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  • Main entrance lobby interior at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center
    April 08, 2021

    $43 million project supported by MedStar Health associates aims to meet community’s care needs

    Clinton, MD — MedStar Health is celebrating the opening of its newly-renovated emergency department (ED) at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center, the largest construction project in the hospital’s history. The $43 million renovation expands the facility by 18,000 square feet, adding almost 50 percent more treatment space and several new services uniquely designed to meet the needs of surrounding communities like Prince George’s County and Washington, D.C.,

    “Emergency departments are important to the community because whether it’s a surgical emergency, a cardiac episode, or diabetic episode, when patients come to the ED, they’re often sicker than they’ve ever been,” said Chile Ahaghotu, MD, vice president of Medical Affairs at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center. “This new state-of-the-art emergency department gives us the ability to get patients in quickly, identify their issues, and provide our community with the best quality care that we can. In designing this new space we took into account the history of the kinds of medical conditions we see here at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic lung disease, behavioral health and cancer. We made sure that we had the technologies and the physical features to support that type of care.”  

    “Prince George’s County continues to grow rapidly, and its residents need seamless access to the most advanced care,” said MedStar Health President and CEO Kenneth A. Samet at a ribbon-cutting ceremony held for the grand opening of the new department. “MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center’s ED is a critically important access point. This facility is part of our wide-ranging efforts to improve care delivery across the region, with more specialty care located here, so patients don’t have to travel long distances to see their doctors, and population health strategies designed to keep people healthier and out of the hospital in the first place.”

    Crews broke ground on the project in September 2019 and continued to work tirelessly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, starting April 8, emergency department patients have access to:

    • Additional treatment rooms, which have been expanded from 28 to 40.
    • A designated behavioral health area to help manage patients suffering from a behavioral health crisis or substance abuse issues in a quiet and therapeutic environment.
    • Modernized ambulance access and patient waiting areas that emphasize patient privacy, including quick telehealth evaluations for all patients.
    • Upgraded diagnostic imaging including a 128-slice Siemens CT scanner and a new MRI available in the ED for the first time.
    • A new front entrance and two-story lobby space, including gift shop and 24-hour café.

    This summer, the emergency department will complete the second phase of renovations, opening a new special pathogen treatment center used to diagnose and treat patients exposed to dangerous viruses or other microorganisms. The plan for the new pathogen center started long before the pandemic as MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center serves as one of Maryland’s five designated Special Pathogen Assessment Hospitals.

    In other ways, COVID-19 did impact construction. Hospital leaders quickly adjusted project plans last year to make sure even more of the emergency department would be ready for the pandemic.

    “We have 27 negative pressure rooms to keep the germs inside and keep them from getting outside,” said Kristen Quade, RN, nurse director of the Emergency Department. “MedStar Health also created what we’re calling pandemic response rooms, which we will be using in the new space as well. Those were really developed with the mindset to keep both isolation patients and the rest of the community safe.”

    “Despite all of the challenges that we’ve had to deal with over the last several months, we were still able to take care of each other as a team and take care of our patients,” Dr. Ahaghotu said. “That’s really the heart of high reliability. You do it in a way that’s safe, you do it in a way that’s high quality, and you do it in a way that means a lot to the folks who are getting the care.”

    play button

    One of the most special features of the upgraded facility is that more than $142 thousand of the cost was donated by MedStar Health associates in addition to donations from board members and others from the community. Through its Power to Heal campaign, MedStar Health empowers associates to financially support projects through philanthropic gifts as affordable as five to ten dollars. Often, associates choose to contribute to projects that will improve their own communities or workplaces. That was the case for both Operating Room Nurse Christine Young, RN, and Kevin Scales, who started as a volunteer in the Emergency Department at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center several years ago and worked his way up to become a radiology transporter.

    “We are very appreciative that this new emergency department will assist our community because it’s gratifying to help those who need help such as the elderly, the homeless, and children,” Scales said. “To me, they are the most vulnerable in our society. As long as we give them proper care, I believe they will go on and live prosperous lives. We are at liberty to help people, so for us to be able to add to our community is a great thing.”

    “I have been at the hospital for about 15 years and I am very involved in the community doing different things, like helping with women’s shelters, so donating to the Emergency Department project was a very natural thing for me to do,” said Young, who helped lead the Power to Heal campaign in her department. “I come from a background where I didn’t have a whole lot and to be in the position to help other people is very important to me.”

    “I'm so grateful for how our associates, other donors and our entire community came together to support the hospital during this renovation and also during the pandemic. I am filled with gratitude and all I can say is a big ‘thank you,’” said Dr. Ahaghotu.

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  • Front entrance to MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center
    September 15, 2021
    CLINTON, Md. –MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center’s Transfusion Services team received praises for having quality process and procedures, as well as clarity of documentation, following an AABB inspection that concluded with no reported deficiencies.

    The inspection, which took place at the hospital in August, is part of AABB’s commitment to “improving health through the development and delivery of standards, accreditation and educational programs that focus on optimizing patient and donor care and safety,” according to the international, non-profit association’s website. AABB represents a diverse community of dedicated individuals and institutions – located in more than 80 countries – whose overall mission is to improve lives “by making transfusion medicine and biotherapies safe, available and effective worldwide.”

    As a longtime leader responsible for blood bank operations at the hospital, transfusion service supervisor Robin Cupp, MT (ASCP), said the AABB inspection is significant in terms of ensuring quality and safety standards for high reliability organizations, or HROs, like MedStar Southern Maryland.

    “Years ago, the AABB revised their standards to focus on quality systems. To be able to pass the AABB assessment with no citations means our quality and operational systems were determined to meet or exceed the rigorous requirements set by the AABB Standards Committees,” Cupp said. “One of the great things that worked in our favor is that MedStar Southern Maryland was able to learn from other MedStar Health hospital sites that are also AABB accredited.”

    Denise Robinson, MT (ASCP), who has served as the Administrative Director of Laboratory Services at MedStar Southern Maryland for the past three years, said she was very pleased that the AABB assessor gave “high complements” about their facility, a noteworthy accomplishment for MedStar Southern Maryland which strives to achieve safety, quality and efficiency through five key HRO principles: (1) sensitivity to operations; (2) reluctance to simplify; (3) preoccupation with failure; (4) deference to expertise; and (5) commitment to resilience.

    “We audit every aspect of the transfusion process including the completion of documentation for various processes that are carried out in the blood bank. We also audit the nursing aspects in terms of ensuring that a patient’s vitals were taken, whether or not they’re following protocol for two-person identification before starting a transfusion” Robinson said. “I would like to acknowledge my blood bank supervisor [Cupp] who reiterates that whole sense of safety and quality. We are part of an organization that is not only on an HRO journey, but also actively lives it. Everything that we do in the blood bank follows those HRO principles and the culture of safety that MedStar Health seeks to create for all associates.”

    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 through a spirit of patient centered services that connect us to the community we serve. For more information, visit MedstarSouthernMaryland.org.

     

  • August 24, 2021

    Virtual panel discussion being held on International Overdose Awareness Day, Aug. 31

    Columbia, MD – Deaths caused by opiate-related drug overdoses are on the rise again in Washington, D.C., and MedStar Health is working to raise awareness of critical tools that can be used to save lives.

    In recognition of International Overdose Awareness Day on Aug. 31, MedStar Health experts will host a virtual panel discussion focused on quickly detecting and preventing overdose deaths. Representatives from emergency medicine, pharmacy, peer coaching, behavioral health, research, as well as patients in recovery will explore the current gravity of the problem, efforts by MedStar Health to address drug addiction and overdoses, and important resources available in the Washington, D.C., area.

    The virtual panel is being coordinated alongside the D.C. Department of Behavioral Health (DBH), which is promoting several local events highlighting the preventability of drug overdoses on International Overdose Awareness Day.

    Title: A multi-layered approach to substance use disorder and overdose prevention: A perspective from MedStar Health

    When: August 31st, 2021 at noon

    Where: Virtual panel discussion hosted through Zoom

    Panel:

    • Sadaf Kazi, PhD, is Research Scientist at National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare, MedStar Health Research Institute, and Assistant Professor in Emergency Medicine at Georgetown University School of Medicine. She conducts research on improving screening and treatment practices for substance use disorder in pregnant and postpartum women, tapering opioid medication for chronic pain, and safe medication administration. Detailed bio link
    • Diana Quinn is Senior Director of Community Health at MedStar Health. Ms. Quinn is dedicated to ensuring community members have access to healthcare and opportunities to participate in engaging health promotion activities.  She has been instrumental in implementing the Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) in the emergency department, Women’s Health and Outpatient centers support by Peer Recovery Coaches. Detailed bio link
    • Ean Bond is a Peer Recovery Coach at Medstar Washington Hospital Center. He is passionate about helping people with substance use disorder since he is in recovery himself. In this role he feels that it allows him to give back what was so freely given to him. He believes it is never too late to recover from substance use disorder and that there is always hope. Ean is married and has three children and a dog.
    • Maryann Amirshahi, PharmD, MD, MPH, PhD, is Attending Physician in Emergency Medicine at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, and Associate Professor in Emergency Medicine at Georgetown University School of Medicine. In addition to implementing the SBIRT protocol at MedStar Washington Hospital Center as a practicing physician in the Emergency Department (ED), Dr. Amirshahi conducts research on prescription drug abuse, opioid stewardship, and addiction treatment in the ED. Detailed bio link
    • Bonnie Levin, PharmD, MBA, is Assistant Vice President for Pharmacy Services for MedStar Health.  She leads the pharmacy enterprise across MedStar’s ten hospitals, ten outpatient pharmacies, and ambulatory practices. Detailed bio link
    • Mihriye Mete, PhD, is Director of Behavioral Health Research at the MedStar Health Research Institute and Associate Professor in Psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine. She conducts research in using the SBIRT model to address increasing rates of opioid-related overdose and mortality among DC’s vulnerable and underserved populations. Detailed bio link
  • Main entrance lobby interior at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center
    April 08, 2021

    $43 million project supported by MedStar Health associates aims to meet community’s care needs

    Clinton, MD — MedStar Health is celebrating the opening of its newly-renovated emergency department (ED) at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center, the largest construction project in the hospital’s history. The $43 million renovation expands the facility by 18,000 square feet, adding almost 50 percent more treatment space and several new services uniquely designed to meet the needs of surrounding communities like Prince George’s County and Washington, D.C.,

    “Emergency departments are important to the community because whether it’s a surgical emergency, a cardiac episode, or diabetic episode, when patients come to the ED, they’re often sicker than they’ve ever been,” said Chile Ahaghotu, MD, vice president of Medical Affairs at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center. “This new state-of-the-art emergency department gives us the ability to get patients in quickly, identify their issues, and provide our community with the best quality care that we can. In designing this new space we took into account the history of the kinds of medical conditions we see here at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic lung disease, behavioral health and cancer. We made sure that we had the technologies and the physical features to support that type of care.”  

    “Prince George’s County continues to grow rapidly, and its residents need seamless access to the most advanced care,” said MedStar Health President and CEO Kenneth A. Samet at a ribbon-cutting ceremony held for the grand opening of the new department. “MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center’s ED is a critically important access point. This facility is part of our wide-ranging efforts to improve care delivery across the region, with more specialty care located here, so patients don’t have to travel long distances to see their doctors, and population health strategies designed to keep people healthier and out of the hospital in the first place.”

    Crews broke ground on the project in September 2019 and continued to work tirelessly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, starting April 8, emergency department patients have access to:

    • Additional treatment rooms, which have been expanded from 28 to 40.
    • A designated behavioral health area to help manage patients suffering from a behavioral health crisis or substance abuse issues in a quiet and therapeutic environment.
    • Modernized ambulance access and patient waiting areas that emphasize patient privacy, including quick telehealth evaluations for all patients.
    • Upgraded diagnostic imaging including a 128-slice Siemens CT scanner and a new MRI available in the ED for the first time.
    • A new front entrance and two-story lobby space, including gift shop and 24-hour café.

    This summer, the emergency department will complete the second phase of renovations, opening a new special pathogen treatment center used to diagnose and treat patients exposed to dangerous viruses or other microorganisms. The plan for the new pathogen center started long before the pandemic as MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center serves as one of Maryland’s five designated Special Pathogen Assessment Hospitals.

    In other ways, COVID-19 did impact construction. Hospital leaders quickly adjusted project plans last year to make sure even more of the emergency department would be ready for the pandemic.

    “We have 27 negative pressure rooms to keep the germs inside and keep them from getting outside,” said Kristen Quade, RN, nurse director of the Emergency Department. “MedStar Health also created what we’re calling pandemic response rooms, which we will be using in the new space as well. Those were really developed with the mindset to keep both isolation patients and the rest of the community safe.”

    “Despite all of the challenges that we’ve had to deal with over the last several months, we were still able to take care of each other as a team and take care of our patients,” Dr. Ahaghotu said. “That’s really the heart of high reliability. You do it in a way that’s safe, you do it in a way that’s high quality, and you do it in a way that means a lot to the folks who are getting the care.”

    play button

    One of the most special features of the upgraded facility is that more than $142 thousand of the cost was donated by MedStar Health associates in addition to donations from board members and others from the community. Through its Power to Heal campaign, MedStar Health empowers associates to financially support projects through philanthropic gifts as affordable as five to ten dollars. Often, associates choose to contribute to projects that will improve their own communities or workplaces. That was the case for both Operating Room Nurse Christine Young, RN, and Kevin Scales, who started as a volunteer in the Emergency Department at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center several years ago and worked his way up to become a radiology transporter.

    “We are very appreciative that this new emergency department will assist our community because it’s gratifying to help those who need help such as the elderly, the homeless, and children,” Scales said. “To me, they are the most vulnerable in our society. As long as we give them proper care, I believe they will go on and live prosperous lives. We are at liberty to help people, so for us to be able to add to our community is a great thing.”

    “I have been at the hospital for about 15 years and I am very involved in the community doing different things, like helping with women’s shelters, so donating to the Emergency Department project was a very natural thing for me to do,” said Young, who helped lead the Power to Heal campaign in her department. “I come from a background where I didn’t have a whole lot and to be in the position to help other people is very important to me.”

    “I'm so grateful for how our associates, other donors and our entire community came together to support the hospital during this renovation and also during the pandemic. I am filled with gratitude and all I can say is a big ‘thank you,’” said Dr. Ahaghotu.

  • January 08, 2020

    The way to receive the proper care when you’re ill is to go to the correct doctor who can best address your health care needs.  Developing a long-term relationship with your primary care doctor is very important, but when you are unable to see them, we present a guide that shows when to use our MedStar Health Urgent Care facilities or our Emergency Department.

    When to Go to Your Primary Care Doctor

    Unless you are experiencing a traumatic injury, this should be your first choice.  It is important to have a primary doctor and to schedule regular visits, so that physician gets to know you well and can proactively deal with any health problems before those problems advance.  Not only does regularly visiting your primary care doctor keep you healthier, which proves to be more cost-effective over the long-run, your primary care doctor can be a great resource to help you when you are having trouble.

    “As primary care doctors, we like to monitor your health, and to guide and steer you in the right direction,” says internist Tara Saggar, MD.  “We always want to know first what is going on, and we can help guide patients and get you the level of care you need.  We’re the goal keepers who know when we can help you, or where we should send you if, for example, you need imaging or certain tests better suited to a PromptCare facility or to the ED.”

    When to Visit a PromptCare Facility

    MedStar Health Urgent Care is ideal for a range of illnesses that arise outside of your primary care doctor’s office hours, but are not serious enough for an ED visit.  Some examples of PromptCare-treated issues are sports injuries, sprains, cuts and scrapes, and most facilities provide basic lab and X-ray service. 

    “We can treat simple colds and sore throats, as well as simple infections, like ear infections,” explains Nosheen Azam, MD, who is stationed at MedStar Health Urgent Care Waldorf.  “When a patient can’t get into their doctor or doesn’t want to wait at an ER, we can treat them for issues like strep, flu and urinary tract infections.  We can also provide urine pregnancy tests and basic blood work to determine whether a patient is low on electrolytes or is anemic.  PromptCare can also treat patients with IV fluids for mild to moderate dehydration.” 

    When to Rush to an Emergency Room

    For trauma involving your face or head, for open fractures, big lacerations, injuries you believe may require a CAT scan and for any life-threatening emergencies, head straight to the ER.  There, physicians like Michael S. Antonis, MD, can work on the most complex emergency cases, order more sophisticated lab procedures and tests than PromptCare facilities and treat serious injuries 24-hours a day.

    “We really want you to be proactive about your health because a primary care physician establishes a relationship with you and gets to know you, your health and your medications,” says Antonis, echoing the message of Dr. Saggar.  “They can always help coordinate care for you, especially when they’re in the MedStar Network.  If you do need to come to the ER, it’s easy for us to call and talk to them and consult with them when they know your history.”  As a safety measure, Antonis also recommends everyone type in a list of all medications and dosages into their cell phones, or to take a photo of the labels on your medications and keep that on your phone in case of an emergency.

    Antonis estimates around 250 cases per month that come into the MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center  ED who should have gone to either the patient’s primary care physician or a PromptCare facility.  He estimates that within the next few years, MedStar will be on a completely integrated system which will give ED, MedStar Health Urgent Care, and MedStar physicians instant access to the complete medical records of patients, which enables seamless and accurate ordering, documentation and billing. 

    MedStar is proud to provide PromptCare facilities throughout the Maryland/D.C./Virginia area, including the newest locations in nearby Waldorf and Charlotte Hall. 

    MedStar Health Urgent Care Waldorf
    3064 Waldorf Market Place
    Waldorf, MD 20603

    MedStar Health Urgent Care Waldorf hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends.  You can call 301-932-5960 or visit MedStarPromptCare.org/Waldorf for more information.

    MedStar Health Urgent Care Charlotte Hall
    37767 Market Drive
     Charlotte Hall, MD 20622

    MedStar Health Urgent Care Charlotte Hall hours are 3 to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends.  Call 301-290-1499 or visit MedStarPromptCare.org/CharlotteHall for more information. 

  • July 02, 2019

    Clinton, MD, — MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center (MSMHC) has received the Mission: Lifeline® Bronze Receiving Quality Achievement Award for implementing specific quality improvement measures outlined by the American Heart Association for the treatment of patients who suffer severe heart attacks.

    Every year, more than 250,000 people experience an ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI),the deadliest type of heart attack, caused by a blockage of blood flow to the heart that requires timely treatment. To prevent death, it’s critical to restore blood flow as quickly as possible, either by mechanically opening the blocked vessel or by providing clot-busting medication.

    The American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline program’s goal is to reduce system barriers to prompt treatment for heart attacks, beginning with the 9-1-1 call, to EMS transport and continuing through hospital treatment and discharge. The initiative provides tools, training and other resources to support heart attack care following protocols from the most recent evidence-based treatment guidelines.

    MSMHC earned the award by meeting specific criteria and standards of performance for quick and appropriate treatment through emergency procedures to re-establish blood flow to blocked arteries in heart attack patients coming into the hospital directly or by transfer from another facility.

    “Our hospital is dedicated to providing optimal care for heart attack patients,” said MSMHC President Christine Wray. “We are pleased to be recognized for our dedication and achievements in cardiac care through Mission: Lifeline.”

    “We commend MSMHC for this award in recognition for following evidence-based guidelines for timely heart attack treatment,” said Tim Henry, M.D., Chair of the Mission: Lifeline Acute Coronary Syndrome Subcommittee. “We applaud the significant institutional commitment to their critical role in the system of care for quickly and appropriately treating heart attack patients.”

    ###

    About MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center:

    MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center, located in Clinton, Maryland, is a 176-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 through a spirit of patient centered services that connect us to the community we serve. For more information, visit MedstarSouthernMaryland.org.

    About Mission: Lifeline

    The American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline program helps hospitals and emergency medical services develop systems of care that follow proven standards and procedures for STEMI patients. The program works by mobilizing teams across the continuum of care to implement American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology Foundation clinical treatment guidelines.  For more information, visit heart.org.

  • June 25, 2019
    Devices Can Cause Devastating Hand, Finger and Arm Injuries