Archive for the 'Workaholic in Action' Category


my new best buds

So my new best buds are the guys from ARCHI- these Australian mates have been very helpful- I’m tempted to fly over. Scratch that- I want my vacation.

Seriously though, they have taught us a thing or two on care management that would have blind-sided us because our healthcare systems are set up quite differently. And this new health reform in the US is one humdinger of a loop- with some strange holes. But the bottom line is that our healthcare is too fragmented at the core- doctors don’t communicate across the continuum of care in a patient. Administration easily misses the quality indicators that are ringing warning bells- until CMS and/or IPRO deny the case and we don’t get paid for anything- and even at appeal it gets dicey- if the documentation is spotty and unjustifiable- no reason to appeal; and those cases that we take to appeal -the percentage upheld tells us that at the beginning of the process- when our patients enter the ER is where our first major mistake occurs…

I won’t rattle on- but every meeting adds more tasks that drill deeper- we know it will be a monster endeavor- we just not sure what to call it!



In the past few weeks, or maybe even months, at work, there was an intensity that I was hard pressed to define properly, or even find a source for.

Well the news is out (and I’m not surprised); our Corporation is going to do major overhaul. And I mean MAJOR! In the midst of this impacting news- lost jobs, redesign of jobs for those who stay (or are left behind), new labor and affiliate contracts; a few of us have been charged with being the ones to map out the path that will put us smack into the middle of the storm.

Even as I prepare to go on an extended leave, I have been charged with being part of the project’s Steering Committee to create a full and robust, evidence-based, patient centered Care Management program for the major hospital not only of the network I work for, but also the largest of the hospitals in the corporation.

My husband’s look when I broke the news spoke volumes…”You’ll be on overdrive right up until we leave!” Yep! Sure will. And honestly it scares me a bit. Not because I don’t think I can do it. Its what I do to myself when I’m handed a loaded package like this one. I’m, I must admit, an OCD workaholic. I truly forget to sleep and I seem to thrive on walking- running actually on that ‘edge’. That means here come the migraines that are my flags of stress.

So what am I to do? I’ve recruited the teams, I’ve sat with my research assistant and done the homework. We speak Care Management fluently now. We’ve just finished a two and a half day value stream and gap analysis for the financial end (health reforms won’t make things any easier); and are about to do the vertical value stream for the whole Care Management program… The very tip of the iceberg!

Oy Vey! I can forecast a very intense month. Already my office is full of clinical, diagnostic, and administrative guidelines, protocols, pathways, policies and data enough to launch a shuttle! NASA would be proud!

My husband? He just bought the biggest packages he could find of Linden, Chamomille, and Olive Vinegar teas. They will be my life-line when I get home at night. And because I am a night owl, I will NOT start my work day until 10 am. I come alive after noon time. So my folks at home will probably not see or hear from me any time before 8:00 pm! I did promise hubby I would stick to at least 8 hours of sleep. The only thing I can’t promise is the total length of work hours. (My doctors are threatening to write me up if I don’t stick to the plan!) Yes, some of my staff have already volunteered to rotate their tours to be in the office later. They’re the best! I tell them all the time!

What probably ‘saves’ us in a sense is the climate. The season is turning so the sun goes down much later- giving us at least four more hours of daylight. One leg up!

So here we go… T -minus…


spring cleaning

Spring is here! The heavy coats come off! The days are longer and warmer, the sunshine getting closer to these northern climes. The rains that signal the end of winter and give trees the boost to flower have stormed across the city. But after the torrential onslaught comes the bright sunny days. And you grab the sunglasses, hitting the streets with a lighter step.

I’ve taken advantage of the bright days to spruce up my office. A large confidential bin arrived a few weeks ago and parked itself in a corner. Today I went file by file, shelf by shelf, throwing out everything as my secretary scanned what wasn’t already electronic. The spanking new scanner copier of industrial size put to good use. We are going paper less this year!

Actually it was cathartic to throw out old files and papers with ‘non-moving’ violations! Blame it on my Dominican ‘fumes’! It felt like ripping through some bad JUJU!

My boss, has also started to stir. He has slowly returned to the office for a couple of hours a day. Says the office motivates him to get better.

He can’t stay home or he’ll feel like a sitting Buddha! After seeing the mountain of ‘stuff’ that went bye-bye into the bin, he said I ‘looked a few tons lighter about the shoulders’ when I finished.

Sure did! I even took an early lunch to bask in the success!


our muslim staff and volunteering

Last year* I wrote about our muslim staff, my push for their active volunteering within our hospital’s patient population, and my utter despair at their obtuseness and narrow-minded vision.

What a difference a ‘day’ makes…

We now have a standing list of volunteers that speak Arabic, Bengali, English, French, Hindi, Spanish, Urdu; scheduled 24/7/365 to provide services to all muslim patients including Washing of the Dead (a few went and got certified)- for Sunni and Shia.

The group has prepared packages of a trio of books that include a Qur’an in the patient’s language; ready for delivery from three locations -at a moments call, text, or email- the Chaplains’ office, the Medical Director’s office, and our Masjid.

Collections for causes such as the Haiti Relief fund created by our Hospital’s Corporation; collections for our homeless, etc., have become a norm.

Rotating Imams are now ready and able to lead Friday Jummah prayers in all three hospitals within walking distance- we are a group of private, public, and Veteran’s teaching Hospital complex.

In my office a Patient Safety Volunteers’ Initiatives program was created out of a grant received for the creation of a culture of safety, and now that has birthed a Medical Director’s Mentorship Program- I asked for our Muslim staff to volunteer their sons and daughters, and friends- they responded and now we have among the ever growing groups: one doctor about to start Residency, one medical student, one research pre-med student; one surgical tech and one CNA who belong to the programs- all Muslim; and all Mentored directly by our Medical Director.

It has helped us, tremendously, in providing the tools for our medical staff to deliver better patient-centered care. They have, through conversations with our patients at informal visits, provided updated data on our patient population and the shift that has occurred with the socio-economic changes of this millennium’s first decade; informing us which diseases are now more critical in addressing, zeroing in on new social factors that need our attention, and replacing long-established beliefs and practices -making us hunt the International scene for Best Practices. The program has also become the spring board for other departments to activate initiatives, programs, and grant writing; therefore requesting more of our volunteers!

The students (and volunteering medical professionals) have been able to use their time with us to further their writing, studies, and school-based research projects by having unlimited access to our Medical Libraries; research computer programs; and online survey taking software. Their professors angling for more students to join the programs. And having the Medical Director of a large, teaching hospital complex as a Mentor- well that’s icing on the cake!

I smile so widely at this progress I could literally tell myself a secret!!!

And the Muslim brothers’ most fondest wish, today, was actually put on the drawing boards- the expansion of our Masjid!

Volunteering! Pay it Forward!



Islamic Fashion for the American Muslimah

I link to a few bloggers whose main posts are about Islamic Fashion- but one of the best ones in my opinion is Caribmuslimah. She is an inspiration of style and taste for the American Muslimat; especially for those of us who lead lives outside our homes; and for our teenagers who do want to be hip and Islamic at the same time.

I hope and pray one day she is recognized for her sense of style and can be our very own Tim Gunn (and if you follow the fashion world, you know his words of advice are not contradicted- he knows his business).

So here is my heart felt encouragement to Caribmuslimah, may you use this gift you have to the best of your ability and for the benefit of all of us who daily say “What in the world am I going to wear with my hijab?”

You go girl!


Due to Swine Flu Spread- Some additions to Wash your Hands; Save a Life Tab

Considering the rising toll of victims of the Swine Flu (no you don’t get it from eating Pork- so the gloaters better tap it down a bit)-I have added a sub page that has all the latest news I have been able to garner on the Swine Flu as it comes to me.

But it continues to be EXTREMELY important that you wash your hands before and after eating- and especially with strong soap after going to the bathroom!


Spandau Ballet…Beach Boys…Air Supply…


Today was my first day back to the office- loopy; trying very hard not to bump into walls- so I was trying a slow sashay down the halls…my mind was working fine- my body was just not in the corresponding mood. 

I had to get new tests down- my white blood count had shot through the roof- and the debate was do I get a lumbar puncture or not…thankfully the test results should that where ever the infection was it was gone…

But my meeting with Sr.VP/Executive Director went like this- “your boss (who had a procedure done today) is not coming back to the office until tuesday because I say so and further order you home immediately and not return until Monday!

I humbly said “yes Ma’am”…

So my staff reviewed with me what they needed to have ready for me on Monday- cleared my schedule and shooed me home… I was so out of it that my secretary took it upon herself to call my husband and ask him to come get me- because the Big Boss was sending me home to rest further.

The silence in the car was patently, thick- a machete would not have done justice to it…His Scrubs and Lab coat vibrated with irritation- because I was the one who insisted I was ready to go back to work- He called both the Nuerologist and Nuerosurgeon and conferenced them in- got the low down on my lab tests and the next steps to take- they would be calling in for the new meds for him to pick up.

“You know why I am so angry right now?” he asked gripping the steering wheel, “because I love you, I don’t want to lose you and we have plans to spend the rest of our lives together doing the things we love…that Bucket List is pretty long kiddo…please don’t shorten it!!!”

I cried silently all the way home… He tucked me in and got beeped that he had to get back to the OR within the hour- “Go, I’m going to take a nap and be fine,” I told him-


Cross my my heart dearest…

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