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The BMC Brief

July 17, 2013 Volume 2, Issue 13

Staff Survey Feedback Leads to Change

For the past two years BMC has asked employees their opinions of what it is like to work here through an annual employee engagement survey. The feedback, provided most recently by 73 percent of employees in 2012, is used to make improvements at the hospital. From facilities upgrades to new recognition programs to expanded food options for night staff, the following are some of the improvements that have been made at BMC in response to staff feedback.

  • RESPECT Behavioral Attributes: In the survey, staff said that a respectful environment is a top priority. To continually be a great place to work and receive care, BMC revised its behavioral attributes, called RESPECT, in February. The RESPECT attributes stand for Responsibility, Empathy, Service Excellence, Problem Solve, Take Action, Efficiency, Cultural Competency and Teams Work. RESPECT is the commitment all staff, physicians and residents make to one another and to patients about how they conduct themselves. By modeling the RESPECT attributes daily, staff reflect BMC on its best day, every day, allowing all employees to feel valued, respected and engaged in the work they do.

    The RESPECT attributes also have been integrated into the annual performance review process for all BMC employees.

    Inaugural Be Exceptional Award Recipients
  • Be Exceptional and STAR Awards: To enhance staff recognition at the hospital, BMC created two new programs this year: the Be Exceptional and STAR awards. The Be Exceptional Awards recognize employees for their exemplary performance, initiative, teamwork and for embodying the RESPECT behavioral attributes. More than 200 nominations were submitted and 20 employees were selected by a committee of staff from around the hospital as the inaugural winners. The recipients were honored at a ceremony hosted by BMC President Kate Walsh in May.

    The STAR Award is a tool leaders use on-the-spot to recognize employees who go above and beyond in their daily work activities.

  • Local Improvement Projects: To help departments and units achieve fast-acting improvements within their areas, BMC launched local improvement projects this spring. More than 15 proposals were submitted by departments who thought through how they can work smarter toward BMC’s organizational QUEST goals. Four groups were recently selected to move forward with support from a quality improvement facilitator who will help the teams develop a project plan, measurement framework and an implementation and testing strategy. The groups will work on their projects over the next quarter. Successful strategies will then be spread through BMC.

  • Communication and Visibility of Senior Leaders: In 2011, BMC implemented senior leadership rounding, a program where senior leaders walk units and floors each week to chat with staff and address questions and concerns. This year BMC expanded the program to include evening hours. In the spring, senior leaders also launched a new intranet blog, called Leadership Perspectives, to give staff more information on the work being done at BMC.

  • Night Shift Staff: In response to feedback that food options are limited during evening hours, BMC expanded its Menino Pavilion Gift Shop services and hours in May. The gift shop now offers expanded beverage options, including coffee and lattes, gourmet sandwiches, parfaits and assorted salads, as well as flowers, balloons, books, magazines and more. It is open 24 hours a day, Monday-Friday (with a one hour stocking/break period occurring from 2-3 a.m.), Saturdays from 7 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and Sundays from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. BMC also now extends hospital-wide celebrations into evening hours.

  • Room-a-Day and Picture Perfect Programs: The Room-a-Day program takes two inpatient rooms out of commission each day of the week to “refresh” them, which can include painting the walls, waxing the floors and maintenance work on heating and cooling systems. The result is a clean, welcoming room for patients who need to stay in the hospital. Since 2011, the program has refreshed 167 rooms. The Picture Perfect program leaves every room that is cleaned in “perfect” condition, with a note from housekeeping letting patients know their room was cleaned and who to contact if they need anything.

On the department and unit level, more than 400 plans on actions that groups plan to take in response to the feedback collected on the survey were submitted to BMC. Successful initiatives include the establishment of a communications committee within the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Support Services holding collaborative meetings with Nursing, and more social activities for staff within Pharmacy and the Patient Care Support Center.

BMC will roll out its third Employee Engagement Survey in the fall and all are encouraged to “Let their voices be heard” so that improvements can continued to be made.

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Local Improvement Project Winners Selected

In May, BMC solicited proposals for local improvement projects to support groups across the hospital in developing and implementing rapid cycle improvement projects. The initiative is one that resulted from the 2012 employee engagement survey, where staff indicated a need for additional resources and tools that can help them more effectively do their jobs. More than15 proposals were submitted by departments who thought through how they can work smarter toward BMC’s organizational QUEST goals. The winners were chosen based on the project fitting into the normal work of a department or unit, the project being implemented within a three month timeframe, and the ability of the project’s improvements to be measured and sustained. The following teams who soon will begin a BMC-supported local improvement project in their areas:

  • Radiology Check-in Process
    Radiology will work on a project to improve the patient check-in process, which currently has multiple systems in place. With data collection, they will also work on communicating and reducing wait times to promote the QUEST patient satisfaction goal.

    “Our goal is to effectively streamline the flow of patient care which begins immediately upon arrival to the department and ends when the patient is escorted out by the technologist," says Malissa Danforth, Radiology Manager. "This will enable us to provide consistent, efficient care for our patients which should promote their likelihood to recommend BMC.”

  • Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA) Workflow Redesign
    CNAs grapple with inconsistencies in expectations and what tasks need to be accomplished during their shift, which contributes to patient and employee dissatisfaction. The group will work on a project to redesign the current CNA workflow and contribute to the QUEST goal of satisfaction for patients and staff.

    “We hope to have success with this project so it can be rolled out to other areas of the hospital and others can benefit too,” says Louise Vecchio, Nurse Manager, 6West.

  • Improving Communication in Ambulatory Pediatrics
    One of the communications challenges Ambulatory Pediatrics faces is communication to providers about late patients as well as communication back to patients about the provider’s ability to see them. To improve this and other communications issues between the clinical and administrative support teams, Ambulatory Pediatrics will work on a project to determine best practices for communication and then standardize processes across all divisions. This project will contribute to the QUEST goals of staff and patient satisfaction, as well as efficiency and volume.

    “We are extremely excited about making this project happen because we have struggled with good communication,” says Ann Johnson, Senior Operations Manager, Pediatrics. “We believe that this project will significantly improve patient satisfaction and the efficiency of our area.”

  • Medical Group Diabetes Visits in Primary Care
    Providers seek more efficient ways to meet the needs of diabetic patients then the traditional one-to-one visit. The Primary Care group will test a group visit model designed to increase the value of the medical visit. Part of this work will include coordinating sessions with complementary services like nutrition and pharmacy to maximize the patient’s time at BMC. This project will contribute to the QUEST goals of quality, efficiency and satisfaction.

    “With this project, I’m hoping we can improve care coordination and increase the number of patients that participate,” says Marshall Fleurant, MD, MPH, Internal Medicine. “It’s a way to bring a lot of value to the diabetic care in the department, not only from the patient’s perspective but from the provider’s perspective as well.”

The four groups will work on their projects during the next quarter with a quality improvement facilitator who will help the teams develop a project plan, measurement framework and an implementation and testing strategy. Successful strategies will then be spread through BMC.

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What’s for Dinner? Basil and Arugula Pesto

Did you know that on Fridays from June through October there is a farmer’s market in the Menino Pavilion lobby? Stop by to pick up your weekly supply of the freshest fruits and veggies, especially for this recipe from the Demonstration Kitchen’s Tracey Burg!

Using your farm-fresh ingredients, whip up some Basil and Arugula Pesto to keep on hand. Pesto, a versatile condiment, can be used on pasta, spread on sandwiches or breakfast omlettes, or used as a healthy dip for pita chips. It’s the perfect staple to have on hand for those lazy summer days and last-minute meals to enjoy with family and friends.

Basil and Arugula Pesto

Basil and Arugula Pesto


  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 cups Basil (loosely packed)
  • 1/2 cup Arugula (loosely packed)
  • 2.5 tbsp Walnuts, toasted
  • 1 Garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup Chicken Stock
  • 1/8 tsp Corn Starch
  • 2 tbsp Warm Water


  1. In a small sauce pan combine the cold chicken stock and corn starch and bring to a boil. Set aside and let cool.
  2. Add the thickened stock, basil, arugula, walnuts and garlic in a food processor and process to a thick paste.
  3. Add the oil and 2 tbsp of water until smooth.

Nutritional Information:

Serving Size: 2 tbsp

  • Calories: 78
  • Total Fat: 7 g
  • Cholesterol: 2 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 1.28 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 0.64 g
  • Sodium: 67 mg
  • Protein: 2.24 g

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What do you do, Purchasing Department?

Name: Frank Manning, Jeremy Franz, Bob Wise, Tarita Gethers, Donna Thacker, Patty Sheerin, John Shields, Frank Dixon, Arkey Taylor, Ken Bullock, Deolinda Goncalves
Department: Purchasing
Years at BMC: 4 months - 45 years

BMC Purchasing Department
BMC Purchasing Department

What do members of the Purchasing Department do?
Our job is to buy the best quality products for the lowest cost. We buy everything from clinical supplies and office furniture to pharmacy labels. From Band-Aides to building furniture, if it is at BMC, our department bought it.

What is a typical day like for your department?
Every day is different. We place and follow up on orders from various departments throughout the hospital, as well as check up on backorders and take care of inventory control. Above all, we are customer service representatives for BMC. We serve as liaisons between the hospital and our vendors and make sure each department gets the supplies it needs in a timely manner.

What do you like best about working at BMC?
We like working together as a team. Some of us have been at BMC for more than 26 years, so our department is like a tight-knit family. It is very rewarding to know that we have a hand in helping people in all departments at the hospital do their jobs. We are like the oil in the machine that keeps BMC running smoothly!

What new, creative ways are you coming up with to save money?
We have started using HealthTrust Purchasing Group (HPG), a group purchasing organization, to help us utilize new contracts to find better pricing opportunities by monitoring the money BMC spends. Since incorporating HPG, we have found and implemented millions of dollars in savings. For example, by simply switching pharmacy labels, we saved $300,000 this year. No matter how small an item may be, it can mean huge savings.

What can employees do to help with cost savings at BMC?
Last year BMC spent total of $301,355 on toner, one of the most popular office supplies that we purchase. By converting to Office Max toner cartridges we saved more than $100,000. By buying Hill Rom Bed systems we saved more than $300,000 in capital costs. Our Value Analysis team determined, just by switching baby wipe brands, we could save $15,000!

What does your department do to maintain a healthy work-life balance?
Tarita is the office chef. She loves to cook and has been bringing in food for our office for seven years! Many of us make a point to eat either breakfast or lunch together every day. Bob is always at both meals, and you will often see us in the Newton Pavilion cafeteria eating together. Come on by and say Hi!

Do you know a staff member who should be profiled? Send your suggestions to communications@bmc.org.

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News of Note

BMC's New 3T MRI

State-of-the-Art MRI Opens in Shapiro Radiology
On June 26, Radiology unveiled its new 3T MRI, located on the Lower Level of the Shapiro Building. The new machine boasts twice the strength of BMC’s other MRIs, resulting in a higher image quality and resolution, especially for neurological, musculoskeletal, oncologic and breast imaging. The new machine is capable of performing functional MRI (fMRI) brain scans that highlight areas of the brain involved in cognition, perception, sensorimotor processes and even emotions. The wider MRI opening alleviates the anxiety of an enclosed space and the strong magnet gives patients the choice to be scanned head or feet first, also alleviating claustrophobia. The room that houses it was designed to promote serenity, complete with hard wood flooring, a calming ceiling skylight of the ocean, a music system with an iPod interface and soft ambient lighting with colors that can be tailored to a patient’s preference. One wall features a large mural depicting the four seasons in Boston with scenes like the 4th of July fireworks over the Charles River and the penguins at the New England Aquarium.

BMC Pathology Cuts the Ribbon for their new Stainer

Pathology Unveils New Cutting-Edge H&E Stainer to Streamline Slide Processing
On June 28, BMC’s Pathology Department debuted its newest addition: the Symphony H & E Stainer, a new state-of-the-art piece of laboratory equipment. When it comes to analyzing cells, the H&E (hematoxylin and eosin) stain is one of the most common methods. The stain binds differently with each cell type and turns cells different colors, allowing histologists to make a diagnosis. Resembling a large refrigerator, The Symphony H & E (hematoxylin and eosin) stainer instrument is an automated staining instrument that will replace three pieces of equipment in the Pathology lab, including a 25-year-old machine. Symphony is a “set it and forget it” system that protects against cross-contamination, decreases turn-around time and the prepackaged chemicals make it safer for lab technologists. Symphony will increase the efficiency in the pathology lab and will allow doctors and patients to get their results sooner, which improves overall patient experience.

Gloucester Fishermen's Wives Association poses with BMC Staff

BMC Partners with Local Fishermen on Healthy Food in Healthcare Program
BMC has joined with the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance (NAMA) and Health Care Without Harm’s (HCWH) Healthy Food in Healthcare Program to buy local seafood whenever possible. To showcase the program, Chef Angela Sanfilippo, executive director of the Massachusetts Fisherman’s Partnership and President of the Gloucester Fisherman’s Wives Association, visited BMC July 9, and cooked Mediterranean baked hake, Gloucester fish puffs and red fish soup in the Newton Pavilion cafeteria. NAMA and HCWH are working together to shift the health care industry’s seafood buying habits. Changing buying policies to include local seafood results in better economic return for fishermen, healthier regional food systems, more resilient coastal communities and has less impact on the marine ecosystem.

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Awards and Accolades

Thomas Traylor

BMC’s Thomas Traylor Named Chair of America’s Essential Hospitals
Thomas Traylor, BMC’s Vice President of Government Programs, has been named Chair of the Executive Committee for America’s Essential Hospitals, formerly known as the National Association for Public Hospitals and Health Systems. Based on his knowledge and expertise at BMC, New England’s largest safety-net hospital, Traylor was elected to help lead the national organization representing more than 200 hospitals and health systems dedicated to high-quality care for all, including the most vulnerable. His one-year term began July 1. As Chair, Traylor will play a key role in overseeing the strategic direction of America’s Essential Hospitals. The executive committee, which comprises the board officers and additional at-large committee members elected by the members, is responsible for the oversight of America’s Essential Hospitals affairs, which include the key advocacy issues of restoring safety net funding, protecting graduate medical education payments, encouraging Medicaid expansion, immigration reform and gun control/access to mental health services.

BMC Named Among the Best in the Region by U.S. News & World Report
BMC has been named by U.S. News & World Report as among the best hospitals in the region and a high performing provider – in the top 25 percent of hospitals across the country – in the areas of cancer; diabetes & endocrinology; geriatrics nephrology; neurology and neurosurgery; pulmonary and rheumatology in Best Hospitals 2013. In addition, BMC was ranked 10th in regional rankings covering all of New England and 8th in the Boston metropolitan area, which covers a wide geographic area south and north of the city. Only 15 percent of all hospitals nationwide are recognized for their high performance as among their region’s best and only 3 percent of all hospitals nationwide earn a national ranking in any specialty.

The rankings in the specialties in which BMC was rated were driven by hard data such as death rates, procedure volume, and balance of nurses and patients. The Best Hospitals issue includes ranking of 152 medical centers nationwide in 16 specialties and recognizes hospitals that excel in treating the most challenging patients.

The rankings are available online and will also be published in the magazine’s annual America’s Best Hospitals guide, which will appear in the August issue.

U.S. News & World Report publishes Best Hospitals each year to help guide patients who need a high level of care because they face a particularly difficult surgery, a challenging condition, or added risk because of other health problems or age. Objective measures such as patient survival and safety data, the adequacy of nurse staffing levels and other data largely determined the rankings in most specialties.

National Survey Names BMC “Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality”
BMC has been recognized as a “Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality” in the Healthcare Equality Index 2013 report, an annual survey conducted by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the educational arm of the country’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) organization. For a second consecutive year BMC earned top marks for its commitment to equitable, inclusive care for LGBT patients and their families, who can face challenges in accessing adequate healthcare. BMC was one of a select group of 464 health care facilities nationwide to be named Leaders in Healthcare Equality. Facilities awarded this title meet several key indicators for equitable care, including nondiscrimination policies for LGBT patients and employees, a guarantee of equal visitation for same-sex partners and parents and LGBT health education for key staff. For more information about the Healthcare Equality Index 2013, or to download a free copy of the report, visit www.hrc.org/hei.

BMC Receives Three Awards for Exceptional Stroke Care
BMC has received three awards for exceptional stroke care this month, including “Defect-Free Care” and “Highest Performer on NIH Stroke Scale” (NIHSS) awards from SCORE, a voluntary statewide quality improvement collaborative administered by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), which supports Primary Stroke Service hospitals. In addition, BMC has received a “Get With The Guidelines (GWTG) Gold Plus Achievement Award” from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. The Defect-Free Care Award demonstrates that more than 80 percent of patients received all of the interventions for stroke care for which they were eligible. BMC delivered defect-free care to approximately 94 percent of its stroke patients, ranking second of 17 large stroke volume hospitals across the state. The NIHSS award captures the percent of patients who received a neurological assessment using the NIH Stroke Scale, which provides a quantitative measurement of stroke-related neurologic deficit. BMC was the highest performer in the large stroke volume category. The GWTG Gold Plus Achievement Award signifies that BMC achieved 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality Achievement indicators for two or more consecutive 12-month intervals and achieved 75 percent or higher compliance with five of eight Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality Measures, which are reporting initiatives to measure quality of care.

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Communications Staff
Media information after hours: 617.638.8405

Boston Medical Center
Office of Communications
85 E. Newton Street
4th Floor
Boston, MA 02118

Fax: 617.638.8044

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