Maryland Health Officials, Hospitals Set Ebola Strategy – 3 Treatment Hospitals Designated

We would like to share some news from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Maryland Hospital Association on new plans to deal with Ebola:

Governor Martin O’Malley announced today that Maryland health and hospital officials have agreed upon a coordinated strategy for dealing with potential Ebola patients. No cases of Ebola have been diagnosed in Maryland to date. Under the strategy (1) all hospital emergency departments in the state will continue to be prepared to evaluate patients suspected of having Ebola; and (2) should a case of Ebola be confirmed, the patient would be treated at one of three designated hospitals, if no federal facility is available.

This strategy was developed through a partnership among the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH), the Maryland Hospital Association, Johns Hopkins Health System, MedStar Health, and the University of Maryland Medical System, with support from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to the strategy, a potential Ebola patient in Maryland who could not be treated at one of the designated federal facilities would be cared for at one of three hospitals that are being further prepared with focused support, training, and equipment. The hospitals are:

  • Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore
  • University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore; and
  • MedStar Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C.

“Maryland has the best medical facilities anywhere in the world,” Gov. O’Malley said. “We are working closely with our federal partners and with hospital officials to be as prepared as we can be.”

“This consolidated, coordinated, response provides the best opportunity to treat Ebola patients successfully and prevent the disease from spreading further, should we have any cases in Maryland,” said Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, Secretary of DHMH.

Carmela Coyle, president and CEO of the Maryland Hospital Association, said Maryland’s hospitals are proud to care for all those in need, including those suffering from Ebola. “Johns Hopkins, MedStar and the University of Maryland Medical System have demonstrated their commitment to caring for the most vulnerable patients, by stepping forward to care for those afflicted with Ebola. They are further preparing to meet this challenge, should the need arise.”

According to the details of the strategy, all Maryland hospitals will screen patients to identify those who potentially have Ebola, will isolate any potential cases, and will work with the state’s public health laboratory to quickly confirm whether Ebola is present. If a case is confirmed, DHMH will work with the CDC to determine whether a federal facility is available to treat the patient. If a federal facility is not available, then DHMH will coordinate with the three health systems in Maryland to determine where to transfer the patient for care.

A consolidated approach to Ebola treatment offers several advantages:

  • Nurses and doctors at consolidated locations, with the aid of intensive training, will develop greater proficiency in treating the unique needs of Ebola patients and in the intricate safety measures necessary to prevent exposure.
  • Using fewer Ebola treatment sites ensures that the communication and operationalization of the latest information from state, federal, and international health agencies is streamlined.
  • Caring for an Ebola patient requires many specially trained medical staff, complex waste management procedures, a significant quantity of personal protective equipment, and other resources; by consolidating care, Maryland’s health care providers are better able to deploy personnel and resources.

Maryland officials have been focused for months on preparing aggressively to keep Maryland families safe. Governor O’Malley brought various agencies together to conduct a tabletop exercise in August, and the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) has been coordinating the overall response, convening regular meetings to review the latest information and planning for a wide range of possible scenarios. In September, Secretary Sharfstein issued an order requiring communication and coordination between healthcare providers and the health departments on all suspected cases of Ebola. DHMH has one of 13 labs in the United States authorized by the CDC to test for Ebola.

DHMH has conducted two October press conferences to discuss the public health system’s preparedness for potential cases of Ebola — the more recent of which was led by Governor O’Malley. MEMA has established a virtual joint information center, so information and guidance can be shared across state agencies including Transportation, Corrections, and State Police.

DHMH, since the summer, has been coordinating its automated biosurveillance system, which uses traditional and nontraditional data sources to provide early identification of disease outbreaks and suspicious patterns of illness, with Virginia’s and the District of Columbia’s; in early October, that daily-monitored coordination was expanded to include input from Tarrant County, Texas’s data system to identify Ebola disease symptoms, as well as other keywords related to Ebola including travel history.

Earlier last week, Governor O’Malley, DHMH officials, the Maryland Secretary of State and representatives from various congressional offices met with leaders of the African diaspora community to discuss solutions, including efficient information-sharing and efforts to combat the disease in Africa. The health department also established an informational webpage last week,, to augment its continual social media messaging and to provide information for the general public and for frontline healthcare workers.

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Delmarva Health Pavilion Millsboro Grand Opening Today!

Delmarva Health Pavilion Millsboro

The Delmarva Health Pavilion Millsboro

The Delmarva Health Pavilion Millsboro Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting is Wednesday, October 22 4:00-6:00 p.m. at 30265 Commerce Drive, Millsboro, DE 19966 – featuring refreshments, giveaways and tours — plus free screenings and flu shots on the PRMC Wagner Wellness Van from 3:00 – 7:00 p.m.

The 48,000-square-foot Delmarva Health Pavilion Millsboro on Route 113 that has been anxiously awaited by lower Sussex County residents is set for a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday, October 22 at 4:00 p.m.   The public is invited to tour the facility and its offices, participate in free screenings and meet the physicians, clinical leaders and staff of the practices moving in.

The Delmarva Health Pavilion Millsboro is a joint project of Gillis Gilkerson and Peninsula Regional Medical Center (PRMC). It features specialty care practices including complete diagnostic imaging services provided by Peninsula Imaging, LLC; comprehensive orthopaedic services from Peninsula Orthopaedic Associates, PA; rehabilitation services by Peninsula NRH Regional Rehab; the full-service community pharmacy PRMC’s Home Scripts and PRMC laboratory services open to the general public.

According to Thompson Reuters, Claritas, Millsboro’s population is projected to grow by 8.2% over the next five years, which is just slightly below the expected 8.6% growth for Sussex County during the same time period. Currently, there are over 100,000 people within a 20 minute drive from the center of Millsboro. “The need for a wide range of healthcare services and chronic disease management is expected to significantly increase in the next half decade in Sussex County, and we’re honored to partner with the local community to provide those services now and well into the future,” said Dr. Peggy Naleppa, Peninsula Regional Medical Center’s President/CEO.

Anchoring the healthcare complex is Peninsula Regional Family Medicine Millsboro. The practice, which is currently accepting patients of all ages, relocated to the health pavilion from its previous location in Dagsboro in mid-September.

Comprehensive “one-stop” healthcare centers, like the Delmarva Health Pavilion Millsboro, aren’t necessarily a new concept but their importance has increased significantly with the rapid acceleration of Population Health Management, which is an evolving healthcare model that focuses on keeping people healthy and reducing admissions and readmissions through management of chronic diseases. For instance, here on the Delmarva Peninsula diabetes remains a significant health issue. Population Health Management says manage people’s personal health behaviors now to prevent the onset of diabetes instead of treating it after the fact, when it’s extremely expensive and a precursor to many other very serious health conditions.

When you offer the consumer-in this case a patient-the convenience of having the clinical knowledge and treatment opportunities that come with specialized services all under the same roof, they’re most likely to use them.   And when they do, studies have shown they stay healthier.

“Across the nation, no longer can you build a hospital and expect people to come to you for every ache, pain or test,” Dr. Naleppa said. “To keep our community healthy, providers like PRMC need to always be examining ways to make it more convenient for you to obtain care close to home, to provide you the greatest value for that care, and in the most appropriate location. That’s the genesis of Population Health Management and the guiding philosophy behind the Delmarva Health Pavilion Millsboro.”

With the opening of the Delmarva Health Pavilion Millsboro, PRMC has truly created that multi-disciplinary, comprehensive, one-stop location designed to specifically address many Sussex County healthcare needs.

Grand Opening_Invitation

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Last Chance to Sign Up for Oct. 23 Skin Cancer Screenings

Don't forget your sunscreen! And to make sure you're safe from skin cancer, sign up for a free skin cancer screening at PRMC.

Don’t forget your sunscreen! And to make sure you’re safe from skin cancer, sign up for a free skin cancer screening at PRMC.

Last chance to sign up! Peninsula Regional Medical Center is holding FREE skin cancer screenings on Thursday, October 23 at the Richard A. Henson Cancer Institute from 3-6:30 p.m. There are still a few appointments left with one of the clinicians who have volunteered their time for this event. Call 410-543-7006 to sign up.

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Peninsula Regional and Ebola Preparedness

Peninsula Regional Medical Center takes its role as Delmarva’s largest tertiary care center very seriously. When the Ebola virus outbreak began in West Africa, PRMC began making preparations before anyone in the United States was ever diagnosed with an Ebola infection. Since August, Peninsula Regional has kept up to date and implemented precautions based on and exceeding guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reflecting our commitment to keeping the community and our staff safe from Ebola.

Safety and preparedness are essential to our mission. As healthcare providers, it’s what we are trained to do, what we have promised our communities we will do, and it’s what the public relies on us to do. While the possibility of an Ebola outbreak on the Eastern Shore may seem remote, Peninsula Regional is accustomed to preparing for the worst ─ if not Ebola, then a virulent flu strain, a tornado, a hurricane, a hazardous waste spill or any other worst-case scenario that we might face. Frequent drills and continuing staff education are a vital part of our emergency preparations. We perform continuous reviews of our procedures based on the latest data from the CDC.

Knowledge is power. Peninsula Regional’s team has been working on every aspect of preparing for a potential Ebola-infected patient, starting at our front door ─ asking travel history when patients first come in, gathering the best protective gear and supplies above and beyond CDC’s protocols, and ensuring that our staff is trained to use them.

We work closely with local and state health departments, and participate in CDC and Maryland Hospital Association preparedness conference sessions to coordinate our response to the threat of Ebola virus, to ensure that every protocol is followed and any outbreak is avoided.

While we certainly hope to never have to treat anyone for Ebola, we are prepared to deliver professional, safe, compassionate care while safeguarding our providers and our community. If you wish to learn more, please visit for useful links, resources and information about Ebola.

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DAISY Award Honors Peninsula Regional Nurse Sandra Cohee

Sandra Cohee, RN, earned the October 2014 Daisy Award at Peninsula Regional Medical Center.

Sandra Cohee, RN, earned the October 2014 Daisy Award at Peninsula Regional Medical Center.

Surgery can be a scary thought ─ but when it’s a necessary treatment, having a great nurse on your side can make all the difference. Sandra Cohee, RN, of Peninsula Regional Medical Center’s Same Day Surgery Department was recently honored with the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses after she went above and beyond to ensure that a patient’s fears were completely quelled.

The patient’s wife thanked Cohee for going the extra mile for her husband, who was dreading the experience. Cohee coordinated a meeting with the patient, his family and the nursing staff, so he could meet everyone involved in his care before and after the surgery. She also came in early on the day of his surgery to accompany him to his pre-operation preparation, and walked him through the process, assuring him that friendly faces would be there when he woke up. “She proceeded smoothly and professionally, explaining everything she was doing so that he actually participated with her,” the patient’s wife wrote. She said that he “cried with gratefulness and relief that his fears were not realized and his experience went so smoothly.”

The DAISY Award is a national program to recognize the outstanding efforts of nurses in their daily work. Cohee was honored in a ceremony before her colleagues, receiving a certificate commending her for being an extraordinary nurse. The certificate reads: “In deep appreciation of all you do, who you are, and the incredibly meaningful difference you make in the lives of so many people.” She was also given fresh daisies, and a sculpture called A Healer’s Touch, hand-carved by artists of the Shona Tribe in Zimbabwe. To nominate an exceptional nurse, visit and share a story.

“We are proud to be among the hospitals participating in the DAISY Award program. Nurses are heroes every day,” said PRMC Chief Nursing Officer Mary Beth D’Amico. “It’s important that our nurses know their work is highly valued.”

The not-for-profit DAISY Foundation is based in Glen Ellen, CA, and was established by family members in memory of J. Patrick Barnes. Patrick died at the age of 33 in late 1999 from complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP), a little-known but not uncommon auto-immune disease. The care Patrick and his family received from nurses while he was ill inspired this unique means of thanking nurses for making a profound difference in the lives of their patients and patient families.

President and Co-Founder of The DAISY Foundation Bonnie Barnes said, “When Patrick was critically ill, our family experienced firsthand the remarkable skill and care nurses provide patients every day and night. Yet these unsung heroes are seldom recognized for the super-human work they do. The kind of work the nurses at PRMC are called on to do every day epitomizes the purpose of The DAISY Award.”


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Reminder: Drive-Thru Flu Clinic Is Coming Up Oct. 16-17!

Fight-FluPeninsula Regional Medical Center’s “Drive-Thru” Flu Clinic is returning on Thursday, October 16 and Friday, October 17, 2014 at Arthur W. Perdue (Shorebirds) Stadium at the intersection of Route 50 and Hobbs Road in Salisbury, Maryland. Vaccinations will be administered to individuals 13 years of age or older. A physician’s order is not necessary. A donation of $10.00 per vaccination is requested (cash only; exact amount is appreciated). The flu shot is an inactivated vaccine, meaning it protects you against the flu but it cannot cause the flu.

PRMC’s Drive-Thru Flu Clinic will be held from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. on both days. Flu vaccinations are encouraged for persons over the age of 65, people with heart or lung disorders, immunosuppressant diseases or diabetes. Participants are encouraged to wear a short sleeved shirt that will provide easy access to the upper arm. For additional information, please visit the PRMC website at

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Free Skin Cancer Screening at Peninsula Regional Medical Center on October 23

Free skin cancer screenings will be held at the Richard A. Henson Cancer Institute at Peninsula Regional Medical Center on October 23, 2014 from 3:00 to 6:30 p.m. Appointments are required. To schedule an appointment, call 410-543-7006.

The screenings are part of a Peninsula Regional’s campaign to encourage wellness, including early detection and teach prevention of skin cancer. More than 1 million new cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year. “The key to successful treatment of most types of skin cancer is early detection and treatment,” said Thomas M. DeMarco, MD, Medical Director of the Richard A. Henson Cancer Institute. Current estimates are that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime and those rates are higher on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

Skin self-examinations consist of periodically looking over your body for any changes in color, shape or texture of a mole, the development of a new mole or any other unusual changes in the skin. Any of these signs should be reported to a dermatologist right away. A survey commissioned by the Academy showed that less than one-third of Americans currently examine their skin for signs of melanoma and more than half don’t know the signs of melanoma. Dermatologists want to change this because when treated in its earliest stages, melanoma can be cured. If not treated early, the disease can quickly spread to other parts of the body and be fatal.

“Screening is the first step in the process to stop the skin cancer in its tracks. We want to educate the community that examining your skin on a regular basis can be a life-saving habit,” said dermatologist Luette Semmes, MD with Peninsula Dermatology Associates, PA.

The free screenings will be held on the second floor of the Richard A. Henson Cancer Institute at PRMC. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 410-543-7006.

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