UTMB has some cool plans,

Modern Healthcare - - NEWS -

Out­liers imag­ines em­ploy­ees of the Univer­sity of Texas Med­i­cal Branch at Galve­ston are more fa­mil­iar with ar­madil­los than pen­guins. But some work­ers of UTMB will be pack­ing their long johns and snow boots and head­ing south. Re­ally south.

It seems UTMB has signed on as the med­i­cal provider for the U.S. Antarc­tic Pro­gram.

“We are no strangers to the ice, hav­ing op­er­ated there for the last decade, pro­vid­ing crit­i­cal med­i­cal sup­port on oc­ca­sion. This new agree­ment rep­re­sents an ex­pan­sion of the work we’re al­ready do­ing,” said Dr. David Cal­len­der, the pres­i­dent of UTMB, in a news re­lease. Cal­len­der pre­sum­ably will not be set­ting up an of­fice on the con­ti­nent, which last week recorded a tem­per­a­ture of neg­a­tive 79 de­grees and a wind-chill of neg­a­tive 124.

Of course, this isn’t a mat­ter of pro­vid­ing char­ity care; UTMB has signed on as a sub­con­trac­tor to Lock­heed Martin through Septem­ber 2016 with op­tions to re­new in two-year in­cre­ments through March 2025. If all the op­tions are ex­er­cised, the med­i­cal branch will re­ceive a to­tal of $60 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to the news re­lease.

UTMB Health will cre­ate a Cen­ter for Polar Med­i­cal Op­er­a­tions in Galve­ston to man­age the health ser­vices at three U.S. sta­tions: McMurdo Sta­tion, Amund­sen-Scott South Pole Sta­tion and Palmer Sta­tion. UTMB also will man­age sea­sonal field camps and two marine re­search ves­sels. Each polar sta­tion has a physi­cian, and McMurdo also has the equiv­a­lent of a Level 4 ur­gent-care cen­ter, ac­cord­ing to the re­lease. UTMB will med­i­cally screen the roughly 3,000 peo­ple who work at U.S. Antarc­tic sta­tions each year.

Dr. Scott Parazyn­ski, a for­mer NASA as­tro­naut, was named chief med­i­cal of­fi­cer for the new cen­ter. “Antarc­tica is the most re­mote and ex­treme place on Earth to live and work,” Parazyn­ski said in the re­lease. “It’s our re­spon­si­bil­ity and priv­i­lege to as­sure (that) those who are trav­el­ing there are phys­i­cally up to the chal­lenge and have the med­i­cal sup­port they need once they get there.”

English-only rule costs Cal­i­for­nia hospi­tal

Dozens of Filipino hospi­tal work­ers in Cal­i­for­nia will share a nearly $1 mil­lion set­tle­ment in a law­suit claim­ing they were tar­geted by a rule re­quir­ing English only at work, fed­eral of­fi­cials said last week.

The set­tle­ment in­volves nearly 70 nurses and med­i­cal staff mem­bers who ac­cused Delano (Calif.) Re­gional Med­i­cal Cen­ter of ban­ning them from speak­ing Ta­ga­log and other Filipino lan­guages while let­ting other work­ers speak in their na­tive lan­guages, in­clud­ing Span­ish, the U.S. Equal Op­por­tu­nity Em­ploy­ment Com­mis­sion an­nounced.

The law­suit, filed jointly by the com­mis­sion and the Asian Pa­cific Amer­i­can Le­gal Cen­ter in 2010, ac­cused the hospi­tal of cre­at­ing a hos­tile work­ing en­vi­ron­ment for Filipinos by sin­gling them out for rep­ri­mands and by en­cour­ag­ing other staff to re­port them. The med­i­cal cen­ter de­fended its English-only pol­icy as es­sen­tial to pa­tient care. In a writ­ten state­ment, of­fi­cials said the hospi­tal did noth­ing wrong. Un­der Cal­i­for­nia law, em­ploy­ers can re­quire work­ers to speak English if there is a busi­ness ne­ces­sity.

For decades, thou­sands of nurses from the Philippines have mi­grated to the U.S. to al­le­vi­ate the nurs­ing short­age. More than half of Amer­i­can nurses trained abroad are from the Philippines.

Cone Health goes big for cel­e­bra­tion

It’s not ev­ery day that a health­care sys­tem rents out an arena and plans a three-day bash to cel­e­brate its cul­ture with more than 7,000 em­ploy­ees, physi­cians and vol­un­teers.

But at Cone Health, Greens­boro, N.C., go­ing big was a fit­ting way to set the tone that the sys­tem wants to be a leader in qual­ity, ser­vice and cost.

Cone Health held its first net­work­wide Peo­ple Ex­cel­lence Cel­e­bra­tion re­cently at the Greens­boro Coli­seum, where its staff mem­bers heard pa­tient sto­ries, lis­tened to in­spi­ra­tional speak­ers and even heard Pres­i­dent and COO Terry Akin belt out “Mus­tang Sally.” To get the crowd pumped, se­nior lead­ers also busted some moves on­stage.

And 64 em­ploy­ees from Burling­ton, N.C.-based Ala­mance Re­gional Med­i­cal Cen­ter, who couldn’t be there in per­son, re­ceived stream­ing pho­tos of the event aboard a “party bus,” where they donned out­landish hats and Hawai­ian leis. Em­ploy­ees tweeted out their ex­cite­ment with sta­tus up­dates like: “I LUV MY JOB. CONE HEALTH IS WHERE ITS AT. ALL SMILES.” (Yes, the event war­ranted all caps.) And: “I was told when I was hired that Cone Health cel­e­brates any­thing and ev­ery­thing. They weren’t kid­ding.”

But the health sys­tem also be­lieves that cel­e­brat­ing its cul­ture gen­er­ates re­sults, cit­ing Press Ganey data show­ing the hospi­tal ranks in the top 10% na­tion­ally in em­ployee, pa­tient and physi­cian sat­is­fac­tion scores.

While it may be cold in Antarc­tica, UTMB work­ers will get a chance to frolic with pen­guins if they head for the South Pole.

Cone Pres­i­dent and COO Terry Akin fires a T-shirt gun into the crowd dur­ing the Peo­ple Ex­cel­lence Cel­e­bra­tion.

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