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The BMC Brief

January 12, 2012 Volume 1, Issue 17

New Year, New You

It is New Year’s resolutions time, and chances are, eating better and exercising more are on your list. BMC can help. The hospital offers a variety of programs, benefits and discounts to help you achieve your 2012 goals. Take advantage of these offers as you work toward a new you in the New Year.

Eat smart

  • BMC offers culinary demonstrations to staff through the Department of Food and Nutrition Services. Participants learn how to make healthy dishes like homemade soups and then enjoy the meal. Classes are held the last Wednesday of every month from noon-1 p.m. in the Dowling 4 Demonstration Kitchen. The next class is Jan. 25. To sign up, register online under the Human Resources section of the BMC intranet.

  • The Department of Integrative Medicine offers Cooking for Health classes to patients and staff the third Tuesday of every month from 4-5 p.m. in the Dowling 4 Demonstration Kitchen. Participants see, smell, and taste delicious, healthy food. Then next class is Jan. 17 and will focus on Ayurveda cooking. Pratibha Shah, an Ayurvedic expert, will talk about basic concepts of Ayurveda and demo simple recipes. To register, call Integrative Medicine at 414-6795.

  • A new session of Weight Watchers at Work starts Jan. 17. The group will meet every Tuesday at 2:15 p.m. in Moakley LL215. Weight Watchers assists members in losing weight by forming helpful habits, eating smarter, getting more exercise and providing support. No food is off limits. Between the accountability of weighing in and sharing challenges and triumphs with co-workers, you’re sure to achieve your 2012 weight-loss goals. The cost is $39.95 per month. Some insurance plans refund some of the cost and you do not have to be a member previously to join. Contact Tanya Crews for more information.

  • Beverage Tip: Free filtered water is available in the three BMC cafeterias at the soda fountain. Bring your own cup and fill up throughout the day. Water has been proven to boost metabolism, cleanse the body of toxins and make skin glow.

Get fit

Joining a gym is a sure way to kick-start your fitness goals. BMC has teamed up with numerous fitness clubs in the greater Boston area to offer discounts that help combat pricey membership fees. Exercise boosts energy, reduces stress and sharpens thinking, so get started with any of these options.

  • Boston Sports Club offers access to more than 150 locations with 5,000 classes per week and all the latest equipment with membership options starting as low as $59 per month, For more information, contact Jennyfer Shupack at 917-351-6680 ext. 1580 or visit the website.

  • Greater Boston YMCA offers access to 13 greater Boston locations. Classes, indoor pools, unlimited classes, free towel service and massage beds, make this option a no brainer. Contact Xavier Rhinehart at 617-927-8060 or visit the website.

  • South End Fitness Center is located near BMC at 35 Northhampton St. SEFC offers BMC employees a special rate of $310 for a year-long membership. With lunchtime exercise classes, like pilates, this is a great option for BMC employees. For more information call 617-534-5822.

  • Fitness Together is a personal training organization that offers a 15 percent discount on all programs including one-on-one strength training, cardio conditioning, and nutritional counseling at their Cambridge location with BMC identification. Contact Norman Rousseau at 617-547-4244.

  • WalkBoston is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to improving walking conditions in cities and towns across Massachusetts. BMC employees receive a 10 percent membership discount. Visit http://www.walkboston.org/ or call 617-367-9255 for more information.

  • Pathways to Wellness is a non-profit public health organization that provides access to high-quality holistic therapies including acupuncture, shiatsu and Chinese herbal medicine. BMC employees may receive either a 25 percent discount on a service or purchase an initial acupuncture treatment at the regular price and get the second treatment free. Call 617-859-3036 to make an appointment.

  • HealthWorks Fitness Centers for Women is Boston’s premier group of women-only fitness centers. Healthworks offers a corporate discount program with $6 off prevailing monthly rates and two complimentary personal training sessions when you join. Visit http://www.healthworksfitness.com/ for a complimentary guest pass and additional information.

  • If you are taking advantage of Harvard Pilgrim's Fitness Reimbursement program, it's now faster and easier for you to receive up to $150 in reimbursement through your HPHConnect account. Apply for reimbursement online and reduce your cost in just two weeks.

  • Fitness tip: Taking the stairs instead of the elevator is a great way to get in shape, improve cardiovascular function and strengthen and tone legs muscles. One flight up and two flights down can go a long way toward the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity a day.

Quit smoking
BMC is going smoke free, inside and out, April 16. Now is the perfect time to quit!

No smoking
  • BMC’s Smoking Cessation Program will start Jan. 27. The eight-week medical program is administered by Robert Sokolove, PhD, BUSM Assistant Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry, and focuses on the physical dependence on nicotine as well as the behavioral aspect of it. The program includes pharmacotherapy, nicotine replacement (gum and patches), stress reduction training, cognitive restructuring, social support and relapse prevention counseling.

    For employees who are enrolled in on one of the BMC group health plans, (BMC Preferred, HPHC HMO or HPHC PPO) the cost is a co-payment each week. The amount is the same as a co-payment you would pay for a regular doctor’s office visit. Employees who complete the full program will have all their co-payments waived.

    The first session will be held Jan. 27 from 12-12:45 p.m. on Dowling 8, Room 8108. The program will meet every Friday from 12-12:45 p.m. in Dowling 8108 through March 16.

    To register, call 638-8670 and leave your name and contact number. Staff from the program will call you back to confirm your enrollment.

  • BMC’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) offers one-on-one coaching to those trying to quit. An initial on-site intake is completed at BMC and then an employee receives three face-to-face meetings (on or off site) and three phone meetings over an eight-10 week period to address all areas regarding relapse prevention. The focus is on an employee’s interest in quitting, why he/she wants to be a non-smoker and cognitive behavioral therapy techniques to assistant and support the individual. To get started, call 617-451-6902 and leave a confidential message stating you wish to sign up for a BMC smoking cessation appointment. State your name, all possible contact numbers and permission for a certified wellness coach to leave you a message.

  • BMC has teamed with Pathways to Wellness to offer acupuncture treatment to help people become ex-smokers. The sessions are specifically designed to assist people who are ready to quit smoking. Acupuncture can directly address cravings for nicotine, restlessness and irritability, as well as other symptoms frequently experienced by people as they make the transition to smoke-free living. Pathways’ smoking cessation support kit contains herbal tea to help detoxify the body, herbal imitation smoke-less cigarettes and an herbal inhaler designed to decrease cravings. Treatments cost $25 (plus $15 for the initial visit) and require approximately 30 minutes. The herbal support kit costs $50. Call 617-859-303 to schedule an appointment. The Pathways clinic is located at 1601 Washington St., 3rd Floor, Boston (next to Flour Café).


  • There is no denying that work can be stressful. What better way to relax your mind and body than with a mid-day massage? Staff Chair Massages are held every Thursday from 11:15 a.m.-12:30 p.m.:

    Newton Pavilion: Go to the 8th floor, 8N Conference Room, to sign up for a 10-minute massage.

    Menino Pavilion: To schedule a date for your unit/department, contact Cynthia Rodriguez.

    Appointments are made on a first-come, first-served basis and space is limited.

  • Free yoga classes are offered to BMC patients and staff by Integrative Medicine every Tuesday and Thursday, from 6-7:15 p.m. in the Moakley Lower Level Radiation Oncology waiting room. All materials are provided and no registration is necessary. Just wear comfortable clothes.

  • Free Qigong/Tai Chi classes are offered to cancer patients and staff Wednesdays from 4-5:30 p.m. in the Moakley Lower Level Waiting Room. Led by acclaimed instructor Ramel Rones, these exercises release tension, strengthen the body and immune system, and increase mindfulness. No registration is necessary. Space is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

  • Rejuvenation tip: Stretch when you have a few minutes of downtime. Stretching is a great way to release muscle tension, improve balance and coordination and increase energy.

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        New Solomont Simulation Center to Enhance Collaboration

        The mannequin, representing an 89-year-old woman, is lying on a stretcher in the preoperative area prior to surgical repair of a hip fracture. The anesthesia resident and preoperative nurse are conducting their final checks when the mannequin states, "I can't breathe." The nurse had started the patient’s Kefzol 1 gram prior to entering the operating room. The patient’s heart rate increases from 60 to 150 and her blood pressure drops to 50. When the resident listens to her breath, he hears wheezing in her chest. The resident and nurse must now determine what has happened and the appropriate course of treatment.

        Over the next 10 minutes, a simulation trainer will watch through a one-way window as the nurse and resident respond to the patient’s anaphylactic drug reaction, which will include the administration of medications and intubation of the mannequin followed by cardiac arrest. For the participants, the scenario feels like a real emergency as they go through all the necessary resuscitation maneuvers.

        Lisa O'Connor and Keith Lewis 
        Lisa O'Connor and Keith Lewis oversee the development of the Center

        Welcome to the world of medical simulation, where caregivers use computer-controlled equipment to develop and refine skills, and learn new procedures and treatment protocols before using them on actual patients. Soon BMC staff will be performing simulation exercises in a state-of-the-art facility.

        This month BMC will complete construction on a 5,000 square foot simulation center in the home of the former Newton Pavilion Emergency Department. The new center will consolidate the various simulation areas around the hospital, including those located in Anesthesia, Nursing, Pediatrics and the Menino Pavilion Emergency Department.

        BMC’s high-fidelity simulation center, to be called the Solomont Clinical Simulation and Nursing Education Center, will give staff the most realistic simulation experience possible using mannequins programmed with pre-defined scenarios. Entire teams will train while video cameras capture their actions for review in debriefing sessions following the simulations. The experience is as real as it gets, says Keith Lewis, RPh, MD, Chair, Anesthesiology.

        “Simulation brings cases to life,” says Lewis, who has overseen the development of the center along with Lisa O’Connor, RN, BSN, MS, NEAA-BC, Senior Vice President for Clinical Operations and Chief Nursing Officer. “It’s not a technology, but a technique. It allows you to see the roles of various people, prevent errors and problems before they occur, and define how to get to a better outcome.”

        The interdisciplinary Center will allow BMC/BUSM staff, faculty and residents to perform all simulation on site, which sets BMC apart in the Boston academic medical center community.

        “Nursing, physicians and allied health professionals will routinely train as teams for high-risk scenarios as opposed to doctors and nurses training independently,” says Lewis. “We will be the only center in Boston to perform simulation this way.”

        The Center’s vision was developed by BMC/BUSM leaders with the common goal to create a simulation area that trains the caregivers of today and tomorrow to provide the safest care to BMC patients. That focus, of putting the patient first, is what the simulation center is all about, says O’Connor.

        Lisa O'Connor and Keith Lewis 
        O'Connor and Lewis in the new Solomont Simulation Center

        “The Center is symbolic for changing the way we train and learn together,” she says. “We are working as a team focused on the patient, which is the crux of the patient safety culture. Through this continuous learning, we will continue to capitalize on BMC’s performance in quality and safety and our quest to Be Exceptional.”

        “The goal is for simulation to become embedded in our system and part of our everyday culture,” adds Lewis.

        The Center, which can accommodate up to 150 people, will feature three high-fidelity simulation rooms, two task training rooms, two control centers, a classroom and conference room, and office and storage space. The Center will be outfitted with a mix of current and new equipment, all of which will be on wheels to allow for flexibility within the space. It will be overseen by four departments: Anesthesia, Emergency Medicine, Nursing and Pediatrics, and staffed by a simulation coordinator. The Center’s construction began last October and will be completed this month. The Center will open for use in March.

        Substantial funding for the Center was raised at the 2011 BMC Gala, where donors gave $1.7 million for its construction. Other donors include longtime BMC partners Anaesthesia Associates and the Massachusetts Memorial Hospitals Nursing Alumnae Association (MMHNAA). In addition, the BMC Medical and Dental Staff have given $400,000 toward this effort over the past four years. The Solomont Clinical Simulation and Nursing Education Center is named in honor of former vice chair of the BMC Board of Trustees Alan Solomont and his wife Susan Solomont, who were honored at the 2011 Gala. Space within the Center will named for Erwin Hirsch, MD, BMC's long-time Chief of Trauma Surgery, and in recognition of major support from the Ross Fund of the MMHNAA, and for Dr. Ellison Pierce, a colleague of the Anaesthesia Associates.

        O’Connor notes that non-clinical teams will be able to use the Center to train for emergency preparedness scenarios, communication and de-escalation situations.

        “It will give us a method to assess the preparedness of our institution,” she says.

        O’Connor and Lewis believe that as team training and simulation grow, BMC will become a more fully integrated health care team.

        “It’s what our patients deserve,” says Lewis.

        The Solomont Clinical Simulation and Nursing Education Center will be open five days a week beginning in March.

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        Genetic Predisposition to Disease Common in Two Supercentenarians

        Both unusual and common genetic phenomena contribute to extreme human longevity according to a new study by BMC and Boston University Schools of Public Health and Medicine.

        The study, published Jan. 3 in Frontiers in Genetics, reports a comprehensive analysis of the whole genome sequences of a man and a woman, both of whom lived past the age of 114. Supercentenarians (age 110+ years) are very rare, occurring at a rate of one person per five million in developed countries, and there is growing evidence supporting a strong genetic influence in survival to such ages.

        Thomas Perls, MD, MPH
        Thomas Perls, MD, MPH

        The study shows that while the two supercentenarians carried as many disease-associated genes as the general population, their longevity suggests other protective mechanisms are at work.

        The male subject had 37 genetic mutations associated with increased risk for colon cancer, indicating that he was in no way immune to that age-related disease. "In fact, he had presented with an obstructing colon cancer earlier in his life that had not metastasized and was cured with surgery. He was in phenomenal cognitive and physical shape near the time of his death," says Thomas Perls, MD, MPH, director of the New England Centenarian Study and senior author of the article.

        The female supercentenarian also had numerous genetic variations associated with age-related diseases, including those related to increased risks for Alzheimer’s, cancer and heart disease. She did have congestive heart failure and mild cognitive impairment, but these diseases did not become evident until after the age of 108 years.

        "The presence of these disease-associated variants is consistent with our and other researchers’ findings that centenarians carry as many disease-associated genes as the general population," Perls says. "The difference may be that the centenarians likely have longevity-associated variants that cancel out the disease genes. That effect may extend to the point that the diseases don’t occur - or, if they do, are much less pathogenic or markedly delayed toward the end of life, in these individuals who are practically living to the limit of the human lifespan.”

        "The study of these two supercentenarians is just the beginning, and genetic study of many more such subjects needs to be performed," adds Perls.

        Data from the study will be available to researchers around the world at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) data repository.

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        Leadership Corner: Joe Camillus, Senior Director, Business Development

        Joe Camillus joined BMC Oct. 3 as Senior Director of Business Development. In this new position, Camillus is working to grow BMC’s patient volumes through high-value clinical opportunities, to increase new service offerings, and to develop strategies to attract new patients and ensure BMC’s operational and economic success. He previously served as Administrative Director in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Deputy Director at Allegheny County Department of Human Services in Pittsburgh.

        BMC Brief staff recently spoke with Camillus about his goals and the work ahead.

        Joe Camillus
        Joe Camillus

        What does your job entail?
        My role is to team with clinical leaders to find new ways to attract patients to BMC. Often, this involves building partnerships with referring physician groups and hospitals. BMC has a lot to offer our partners in this regard. We are the low cost provider in the city, and respected organizations like The Leapfrog Group rate our quality on par with Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. If you’re looking for great tertiary care at the lowest cost, BMC should be your first option.

        BMC’s inpatient volume has been decreasing. Why is that and what is being done to address it?
        The recession, combined with increasing deductibles and co-pays for patients, means that people have become much more sensitive to the cost of health care. That’s true everywhere. For instance, across Massachusetts, we are seeing people delay or cancel elective surgeries. As a result, in Boston we have five large academic medical centers all trying hard to win patients even as demand for care is shrinking. We too have to work harder than ever to attract patients. A bright spot for us is our ambulatory volume, which is up, and we believe we will continue to see growth in this area.

        At BMC we have shown that we can attract new patients when we focus our efforts, and we’ve had success in certain areas with a “boots on the ground” approach. Cancer Care is a great example. Our center rebranded itself more than a year ago and has worked closely with community health centers to make our services and staff known to providers. The result was a 10 percent growth in volume last year. We are accelerating our outreach efforts and will work to build this type of recognition for other core BMC services including primary care. The more physicians and patients hear about the new BMC, the more they like us.

        The health care industry has been evolving in the past few years. How has this affected the Boston market?
        State and federal legislation is slowly shifting health care to an Accountable Care Organization (ACO) model. Hospitals have traditionally been paid on a fee-for-service basis, which rewards volume, but doesn’t necessarily incentivize care coordination or the best use of resources – and that can in turn undermine the best health care outcomes for patients. Under the ACO model, hospitals and physicians increasingly will be rewarded for high-quality services and lower costs.

        How does this affect BMC?
        In many ways, it’s great news for BMC because it gives us the opportunity to be recognized and rewarded for our high-quality, low-cost position in the market. BMC offers an opportunity for businesses and families worried about health care costs to get great service at low cost.

        What are BMC’s biggest opportunities?
        Externally, we need to continue to build relationships with other caregivers and insurers so that they see BMC as a trusted partner in the new world of health care reform. Our physician leaders are actively highlighting BMC’s value to referring physicians, and I hope to support them in that work.

        Internally, we’ll need to work on two issues that are critical to our growth. The first is patient access. We want to make it easier for patients to see their providers and for physicians to refer to us. For instance, Primary Care recently changed its scheduling process so patients are scheduled for their next appointment when they check out, rather than putting the burden on the patient to call to make a follow-up appointment. The good news is that we have patients who are ringing our doorbell; we just have to keep the front door open for them.

        The second issue is retaining the patients we have. We want to make sure our patients know about the high-quality services we provide and understand that there’s no better place in town to receive compassionate, culturally-sensitive, high-quality care. For example, later his month, OB/GYN will host a Meet the Midwives event where community members can learn all about having a baby at BMC and tour our beautiful, modern maternity unit.

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        In Their Words

        Patients share their BMC experience

        We are honored to support BMC and are very thankful for all that BMC and the doctors, nurses and staff have done for our family and friends.

        Letter writing 

        When you go to BMC you feel like a person, not a number. The staff makes sure to handle all your problems. Sandy Allen is one of the best nurses and she went above and beyond helping both my wife and daughter as they underwent operations, treatments and follow-up appointments for their cancer. She became more than nurse to my family and we are lucky, as is BMC, to have her. We feel like family at BMC.

        As a police officer in the city of Boston, this is where I want to go for all my health needs and I do. When I had a heart attack in 2001, I was rushed to the Cath Lab at BMC and they saved my life. So BMC has saved my life, my wife’s life and my daughter’s life. The saying in my department is "we don't forget our own." BMC is our own.

        Officer Robert E. Anthony
        Boston Police Department

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        News of Note

        Anthony family 
        Bob and Jacki Anthony with their grandchildren and BMC's Chris Andry

        East Boston family raises $2,000 for BMC
        The sixth annual East Boston Savings Bank Deep Freeze Hockey Tournament was held Dec. 26 and 27. Four high school hockey teams – East Boston, Newton South, Swampscott and a combined St. Clement/Pope John team – faced off to raise money for BMC’s Cancer Care Center. The event raised $2,000. Since 2006, East Boston High School Hockey Coach Bob Anthony and his wife Jacki, a BMC breast cancer survivor, have organized and hosted the tournament to raise awareness about breast cancer and donate funds to support services for BMC breast cancer patients. To date, the tournament has raised $22,000 for BMC.

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        Awards and Accolades

        Winnie Suen, MD, MSc 
        Winnie Suen, MD, MSc

        Winnie Suen, MD, MSc, Medicine Geriatrics, has been selected as a member of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Innovation Advisors Program. The initiative, launched by the CMS Innovation Center, will help health professionals deepen or sharpen skills that drive improvements to patient care and reduce costs. Suen is one of 73 advisors who will support the Innovation Center in testing new models of care delivery, form partnerships with local organizations to drive delivery system reform and improve health systems enabling the community will have better health and better care at a lower cost.

        BMC has received a Certificate of Accreditation with Commendation from the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer. BMC’s cancer program is evaluated every three years by a physician surveyor who is trained to evaluate compliance with the 36 standards that are required for accreditation. A three-year with commendation accreditation is given to programs that comply with all standards and receive a commendation rating for one or more standard.

        Kathleen Walz, RN, BSN 
        Kathleen Walz, RN, BSN

        Kathleen Walz, RN, BSN, Pediatric Emergency Department, has received a 2011 Nursing Excellence Award from the Massachusetts Emergency Nurses Association. Walz was presented with the Nurse Practice Award at the Nov. 16 state council meeting. The award honors an emergency nurse who exemplifies outstanding nursing practice as demonstrated through clinical skills, nursing care and compassion. Walz developed and implemented BMC’s Pieces of Home -The Backpack Project. The program gives every child being placed in the emergency foster care system a new backpack filled with pajamas, socks ,underwear, a blanket and an age-appropriate toy or personal item to take to his/her emergency foster home.

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        Communications Staff
        Media information after hours: 617.638.8405

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        Fax: 617.638.8044

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