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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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  • November 14, 2017

    WASHINGTON  — Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center have found distinct molecular signatures in two brain disorders long thought to be psychological in origin — chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and Gulf War Illness (GWI).

    In addition, the work supports a previous observation by GUMC investigators of two variants of GWI. The disorders share commonalities, such as pain, fatigue, cognitive dysfunction and exhaustion after exercise.

    Their study, published in Scientific Reports, lays groundwork needed to understand these disorders in order to diagnosis and treat them effectively, says senior investigator, James N. Baraniuk, MD, professor of medicine at Georgetown University School of Medicine. Narayan Shivapurkar, PhD, assistant professor of oncology at the medical school worked with Baraniuk on the research.

    The changes in brain chemistry — observed in levels of miRNAs that turn protein production on or off — were seen 24 hours after riding a stationary bike for 25 minutes.

    “We clearly see three different patterns in the brain’s production of these molecules in the CFS group and the two GWI phenotypes,” says Baraniuk. “This news will be well received by patients who suffer from these disorders who are misdiagnosed and instead may be treated for depression or other mental disorders.”

    Chronic fatigue syndrome affects between 836,000 and 2.5 million Americans, according to a National Academy of Medicine report. The disorder was thought to be psychosomatic until a 2015 review of 9,000 articles over 64 years of research pointed to unspecified biological causes. Still, no definitive diagnosis or treatment is available.

    Gulf War Illness has developed in more than one-fourth of the 697,000 veterans deployed to the 1990-1991 Persian Gulf War, Baraniuk and his colleagues have reported in earlier work.

    Gulf War veterans were exposed to combinations of nerve agents, pesticides and other toxic chemicals that may have triggered the chronic pain, cognitive, gastrointestinal and other problems, Baraniuk says. Although the mechanisms remain unknown, the study provides significant insights into brain chemistry that can now be investigated.

    This study focused on spinal fluid of CFS, GWI and control subjects who agreed to have a lumbar puncture. Spinal taps before exercise showed miRNA levels were the same in all participants. In contrast, miRNA levels in spinal fluid were significantly different after exercise. The CFS, control and two subtypes of GWI groups had distinct patterns of change. For example, CFS subjects who exercised had reduced levels of 12 different mRNAs, compared to those who did not exercise.

    The miRNA changes in the two GWI subtypes add to other differences caused by exercise. One subgroup developed jumps in heart rate of over 30 beats when standing up that lasted for two to three days after exercise. Magnetic resonance imaging showed they had smaller brainstems in regions that control heart rate, and did not activate their brains when doing a cognitive task. In contrast, the other subgroup did not have any heart rate or brainstem changes, but did recruit additional brain regions to complete a memory test. The two groups were as different from each other as they were from the control group.

    Finding two distinct pathophysiological miRNA brain patterns in patients reporting Gulf War disease “adds another layer of evidence to support neuropathology in the two different manifestations of Gulf War disease,” he says.

    Baraniuk adds that miRNA levels in these disorders were different from the ones that are altered in depression, fibromyalgia, and Alzheimer’s disease, further suggesting CFS and GWI are distinct diseases.

    The study was supported by funding from The Sergeant Sullivan Center, Dr. Barbara Cottone, Dean Clarke Bridge Prize, Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) W81XWH-15-1-0679, and National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke R21NS088138 and RO1NS085131.

    Baraniuk and Shivapurkar are named as inventors on a patent application that has been filed by Georgetown University related to the technology described.

     

  • November 14, 2017

    A $1.345 Million Grant Will Help Build Bio-retention Ponds, Healing Garden

    BALTIMORE—(November 14, 2017) — Nearly three dozen mature trees will be planted around the MedStar Harbor Hospital campus this week to kick off a plan to reduce storm water runoff, while growing green spaces for patients to enjoy.

    The project is funded by a $1.34 million grant from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, issued through the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund, and pays for design assistance, watershed planning and programmatic development to protect and restore the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Planting trees and other plants will help absorb and filter the water, and slow down flooding.

    MedStar Harbor Hospital also plans to install eight bio-retention ponds around the south Baltimore hospital campus, starting in March 2018, to reduce the amount of storm water that runs into the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River. The project will be complete in June 2018.

    A healing garden will also be built as part of the project, affording patients a peaceful recovery space. The fresh air and nature will improve the physical and mental health of patients and hospital associates.

    “MedStar Health takes the health of the environment as seriously as it does the health of patients,” said Brian K. Gray, the Director of Clinical Engineering & Environment of Care at MedStar Harbor Hospital. “We are delighted to have the opportunity to contribute to the cleaning of the Patapsco River and to install a garden for our patients to enjoy nature.”

    The trees being planted include 18 shade trees: Red Maple, Yellowwood, Thornless Honeylocust, Black Gum, and Pin Oak, and 16 ornamental trees: River Birch, Redbud, Fringetree, and Natchez Crape Myrtle. The trees are all four to six years old and weigh about 500 pounds.

    The bio-retention ponds will help filter out storm water before it reaches the Patapsco River. Only native Maryland plants will be used in the storm water and greening projects.

  • November 13, 2017
    Health system will leverage clinical education expertise across EvidenceCare’s innovative technology platform
  • November 10, 2017
    Adds Surgical Expertise and Research to Hand, Spine and Trauma
  • November 10, 2017

     ELKRIDGE (November 10, 2017) – MedStar Health Home Care announced that their District of Columbia Agency has been named a Top Agency of the 2017 HomeCare Elite®, a recognition of the top-performing home health agencies in the United States. For 12 years, HomeCare Elite has annually identified the top 25 percent of Medicare-certified agencies and highlighted the top 100 and top 500 agencies overall. This is the seventh time the agency has been named on the list.

    The ranking is developed by ABILITY® Network, a leading information technology company helping providers and payers simplify the administrative and clinical complexities of healthcare; and sponsored by DecisionHealth, publisher of Home Health Line and the Complete Home Health ICD-10-CM Diagnosis Coding Manual.

    “The team at MedStar Health Home Care’s District of Columbia Agency has demonstrated an impressive ability to deliver great patient care,” said Christine Lang, senior director for ABILITY Network. “This is due to the skill and dedication of their clinical professionals, as well as the proficiency and efforts of their quality team tracking, measuring and interpreting the data that supports the delivery of care. Together, they have earned this recognition as one of the top home care agencies in the country.”

    MedStar Health Home Care President, Traci Anderson, credits the dedicated quality team members, therapists, nurses, and clinical leaders with the agency’s ability to achieve recognition as one of the HomeCare Elite. “Our home healthcare team members work hard to give patients the highest quality of care and service possible with a strong focus on patient safety. Recognition on the HomeCare Elite list is a testament to their clinical expertise, diligence and dedication to our patients," said Anderson.

    “Congratulations to those leading agencies that earned a spot on HomeCare Elite,” said Marci Heydt, senior content manager for DecisionHealth. MedStar Health Home Care and its peers have worked hard to improve quality outcomes while maintaining solid profit margins, which is increasingly difficult as home health agencies face increased regulatory burdens each year.”

    HomeCare Elite agencies are determined by an analysis of performance measures in quality outcomes, best practices implementation, patient experience (HHCAHPS), quality improvement and consistency, and financial health. In order to be considered, an agency must be Medicare-certified and have data for at least three outcomes in Home Health Compare. Out of 9,064 agencies considered, 2,268 are recognized on the 2017 HomeCare Elite winners list overall.

    The entire list of 2017 HomeCare Elite agencies can be downloaded by visiting the ABILITY Network website.


    About MedStar Health Home Care
    MedStar Health Home Care, a non-profit, Joint Commission accredited, in-home healthcare provider, offers skilled nursing and rehabilitation for homebound, disabled and chronically ill patients in the Maryland, D.C. and Northern Virginia region. To support good health in the community, MedStar Health Home Care offers vaccination and wellness programs across the region. For more information about MedStar Health Home Care, call 800-862-2166 or visit www.medstarvna.org.

    About ABILITY Network
    ABILITY® Network is a leading healthcare information technology company helping providers and payers simplify the administrative and clinical complexities of healthcare through innovative applications and data analytics. ABILITY is headquartered in Minneapolis with principal offices in Boston and Tampa. For more information visit www.abilitynetwork.com or write to resources@abilitynetwork.com. For more information about HomeCare Elite, call 888.572.4009, write to HomeCareElite@abilitynetwork.com or visit www.abilitynetwork.com/homecare-elite.

    About H3.Group
    In March 2017, Simplify Compliance LLC announced the merger of DecisionHealth, LLC with existing brands HCPro and HealthLeaders Media, to form the H3.Group! H3.Group, with its three pillars of thought leadership, expertise, and application, provides critical insight, analysis, tools and training to healthcare organizations nationwide empowering today’s healthcare professionals with solution-focused information and intelligence to guide their organizations’ efforts in achieving compliance, financial performance, leadership, and organizational excellence. The creation of the H3.Group comes as healthcare faces an unprecedented period of transition that brings uncertainty and opportunity. As policies and regulations are revisited and payment models changed, the need for clarity, actionable guidance and expert training for all provider settings and functional areas will increase dramatically.

    About DecisionHealth
    For over 30 years, DecisionHealth, an H3.Group brand, has served as the industry’s leading source for news, analysis and instructional guidance with brand names such as Home Health Line and Part B News. Our unique blend of award-winning on-staff journalists and unmatched access to health care executives, providers and their administrative staffs results in business management advice and operationally focused editorial that has captured the attention of nearly 100,000 home health care professionals and specialty physician practices. 

  • November 10, 2017

    Eight players aggressively move with speed across the court—four against four in a full contact sport that’s not for the faint hearted. They move the ball toward the goal defending their teammates with quick moves in wheelchairs built like armored vehicles. Take the best of basketball, ice hockey and soccer and put them together. That’s Wheelchair Rugby.

    The MedStar NRH Punishers is one of the nation’s best—a Division One team ranked third in the U.S. The 10-person team is made up of very competitive athletes who all share one thing in common: a combination of upper and lower body extremity impairment. Here’s an inside look at three of the para-athletes involved with the team:

    Mike Heron, Team Captain, Assistant Coach
    Mike Heron’s easy-going teenage life took a 180-degree turn in the summer of 1992 when he dove into shallow water and suffered a spinal cord injury. After a three-month inpatient stay at MedStar NRH and outpatient therapy, the then-17 year old faced his new normal with resolve, graduating high school and moving on to college.

    Before his injury, Mike played soccer. While he understood that life in a wheelchair presented unique challenges, he wanted to stay active. He tried a variety of sports, but when he discovered Wheelchair Rugby two decades ago, he was hooked. In 2006, he helped found the MedStar NRH team—and today he serves as its captain.

    “This is a fast moving, highly competitive sport,” he says. “We’re traveling across a 80 plus-foot court, tossing and dribbling the ball toward the goal, where you need to get two wheels across the line to score. It’s not uncommon for players to topple over in their chairs,” Mike adds.

    “We compete all across the East Coast and we’re dependent on the generosity of sponsors and donors.” Mike is proud that the team has been at the top of its division for some time. “This year going to the nationals was a real treat. We fought hard playing five games and landing in third place—in my almost 20 years of playing, it’s our team’s greatest achievement to date.”

    The new season begins in the fall and Mike has high hopes for the team. “We practice twice a week during the season and work hard to keep our edge. We’re a strong team and I know we’re all looking forward to another successful year.”

    Kevin Crombie, Assistant Coach
    At just 9-months old, Kevin Crombie was diagnosed with transverse myelitis—a rare inflammatory disease that causes damage to the spinal cord. “I was left with an incomplete spinal injury,” he explains. “It’s simply the way I always have been, and I have lived a normal life despite it,” he says. An aerospace engineer with the Federal Aviation Administration, Kevin says he “helps make rockets get into space.” It’s a disarmingly simple way to describe a highly complex profession.

    He approaches his work—and the rest of his life—with passion. His long-held fascination with flight led him to a pilot’s license and his own plane. And when he discovered Wheelchair Rugby in 2003, he found a team in Virginia. “We beat the Punishers handedly,” he says. Ultimately he joined the team that was once a competitor. Today he is an accomplished player who nearly won a spot on the 2016 U.S. Paralympic Team, and who serves as vice president of the United States Quad Rugby Association.

    “I’ve been playing for 11 years,” Kevin says. “Now I want to give other players a chance to try. I think of myself as a mentor, encouraging people with physical challenges to be active and not allow the fact that they use a wheelchair limit them. I’ve taken some people up in my plane and hope to take others early on in their rehab so they can see that nothing is out of reach. If I can fly, they can do whatever they want. After all, the sky’s the limit.”

    Jimmy Ludwick

    Twenty-one-year-old Jimmy Ludwick is the youngest member of the MedStar NRH Punishers. The college sophomore was just 18 when a summer swim ended in a spinal cord injury—and his new life on wheels. “It was Memorial Day when I dove into water and broke my neck. I was left with quadriplegia,” he explains. “Initially I suffered total body paralysis. But I slowly gained some motion. I can clearly remember the day I was able to shrug my shoulders for the first time.”

    Ultimately Jimmy recovered his strength, and began his college career with the same tenacity he has on the rugby court. “I was introduced to the game while I was an outpatient at MedStar NRH. When I went to my first practice, they had to place me into position on the court. But I got stronger and stronger. Now I play defense and I love it.”

    For Jimmy, playing on the team satisfied his desire to participate in competitive sports—he had once been good enough to consider playing college lacrosse. “Rugby also has extremely beneficial physical effects,” he says. “Using the rugby chair made me strong enough to transition to a manual chair day-to-day.
    “The game has absolutely played a big part in my recovery. And being part of this team made me feel normal again,” Jimmy says.

     

    About MedStar National Rehabilitation Network

    The MedStar National Rehabilitation Network is a regional system of rehabilitation care that offers inpatient, day treatment and outpatient services in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia.

    The Network's interdisciplinary team of rehabilitation experts provides comprehensive services to help people recover as fully as possible following illness and injury. Rehabilitation medicine specialists, psychologists, physical and occupational therapists, and speech-language pathologists work hand-in-hand with other rehab professionals to design treatment plans tailored to each patient's unique needs. Rehabilitation plans feature a team approach and include the use of state-of-the-art technology and advanced medical treatment based on the latest rehabilitation research.

    The Network provides comprehensive programs specifically designed to aid in the rehabilitation of adults and children recovering from neurologic and orthopedic conditions such as amputation, arthritis, back and neck pain, brain injury, cancer, cardiac conditions, concussion, fibromyalgia, foot and ankle disorders, hand and upper extremity problems, post-polio syndrome, stroke, spinal cord injury and disease, and sports and work-related injuries.

    Inpatient and day treatment programs are provided at MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital located in Northwest Washington, DC and at more than 50 outpatient sites conveniently located throughout the region. MedStar National Rehabilitation Network is fully accredited by The Joint Commission, the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), with CARF accredited specialty programs for Amputations, Brain Injury, Spinal Cord Injury and Stroke.

    For more on MedStar National Rehabilitation Network and to find a location near you, log on to MedStarNRH.org.

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