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Hospital gets high marks, thanks employees

June 27, 1998|By TERRY TALBERT

The Western Maryland Hospital Center threw a lawn party and barbecue Friday for its 300 employees to thank them for helping the health-care center get top scores from a national accreditation agency.

Actually, there were three parties altogether - one for each work shift.

Employees got baseball caps, paddleballs, beach balls and bubble-blowing equipment. They ate, and played, to the sound of music under the canopy of trees on the rear grounds.

Cynthia M. Pellegrino, center director and CEO, took her turn at the tongs, turning chicken and steaks on one of the long charcoal grills.

"We've been accredited for many years, but this year we scored extremely high," Pellegrino said. "This is our way of thanking our employees."

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The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, a nonprofit organization committed to improving public health care, gave the Center hospital a score of 95, and the long-term care section a score of 94, Pellegrino said.

According to the commission, only 34 percent of the hospitals surveyed scored 95 or better, and only 44 percent of long-term care facilities scored 94 or better.

The employees enjoying the first barbecue "shift" said the party meant a lot to them."I think this is great," said Sharon Grimm, unit clerk in nursing. Grimm has worked at the Center for almost 30 years. "It shows the administration really cares. When you see all the work involved in this party of appreciation, it's wonderful," she said.

Dee Casteel has been with the management team in nursing at the Center for five years. "I think it's great. I think they ought to have it every year, make it an annual picnic," she said.

Michelle Clipp, who works in transcription, has also worked at the Center for five years. "This makes you feel appreciated," she said.

Pellegrino said accreditation is a voluntary step taken by health-care organizations committed to improving patient care.

Center Quality Manager Katie Gardner said the Center was measured against standards set by the commission in several areas, including safety, medical and nursing staff, patient care and patient rights.

Surveyors skilled in each area made a physical inspection of the Center, she said.

The high ratings the hospital and nursing home received reflected "the good care they know we're giving patients," she said.

One of the improvements the accreditation staff applauded was the idea of aides who got permission to form a "bath team" devoted to giving residents a good, soaking bath as opposed to a relatively brief tub bath.

"That came from the bottom," Gardner said. "It was a great idea."

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