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  • November 24, 2021

    COLUMBIA, Md – A high school teacher from Northern Virginia has become the 5000th COVID-19 patient to receive life-saving monoclonal antibody therapy with MedStar Health. Kacey Meakes, 35, came down with a cough, sore throat, fever, vomiting and headache during the second week of November. A trip to MedStar Health Urgent Care confirmed a COVID-19 diagnosis. Then, on Friday November 19, she went to MedStar Washington Hospital Center’s specially designed monoclonal antibody infusion center to receive the 25-minute infusion.

    “I thought the treatment was only for people who got really sick,” said Meakes. “But by day six and seven, I was getting worse not better, and I thought maybe I should get the monoclonal antibodies because they’re the main treatment available.”

    MedStar Health began providing monoclonal antibody therapy in November 2020 and providers saw the same positive results as those seen nationally.

    “We’ve learned that we have a treatment – monoclonal antibodies that - if they’re given early in the infection can prevent death and hospitalization from covid infection,” said Glenn Wortmann, MD, infectious diseases specialist with MedStar Health.

    Meakes, who describes her covid experience as “not particularly fun,” is fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and has a history of asthma, which puts her at high risk of having a severe case of the virus and makes her a good candidate for monoclonal antibodies.

    “If you’re at risk for severe covid - if you’re over the age of 65, you’re pregnant, or you have other medical conditions, such as sickle cell anemia, bad heart disease, COPD – those things put you at risk for severe covid – you’d be a candidate for monoclonal antibodies,” said Wortmann.

    Dr. Wortmann says the treatment must be given within 10 days of developing COVID-19 symptoms to be most effective. Treatment is not authorized for patients who are hospitalized and require oxygen due to COVID-19.

    In addition to sickle cell, COPD, heart disease and being over 65, positive COVID-19 patients 12 years and older with the following conditions may benefit from the monoclonal antibody infusion:

    • Pregnancy
    • Body mass index (BMI) ≥ 25 (or for pediatrics BMI ≥ 85th percentile for age)
    • Chronic kidney disease
    • Diabetes
    • Immunosuppressive disease or receiving immunosuppressive treatment
    • Poorly controlled hypertension
    • Cardiovascular disease or Congenital Heart Disease
    • Other respiratory diseases
    • Neurodevelopmental disorders
    • Medical-related technological dependence (i.e. tracheostomy, gastrostomy)
    • Other medical condition or factor (i.e. race or ethnicity) that may place the patient at a higher risk for progression to severe COVID-19

    The therapy is available at MedStar Health emergency departments in Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, as well as four MedStar Health monoclonal antibody infusion centers:

    • MedStar Washington Hospital Center
    • MedStar Harbor Hospital
    • MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital
    • MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center

    “I was happy to come in and get the monoclonal antibodies and hopefully get better faster,” said Meakes. “It wasn’t a big deal. I have to go back to work and get back to my life, so I’m really hopeful this is going to help me on my way. I’m really grateful.”

    Learn more about this therapy treatment 

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  • November 24, 2021

    COLUMBIA, Md – A high school teacher from Northern Virginia has become the 5000th COVID-19 patient to receive life-saving monoclonal antibody therapy with MedStar Health. Kacey Meakes, 35, came down with a cough, sore throat, fever, vomiting and headache during the second week of November. A trip to MedStar Health Urgent Care confirmed a COVID-19 diagnosis. Then, on Friday November 19, she went to MedStar Washington Hospital Center’s specially designed monoclonal antibody infusion center to receive the 25-minute infusion.

    “I thought the treatment was only for people who got really sick,” said Meakes. “But by day six and seven, I was getting worse not better, and I thought maybe I should get the monoclonal antibodies because they’re the main treatment available.”

    MedStar Health began providing monoclonal antibody therapy in November 2020 and providers saw the same positive results as those seen nationally.

    “We’ve learned that we have a treatment – monoclonal antibodies that - if they’re given early in the infection can prevent death and hospitalization from covid infection,” said Glenn Wortmann, MD, infectious diseases specialist with MedStar Health.

    Meakes, who describes her covid experience as “not particularly fun,” is fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and has a history of asthma, which puts her at high risk of having a severe case of the virus and makes her a good candidate for monoclonal antibodies.

    “If you’re at risk for severe covid - if you’re over the age of 65, you’re pregnant, or you have other medical conditions, such as sickle cell anemia, bad heart disease, COPD – those things put you at risk for severe covid – you’d be a candidate for monoclonal antibodies,” said Wortmann.

    Dr. Wortmann says the treatment must be given within 10 days of developing COVID-19 symptoms to be most effective. Treatment is not authorized for patients who are hospitalized and require oxygen due to COVID-19.

    In addition to sickle cell, COPD, heart disease and being over 65, positive COVID-19 patients 12 years and older with the following conditions may benefit from the monoclonal antibody infusion:

    • Pregnancy
    • Body mass index (BMI) ≥ 25 (or for pediatrics BMI ≥ 85th percentile for age)
    • Chronic kidney disease
    • Diabetes
    • Immunosuppressive disease or receiving immunosuppressive treatment
    • Poorly controlled hypertension
    • Cardiovascular disease or Congenital Heart Disease
    • Other respiratory diseases
    • Neurodevelopmental disorders
    • Medical-related technological dependence (i.e. tracheostomy, gastrostomy)
    • Other medical condition or factor (i.e. race or ethnicity) that may place the patient at a higher risk for progression to severe COVID-19

    The therapy is available at MedStar Health emergency departments in Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, as well as four MedStar Health monoclonal antibody infusion centers:

    • MedStar Washington Hospital Center
    • MedStar Harbor Hospital
    • MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital
    • MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center

    “I was happy to come in and get the monoclonal antibodies and hopefully get better faster,” said Meakes. “It wasn’t a big deal. I have to go back to work and get back to my life, so I’m really hopeful this is going to help me on my way. I’m really grateful.”

    Learn more about this therapy treatment 

  • November 08, 2021

    Today, 20 health system partners of Truveta are one step closer to the goal of saving lives with data with the unveiling of its platform.  Earlier this year, MedStar Health joined 16 other healthcare systems as founding members of Truveta, the first health system led company that offers scientists and clinicians access to real-time, de-identified clinical data from across the country. 

    “Finding answers to questions quicker and with greater accuracy is critical to advancing medicine. Having access to a vast de-identified dataset that Truveta is offering opens up tremendous opportunities,” said Neil Weissman, MD, FACC, FASE, chief scientific officer at MedStar Health and president of MedStar Health Research Institute. “Investigators can use data analytics to uncover insights on equity, quality and safety measures across diverse populations. With the knowledge from this data, physicians can develop new therapies and provide better care to our patients, sooner.”

    Truveta’s platform currently represents more than 16% of U.S. clinical care across diagnoses, demographics and 42 states, with plans to keep growing.

    “We’re proud to be a member and look forward to seeing the possibilities that this platform offers come to life,” said Weissman. Please visit the Truveta website to learn more. 

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  • October 01, 2021

    Columbia, Md - We are proud to share that each of MedStar Health’s ten hospitals is a 2021 recipient of the Practice Greenhealth Environmental Excellence award, which recognizes health care facilities across the nation that continuously work to improve and expand upon their environmental sustainability programs.  The award distinguishes our facilities for efforts to reduce their impact on the environment, such as waste reduction, energy conservation, mercury elimination, sustainable product sourcing, healthy food initiatives, and more.

    021 PGH Environmental Excellence Award Logo

    “We are committed to environmental responsibility and stewardship as part of our mission to build healthier communities,” said Rachel DeMunda, corporate director of Joint Commission and Environmental Readiness and leader for sustainability for MedStar Health. “Human health is linked inextricably to environmental health, and Medstar Health continually strives for sustainable practices that preserve the earth and all its resources.”

    Highlights of MedStar Health’s sustainability accomplishments include:

    • Diverted more than 8 million pounds of waste from landfill or incineration through recycling, food composting, single-use device reprocessing, and donations.
    • Partnered with our contracted food service provider to institute a food waste reduction program and a variety of healthier food initiatives. 
    • Partnered with our contracted environmental services provider to use safer, green-certified cleaning chemicals and UV surface disinfection technologies during pandemic conditions that called for increased cleaning and disinfection.
    • Partnered with numerous non-profit and community organizations to improve social and environmental determinants of health ranging from food access, health and wellness support, homeless prevention, violence prevention, and transportation to medical appointments.
    • Significantly increased telehealth services, allowing for safe and increased access to many health services.
    • Promoted alternative transportation methods through EV charging stations, bike and/or walking paths, and collaborating with local city planning teams.

    “We are grateful to the many caregivers, frontline workers, administrators, and contractors who have faithfully committed themselves to this work and persisted through the COVID-19 pandemic,” said DeMunda.  “We look forward to continuing our sustainability journey by taking the successes we’ve had with the building blocks of our initiatives and expanding upon them into the future.”

    MedStar Health has received close to one hundred environmental sustainability awards through various national, state, and local award programs.

  • Nurse wearing a mask giving a thumbs up after receiving a COVID vaccine shot
    August 30, 2021

    Columbia, MD – As a leading healthcare system, MedStar Health is coming together to do our part in the battle against the COVID-19 virus as the Delta variant continues to impact our patients, our work, and our ways of life. Science and medicine, with reinforcement from trusted sources, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), indicate the best defense against COVID-19 is to be fully vaccinated.

    With the FDA’s approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on August 23, 2021, MedStar Health will begin to implement our Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Policy. 

    Showcasing our highest commitment to protecting the safety of those we serve, MedStar Health is requiring all associates, physicians, residents/fellows, students, Board members, medical staff members and other non-employed credentialed professionals, contractors, volunteers, agency employees, and vendors to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by November 1, 2021, as a condition of employment in accordance with our Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Policy. Fully vaccinated is defined as receiving both doses of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) or the single-dose COVID-19 vaccine (Johnson & Johnson), and we will offer medical and religious exemptions.

    Vaccinations are provided free of charge.

    Like other healthcare organizations and federal and local institutions, we support the science and safety of COVID-19 vaccines. We are joined by the Maryland Hospital Association (MHA), District of Columbia Hospital Association (DCHA), and their member healthcare systems and hospitals in endorsing mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for healthcare workers. Many have already implemented these requirements as part of local mandates, as have non-healthcare organizations and entities. The goal of protecting and caring for others through vaccination is a common and uniting commitment throughout our community, region, and nation.

    Overall, more than 70% of our associates and 80% of our clinicians are already vaccinated.  Compliance with this requirement from the remainder of our organization will further protect our patients, those who care for them, and our communities. It will move us closer to realizing the normalcy we no longer take for granted. Our commitment requires our shared and united dedication to protect the safety of those we serve.

  • 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 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.