For Immediate Release January 26, 2023


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The historic win marks the first time a single healthcare organization has received the top two awards, in addition to being named a Circle of Honor winner.

GLEN BURNIE, Md. (Jan. 26, 2023) – University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center (UM BWMC) was recognized by the Maryland Patient Safety Center for its commitment to quality patient care and innovation with three 2023 Minogue Awards for Patient Safety Innovation. The hospital received the top two highest honors, a first in the program's history.

More than 60 projects were submitted by healthcare organizations and hospitals from across the state for consideration in this year's awards. The honorees were selected by a panel of independent judges who are leaders in the Maryland healthcare community. UM BWMC is one of just eight hospitals statewide recognized in this year's Minogue Awards program.

"Our team consistently looks for new and better ways to improve care delivery for all of our patients," said Kathy McCollum, President and CEO of UM BWMC. "These three projects really exemplify how well our team understands our patients, from the youngest to the complex, and how we apply this knowledge to best clinical practices to help more people get access to the care and treatments they need. This recognition from the Maryland Patient Safety Center is further proof of our team's unwavering commitment to evolving to meet the growing healthcare needs of our community."

The top honor—the Patient Safety Innovation Award—went to UM BWMC's program "Implementation of an Acute Interdisciplinary Care Model to Improve COPD (AIR- COPD) Outcomes", which focused on reducing hospital readmissions for patients experiencing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a disease that makes it difficult to breathe and is commonly associated with smoking. According to the Anne Arundel County Health Department, approximately 13.5% of Anne Arundel County residents report using cigarettes.

"This recognition is another example of how our hospitals are living our System's values and transforming health care delivery," said Mohan Suntha, MD, MBA, President and CEO of the University of Maryland Medical System, parent organization of UM BWMC. "As an academic health system, we aim to be relentless in our pursuit of discovery and innovation, and these awards demonstrate how BWMC is fulfilling that value every day in taking care of patients and looking toward how health care can be improved in the future."

The winning team of providers and pharmacists at UM BWMC developed care plans for patients with COPD to help them better manage their symptoms as they transitioned from in-hospital care to outpatient care settings and their homes. This included scheduling follow-up appointments with lung experts and helping patients access low-cost medications, such as smoking cessation drugs and inhalers. The program also designated a nurse to call patients once they were home to understand if patients were having any trouble making appointments and following their care plan. This combination of interventions and teamwork helped the hospital decrease unnecessary hospital readmissions related to COPD by 32%.

"This program really highlights the importance of connecting specialists and working together to help patients transition their care management from the hospital team to outpatient care resources," said Katrina Roux-Bernstein, ACNP, UM BWMC Pulmonary Nurse Practitioner. "By helping patients access medications and schedule follow-up appointments with lung experts prior to their discharge from the hospital, we were able to reduce the number of people who needed to come back to the hospital for breathing problems related to COPD."

A collaborative team of cardiologists, other physician specialists and nurses from UM BWMC was recognized with the Distinguished Achievement for Patient Safety Innovation Award for their work, "Adapting ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI) Care During a Pandemic." A STEMI, or a serious type of heart attack with a blocked coronary artery, typically requires surgical intervention. The team worked together to move patients who experienced a STEMI into a progressive care unit designed to care for cardiac patients for their recovery. The unit is designed to care for patients that need additional supervision, but not necessarily intensive care. This change in process helped reduce the amount of time cardiac patients spent in the hospital, and also freed ICU beds to be available for sicker patients.

"By implementing this process change, we were able to reduce the amount of time our STEMI patients spent in the hospital by 30 hours," said Cheryl Coale, RN, Nurse Manager of the hospital's Cardiac Cath Lab. "Additionally, the STEMI program reduced our ICU utilization by 69%, making more ICU beds available for high acuity patients."

"The STEMI program is a real win for everyone," said Neel Vibhakar, MD, the hospital's Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer. "By identifying the right place for care, we safely cared for cardiac patients and helped them return home sooner, where they could begin to resume normal activities and get back to their regular routines. Additionally, we were able to make more intensive care beds available for sicker patients with higher acuity needs, such as those with complications from COVID-19."

UM BWMC's inpatient pediatric unit was recognized with a Circle of Honor Award for Implementation of High Flow Nasal Cannula - their program to bring a high flow nasal cannula therapy to the hospital so that they could care for more children with moderate to severe breathing issues. This therapy helps clear mucus in nasal passageways and improve airflow in the tiniest patients. By training team members on this new approach, the pediatric inpatient team was able to treat 79% of patients who, without the therapy, would most likely have been transferred to hospitals in Baltimore or Washington, D.C. for care.

"By implementing this new therapy, we were able to help families get the care their children needed closer to home and not have to travel far away to receive treatment," said Pamela Nehring, RN, DPN, CPN, SCNII, a UM BWMC Senior Clinical Nurse II and Pediatric Clinical Nurse Educator. "It really makes you feel good to know that you are not only helping the patient, but you are also reducing the amount of stress on their families by offering quality care close to where they live and work."

UM BWMC last received the top Minogue Award in 2020 for its innovative program to implement a critical care outreach program that improved prevention and early recognition of organ failure in patients and improved timely care delivery. The hospital was also named a Circle of Honor winner in the 2022 Minogue Awards for Patient Safety Innovation for its "Stroke 'SWARM' Process" program which streamlines the process for giving clot-busting drug therapy to stroke patients within 30 minutes of arrival to the hospital.

Named for William Minogue, MD, FACP, the Maryland Patient Safety Center's first president and executive director, the Minogue Awards recognizes organizations within the state that have made a significant difference in patient safety through an innovative solution. UM BWMC will be recognized and present their top two award-winning solutions at the 19th Annual Maryland Patient Safety Conference on March 31.

About the University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center

The University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center (UM BWMC) is an acute-care facility that is part of the University of Maryland Medical System. It is located in Glen Burnie, Maryland and has 314 beds and more than 3,100 team members. It also has 1,200 medical providers on staff in over 50 specialties. For more information, visit

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 10 University of Maryland Urgent Care centers and more than 150 other locations in 13 counties. For more information, visit