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Open enrollment for 2018 benefits going on now!

October 23rd, 2017

Michigan Medicine faculty and staff may change their benefits for 2018 during open enrollment, which begins today and runs through 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 3.

Eligible individuals may change their health plan, choose a different dental plan option and change their enrollment in the vision plan or legal services plan. Faculty and staff may also enroll in a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) by logging into Wolverine Access during this timeframe. Changes and new rates take effect Jan. 1, 2018.

Benefit changes for 2018 include the elimination of the Health Alliance Plan (HAP) health plan and an increase in the health care FSA annual limit to $2,600.

Take the time now to review your dependent coverage in anticipation of life events coming up in the next year. For example, if you have a young child who may go to the dentist for the first time in 2018, you would need add your child to your dental plan during open enrollment. If you plan to retire in 2018, you should add eligible dependents to your benefits during open enrollment if you want to continue coverage for them under your U-M benefits in your retirement.

The U-M open enrollment website lists rates for 2018 and provides a digital book that you may download to learn more about the open enrollment process. All benefit changes and new rates will take effect on Jan. 1 and continue through the end of 2018.

If you like your current benefits, you don’t need to do anything to keep them — with two exceptions. If you are enrolled in the HAP health plan, you will need to select a different health plan or you be automatically enrolled in the BCBMS Community Blue PPO plan effective Jan. 1. And because IRS rules do not allow FSA enrollments to continue across calendar years, eligible faculty and staff will need to re-enroll to participate in an FSA for 2018.

Please see the video above for a quick guide to the available U-M dental plans. If you have questions about benefits or open enrollment, call the Shared Services Center at 734-615-2000 or 866-647-7657 toll free, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Week in Review: Week of Oct. 16, 2017

October 20th, 2017

This week, Headlines highlighted many of the employees who make Michigan Medicine among the leaders in research, training and health care.

Among those featured were two nurses who met at University Hospital and have used their experience to help raise a tight-knit family. Readers also met the Quality Department, whose team members ensure safety and quality across Michigan Medicine; individuals learned about an upcoming career fair that gives them the chance to start down an exciting new career path; and faculty and staff were honored for making a difference last month.

In case you missed it, here’s the latest:

Our Nurses Know: Family

Colleagues at Michigan Medicine often feel like family, as they spend hundreds of hours together every month. For Sam and Laura Walsh, a close work relationship eventually blossomed into something much more. Click here to learn the story of this husband-wife pair who met at University Hospital — and how their nursing experience influenced their family perspective.

Meet Michigan Medicine: Quality Department

Michigan Medicine has a dedicated group of 138 employees laser-focused on improving the quality and safety of patient care and education. This team — the Quality Department — comprises seven different divisions across the organization. Learn more about Quality and the important work they carry out on a daily basis.

Fall career fair provides job seekers with ‘unforgettable experience’

If you’re looking to begin or expand upon a career as a nurse, advanced practice nurse or physician assistant, Sunday’s fall career fair is a perfect opportunity for you! Attendees will meet with hiring managers and learn about available positions across the organization. Click through for more on the event and to learn the story of Hatim Elhady, who landed a position at Michigan Medicine following a recent fair.

Making a Difference: September 2017 highlights

Employees across Michigan Medicine continue to make a difference through their hard work and dedication. Read about some of the remarkable colleagues who were lauded by a patient, family member or coworker last month!

Making a Difference: September 2017 highlights

October 19th, 2017

Employees across Michigan Medicine continue to make a difference through their hard work and dedication. Recognizing the contributions employees make to the organization helps the team to become more motivated, drives better teamwork and gives each individual a sense that they are an integral part of achieving organizational goals.

Here are just a few examples of how faculty and staff helped Michigan Medicine provide exceptional care and service last month:

Peer recognition

Katie Pierce, security officer, HHC Security Services

I want to take a moment to recognize my coworker, Officer Katie Pierce. As a fairly new employee, I was faced with a difficult situation where a grieving wife had become agitated after her husband passed away. I reached out to her for assistance — knowing that she handles every situation with professionalism, compassion and empathy.

Officer Pierce was able to connect to the grieving wife on a very personal level which resulted in an embrace, something this lady so badly needed. It was exceptional to watch and I would like to recognize Officer Pierce for her unrelenting compassion.

Lucy Diaz, patient services associate, radiology

Lucy went above and beyond the call of duty to help get a young man in for a CT scan within hours of my calling. The patient and his family were nervous and distraught and feared having to wait until the end of the holiday weekend to get answers to their health setback. Lucy worked incredibly hard to provide excellent customer service and put the patient’s needs first. It made me proud to be able to call the family to tell them that our team member went the extra mile to get the patient scanned that evening. The family felt cared for and were extremely grateful — as am I! Thank you, Lucy!

Student to staff

Jan Buchanan, certified nurse midwife, ob/gyn

I trained with Jan for two days as a student in OB triage and she did an excellent job of involving me in patient care. Once I saw a few patients with her, she gave me the autonomy to attempt every speculum exam and ultrasound, and prepare/examine slides for different tests. Even if she was taking a phone call about a patient or charting something, she would talk me through what she was doing so that I was never left out. Thank you, Jan, for involving me in patient care. I hope your attitude toward student involvement can be an example to others!

Patient to staff

Joan Ralston, patient financial coordinator, revenue cycle

I wanted to give my thanks to Joan. I was pretty upset about being charged for an exam — and Joan listened carefully and really tried to understand my issues without dismissing me. She understood how stressful the financial situation was and behaved professionally and appropriately at every turn. When I got an updated bill in the mail I can’t tell you how wonderful it felt! I was relieved that the issues were put to rest.

Mott 10W pediatric cardio-thoracic unit

My husband and I want to thank everyone at Michigan Medicine for help with the delivery and care of our adopted baby. When she was born, the doctors, midwives, nurses, surgeons and overnight team were exceptional. We are particularly grateful for the use of Nesting Room 2, where we, at hour two of our daughter’s life, were able to bond with her. The nursing care team who served us were particularly empathetic, patient, and kind — showing us how to properly feed, bathe and burp our little girl. We both work in health care oversight and are trained to find flaws in care. We were at Mott for several days and not a single flaw was found. Michigan Medicine is truly the gold standard.

David Hackenson, M.D., Emergency Services

Dr. Hackenson sat down during my exam and talked with me extensively — not just about my current ailment but also about my cancer diagnosis and treatments. He took an interest in my personal struggles and fears. That simple act of kindness was all it took to turn a horrible day around. I just wanted to let Dr. Hackenson know how much I appreciated him spending extra time with me and how much it meant that he took a genuine interest in my health and happiness. Every doctor could learn something from him!

Click here to nominate a colleague or team who makes a difference at Michigan Medicine!

Fall career fair provides job seekers with ‘unforgettable experience’

October 18th, 2017

Hatim Elhady attended a recent career fair at Michigan Stadium.

Don’t forget, anyone looking to expand or begin a career as a nurse, advanced practice nurse or physician assistant has a tremendous opportunity at the organization’s upcoming 2017 fall career fair.

The event will take place on Sunday, Oct. 22 at the Jack Roth Stadium Club at Michigan Stadium. Attendees will have a chance to meet with hiring managers from across the organization and learn about available positions and exciting new career paths.

That’s what happened to Hatim Elhady, who now works as a physician assistant in the Department of Surgery Pre-Operative Clinic.

Check out Hatim’s story:

How and why did you choose health care as a career path?

HE: As far back as I can remember, I recall my father waking up every day at 6 a.m. to go out into the freezing Michigan winter for work. One day, I asked him, “Dad, what motivates you to wake up and do the same thing over and over again?” He responded, “Hatim, my job lets me take care of my kids and give you, your brothers and sister a better life, the best education and a career that you will love.”

Since then, I have wanted to improve the lives of others around me, just as my father worked to improve ours. To start my career, I worked as an EMT, where I formed a professional relationship with a wonderful physician assistant — giving me a better understanding of the compassion and scope of care she provided. There was no medical case too simple or too complex for her to accept and she always greeted patients and families with kindness, empathy and sincerity. These traits coalesced into what I know to be the role of a physician assistant — and sparked me to switch careers.

What was your experience like at the recent Michigan Medicine recruiting fair?

HE: It was an incredible experience, beginning the moment I entered the doors of the “Big House,” where I was welcomed with open arms and formally introduced to recruiters from each department.

The fair took place in the Jack Roth Stadium Club, surrounding the football field where athletes solidified their legacy and undergraduates officially became alumni of U-M. It’s also the place I once sat to watch the President of the United States speak to me and my graduating class. I don’t believe it is often that you hear someone say that going to a recruiting fair is an unforgettable experience, but I can’t think of a better word to describe the event.

How was the Michigan Medicine recruiting fair different and/or better than other work search experiences you had?

HE: Unlike other recruiting events I have attended, this recruiting fair went above and beyond in describing what positions were available and providing me with limitless information and resources. I was taught how to personally build my health care resume and how to increase my chances of becoming a part of Michigan Medicine. “The Michigan Difference” was in full effect and on clear display at this one.

What do you love most about your job?

HE: The responsibility of providing the necessary care for a patient prior to their surgery. It gives me a chance to ensure the patient’s health, safety and confidence — all critical components to undergoing a successful surgery.

I also love my colleagues, whom I now consider my friends. We all work to build each other up and create a pleasant experience for our patients.

Would you recommend job seekers attend the upcoming fair and why?

HE: Without any reservation! This fair will provide job seekers with an in-depth look at the hiring process for one of the best medical centers in the world. Those who attend will not only gain the opportunity to get their names and resumes out to Michigan Medicine — but they will be able to take advantage of incredible resources and become competitive candidates for any job they want.

If you or someone you know is interested in attending the upcoming fair, be sure to check it out:

When: Noon-3 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 22

Where: Jack Roth Stadium Club, Michigan Stadium (1201 S. Main St., Ann Arbor). Parking is free.

Space is limited and registration is required.

Please click here for more information and to register for the event.

Our Nurses Know: Family

October 17th, 2017

Nurses Laura and Sam Walsh met at Michigan Medicine. The two married in 2000.

Michigan Medicine colleagues often feel like family. After all, team members spend hundreds of hours together each month carrying out extraordinary patient care, education and research.

For two Michigan Medicine nurses, a close work relationship eventually blossomed into something much more than that.

“Seventeen years ago, our work family became, simply, family,” said Laura Walsh, who met her husband, Sam, while the two worked the night shift on 6C at University Hospital.

“You put your career and your trust into the hands of your coworkers when you’re helping a patient who is in trouble,” Laura said. “If there were any problems, I would want Sam next to me. That’s how I knew we were meant for each other.”

A different perspective 

Since marrying in 2000, the Walshes have raised three children: Evan, 16, Grace, 14, and Manny, 12. While Evan and Grace have had no major health issues, Manny was born with Down syndrome.

Sam and Laura said Manny — a patient at Mott — has given them a chance to see health care from a different perspective.

“Through our training and education, we know all about improved technology and medical advances,” Sam said. “But our experience with Manny helped us become better nurses, because we now know what is most important to patients and family members.”

Leaning on one another

While the two no longer work on the same unit — Laura now works in the adult blood and marrow transplant clinic and Sam is assigned to the surgical intensive care unit — they still lean on one another.

“We both have so much experience in nursing that when one of us is having a rough day, we can provide the perfect pick-me-up or some much-needed advice,” Sam said. “We’ll send each other a text or an email during our shifts just to try and make each other smile and keep us going.”

Laura said she and Sam also help each other grow professionally.

“We teach each other so much about our work,” Laura said. “If we find out about a new syndrome or try out a new piece of equipment, we will always come home and talk about it. That really adds depth to our marriage. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

‘Tight-knit family’

Both Sam and Laura work in high-stakes environments treating high-acuity patients. It’s work that has given them a new appreciation for one another.

“We are an incredibly tight-knit family,” Laura said. “Much of that is because we see people every day who are going through some of the hardest times of their lives. That can either rip families apart or bring them closer together.”

Work also serves as a reminder of how precious life — and good health — can be.

“It can be difficult when a patient you have grown close to has a setback or faces another challenge,” Sam said. “Those are the days that make me go home and hug my kids a little bit tighter.”

But it’s not just the difficult times that bring Sam, Laura and their children together.

“When I see a transplant patient leave the hospital with a new zest for life, that’s the best kind of day,” Laura said. “I know Sam understands that feeling, too. So we share in each other’s victories and successes as much as we can. And it gives us an appreciation for life that we may not have had before.”

Meet Michigan Medicine: Quality Department

October 16th, 2017

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Providing safe, quality care for patients and their families is at the heart of what drives faculty and staff across Michigan Medicine. Often, this important work is supported “behind-the-scenes” by Quality Department staff members and their colleagues.

“The work that our department does impacts nearly all of our employees, patients, and their families — often in ways they wouldn’t even recognize,” said Linnea Chervenak, MHA, administrative director for the Quality Department. “We are striving to create an environment of continuous improvement in which our colleagues always have access to the tools and resources they need to provide our patients with safe, quality care.”

Restructured in 2016, the Quality Department now includes many of the teams that had previously been working independently to improve the quality and safety of patient care.

“Bringing together all of the units responsible for quality and patient safety is really a credit to the great work that was being done by those teams,” said Chervenak. “Our department now has seven units focused exclusively on continuously improving the work of the health system and eliminating preventable harm to our patients.”

Creating a culture of safety

As part of the 2016 restructuring, the Office of Patient Safety was created to develop and maintain a structured, coordinated and collaborative strategy to provide the safest possible patient care. The office utilizes continuous process improvement and high-reliability principles to carry out its efforts at eliminating preventable harm to patients.

The office houses the Patient Safety Event Team, whose responsibility it is to evaluate harm events, manage the institutional response, and develop a plan to ensure that similar events do not happen again. This team performed more than 50 such reviews in FY17, and is currently in the midst of optimizing the event response institutionally.

The office is also conducting a “Culture of Safety” survey, which was distributed to faculty and staff across the organization.

Improving value

In addition to patient safety, Quality works with teams from across the organization to improve the value of patient care. For example, department team members recently partnered with the Emergency Department (ED) and the electrophysiology division in cardiology to review how patients with atrial fibrillation (Afib) should be treated in the ED to enable them to be sent home instead of admitted to the hospital.

The multidisciplinary team developed a protocol that would allow clinically-stable patients to be discharged home with a referral to see a nurse practitioner at a new electrophysiology clinic within 72 hours. Using historical data to understand the number of patients who would be eligible for this type of discharge enabled the department to add a nurse practitioner to help staff the clinic. The team then worked with MiChart specialists, the Emergency Medicine Consult Request Service and the cardiology call center to develop a process for patients to be scheduled at the new clinic.

Thanks to these efforts, Michigan Medicine was able to send approximately 96 patients to the clinic in the last year, avoiding potentially unnecessary admissions and enabling patients to go home instead of spending the night in the hospital.

Another initiative supported by Quality is the Daily Management System (DMS), launched earlier this year in all 43 inpatient care units. Members of the Quality Department, including project managers from the Program Management Office, worked with local leaders and others throughout the organization to develop and implement the system.

The data and metrics for the DMS boards are provided by the Quality Analytics division as part of the team’s executive priorities dashboards, which enable leadership to track quality improvement metrics at nearly every level — from high-level strategic priorities down to the daily unit metrics used on DMS boards.

Evidence-based, appropriate care

The Quality Department also leads efforts focused on clinical quality, including:

  • Ensuring clinicians have the latest in evidence-based care through clinical guidelines,
  • Helping employees maintain board certification in their medical specialty,
  • Acting as the coordinating center for more than 18 statewide collaboratives,
  • Providing quality improvement and patient safety training at all levels of medical education.

In partnership with the U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation (IHPI), Quality founded the Michigan Program on Value Enhancement (MPrOVE). This joint venture brings together researchers from IHPI and clinicians across the health system to identify, implement and evaluate specific projects focused on appropriateness of patient care. In short, their work seeks to ensure patients receive the right care at the right time without receiving any unnecessary care.

As the department looks to the future, plans are in the works to launch a new website aimed at providing faculty and staff with easier access to comprehensive data and reporting tools. The site also will be a way for people to learn more about the department and its professional offerings, and be a quick way to find resources or support.

“I am excited to see where this department goes,” Chervenak said. “We have an incredible team with a lot of great ideas about how we can continue to provide the highest quality and safest care for our patients. As a department, we are looking forward to working with our operational partners to co-create the future of quality and safety at Michigan Medicine.”

Employees recognized for decades of dedicated service

October 13th, 2017

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This week, a dedicated group of Michigan Medicine employees received well-earned recognition for their decades of service to patients, families and colleagues.

This year’s annual Service Awards dinner, honoring faculty and staff who have been with Michigan Medicine for 30, 40, 45 or 50 years, took place Monday night and recognized 239 employees.

“You have helped shape this great university and this great organization,” said Tony Denton, senior vice president and chief operating officer of the U-M Health System. Denton gave the dinner’s keynote address. “You have spent your waking days — and I’m sure, many sleepless nights — thinking about how to make this place better. Because of that, something magical is always happening around us — whether in patient care, education or research.”

Denton personally recognized the longest-tenured employee at the dinner, David Jones, a stockkeeper and 50-year employee. For context, in 1967, the same year Jones started working at the university, Lyndon Johnson was in the White House; the Beatles released Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band; and the Philadelphia 76ers, led by Wilt Chamberlain, captured the NBA championship.

“To be somewhere for this long, it shows that people really respect the work that you do,” Jones said. “And having a night like this — where we get the chance to meet others who have spent so much of their career here — reminds us that this organization is filled with incredible people who just want to help others.”

Barbara Bernard Butler was also recognized at the dinner. She has been with Michigan Medicine for 45 years, 38 as a physical therapist. She said it’s been an honor and privilege to work for the organization.

“I come from a Michigan family,” Butler said. “My dad went to school here, my sister worked here for almost 40 years. So when I had the chance to get a job here, I jumped at it. It’s truly humbling to be a part of a world-renowned institution like this.”

As faculty and staff chatted with one another, many reflected on their longevity and why they have found success at Michigan Medicine.

“This place is always changing and always changing for the better,” said Kathryn Cagins, who has spent 40 years in various roles with Patient Food and Nutrition Services. She currently works as an administrator. “If you embrace new technology and new processes, you’ll be able to shine here.”

Deborah Juster, an internal medicine nurse who works with the Briarwood Medical Group, said not only does the organization grow and change over the years, but employees have the opportunity to do the same.

“I have been given so many opportunities to develop as a nurse during my 40 years in the organization,” Juster said. “I used to just see patients when they came into the clinic. Now, I’m given the responsibility to reach out to them and follow-up on their care to ensure everything is going well.

“It’s satisfying to be entrusted with something like that and know that you’re making a difference in people’s lives,” she said.

Cynthia Howard has been at Michigan Medicine for 40 years. She is currently a computer operator in pathology informatics.

“No matter how long you’re here, every day is a new challenge,” Howard said. “It’s never boring, especially when you know that what you do personally affects so many people. It makes this an extraordinary place to work.”

To see a full list of honorees, click here. And be sure to congratulate your colleagues for their commitment to Michigan Medicine!

Week in Review: Week of Oct. 9, 2017

October 13th, 2017

Great stories were in full “supply” this week at Headlines!

For example, faculty and staff got a rundown of a new inventory supply project that is improving patient safety and clinical care at University Hospital.

Also featured: a doctor who supplies a “priceless” service to his patients; a program that helps young adults with disabilities find jobs at U-M; and the organization’s chief quality officer, who supplied his vision for the future of quality and safety at Michigan Medicine.

In case you missed it, here’s the latest!

Stockpiling success: New inventory project enhances patient care

Providing world-class patient care doesn’t begin at the bedside — it takes the hard work and collaboration of teams across the organization. Learn more about one such team, a multidisciplinary group that has improved how products are supplied and stored around the academic medical center, leading to improved care and patient safety.

Service Spotlight: Doc’s commitment to patient ‘priceless’

Dinesh Khanna, M.D., M.Sc., and his team are committed to providing their patients with a level of service that goes “beyond the call of duty.” That’s how one patient’s husband — Michael Szekely — described the commitment Khanna and others showed to his wife, Cathy. Click through for more on the Szekelys and the dedication Khanna shows to patients and colleagues on a daily basis.

U-M program helps young adults with disabilities get ready for the workforce

If you head over to the South Quad Dining Hall, you may enjoy a stir fry made by Colton Schick, a young chef with big plans. Schick is a participant in the Bridge to Work program, a collaborative effort between experts at Michigan Medicine and other major university departments. Find out more about Schick and Bridge to Work, which is designed to give young adults with disabilities job placements at U-M.

Improving quality and patient safety: Q&A with Steven J. Bernstein, M.D., MPH

Earlier this week, Steven J. Bernstein, M.D., MPH, the chief quality officer at Michigan Medicine, sat down with Headlines to discuss the Quality Department and how it impacts quality and patient safety across the organization. Click here to learn what he had to say!

Stockpiling success: New inventory project enhances patient care

October 12th, 2017

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Providing world-class patient care doesn’t begin at the bedside — it takes the hard work and collaboration of teams across the organization.

Throughout October — Quality Month at Michigan Medicine — the organization is celebrating those who have successfully worked together to improve care for patients, families and colleagues.

One such team is led by Kristine Komives, the associate director of Supply Chain/Material Services. Komives is the project lead for a multidisciplinary group that has been redesigning where medical inventory is located and maintained. Before the project began, supply rooms had no consistent organization, which was particularly problematic for employees working in multiple units or floating across units.

“Over the past two years, the teamwork I have seen from individuals in various departments to improve our patient care processes has been remarkable,” said Komives. “We have worked together to make our operations more efficient, leading to improved clinical care and patient safety — something we’re all incredibly proud of.”

A before-and-after look at the inventory project.

A proactive approach 

In December 2015, Komives was tasked with improving how products are supplied and stored in patient care areas as part of an effort to reduce waste and improve the quality of care.

“We were immediately able to identify some inefficiencies with how catheters, gloves and other important items were stored and stocked within individual units,” Komives said. “So we brought together stock keepers, nurses, unit hosts and inventory control staff members. We let everyone voice their concerns and help design the processes that would create an entirely new system that is more efficient and effective.”

Among the findings were that some bins didn’t adequately hold supplies, there were too many of some products and too few of others, hard-to-read labels made it difficult to find items in a timely manner and there was no routine review with clinical staff to determine what was needed on the floor.

“We were concerned that clinicians were spending too much time hunting for supplies as opposed to caring for our patients,” Komives said.

So the team designed a layout for the supply rooms that follows a head-to-toe anatomical layout that was already familiar to clinical staff. Labels for products were improved to focus on critical information, and a replenishment system was introduced that encourages the use of older products first and reduces the time stock keepers spend reordering supplies.

A robust forecasting model was also developed to ensure the right amount of stock is available to care for patients. Finally, the team worked hard to place products closest to where they need to be.

“We moved some products that are used regularly from the supply rooms to nursing carts outside patient rooms,” Komives said. “We moved others that are used less frequently into the supply rooms. All of the changes were designed using safety standards developed by clinical studies to streamline and improve patient care.”

Making better use of resources

The program has been piloted in several units at University Hospital, including 5C and Adult Emergency Services, and the results have been meticulously tracked. In the first few months, supplies run out far less frequently and clinicians are making significantly fewer trips to the supply room.

“We are making better use of the organization’s resources and each of our staff member’s time,” said Sarah Lane, clinical nursing director of 5C and a member of the project team. “Our nursing staff played such a major role in this project because we were constantly asking them for feedback and ideas — and as we implemented changes, they could see that their voices were being heard.”

Komives said that sentiment was felt in other departments, as well: “Our stock keepers have found it easier to replenish and keep track of supplies because store rooms are cleaner and function similarly from unit-to-unit. It’s been a big positive step forward for everyone involved.”

Feedback will continue to be solicited as tweaks to the new system are made.

“We are in the midst of a continuous improvement model,” Komives said. “Our aim is to design a system that can be copied and emulated in units across the medical center and ambulatory clinics. We’re going to get this right, no matter how long it takes.”

This project will be one of many featured at the Quality Month 2017 poster session on Oct. 24. Click here for more information.