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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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  • January 25, 2017

    STATEMENT OF ERIC R. WAGNER EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, INSURANCE AND DIVERSIFIED SERVICES

    Regarding Managed Care Contract Awards by the District of Columbia

    MedStar Health is deeply committed to serving the 58,000 men, women and children in the District of Columbia who rely on MedStar Family Choice for vital healthcare services through Medicaid. We are extremely disappointed and puzzled by the decision announced by the Department of Health Care Finance to exclude us from the managed care contract award after five years of service to District residents. Such a change is especially risky at a time of uncertainty over funding and access to safety net programs nationwide.

    It is hard to understand why the District would turn away from a health plan with a proven record in the District of reliable, high quality performance that is highly accountable and responsive to the needs of the community. Locally owned and controlled, we are already woven into the fabric of the District’s safety net community.

    Over the past five years, MedStar Family Choice has become the health plan of choice for Medicaid services in the District by providing broad access to high quality care, earning patients’ trust, and holding down costs. Enrollment in our programs has grown dramatically, especially when compared to the other two Medicaid health plans. Under the proposed change, not only will tens of thousands of District residents be required to switch insurers, many could lose access to their current physicians.

    As the largest not-for-profit health system in the region, MedStar Health’s hospitals and physicians provide care to more than 35 percent of the District’s residents. MedStar has been serving patients in the District for more than 100 years, and we understand our patients’ needs. We are committed to continuing our role for years to come. Therefore, we are seeking further information about this decision and are formulating our next steps in response.

    Contact: Ann C. Nickels, ann.c.nickels@medstar.net, 410-772-6661; 410-409-6399 (cell)

  • January 24, 2017
    In a joint research project from researchers at Georgetown University and MedStar Health, analysis of New York State's Medicaid expansion showed that while rates for those who were uninsured decreased, the access to cancer surgery for racial minorities showed no change.
  • January 24, 2017

    Creasey being interviewedMedStar Georgetown kidney transplant recipient Constance Creasey learned about the kindness of strangers after a national radio broadcast featured her story, along with an interview with Dr. Matthew Cooper, MD, medical director of the Kidney Pancreas Transplant program at the MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute.

    NPR national medical correspondent Richard Harris compiled a story about Medicare coverage of anti-rejection drugs that expires after three years, but continues to pay for dialysis and even a new transplant. Dr. Cooper commented that this is a policy he believes needs to change.

    To add patient perspective NPR interviewed Creasey, age 60 of Washington, D.C., who mentioned that sleeping on a bed is a luxury she can’t afford because she has to save money for her anti-rejection medications. When NPR’s Morning Edition  listeners heard the story on December 22, many wanted to donate and began to contact NPR and MGUH Media Relations to find out how.

    A woman from Virginia bought Creasey a bed right after the holidays, while donated gift cards from all over the country provided her with sheets and blankets. Another woman from Illinois started a funding page for Creasey; some listeners donated to the MGTI's patient assistance fund that helps patients like Creasey in similar situations.  

    “I was overwhelmed and in total disbelief,” said Creasey. “I didn’t feel like I deserved it.  I was just trying to bring awareness to this issue for other people like myself.” 

    Creasey spent 11 years on dialysis after her kidney failed and received a transplant in 2015. Thankfully, the surgery was a success. However, to prevent rejection, Creasey will have to take medication for the rest of her life. She is becoming increasingly concerned about how she is going to pay for her medication after Medicare stops covering the costs in 2018. 

    Creasey has been “truly grateful” for what people have given her since the story on NPR. She is enjoying her brand new bed, headboard and frame with sheets, a comforter and some curtains. She is happy to finally make her room a little more like home.  Creaseys says she can now turn her heat down because sleeping on the floor was cold.

    “I’m starting off my new year with more faith in people. This experience has touched my heart and I can’t thank everyone enough, “Creasey said.

    -Shannon McCarthy

  • January 24, 2017

    MedStar St. Mary's Hospital Receives Prestigious International Award 

    Albany, NY - Baby-Friendly USA, announces that MedStar St. Mary's Hospital has received prestigious international recognition as a Baby-Friendly Designated birth facility. Baby-Friendly USA, Inc is the U.S. authority for the implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (“BFHI”), a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

    The initiative encourages and recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. Based on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, this prestigious international award recognizes birth facilities that offer breastfeeding mothers the information, confidence, and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies.

    There are more than 20,000 designated Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers worldwide. Currently there are only 405 active Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers in the United States.  The “Baby-Friendly” designation is given after a rigorous on-site survey is completed. The award is maintained by continuing to practice the Ten Steps as demonstrated by quality processes.

    Further information about the U.S. Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative may be obtained by contacting:

    Baby-Friendly USA, Inc.
    125 Wolf Road, Suite 402
    Albany, NY 12205 

    Learn more about maternity services at our hospital ►

  • January 24, 2017

    New Guidelines Recommend Higher Targets for Older Adults

    Washington, D.C., January 25, 2016One in three adults in the U.S. has high blood pressure. That number climbs to two in three for older adults.

    Recently, two medical groups released recommendations that set safe blood pressure targets higher than ever for adults 60 and older – a group at high risk for complications from high blood pressure.

    Traditionally, the threshold for high blood pressure has been set at 140/90 mm/Hg. But the new guidelines, from the American College of Physicians and the American Academy of Family Physicians, state that patients older than 60 should begin treatment if their systolic blood pressure (top number) reaches 150. If the patient has high cardiovascular risk or a history of stroke, treatment should begin at 140.

    The new recommendations come after a series of studies that show that a lower systolic blood pressure increases heart-health benefits for adults 60 and older, including reduced risk of heart attack and stroke. The Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT) in 2015 found that targeting a blood pressure of 120 or lower was more effective to reduce the rates of major cardiovascular events than targeting 140.

    “It’s difficult to draw absolute conclusions from these studies for a variety of reasons,” said Allen J. Taylor, MD, chief of Cardiology with MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. “It’s important to remember that blood pressure doesn’t just measure pressure. It’s also a marker for other things going on in your body, such as stress, heredity factors, diet and exercise.” 

    Dr. Taylor concluded that there’s no magic blood pressure number that applies to everyone. “Your health history and lifestyle greatly influence your heart health and what’s safe for you. Work with your doctor to monitor and effectively manage your blood pressure.”

    The guidelines were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine and the Annals of Family Medicine.

    About MedStar Washington Hospital Center:
    MedStar Washington Hospital Center is a 926-bed, major teaching and research hospital. It is the largest private, not-for-profit hospital in the nation’s capital, among the 100 largest hospitals in the nation and a major referral center for treating the most complex cases. U.S.News & World Report consistently ranks the hospital’s cardiology and heart surgery program as one of the nation’s best. It also is a respected top facility in the areas of cancer, diabetes & endocrinology, Ear, Nose & Throat, gastroenterology & GI surgery, geriatrics, gynecology, nephrology, pulmonology and urology. It operates 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.

  • January 24, 2017

    WASHINGTON (January 24, 2017) – A clinical trial to examine the effect of nilotinib on clinical outcomes and biomarkers in people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease has opened at Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC).

    The clinical trial is a phase II, randomized, double blinded, placebo-controlled study to evaluate the impact of low doses of the cancer drug nilotinib (Tasigna®). GUMC is conducting the study with its clinical partner, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.

    The rationale for using nilotinib is based on laboratory and clinical research conducted by the Georgetown Translational Neurotherapeutics Program (TNP). Nilotinib appears to aid in the clearance of accumulated beta-amyloid (Abeta) plaques and Tau tangles in the brain. Both are hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease. Nilotinib appears to penetrate the blood-brain barrier and turn on the “garbage disposal” machinery inside neurons (a process known as autophagy) to clear the Tau, Abeta and other toxic proteins.

    “In a 2015 proof of concept study at Georgetown, patients with Parkinson’s disease or dementia with Lewy bodies were treated with nilotinib. As my colleagues reported, those who completed the study had a reversal in disease progression, observed both clinically and in key biomarkers—the same biomarkers seen in Alzheimer’s,” explains Scott Turner, MD, PhD, medical co-director of the TNP, who will serve as principal investigator for the study. “But even before the Parkinson’s study, research in the laboratory strongly supported studying this drug in people with Alzheimer’s. The promising results of the Parkinson’s study give an even stronger rationale.”

    “When used in higher doses for chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), nilotinib forces cancer cells into autophagy or cell death. The dose used in CML treatment is significantly higher than what we will use in our Alzheimer’s study,” says Charbel Moussa, MB, PhD, scientific and clinical research director for the Translational Neurotherapeutics Program. “When used in smaller doses once a day, as in this study, it appears nilotinib turns on autophagy for about four to eight hours—long enough to clean out the cells without causing cell death. Toxic proteins that build up again then appear to be cleared when the drug is given again the next day.”

    Moussa conducted the preclinical research that led to the discovery of nilotinib for the potential treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.

    Moussa is an inventor on a US patent owned by Georgetown University and on other pending US and foreign patent applications for use of nilotinib and other tyrosine kinase inhibitors for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.

    The Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation is supporting this clinical trial through a $2.1 million grant to Turner.  The study has also received private philanthropic support.

    Turner conducts additional clinical research supported by funding to Georgetown University from Lilly, Biogen, Merck, Acadia, and Toyama as well as the National Institutes of Health and Department of Defense.

    To learn more about this clinical trial, please click here.  To learn about other Alzheimer’s clinical studies, please visit the Georgetown Memory Disorders Program website.


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