social care services, like food banks, rent assistance programs, and diaper banks, all located within the patient’s neighboring community,” said Afowerk. “I was able to connect Mr. Jones to services that could really make a positive difference in his health and well-being like groceries, transportation and D.C. Medicaid which he needed for his cardiac care. This platform has helped so many of our patients eliminate their biggest barriers to great health.”

    “Mia visited me and took right over,” said Jones. “Because of this, they started delivering fresh groceries to my door every Friday. The first thing I did was throw out all my canned food that contained sodium which was bad for my heart.  Now, my favorite thing to cook is fresh spinach with garlic and pepper and lean meats like chicken; I’ve turned into a chef and I feel great.”

    Since Jones doesn’t drive, the platform also connected him with a ride share service to get to and from doctor appointments and Afowerk helped him apply for a D.C. identification card since he had recently moved to the area from Colorado. 

    “I can get where I need to go now and keep up with my health.  It’s so easy.”

    Jones has also quit smoking and his cholesterol is now under better control. He can get to the eye doctor and his cardiologist.

     

    Jeff Jones cooks spinach in his kitchen

     

    “It is well known that health-related social needs, such as food, housing, and transportation, significantly contribute to a patient’s overall health and wellbeing,” said Diana Quinn, senior director of Community Health for MedStar Health.  “Bringing social care service information and referral capabilities right to a provider’s fingertips in the electronic medical record is a powerful step towards providing more holistic, person-centered care. The ability to close the loop on those referrals, seeing what social interventions worked, and where there continue to be gaps can help providers to best support their patients and communities.”

    MedStar Health began its partnership with Aunt Bertha in 2016 with the launch of MedStar Health’s public facing search tool, MedStar Health Social Needs. This tool allows anyone in the community to search for services of all kinds for themselves, or on behalf of neighbors, friends, or family members.

    This new integration allows MedStar Health to support more than half a million patients and their families in Washington, D.C., and surrounding areas in Virginia and Maryland.

    Data generated through this integration will also help MedStar Health understand how addressing social determinants of health impacts patients’ overall health, where community need is the greatest, which community-based programs have the biggest impact, and where gaps exist in the social services network across the region. This information can help inform new community investments and partnerships while still maintaining the highest level of patient privacy.

    “I’ve been happy about this whole process,” said Jones. “This has just been amazing for me and my family.  I’m so grateful to get this second chance with my health.”

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