Archive for April, 2010

Celebrating IS Work and the Team

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Members of the McLeod Information Systems staff recently celebrated the accomplishments they have achieved during the past year.

Our Information Systems Department held a monthly meeting on Tuesday morning. We took a break from the routine reports to celebrate the accomplishments of the first six months of the year.

A breakfast and discussion about all that has been accomplished this year, as well as what is coming in the future, was enjoyed by the team.

Since last October, Information Systems have completed 142 projects; processed 5,020 work orders for system access, computer installs,
reports, or system changes submitted; received 120 ‘Caught
Caring Coupons;’ 13 Service Excellence Profiles and we have also taken 19,258 calls to our Help Desk, of which 17,455 were new incidents.

I feel this is significant and I am glad to see the team celebrate some great work as well as share it with you. There are many people supporting patient care in a variety of roles and it takes each one of us to provide safe, effective, patient centered, timely, efficient and equitable care.


Health Reform Update

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

On Friday afternoon I received this update from the President of the American Hospital Association. There are many moving parts and pieces to health reform … and the changes continue to occur. I want to encourage you to stay informed about how these changes may affect patients.



Friday, April 23, 2010

Fighting for Patients

“On Monday afternoon, CMS (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services) released its IPPS (Inpatient Prospective Payment System) rule containing almost four billion dollars in cuts to hospitals – all next year!

It goes without saying that fighting this rule is a top priority. This proposed cut will only make the current chronic underpayment for treating Medicare and Medicaid patients much worse. Our bottom line message is that additional cuts on top of those included in health care reform will be detrimental to hospitals’ mission of caring. In the coming days look for our call to action on this issue, our ask that CMS (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services) make their proposed rules on health IT more realistic and flexible, as well as Congress’ need to address time sensitive issues like … settling on a long-term fix to Medicare physician payments, extending Medicaid FMAP (Federal Medical Assistance Percentage) relief and extending Medicare provisions important to rural hospitals. Let’s make sure Congress knows we will keep fighting for the patients we serve.”


Rich Umbdenstock, American Hospital Association President

Our Palmetto Gold Nursing Professionals

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

The 2010 Palmetto Gold recipients pictured here are:
Back Row left to right: Debbie Youmans, Carrie Hoshour, Alexia McKoy, Cindy Byrd
Front Row left to right: Vicki Thornton, Linda Sue Adams, Hillery Dolford, Debra Stone

On Saturday night, I had the opportunity to join eight of our McLeod nurses and their families for the Palmetto Gold Gala in Columbia, South Carolina.  It was an honor to see these team members and caregivers receive statewide recognition for their excellence.

The Palmetto Gold Nurse Recognition program selects the top 100 nurses from health care settings across the state who exemplify excellence in practice and commitment.  The Gala also serves to support a scholarship program for nursing and has awarded $170,000 since 2002 in nursing scholarships.

The first honoree to walk across the stage was Linda Sue Adams, Hospitalist Nurse Practitioner at McLeod Dillon, and the final honoree for the night was Debbie Youmans, Patient Educator, McLeod Children’s Hospital. The other six McLeod honorees were: Cindy Byrd, Director of Adult and Pediatric Care, McLeod Dillon; Hillery Dolford, MICU Patient Care Supervisor; Carrie Hoshour, Pediatric ICU; Alexia McKoy, RN McLeod Dillon; Debra Stone, Wound Care for McLeod Darlington; and Vicki Thornton, CCU Patient Care Supervisor. 

We recognize your hard work and dedication to the welfare of others.  We see your innovation and compassion for patients and families.  Thanks for being guardians of the mission.



New Sight

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

I am reading a book by author Paul David Tripp. The following passage makes a familiar … and often unlearned point.

“I had a friend who had quite a large rose garden. He was very dedicated to doing all the daily tasks necessary to keep his roses healthy. But it hit him one day that he’d taken no time to actually enjoy the roses that he was so zealous to tend. So one afternoon he did just that. He sat down in front of one of his rose bushes for three hours. As he sat, he began to see, smell, and hear things that he wouldn’t have experienced any other way.  Contrary to what you may think, the time didn’t drag on.  He was enthralled by the created glory that he was taking in. And as he sat there, he began to realize why those bushes were worth the commitment and the effort that he’d been investing.

But there’s more. After his three-hour gaze of that one bush he would never – could never – look at roses as he once did. That afternoon he saw, really saw, what a rose was about, and new sight changed him.”

Our calling is the care and comfort of those who are affected by illness and injury. In our desire to help … we sometimes focus on the illness and not the individual.  We can lose our joy and our perspective. So, I’m inviting you to sit down with a patient. Keep your eyes focused and your ears listening.  Remember your calling and why you chose healthcare in the first place – people, to help people. Open your eyes and heart to what you may have become too busy to see.  Ours is a noble calling and worthy of our life’s effort.


Journey to a Culture of Health — Data and Next Steps

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

During Benefit Enrollment you had a chance to participate in health screenings.  While you have access to your personal results [see previous blog], our wellness partner, Viverae, provided overall summary data which we are analyzing to look for ways to offer resources and programs to support our desire to lead by example and live healthier lifestyles.

The summary data shows that as an organization, we certainly have opportunities to improve our wellbeing.  Using our Wellness Work Team and physician leaders in this area, Dr. Peter Johnson and Dr. Charles Jordan, we have decided our main areas of focus will be on improving our nutrition, increasing our activity, and decreasing our stress.

If we focus on and make positive changes in these areas as “root drivers,” we should see improvement in other areas like Body Mass Index (BMI), Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, and Blood Glucose.  Our goal is to try and shift our overall health score distribution and help employees move from the “fair” and “average” categories towards “good” and “excellent.”

We are working on leveraging McLeod resources to support and encourage all employees on this journey.  As a health care organization, we are dedicated to our patients and our people. We will continue to be working to educate our teams about obesity through a variety of efforts. For example, Weight Watchers programs are offered through 10 – week classes at McLeod for a reduced fee. The next sessions are set to begin in May, if you are interested call Reservations and Scheduling (777-2005). Additionally, the McLeod Health and Fitness Center provides fitness and weight management support through classes, including the upcoming Summer Shape Up and Body Make Over Program of 6-week classes. McLeod is also focusing on nutrition, and currently offers healthier menu options in Cafe Du Jour and the Cafeteria, with nutritional labels on display for food choices. We will also continue to encourage participation in healthy partnerships with community events, like the March of Dimes Walk, Relay for Life, Heart Walk, fitness rail trail, etc. The goal is to inspire us all to lead healthier lives.

More information about other programs will be coming, but don’t to wait to begin.  Make healthier food choices, become more active, and be sure to find an outlet where you can relax from time to time.  Doing these things now will reward you with better health later.

Setting an example for our community is not just the right thing to do for McLeod, but I firmly believe that if we can support you in improving your well-being and maintain good health, we all win!


Journey to a Culture of Health — Data Available

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

We have a strong track record of supporting community wellness events like the Heart Walk, March of Dimes, Relay for Life, and the McLeod Sports Medicine 5K and 10K Challenge Run/Walk.  Our departments and McLeod teams always enthusiastically participate in a variety of events to promote the overall well-being of the people in our region.

I am encouraged by how well McLeod Health people respond to the events we sponsor to promote health education and wellness.  We recently hosted our first “Industry Health Day,” to support local industry employees in learning about their health and the resources McLeod offers.  This effort was supported by over 16 McLeod departments and 50 members of our team; all helping to continue our mission to improve the overall health status of those in our community.

An employee of the City of Florence has his cholesterol level checked during the Industry Health Day at the Florence Civic Center.

The “Industry Health Day” was similar to the Health Resource Expo offered to McLeod staff during benefit enrollment.  If you participated in that event, you were able to receive free health screenings, health related information, and obtain your personalized results. 

[Note: To receive a copy of your results and a personalized report, participants can log into the system of our wellness partner, Viverae, at or call the Member Service Center at 1-888-VIVERAE.].

I hope you have reviewed your personalized report.  While we do not have access to the individual information, we will have a composite of all who participated in the health screenings.  We plan to allow this information to help plan wellness programs for our people in 2010 and 2011.



The Checklist Manifesto – How to Get Things Right

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

The Checklist Manifesto is the title of a book by best-selling author and surgeon, Atul Gawande, MD.  Currently, this book is circulating through the leadership team.  We try to keep at least one book or journal article circulating to increase knowledge, invite discussion and provide a shared language for improvement and focus.  I would recommend this book and have a few extra copies if you would like to borrow one.  The following is from the inside cover:

“The modern world has given us stupendous know-how.  Yet avoidable failures continue to plague us in health care, government, the law, the financial industry – in almost every realm of organized activity. And the reason is simple: the volume and complexity of knowledge today has exceeded our ability as individuals to properly deliver it to people – consistently, correctly, safely.  We train longer, specialize more, use ever advancing technologies, and we still fail.

“Now, acclaimed writer and surgeon Atul Gawande makes a compelling argument that we can do better and finds a solution in the most humble of places: the lowly checklist.  He explains how checklists have made possible some of the most difficult things people do – from flying airplanes to building skyscrapers of mind-boggling sophistication.  And drawing on his own experience, he shows how applying this idea to the immensely various and complex world of surgery produced a ninety-second checklist that reduced deaths and complications by more than one-third in eight hospitals around the world – at virtually no cost and for almost any kind of operation.”

I had the honor of introducing Dr. Atul Gawande as a keynote speaker for the 2007 IHI National Forum.  In preparation for that three-minute introduction, I read every article I could find by him as well as his best-selling books, Better and Complications.  I also had a chance to have lunch with him prior to his presentation.  In thirty minutes, I was impressed with his energy, practical knowledge and humble approach to life.  I hope you will enjoy reading his book. 

When you read Checklist, think about ways we can – stabilize, standardize and improve – the work of the various teams who serve our patients and our organization.  Let me hear from you as we learn together.


The Choice For Medical Excellence

Friday, April 9th, 2010

The Vision of McLeod Health is to be the Choice for Medical Excellence.  Words have meaning and ideas have consequences.  We want those words to have meaning in our daily work, so we measure them in three specific ways.  At McLeod, our vision is to be the Choice for Medical Excellence in the eyes of our Patients, our Physicians and our People.  Our patients deserve only the best!

We use an independent, national research firm, Professional Research Consultants (PRC), to survey Patients, Physicians and our People so that we can progressively measure  our progress toward reaching this Vision.  We want the surveys to direct us to opportunities where our team can work on excellence.  Continuously, we use this information to set goals and direct projects.  Since PRC has over thirty years of surveying healthcare organizations across the country, we are comparing ourselves to the nation’s best.

I am pleased to inform you that I have received a notice from PRC of national recognition in the surveys of our People in Darlington and Dillon. In comparison with national survey data last year, a Four Star Rating of Excellence is noted in several categories.  These awards are based on the percentage of employees who rate the hospital “Excellent”, or “top box” of a a five point scale,  for one of the ten categories: Like Communication, Involvement, Training, Senior Leadership, Supervisor, Quality, Teamwork within Departments, and Teamwork between Departments.

McLeod Darlington received seven (7) PRC Four Star Awards, which means they are in the top quartile of national performance in excellence in these seven categories: Involvement, Senior Leadership, Place to Work, Teamwork within Department, Training, Immediate Supervisor, and Teamwork between Departments.  Please join me in congratulating Pat Godbold and the team in Darlington for being recognized with the PRC National Excellence Award in Healthcare.

Also, McLeod Dillon received a PRC Four Star Award in Senior Leadership which means they are in the top quartile of national performance in excellence for Senior Leadership.  Please join me in congratulating Debbie Locklair and the team in Dillon for being recognized with the PRC National Excellence Award in Healthcare.

This is an outstanding recognition of excellence.  Thank you for setting the pace for the rest of us in our service to one another.  Both hospitals will be recognized for these awards during an Excellence in Healthcare Conference in San Diego, California on June 8, 2010.

Notably, George Washington challenged, “Associate yourself with men of good quality” ….  we are proud to be in the company of Darlington and Dillon.  Your work brings light to our Vision at McLeod Health.



Outcomes Matter

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

grand rounds pic

Dr. Jamie Holland, McLeod Cardiothoracic Surgeon, presents data from quality outcomes data - 2009.

Today we are releasing our 2009 Quality Outcomes for Cardiovascular Surgery.

Outcomes matter.  Outcomes support continual improvement, outcomes encourage innovation and change, and when published and available, outcomes can guide patients, families and physicians with information about treatment and where to seek treatment.

At McLeod Health, ‘Quality’ is one of our four core values.  We define ‘Quality’ as continual improvement.  By comparing the outcomes for our program with the best in the nation we find ways to improve, innovate and change.

Primarily, we are aided in this effort by improvement teams which are physician led, data driven and evidence based.  In addition, we are also aided in this work by our affiliation with the Cleveland Clinic who assisted in the publication of this Outcomes Booklet.  The comparative information is from a national database developed and managed by the Society of Thoracic Surgery.

To view a copy of the 2009 Outcomes Booklet, click on the link below.



Dr Greg Jones speakinghori

Dr. Greg Jones leads a discussion on the meaning of outcomes to patients and our community.

Click on under “McLeod News” for the full press release.

Learning From Others

Monday, April 5th, 2010

Over the years, I have garnered more wisdom from articles and books shared by friends and colleagues, than I learned in graduate school at a leading university.  In particular, Drs. Rick Ervin and Alva Whitehead have improved my knowledge, understanding and service by their continual encouragement and steady flow of good reading material. 

Dr. F. Richard Ervin, Medical Director of Informatics

Dr. Alva W. Whitehead, Sr. Vice President of Medical Staff Services

For instance, Dr. Rick Ervin made sure I saw an editorial in the opinion section of the Wall Street Journal in January 2010.  The article is entitled ‘Look Ahead With Stoicism – And Optimism’ by Peggy Noonan who was one of President Ronald Reagan’s speech writers.  I placed a link here for you to enjoy as well.

I will give you some great quotes/thoughts from Ms. Noonan:

•  “We’re at the clean start of a new decade, and it wouldn’t be bad if the national watchwords were repair, rebuild and return, with an eye toward what is now our central project, though we haven’t fully noticed, and that is keeping our country together.  So many forces exist to tear us apart.  We have to do what we can to hold together in the long run.”

•  “Maybe the most worrying trend the past 10 years can be found in this phrase: “They forgot the mission.” So many great American institutions – institutions that every day help hold us together – acted as if they had forgotten what they were about, what their role and purpose was, what they existed to do.”

•  “So what to do? Here my friend the lawyer’s stoicism and mindless optimism might come in handy, for turning around institutions is a huge, long and uphill fight.  It probably begins with taking the one thing we all hate to take in our society, and that is personal responsibility.”

•  “If you work in a great institution: Do you remember the mission? Do you remember why you went to work there, what you meant to do, what the institution meant to you …”

•  “…but it could put a moment’s focus on a question that is relevant to people’s lives and that is: how in the coming decade can we do better? How can we repair and rebuild?”

Ms. Noonan’s challenge reminds us of our mission at McLeod Health – to improve the health and well-being of the people of this region. As we move forward into 2010, facing this next year of change together, may we find hope and encouragement in our service to others.