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The BMC Brief

January 18, 2013 Volume 2, Issue 1

New Year, New You

It’s a new year and that means resolutions for 2013. Many BMCers said on the 2012 staff survey that achieving a healthy work/life balance can be a challenge. BMC can help. The hospital offers a variety of programs, benefits and discounts to help you reach your goals in the next 12 months and beyond. Take advantage of these offers as you work toward a new you in the new year.

Eat smart

  • BMC offers healthy cooking classes to staff. Participants learn how to make healthy dishes like homemade soups, one-pot meals and seafood delights. Classes are held the last Wednesday of every month from 12-1 p.m. in the Dowling 4 Demonstration Kitchen. Visit the Human Resource section of the intranet to register for the classes.

  • Weight Watchers at Work meets 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 2013 weight-loss goals. The cost is $39.95 per month. Some insurance plans refund some of the cost and new members are welcome. Contact Tanya Crews for more information.

  • Eat Smart Tip: Both the Newton and Menino Pavilion cafeterias offer healthier menu items that include seasoned salmon, steaks and chicken grilled-to-order daily. Sides include grilled vegetables and roasted potatoes. The salad bar has been enhanced to include more options, while the demonstration area offers “themed” foods such as southwestern meals or made-to-order tossed salads, a delicious way to keep your diet on track!

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. Corporate rates available to spouses, domestic partners, and children over 14 years of age. Please contact Jennyfer Shupack, Key Accounts Manager at Town Sports International, at 917-351-6680 ext. 1580.

  • Greater Boston YMCA offers access to 13 greater Boston locations. Classes, indoor pools, free towel service and massage beds make this option a no brainer. BMC employees enjoy 10 percent off membership rates. Visit http://www.ymcaboston.org/ to learn more.

  • South End Fitness Center offers BMC employees a special rate of $310 for a year-long membership. Conveniently located down the street from BMC at 35 Northampton St., this is a great option for staff. For more information, call 617-534-5822.

  • Fitness Together is a personal fitness training organization that offers a 15 percent discount on all training programs including one-on-one strength training, cardio conditioning and nutritional counseling at their Cambridge location with BMC identification. For more information, contact Brian McLellan at 617-547-4244.

  • WalkBoston
    Want to exercise and benefit your community? Join WalkBoston, 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
    A non-profit public health organization, Pathways to Wellness provides access to high- quality holistic therapies including acupuncture, Shiatsu Bodywork and Chinese Herbal Medicine. BMC employees are eligible to receive discounted rates on treatments. Call 617-859-3036 for more information and to make an appointment.

  • HealthWorks Fitness Centers for Women
    Boston’s premier group of women-only fitness centers 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.

  • Harvard Pilgrim's Fitness Reimbursement
    If you are qualified to take 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: People who get up to walk throughout the day burn 350 more calories than those who tend to be more sedentary sitting a desk. Make an effort to get up and move during your work day!


  • BMC Wellness Program
    Wellness can be supported across many domains: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, religious and social. A new resource for all providers, teachers and staff at BMC, this website provides information on existing programs such as the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), and ways to cope with stress, fatigue and issues like depression and death. Learn more.

    No smoking
  • In April, BMC will celebrate a year of being smoke free, inside and out. Are you still lighting up? Now is the perfect time to quit. For employees who are ready to get started, call the Employee Assistance Program's (EAP) Boston office at 617-451-6902. Leave a confidential voicemail saying that you are calling for a BMC smoking cessation appointment. Provide your name, all possible telephone contact numbers, and permission for the Certified Wellness Coach to leave you a message.

    The intake will be either at BMC during the EAP hours on Thursdays from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. (by appointment) or at the EAP Office (Government Center, 10 Tremont St., Boston). The face-to-face intake consists of basic EAP intake questions focused around smoking cessation, setting goals and follow-ups both in person and telephonic. The goal of this program is for employees to get three face-to-face meetings and three phone meetings over an 8 to 10 week period to address all areas about relapse prevention.

  • BMC’s Smoking Cessation Program is an eight-week program administered by Robert Sokolove, PhD. The program 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. Classes are offered to small groups that are convenient for participants.

    To register, call 638-8670 and leave your name and contact number. Staff from the program will call you back to confirm your enrollment. The start date will be determined by the number of employees enrolled.

  • The BMC Employee Pharmacy sells nicotine patches without a prescription; the cost for BMC employees is approximately $20 for a two week supply. You’ll typically use the patches for around six weeks.
    Employee Pharmacy Hours
    Monday – Friday: 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.
    Saturday: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
    Sunday: Closed

  • Wellness tip: According to the Centers for Disease Control, at least 41 states have reported widespread flu outbreaks and more than 2,250 people have been hospitalized from the flu. Be part of the solution and help BMC prevent the spread of this serious virus by getting a flu shot. To make an appointment, call the Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at 638-8400.


  • There is no denying that work can be stressful. What better way to relax your mind and body than with a mid-day massage break? Ten-minute chair massages for staff are held from 11:15 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. every Thursday in Occupational and Environmental Medicine located in Yawkey and on 8North in the Newton Pavilion. If you would like to schedule a massage for yourself or your department, contact Eva Alberts.

  • Meditation is good for you! Research shows that meditation improves the immune system, reduces anxiety and promotes a sense of well-being. Sister Maryanne Ruzzo and Robert Saper, MD, MPH, lead this non-denominational group that is geared toward beginners. Come reflect and enjoy a moment of peace on any Monday from 12:15-12:45 p.m. in the Menino Chapel. No need to sign up.

  • Yoga is a gentle exercise that includes a variety of practices, including postures or stretches, breathing exercises, and meditation. It may be helpful for health conditions including back pain, insomnia, and anxiety. Practicing yoga can also help relieve stress and tension.

    The yoga taught at BMC is a gentle form of hatha yoga that is suitable for all levels of yoga practitioners, includ¬ing beginners. The instructors are trained to provide modifications and adjustments for all poses so that you can learn and practice safely. All BMC patients and employees are eligible to attend. Classes are led by Anna Dunwell, Registered and Certified Kripalu Yoga Instructor, from 6-7:15 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the Lower level, Moakley building.

  • Qigong/Tai Chi is a Chinese meditative practice that incorporates slow, graceful movements and controlled breathing techniques to promote the circulation of “qi” or life force within the body. Classes are taught by Ramel Rones from 4-5:30 p.m. on Wednesdays in the Lower level of the Moakley building. To learn more about the class schedule, contact Bob David at 638-7540.

  • Rejuvenation tip: Taking 3-5 minute mini-breaks to clear your head throughout the day can go a long way in helping help you gain inner balance and save a lot of energy along the way.

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        BMC Pioneers Treatment for Pediatric Sickle Cell Disease

        For Kanjoh Kamara, a young man living with sickle cell disease (SCD), life is, for the most part, normal. The disease, which causes red blood cells in the body to take on a crescent shape, causes bouts of pain in the limbs. It affects 100,000 Americans and disproportionately impacts Hispanic and African Americans. While Kamara can manage the pain in some cases, there are times when it is so debilitating his only option is to visit the emergency department (ED) for relief.

        Sickle cell disease blood cells

        “Sometimes I get sharp, throbbing pain that makes it hard for me to move,” says Kamara. It’s at that point that he makes his way to the hospital. In the past it has taken Kamara several hours to receive the pain medication he desperately needed. SCD is a disease with no visible symptoms and patients across the country often sit in EDs for hours waiting for treatment.

        The national average for wait times for SCD patients to receive their first dose of pain medication is between 1 to 1.5 hours, and because most patients wait until the pain reaches a certain level before seeking hospital treatment, they can suffer for hours.

        BMC Pediatricians James Moses, MD, MPH, and Patricia Kavanagh, MD, MSc, have developed a novel approach to administering the first dose of pain medication to young SCD patients within a short period of time. Using intranasal fentanyl, a pain medication that is sprayed into nasal passages, caregivers are able to alleviate patients’ pain within 22 minutes of their arrival in the ED, a reduction from 70 minutes a year ago. Historically, the drug has not been used to treat SCD, but once it enters the body, it starts working within minutes.

        “When I took the first dose of intranasal fentanyl, it felt strange to have something going up my nose, but it worked really well,” says Kamara. “My pain was reduced significantly.”

        Over the past year, BMC has used intranasal fentanyl to treat more than 50 percent of its 200 SCD patients, making the hospital the national leader in providing timely delivery of SCD pain treatment to kids.

        "We have made great progress in providing pain relief to our patients by focusing on both initial pain relief and subsequent doses of pain medicines,” says Kavanagh. “We now send half of them home after receiving appropriate treatment, which is up from one-third previously. The goal of our efforts is to help end the pain episode as quickly as possible for kids so they can back to their usual routine of childhood, including attending school and playing with friends."

        “Our work is part of a national collaborative aimed at improving the care of children with SCD, and BMC is leading the way,” says Moses, Director, Pediatric Patient Safety and Quality. “The protocol we develop here could potentially change the standard of care for these patients across the country.”

        Moses and Kavanagh note that their team is also working with BMC’s Adult ED to streamline pain management for SCD patients using similar strategies.

        For Kamara, the treatment is a dream come true.

        “The work that BMC is doing is extremely important because patients with SCD come into the hospital only when they are in tremendous pain,” he says. “Even though we don’t look like we are in pain, we are, and the faster the medication can be administered, the more quickly we experience relief.”

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        Overhaul of Radiology Scheduling Improves Patient, Provider Satisfaction

        As part of BMC’s strategic plan goal to provide the right care to every patient, the hospital has redone the way it schedules imaging tests. BMC did this by expanding access to its Radiology Information System (RIS), which is used to schedule all imaging tests, like MRIs, CT scans and ultrasounds, to increase provider and patient satisfaction.

        Tiana Lambert
        Tiana Lambert, Primary Care, uses the RIS system

        In the past, providers entered orders for imaging tests in Logician and their referral coordinators called or faxed the requests to Radiology for scheduling. On any given day, Radiology received hundreds of phone calls and faxes, often overwhelming staff and leading to long wait times.

        “The system of faxing requests back and forth could often take a full day and slow down the scheduling process,” says Deb Clements, Administrative Director, Radiology. “Once the appointments were booked, patients often didn’t show up for them because they were scheduled on dates that didn’t work for them. We also found that providers felt disconnected from their patients because they didn’t have access to RIS and had no idea when their patients’ appointments were scheduled. We knew we had to find a better way to do this.”

        The solution was to expand RIS access to non-Radiology staff, giving clinics the ability to book imaging appointments directly. The goal was to increase efficiency, decrease the number of patients who didn’t show up for appointments and enhance the overall patient experience.

        Radiology trained Adult Primary Care staff on the RIS system and piloted it with the group last summer. It was a huge success.

        “With the old faxing system, we didn’t know if important diagnostic tests had been booked or not,” says Maureen Johnston, RN, Nurse and Practice Manager, Adult Primary Care. “Now we know because we schedule the appointment with the patient sitting right next to us, telling us what works for him. It is a more satisfying process for our patients and staff.”

        “Patients don’t expect to get an appointment any time soon, so they are surprised and excited when we are able to schedule them quickly, often within the same day,” says Tiana Lambert, Referral Coordinator, Adult Primary Care. “Our providers love that we have direct access to RIS and that they know what is going on with their patients.”

        Radiology rolled out expanded access to RIS to other BMC clinics last fall. The system went from more than 480 Radiology users to more than 650 users across BMC.

        “It was a huge undertaking and one that is great for patients’ continuum of care,” says Clements.

        The department also plans to expand access to BMC’s community health centers in the upcoming year.

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        In Their Words

        Patients share their BMC experience

        Letter writing 

        We recently had the occasion to become familiar with BMC. Our son recently came to the Emergency Room confused and disoriented. Our first contact with the hospital was the ER that day. We found the entire staff to be unbelievably good. They had him diagnosed within a couple of hours, something unheard of in our many previous visits to various ERs. He was suffering with a bleeding arteriovenous malformation (AVM). These professionals were so kind while explaining all of the ramifications of our son’s condition.

        From there we went to the pediatric intensive care unit (ICU). Again, the staff was fabulous. The nurses in that unit were efficient, knowledgeable and very informed about his condition. We do not believe that he could have gotten better care anywhere else. When he was transferred to another unit we had serious concerns which were addressed promptly. He then went to the pediatric unit, and again we found the staff to be of a caliber beyond all expectations.

        Our son had brain surgery performed by Nirav Patel, MD, who was so wonderful to us throughout the entire ordeal. He explained clearly what options were available, the pros and cons of each, and why this surgery was recommended. He was most confident and assured us about any questions or concerns we had. He thoroughly explained each and every step. We feel very lucky that his arrival at BMC coincided with our son’s.

        Our son then went to the surgical intensive care unit (SICU) and finally 8E. The staff continued to provide the excellent care we had come to expect.

        The point of this letter is to both thank and applaud all of you. Our son has a very long road ahead which we are so grateful for.

        In closing, we must also note that the entire culture at the hospital is caring, kind and comfortable. We had nothing but positive experiences with everyone from the neurological team and therapists to the social workers, CNA sitters, housekeeping staff, food services and transport personnel. They all took great pride in the work they do and it shows. Our heartfelt thank you to everyone.

        Middleboro, Mass.

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        News of Note

        Ocean State Job Lot food donation 
        Ocean State Job Lot delivers food to the BMC Food Pantry

        Food Pantry receives 40,000 pound food donation
        On Jan. 15, Ocean State Job Lot (OSJL) delivered 40,000 pounds of nutritious food to BMC’s Preventive Food Pantry. A convoy of 10 tractor trailer trucks traveled to 10 food banks in New England, representing the first phase of OSJL’s record-breaking regional food donation totaling $1.25 million for 2013. OSJL’s point of sale campaign raised approximately $300,000 for the BMC Food Pantry this past holiday season, which went toward the purchase of this week’s food donation. Thank you, Ocean State!

        James, National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence issues final report to Attorney General
        Last month, the National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence issued its final report and recommendations to Attorney General Eric Holder. BMC Physician Thea James, MD, of the Emergency Department’s Violence Intervention Advocacy Program, has served on the task force for the past year, along with 13 other leading experts from diverse fields. To gather data, the task force conducted public hearings around the country to learn from practitioners, policymakers, academics and community members about the extent and nature of the problem of children’s exposure to violence, both as victims and as witnesses. The report will serve as a blueprint for preventing early exposure to violence and for mitigating the negative effects experienced by children exposed to violence across the United States.

        Litle joins BMC
        Virginia Litle, MD, has joined BMC’s Department of Surgery and Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) as an Associate Professor of Surgery. Litle is a graduate of the University of Vermont and received her medical degree from the Brown-Dartmouth Program in Medicine in Providence, RI. She completed her residency in general surgery at the University of California in San Francisco, and completed fellowships in both Surgical Oncology and Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

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        Awards and Accolades

        Nicole Prudent, MD, MPH, Pediatrics, was recently honored at the seventh annual We Are Boston Gala awards ceremony. The awards recognize individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions in promoting Boston’s rich diversity and fostering full integration of new Bostonians in all aspects of life in Boston. Prudent, of the Haitian Health Institute at BMC, received the Community Champion award for demonstrating consistent commitment to nurturing a dialogue and inspiring action to facilitate the full integration of immigrants in Boston and beyond.

        “These award winners demonstrate the many ways in which individuals and businesses can help to celebrate Boston’s diversity and immigrant contributions every single day,” said Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. “Their commitment to nurturing open dialogue and promoting cultural awareness is an outstanding example of the leadership necessary to ensure that new immigrants have full access to the civic, economic, social and cultural life of Boston.”

        Eric Poon, MD, MPH, Vice President and Chief Medical Information Officer, was recently selected as a New England Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) 2012 Healthcare Leadership Award recipient. Poon received the award for his work with the New England chapter and with health information technology across the region.

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

        Thomas Perls, MD, MPH, Geriatrics, has been named by AARP magazine as one of the 50 most influential people age 50 and over in its December 2012/January 2013 issue. Perls is the Director of the New England Centenarian study.

        Perls has also been honored with the 2013 Ewald W. Busse Research Award in the Biomedical Sciences. The award, given by the Duke University Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development, recognizes significant contributions to aging research and further encourages contributions to the field. The award is given every two years in conjunction with the World Congress of Gerontology, which will be held in Seoul, Korea, in June.

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