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.

This month's eFocus topics include:


I feel like the summer went by in the blink of an eye and here we are with back-to-school season upon us. As we start to enter the fall, we have started to map out our transition from UM Harford Memorial Hospital to UM Aberdeen Medical Campus, Behavioral Health Pavilion, the new bed tower atop of the Kaufman Cancer Center at UCMC and the opening of our ambulatory surgery center (Chesapeake Surgery Center).

Take a look at the transition calendar and timeline and please provide feedback. I am sure it will generate questions, which is exactly what we want. We will bring this timeline to each of your departmental meetings, so that we can continue to learn and improve on the plan. A continuous learning environment is an important step in our high reliability journey. I look forward to your feedback and thoughts on this plan as we work towards improving it.

Thank you and enjoy this month’s eFocus!

Fermin Barrueto, Jr., MD, MBA
Senior Vice President/CMO
Medical Staff Affairs


Facilities Opening, Expansion and Closing in 2024

As you know, we have been on a years-long journey to transform and improve the way our community accesses and experiences health care. Today, I am proud to say that we are entering the final phase of this journey, and in a few short months we will be opening new, modern facilities, expanding services and transitioning care delivery across our campuses – all with the goal of providing better care, patient experiences and health outcomes for our community.

Beginning in January 2024, there will be a series of facility openings and expansions that will allow us to seamlessly transition patient care from UM Harford Memorial Hospital to our Bel Air and Aberdeen campuses.

In January, we will begin to transition appropriate surgical cases to the new Ambulatory Surgery Center in Pavilion III on our Bel Air campus.

In February, we will open the doors of the new medical center on our Aberdeen campus, which includes a state-of-the-art emergency department, observation beds and support services.

Also opening on the Aberdeen campus in February is a new Behavioral Health Pavilion, which will provide comprehensive inpatient care as well as outpatient therapy programs and services to patients.

At the same time, the new Bed Tower will open on the Bel Air campus, adding 72 patient beds. In March, our advanced outpatient programs in orthopedics, spine, hand/plastics and rehabilitation will move to Pavilion III, creating a convenient and seamless care experience for patients undergoing surgery and recovery.

These significant changes affect not only our patients, but our team members too – particularly those at UM Harford Memorial, as well as those who work within units in Bel Air that are moving. Our leadership teams are working hard on the transition plan across all locations.

Detailed and transparent communication with our team members will be important as we move forward. With this in mind, an information hub has been created on our Intranet to house all transition details, updates and FAQs. There is also an option for you to submit your questions. All team members will receive regular updates via the Weekly Huddle Guide, team member emails, signage and other materials. There will also be regular town hall events and “office hours” with leaders to allow for meaningful two-way conversations. Additionally, each department will have a Change Ambassador who will serve as the team’s main source of information during this time.

I recognize this has been a long journey for our team. I am incredibly proud of the critical role each of you plays to keep our community healthy and vibrant, and I am extremely excited for all that is ahead. I hope that you share in this pride and excitement, and I thank you wholeheartedly for your commitment as, together, we bring the best possible care to our community.


Elizabeth Wise, FACHE
President/CEO at UM Upper Chesapeake Health

Greater Maryland Heart and Stroke Walk – October 21, 2023

The American Heart Association (AHA) needs our help. Will you join our president, Elizabeth Wise, and us to be one of our team captains, a walker and/or a donor for this year’s Greater Maryland Heart and Stroke Walk effort?

UM Upper Chesapeake Health is once again proud to be part of the larger University of Maryland Medical System team for the AHA’s Greater Maryland Heart and Stroke Walk on Saturday, October 21, at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium. Activities start at 8 am and the Walk itself will start at 9:30 am. We are calling on you to play a role in this endeavor. 

The mission of the AHA is imperative now more than ever. It is focused on protecting the 120 million people in the United States who currently have one or more cardiovascular conditions by:

  • Providing healthcare workers with ventilator training
  • Training hospitals and communities in CPR
  • Helping accelerate the discovery of antiviral drugs
  • Advocating to provide families greater access to care

The AHA has worked specifically with the University of Maryland Medical System on a number of initiatives:

  • In 2023, the American Heart Association currently has 11 active research projects totaling over $2 million with the University of Maryland.
  • The AHA and UMMS is working to address nutrition security across the state of Maryland collaborating on community gardens and cooking classes.

Be a part of the action. Sign up by following these directions:

  • Go to 2023 Upper Chesapeake Heart Walk Page.
  • Click create a team OR Join a team.
  • Make a personal donation to kick off your efforts and contribute toward our goal to raise funds for the AHA.
  • Follow the prompt to complete registration and start recruiting/fundraising.

The vision of UM Upper Chesapeake Health is to create the healthiest community in Maryland. The AHA offers education and research on heart health and stroke prevention for our local area and all of Maryland. Our support of its efforts helps us reach the goal of a healthy community.

Please feel free to contact either one of us via email (mlewis@umm.edu or Lindsey.Goff@umm.edu) or phone (x3713) with any questions or to sign up or donate to our Heart Walk team. Additionally, please contact our Heart Walk Director, Katie Remenapp, at Katie.Remenapp@heart.org to help you with your fundraising efforts!

Thank you for your participation!

Mark Lewis
Director, HVI
Co-Chairperson, AHA Heart Walk – UCH


Lindsay Goff
Primary Stroke Program Coordinator
Co-Chairperson, AHA Heart Walk – UCH



FY2024 Annual Operating Plan (AOP)

Safety and Quality

Achieve zero preventable harm for patients and team members and assure the use of evidence-based medicine in all clinical care settings.

  • Reduce Hospital Acquired Infections (HAIs).
  • Reduce clinical variation through ongoing management of chronic diseases and implementation of clinical pathways for CHF, COPD and sepsis.

Patient/Consumer Engagement

Define and deliver system-wide patient engagement approach that delivers on a consistent experience.

  • Improve patient experience score for the “overall rating” of UM UCH.
  • Improve emergency department patient experience score for “staff worked together to care for you."

System Integration

Accelerate integration in priority areas to increasingly leverage our size and scale to increase system effectiveness and support member organization objectives.

  • Ensure leader participation in HRO Leadership Rounds for 44 out of the 52 weeks in FY2024.

Value-based Care

Build out the integrated clinical, intelligence and operational model and infrastructure to assume more financial risk for additional insured populations.

  • Reduce the readmission rate at UCMC and HMH.
  • Reduce the medical/surgical and observation average length of stay (ALOS) at UCMC and HMH.

Access to Care

Build-out delivery systems in local markets served, invest in programs of differentiation and service lines and launch a digital health strategy.
  • Achieve the FY2024 milestones for the Aberdeen and Bel Air construction projects on time and on budget.
  • Maintain and improve access to specialty clinics measured by Third Next Available Appointment (TNAA).
  • Improve access to the emergency department by reducing Left Without Being Seen (LWBS).

Workforce and Culture

Become the destination employer for the top talent by fostering an engaged, inclusive and diverse workforce aligned in excellence around our purpose and values.

  • Improve team member retention by reducing the voluntary turnover rate.
  • Increase the reporting of all incidents of workplace violence.
  • Ensure equity in patient care by reducing asthma ED visits for the pediatric African American population.

Financial Health

Maintain Strong Financial health by achieving the identified financial measures.
  • Achieve the budgeted operating income.
  • Achieve the budgeted Earnings Before Interest, Depreciation and Amortization (EBIDA).
  • Raise $4 million in philanthropic support for ongoing and new funding needs.

High Reliability Organization (HRO)

Our work to become a High Reliability Organization is a critical System priority and the foundational effort to the change management work happening across the System. It will take all of us working together to accomplish this, and to become a better organization for our team members, patients and the communities we serve. Please take a few minutes to review additional details about our HRO journey.

Safety, Quality, PX and HAI Dashboards

Interested in seeing how we're performing in HAIs, mortality and pediatric asthma? You can review our numbers via these dashboards:

FY2024 Safety, Quality and Patient Experience Dashboard at UM Upper Chesapeake Health

HAPIs per facility by fiscal year for UM UCH's Harford Memorial Hospital and Upper Chesapeake Medical Center facilities

Pediatric Asthma visits by facility across the University of Maryland Medical System network


In the Literature

Check out the latest roundup of Dr. Leo's "In the Literature", where he reviews various medical studies and articles. This month's topics include the effect of low dose aspirin on incidence of anemia in the elderly, culture positive and culture negative empyema after thoracoscopic decortication, trends in COVID reinfections and hospitalizations from September 2021 –  December 2022 and more.


EMR Access

Do you know what constitutes a HIPAA Violation? Accessing records without a legitimate reason is a HIPAA violation and can carry a $50,000 fine per occurrence, reputational harm and results in disciplinary action for those involved. All healthcare workers are obligated to protect our patient’s, our coworkers and our peer’s privacy.

Here are some tips:

  • Only use the EMR for Treatment, Payment or Operations (TPO)– not to find a phone number, birthday or neighbor’s address.
  • Ask yourself: “Am I treating the patient I’m searching or accessing, coordinating insurance or payment tasks – or the information is needed for operational needs?” If the answer is not a clear YES, stop and seek clarification or some other source for the information, not the EMR.
  • When appropriately accessing a patient’s EMR, only access the minimum necessary to complete the task. When accessing a tracker, list or census within EPIC, make sure you have a need to know all of that information.
  • Never use the EMR for any information without a legitimate treatment, payment or operations need.

For more information or questions, contact UM UCH Privacy Officer, Kerry Stratemeyer: