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, June 2023 topics include:


The why of patient experience.

Reflecting on our achievements in the last year, there is a great deal to be proud of. UM UCH has led UMMS in implementing clinical pathways for CHF and COPD, moved into the operations planning phase of our new patient care spaces, and achieved top decile performance in preventing HAIs. These foundational successes show our multidisciplinary teams, with disparate expertise and shared focus, can realize the mission of providing compassionate, high-quality care. We must turn this focus toward recognizing and prioritizing the importance of patient experience.

Research has consistently shown that positive patient experiences lead to better clinical results. By delivering care with empathy, respect, and clear communication, we can create an environment that nurtures trust and fosters strong doctor-patient relationships. When patients feel heard, valued, and involved in their care, they become active participants in their healing process. They are more likely to adhere to treatment plans, follow through with lifestyle modifications, and engage in necessary follow-up care. It is through their positive experiences that we can help them achieve better health outcomes.

In today's healthcare landscape, patient experience is not just a matter of compassion and ethics; it has become an imperative. Public reporting of patient satisfaction scores and value-based reimbursement models directly link patient experience to our practice's success. Satisfied patients become ambassadors, sharing their positive experiences with others. A healthcare facility or practice known for its exceptional patient experience becomes a beacon of trust and compassion in the community.

Let us never forget our calling as providers—to heal, to comfort, and to make a difference in the lives of our patients. Let us continue to build a legacy of compassionate care, where every patient is not only treated but also truly heard, respected, and uplifted. Together, let us embrace the power of patient experience to improve patient outcomes.

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


Opening of Upper Chesapeake Woodbridge Clinic

On Monday, June 5, a ribbon-cutting event was held at the new Woodbridge Clinic. A partnership between UCH and the Harford County Health Department (HCHD), it helps to address a shortage of medical providers in the surrounding communities of Edgewood and Joppa. The HCHD has granted UCH space at its Woodbridge office (in Edgewood) to use for clinic operations. The Woodbridge Clinic operates on Mondays from 10am to 2pm and is staffed with UCH Nurse Practitioner, RN, and registration/administrative person. Patients 18 years and older will be able to be seen for medical issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, minor injuries, flu, cold, sore throat, or just not feeling well, as well as have their lab work done. The Clinic works in partnership with the HCHD to connect the patients to needed services such as insurance, mental health services, or a regular primary care provider through the HCHD Care Coordination program. Individuals, both insured and uninsured, are welcome; they will be billed for their services. Patients are encouraged to make an appointment to be seen at the Clinic, but a limited number of walk-in slots may be available.

Maryland's Health Matters Magazine

Check out the spring 2023 edition of Maryland's Health Matters where grateful patient, Danielle Collins, shares her experience with cardiac arrest and her indebtedness to the ED team at Harford Memorial, specifically Dr. Matthew Jordan. We also share updates on the SAFE (Sexual Assault Forensic Examination) Program, give an introduction to the newest bariatric, robotic and minimally invasive general surgeon, Dr. Nicholas Tapazoglou, and discuss the unique needs of women with epilepsy.

100 Completed Ion Procedures

In just under eight months of use, UM UCH completed 100 Ion procedures. The Ion endoluminal system is a robotic-assisted bronchoscopy platform for minimally invasive peripheral lung biopsy. Some highlights and clinical results to date include:

  • Avg 29 procedures per quarter
  • 76% diagnostic yield
  • Avg 45 minute procedure docking time
  • 30% increase in robotic assisted thoracotomies
  • Under 3% complication rate


Farewell to Stephanie Dinsmore

As we shared earlier this spring, it is with mixed emotion to share that Stephanie Dinsmore is retiring, effective July 7, after 28 years of service. Stephanie began her career at Fallston Hospital in 1995 in finance. She was promoted numerous times throughout her tenure to become the Vice President of Physician Services and Medical Services in 2007. She was the driving force and leader in the development and growth of our Physician Services division. She started this division with primary care, general surgery and endocrinology and has added multiple specialties over the years to include the acquisition of Harford Primary Care, Hematology/Oncology, Cardiology, Women's Care, Surgical practices to include Orthopedics, General, Hand and Plastics, Breast and Thoracic. During her many years, she oversaw the hospitalist group, behavioral health, networking and other outpatient departments as well as onboarding of many providers. Stephanie has been instrumental in creating a professional, patient- and family-centered environment in all areas she oversees. A constant figure on the Senior Management team, she has always been accessible and willing to help where she was needed. During the University of Maryland Medical System acquisition of Upper Chesapeake, Stephanie shared her knowledge and ideas for an easy and successful transition. She managed her team with integrity, empathy and compassion and set high standards for all who worked for her.

Stephanie will be missed but we are happy that she will be enjoying her retirement with her husband, Dave, children, Rachel and Jason, and her dog, Hunter. We wish her well during her travels and new adventures!

Mark Shaver and The Physician Services Team

Compress and Shock / Stop the Bleed Training for Community

In recognition of CPR and AED Awareness Week, the Community Outreach and Health Improvement team held Compress and Shock and Stop the Bleed trainings on June 3 at the Brass Mill Conference Center in Belcamp. Sixty-two combined trainings took place.

The training was held in conjunction with the Compress and Shock Foundation, a nonprofit that works to bring free and equitable access to CPR and automated external defibrillator (AED) education to all communities with a specific dedication to those communities most adversely affected by cardiac arrest due to race, ethnicity, primary language or access to health care education.

The Compress and Shock Training is specifically designed for the general public to learn how to save a life during a cardiac arrest. Educators were on site to provide hands-on instruction on how to administer CPR and how to use an AED. Participants learned about common barriers to bystander intervention and how to recognize cardiac arrest and differentiate it from a heart attack. The goal was to teach participants how to keep someone alive who is undergoing cardiac arrest until medical assistance arrives.

At the start of each Compress and Shock Training session, Patrice Bullock, the mother of Bailey Bullock, a student at The John Carroll School who died in May 2021 of cardiac arrest at a high school track and field practice in Bel Air, shared her son’s story. After his passing, Bullock founded Bailey’s Heart and Soul Foundation to raise funds to purchase AEDs to make them more readily available at locations in Harford County.


It Doesn't Kill To Ask

The University of Maryland Medical System has joined Hospitals United, a growing coalition of 170 health systems and over 1,000 hospitals, to jointly promote the public service campaign Doesn't Kill to Ask. The goal is simple: to destigmatize the conversations we have about gun safety in an effort to prevent and reduce injuries and deaths from firearms. To be clear, this effort is NOT a policy advocacy campaign, and we are not planning an advocacy campaign for gun policy interventions at the state or federal level. Rather, we want to talk directly to parents and families.

We need your help. As physicians and clinicians, you manage a unique relationship with the families in our communities, putting you in a position of guidance and trust. Encourage parents and guardians to begin asking a simple question when a child is visiting the home of friends or family: “Are there any unlocked guns in the house?” If parents seem uncomfortable with asking the question, they can reply that they are asking at the urging of their pediatrician. Learn more.


Safety and Quality Dashboard

New Orthopedic Spine Surgeon

Dr. Louis Bivona has joined University of Maryland Orthopedic Associates at Upper Chesapeake Health. After earning his medical degree at University of Maryland School of Medicine (UM SOM), he went on to serve an orthopedic surgery residency at University of Maryland Medical Center and complete his fellowship training in orthopedic spine surgery at West Virginia University Hospital.

Dr. Bivona is currently serving as assistant professor in the department of orthopedics/spine surgery and neurosurgery at UM SOM and is an active member of many professional society organizations. He has authored multiple peer-reviewed journal articles and has been the recipient of numerous honors and awards. Areas of clinical expertise include spinal deformities, disorders of the cervical and lumbar spine and minimally invasive spinal techniques. He is seeing patients at UM Upper Chesapeake Health in Bel Air.

Team Members Use Critical Thinking

In an email from Lindsay Goff, Primary Stroke Program Coordinator, she says: "I wanted to forward an event that deserves recognition, especially for Stroke Awareness Month. On April 25, the staff at the Klein Family Harford Crisis Center recognized that a patient, who was receiving treatment at their facility, had an acute neurological change. They used their critical thinking to recognize that this presentation was not related to any substance use or medication. Richette Ragland, Michael Palmer and Lisa Dejohn immediately recognized the patient was presenting with symptoms of stroke and immediately called 911. This patient did have an acute ischemic stroke and was able to be treated with IV thrombolytics. Without the advocacy of the staff at the Crisis Center, this patient would not have had such a positive outcome. As the Stroke Program Coordinator, I am so elated to see that symptoms of stroke are recognized throughout our hospital system and Harford County."

Pediatric Skills Day

Please join us for our popular Pediatric Skills Day on Friday, June 9 in the Lyle Sheldon Conference Room at UCMC. We’ll have two sessions: one from 10 a.m. – 12 noon and another from 12:30 – 2:30 p.m. Attendees will learn skills such as IV starts, papoosing an infant, catheters, suctioning, intubation, BiPAP, LMAs, Vapotherm, needle decompression, chest tubes, and more! No registration is necessary.


Importance of Sports Physicals

In a message from Shelley Palmere, director of surgical practice operations at UM UCMC, she writes: "We received a call today from the mom of a female student who had a sports physical last year with Ben Diffenderfer, PA-C, and wanted to speak with him. We pulled her physical form for him to reference. Some family history questions were asked during the physical, and Ben found out that the student's grandmother died of cardiac arrest in her thirties. This was a red flag for Ben. He met with the mother and explained he would not sign off on the physical until her daughter saw a pediatric cardiologist and was cleared. The mother disputed Ben for around 30 minutes stating she would take her someone else to get clearance and that her daughter was asymptomatic. Ben stayed firm and would not sign the physical form without being cleared.

"We did not hear from the mom until today; that's when she called and thanked Ben. She ended up taking her daughter to a pediatric cardiologist who diagnosed the teen with a bicuspid heart valve, which is genetic. Her daughter had many tests and is doing fine and will be followed by the cardiologist. This exemplifies the importance of sports physicals and the knowledge, concern and professionalism of Ben.

"For those who aren't aware, an untreated bicuspid aortic valve can eventually lead to symptoms of heart failure. These include shortness of breath, fatigue, and swelling. Also, an aortic aneurysm might develop downstream from the aortic valve and can lead to bleeding or rupture.”