Welcome to eFocus. Our goal is to provide you with timely, informative and useful short summaries and links about UM UCH related news, issues, or events. Feel free to contact us if you have news to share, story ideas or any other feedback. As always, your comments are welcome.

eFocus, January 2023 topics include:


It's hard to believe that one year ago today UM UCH was in crisis standards of care with over 150 COVID patients at both sites. We had cancelled elective surgeries and stretched our staff. Though we remain challenged today from all the respiratory viral illnesses, staffing and capacity, we also know that we have been able to persevere and even succeed in this environment. COVID has climbed back into relevancy with 28 at UCMC and 11 at HMH. COVID positive rate is 14.8% currently in Harford County but influenza and RSV have seen declines. Influenza A has been the predominant type of flu but, as expected, we are seeing an increase in flu B now.

Despite these challenges, I remain optimistic because of the incredible teams we have that care for our community. We have seen an unprecedented drop in our healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) with 5 HAIs for FY 23 so far, and we have seen improvements in almost all of our quality metrics. Please take a look at that Safety and Quality Dashboard as it does tell a good story. We have plenty of work to do but remain honored and grateful to work with all of you. Here is to a prosperous 2023 filled with joy and success!

Fermin Barrueto, Jr., M.D., M.B.A.
Senior Vice President/CMO
Medical Staff Affairs


Red Dress, Pink Ribbon

Do you know someone living with heart disease or breast cancer? Experts from UM UCH, including Drs. Hasan Shakoor and Marie Kanagie-Mcaleese, will be on hand at this event on Saturday, Feb. 25 from 8 am to noon to teach the benefits of reconnecting with yourself and focusing on personal well-being during treatment. There will be interactive activities, refreshments and even vendors on hand with paper goods, kitchenware, candles, cosmetics, accessories and more. Learn more.

Saturday, February 25, 8 am to 12 noon
Kaufman Cancer Center
500 Upper Chesapeake Drive in Bel Air

Registration is required by calling 800-515-0044.

Inclement weather date is Saturday, March 4. Call 800-515-0044 or check our UM UCH Facebook page for questions on weather. 


Volume Surge

UM UCH, along with other organizations such as the County Health Departments and the Maryland Hospital Association (MHA), is engaging with our community to improve understanding on where they can receive the most appropriate level of care. For reference, please review this release from the MHA. We continue to share this information with the public using our social media platforms, but you can also help by sharing with family and friends.

Introductions and Promotions

Dr. Yelena Safarpour has joined the Pavilion I office of Harford Primary Care. Dr. Safarpour attended St. George's University School of Medicine and completed her family medicine residency at St. Francis Hospital in Wilmington, Delaware, where she served as Chief Resident in her final year. She is certified by the American Board of Family Medicine. Dr. Safarpour is joining us from Northampton Family Medicine in Massachusetts. Her primary motivation for moving is to be in closer proximity to family. When not working she enjoys outdoor activities and experiencing world cuisine.

Dr. Julie Woods has joined Upper Chesapeake Hematology and Oncology. Dr. Woods attended Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York. She completed her internal medicine residency at Drexel University/Hahnemann University and her hematology/oncology fellowship at Fox Chase Cancer Center/Temple University, both in Philadelphia.; She worked at Geisinger Medical Center for five years and is joining us from WellSpan Medical Group/Ephrata Cancer Center where she was Site Director. While comfortable treating all cancer diagnoses, she does have a special interest in GI malignancies. Dr. Woods, her spouse and two children have relocated to Forest Hill and look forward to planting long-term roots in the area.

Stacy Guerin, MSN, RN, FNE-A has been named the new Assistant Vice President of Operations for UM HMH. Stacy joined UM Upper Chesapeake Health in 2016 and was promoted to the Nurse Manager role for the HMH ED. In addition to leading her department through the challenges of COVID, Stacy has utilized her Lean Six Sigma training to improve quality and patient experience within the HMH ED. She has also been a driving force behind the expansion of the SAFE (Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner) Program in Harford County and is a steadfast advocate of programs and groups that aim to prevent and educate the community on sexual assault, human trafficking, and domestic violence.

Stacy has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Johns Hopkins University and a Master of Science in Nursing from Western Governors University. In addition, she is a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt. Stacy will report to Evan Combs to oversee operations as the on-site executive for HMH before transitioning to the new Aberdeen Medical Center. She will collaborate with other hospital leaders to drive performance on the annual operating plan and help resolve issues that impact our quality, safety and patient experience. She will also work closely with the clinical and non-clinical teams to create policies and procedures for the new Aberdeen campus. When she is not working, Stacy enjoys spending time with her husband, two children, and dog (Bernie) in the great outdoors. She is an avid hiker and camper and die-hard Ravens fan.

Safety and Quality Dashboard

SCORE Survey

We continue on our journey to share the results of the SCORE and create action plans to address our opportunities for improvement. Your participation in Pause and Reflect sessions is crucial to ensuring we are able to focus on things most meaningful to you. Your open feedback and active participating in identifying solutions is paramount to moving further toward being a high reliability organization.

CUSP Rollout in 2023

Becoming a high reliability organization (HRO) means consistently achieving high standards of safety, effectiveness, and efficiency, with patients at the center of all our efforts. In 2023, we will begin a phased transition from Back to Basics to the CUSP (Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program) model. CUSP has a track record of success in reducing the rates of various HAIs in different settings nationwide, amounting to a $1.1 million annual savings for the average hospital who implements CUSP.

CUSP was designed to improve safety culture and learn from mistakes by integrating safety practices into the daily work of a unit. It provides a platform for frontline staff to voice their concerns and work through addressing safety issues as part of a multidisciplinary team. The key CUSP team members—nurses, physicians, and senior executives—will help ensure the initiative is used effectively. Each unit will need a physician champion. Physician champions serve as role models for CUSP activities, meet with the CUSP team monthly, and communicate with physician groups as needed. The champion provides the perspective of unit physicians, and may assist the CUSP team in provider-focused implementation of interventions.

This is an opportunity for you to drive improvement efforts and own the change. We will be looking for Physician Champions once we start assembling teams. More information to come.


Celebrating the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

We look forward to celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s life and vision on January 16. This holiday, growing as a Day of Service, is an opportunity to highlight and strengthen the efforts of our health care community. As we recognize Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s great accomplishments, and acknowledge the significant work to be done in continuing to address inequality in health care, we thank all of our Upper Chesapeake Health team members who uphold our value to foster inclusion and embrace diversity in human experiences, ideas and perspectives. As one great example, our UCH Community Outreach and Health Improvement team will be distributing Dental Care packets to community members January 15 - 21.


Medication Reconciliation Tips and Tricks

Case: In a recent near-miss event, a nurse prevented a patient from receiving a double dose of medication by reviewing the patient's Prior to Admission (PTA) medication list. It had been noted that the patient had taken their morning medications prior to admission; however, the patient's medication orders were timed to start that morning as well. Because the medications had a frequency of once-daily, the nurse realized that the orders should be retimed to start the following day.

Tip: The importance of obtaining an accurate patient medication history and performing medication reconciliation is well-understood. One of the many elements that should be documented in the PTA medication list is when each medication was last taken. This field must be reviewed when the medication list is reconciled and the decision is made to reorder PTA medications.

EPIC will not prompt the provider to change the date at the point of reordering because the “last taken” field is technically a free-text field. Providers must actively change the start date when clinically appropriate to avoid double doses of therapy.