July 17, 2024

The Health

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UM Baltimore Washington Medical Center Recognized for Innovative Care by Maryland Patient Safety Center

GLEN BURNIE, Md. (May 14, 2024) – The University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center (UM BWMC), a member organization of the University of Maryland Medical System, received two 2024 Circle of Honor Awards from the Maryland Patient Safety Center for improving the quality of patient care through innovative solutions. The award-winning programs targeted improvements in outpatient care management for individuals with congestive heart failure and discharge procedures for patients. This is the seventh year UM BWMC has had care programs recognized for their commitment to safety and quality by the third-party organization. The award-winning programs were recognized at an awards dinner hosted by the Maryland Patient Safety Center at the Baltimore Hilton on April 25. 

“We are honored to once again be recognized by the Maryland Patient Safety Center for our commitment to innovative, high-quality care,” said Kathy McCollum, President and CEO of UM BWMC. “These two programs are great examples of our team’s relentless dedication to our core values and how they continue to bring excellence, compassion and discovery to the care they provide to members of our community each and every day.”

UM BWMC was one of nine hospitals statewide recognized by the Maryland Patient Safety Center program. More than 50 projects were submitted by healthcare organizations and hospitals from across the state for consideration.

A collaborative team comprised of health care providers, cardiologists, community health workers, nurses, and a clinical pharmacist was awarded a Circle of Honor for their work, Implementation of an Interprofessional Diuresis Clinic for Preventing Heart Failure Hospitalizations. Congestive heart failure (CHF) is the second leading cause of hospitalization in the United States, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and hospitals across the national are being encouraged to re-invigorate their models of care using innovative approaches intended to increase the safety of care transitions while improving coordination of ambulatory care for patients with CHF. Heart disease is also a leading cause of death for residents in Anne Arundel County, with 1,044 related deaths recorded in 2020.

The team at UM BWMC created a special Diuresis Clinic within UM BWMC’s Transitional Care Center that introduced IV diuresis services in an outpatient care center. IV or parenteral diuresis has been found to relieve symptoms of congestion more effectively than oral diuretics. The incorporation of parenteral diuresis in the ambulatory care setting significantly reduced hospital admissions and empowered trained patients to manage symptoms at home. The clinic also assisted patients with monitoring laboratory results and adhering to their heart failure medications, efforts which helped prevent hospitalizations and related complications. The program not only meets patients’ preferences for home management but also yields significant cost savings for those avoiding hospitalizations or experiencing shorter hospital stays.

“I’m really proud of our community approach and the education we’ve been able to provide to our patients to support their care,” said Cheryl Ruff, Senior Director of Practice Operations for Primary Care, Pediatrics and Population Health at UM BWMC. “Our patients’ positive feedback and our ability to reduce Emergency Department visits and hospitalizations really reflects the success of our program. We’re optimistic that this high-quality, cost-effective care model can become a heart failure management template for other health care organizations for use in their communities.”

UM BWMC’s second 2024 Circle of Honor award recognized the outstanding success of the Implementation of an Expediting Team and Departure Lounge to Improve Patient Throughput. The program, led by June Kippeny, BSN, RN, and Sneha Tella, MD, was established to tackle challenges posed by long Emergency Department (ED) wait times and patients waiting in the ED for an inpatient hospital bed. The Expediting Team, spearheaded by a patient flow coordinator and supported by a physician, discharge nurse, charge nurses, clinical coordinators, and department leaders, was formed with the goal of enhancing patient flow across the organization and creating more hospital bed availability for patients. Through strategic efforts to identify and eliminate common barriers to care, UM BWMC successfully reduced patient wait times and the length of hospital stays.

“We recognize the importance of reducing common barriers to care, diminishing patient wait times and minimizing hospital stays,” said Kippeny. “By tackling the challenges of prolonged Emergency Department wait times, critical issues of boarding and overcrowding head-on, we are transforming health care by creating a more efficient care system that facilitates a swift return home for our patients.”

The Departure Lounge, a key component of the program, provides a comfortable space for discharged patients to relax, offering amenities such as snacks, iPads, TV, and reading materials while awaiting transportation. The team’s focus on identifying patients for the Departure Lounge has led to marked improvements in patient flow, resulting in the opening of more beds in other units. In the first year of the initiative, the program achieved impressive outcomes, including a 13.6 % increase in discharges before 12 p.m., a 9 % improvement in discharge time of day, and a notable 9% reduction in time from discharge order to discharge.

The Minogue Awards were created by the Maryland Patient Safety Center to recognize organizations in the state that have made a demonstrable difference in patient safety through an innovative solution. The winning teams from UM BWMC presented their winning projects at the 20th Annual Patient Safety Conference, Patient Safety Playbook: Strategies to strengthen your safety culture and build a team of champions.

About the University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center

The University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center (UM BWMC) is a 307-bed medical center committed to improving the health outcomes of the communities it serves. A member organization of the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), UM BWMC is located in Glen Burnie (Anne Arundel County) and has more than 3,100 team members and 1,000 medical providers on staff. The medical group provides primary and specialty care services to individuals throughout the region. Together with community providers and faculty from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, UM BWMC offers a wide range of clinical programs including cancer, critical care, emergency, heart, lung, neurosciences, orthopedics, pediatric, primary care, vascular, and women’s health. For more information, visit umbwmc.org. 

About the University of Maryland Medical System

The University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) is an academic private health system, focused on delivering compassionate, high quality care and putting discovery and innovation into practice at the bedside. Partnering with the University of Maryland School of Medicine and University of Maryland, Baltimore who educate the state’s future health care professionals, UMMS is an integrated network of care, delivering 25 percent of all hospital care in urban, suburban and rural communities across the state of Maryland. UMMS puts academic medicine within reach through primary and specialty care delivered at 11 hospitals, including the flagship University of Maryland Medical Center, the System’s anchor institution in downtown Baltimore, as well as through a network of University of Maryland Urgent Care centers and more than 150 other locations in 13 counties. For more information, visit umms.org.