Thursday, April 17, 2008
Employee morale is important in any business

By Dr. Anthony Policastro

I spent 9 years as an Air Force hospital CEO. The most important lesson that they taught Air Force Commanding Officers was the three rules of leadership. Rule #1 was "take care of your people". Rule #2 was "take care of your people". Rule #3 was "Take care of your people". The idea was that it was your people that made you look successful. If you took care of them and made them happy, they would take care of you. Therefore, my job was simple. I needed to know the names of the 750 people who worked for me. I needed to visit their work areas on a regular basis. I needed to see that they got promoted. I needed to see that they received appropriate recognition for what they did. In return they would make sure that the hospital was the best that it could be. They did that well. We only had a 40-bed hospital. However, we had the second busiest emergency room in the Air Force. We saw Army, Navy and Air Force patients from throughout the Hampton Roads area. We had the second busiest obstetrical service in the Air Force. We even delivered more babies than two of the Air Force Ob residency programs. The staff continued to perform at a high level even after I left. Six months later the Air Force IG team came in for their every three-year inspection. The hospital received the second highest grade in the history of the IG team hospital surveys. It is no secret that being happy at what you do leads to better performance. Think about the times that you have been to a restaurant and dealt with an unhappy server. You might not have gone back to that restaurant even if the food was good. You might have met an unhappy employee in a department store. The result might be a plan to shop elsewhere in the future. Another possibility is that you might have met an unhappy employee outside of their work place. When they tell you where they work, you might talk about being a customer at that location. They might then go on to tell you how bad the place is. You might think twice about going back there. Medical care is no different than these other service industries. It is only as good as its people. The higher the morale, the more comfortable the patients will feel. The more likely the staff will be to tell their friends and neighbors about what a wonderful place their office is. Alternatively, the lower the morale, the easier it is for patients to pick up. The more likely it is for the staff to tell their friends and neighbors to go somewhere else for their medical care. If you are a supervisor, it is important to take care of your people. If you are a worker, it is important to be happy about what you do. By working together in this way, the business will be successful. Everyone will then be happy. That makes for a lot less depression and dissatisfaction.

Coalition continues effort to help uninsured

AstraZeneca, Christiana Care, the Honorable Governor Ruth Ann Minner and more than a dozen organizations across the state recently launched the first "Delaware Cover the Uninsured Month" in an effort to help the 105,000 Delawareans without health insurance. During the month of April, volunteers will spread the word through neighborhoods, religious communities, civic centers and other organizations about the availability of free or low-cost services in all three counties. In addition, the month will include a gubernatorial forum on health care and an advertising campaign that encourages uninsured residents to call the Delaware Helpline at 1-800-464-HELP to learn about services in their area. Outreach efforts are being organized by Healthy Delawareans Today & Tomorrow, a coalition of organizations from the public and private sectors that share a commitment to helping people without health insurance access the care they need. Since its launch in April 2007, members of the coalition have linked more than 4,000 uninsured Delawareans to free or low-cost health care services, prescription medicines or transportation to medical appointments. With help from the Community Healthcare Access Program and the Delaware Covering Kids and Families Program, more than 200 of these patients learned they were eligible for public health coverage. Lack of insurance can affect people's health because they receive less preventive care, are diagnosed at more advanced disease stages and, once diagnosed, tend to receive less therapeutic care and have higher mortality rates than insured individuals. "At Christiana Care, we care for more adults and children who have little to no insurance than anyone else in the state - this is part of our mission of service to our community. We also help thousands of families connect with health insurance programs already available. I believe private- public partnerships like this can and will make a difference,"ÊsaidÊBob Laskowski, M.D., president and CEO, Christiana Care Health System. With an investment of nearly $500,000 from AstraZeneca in April 2007, organizations throughout Delaware added to or expanded their services for the uninsured. For example:

  • Five community health centers added or increased the availability of "Patient Navigators," individuals who act as personal advocates to help patients through the health care system.
  • Employees of the toll-free Delaware Helpline, who connect thousands of Delawareans to services they need, were trained specifically to respond to calls from the uninsured.
  • Generations Home Care extended its free transportation services to the uninsured.
  • The Delaware Foundation for Medical Services, a non-profit arm of the Medical Society of Delaware, expanded its Volunteer Initiative Program, which recruits physicians to serve the uninsured.
  • The Hope Medical Clinic began offering dental services in August 2007. "The progress this coalition has made toward helping the uninsured is a perfect example of how a diverse group of people who care can make a unified, positive impact on communities across our state," said Michelle Taylor, president and CEO, United Way of Delaware.
  • Bloodmobile collecting donations Spring fever has many people itching to get out of the house and do something productive with their time. That time could be well spent by donating blood and saving up to three lives. Three hundred and seventy blood donors are needed every day on Delmarva. This year alone, more than 20,000 patients will need blood transfusions - and there is no substitute for blood. If someone loses blood from surgery or an injury, they have to turn to blood donors to survive. To provide busy people with a convenient location to give blood, the Blood Bank's bloodmobiles will make 18 stops in 16 various locations on the Eastern Shore throughout April. The Bloodmobile will be in Selbyville on Tuesday, April 22; Seaford, Wednesday, April 23; and Georgetown, Friday, April 25. Blood donors can donate blood every 56 days. Call 1-888-8-BLOOD-8 to schedule an appointment or visit

    Golf tournament planned The fourth annual Wellness Community Golf Tournament will be held on Monday, June 9 at Kings Creek Country Club in Rehoboth Beach. Enjoy prizes, a continental breakfast and barbeque luncheon celebration. Golfers may register to play for $125 per person, including green fees and cart. The event begins at 7:30 a.m. with registration followed by a shot gun start at 9 a.m. There will be guaranteed prizes awarded for the longest drive, closest to pin and low score. The tournament closes with the first 100 paid registrants. The golf tournament helps raise public awareness about cancer. To be a sponsor or donate items for the raffle, contact Marcia Esposito at 302-645-9150 or For more information, visit

    Medicine Take-Back Day In response to new evidence that flushed medications are ending up in our water supply, the Delaware Nurses Association is sponsoring the first medicine take-back event on Thursday, April 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Newark Senior Center in Newark. Nurses Healing Our Planet, an environmental task force of the Delaware Nurse's Association, invites everyone to bring in all unwanted prescriptions and over-the-counter medications, as well as vitamins, inhalers, drops, veterinary pills and liquid medications in their original containers. New evidence shows that flushing is the wrong way to dispose of unwanted drugs. According to the Associated Press, some drugs "resist modern drinking water and wastewater treatment processes." The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that no sewage treatment systems are specifically engineered to remove pharmaceuticals. A vast array of pharmaceuticals; including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones; have been found in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans, an Associated Press investigation shows. Leftover medicines cause thousands of accidental poisonings and deaths each year. When old drugs are flushed down the toilet, they can poison fish, animals, plants and people.

    Mammograms in Greenwood The Women's Mobile Health Screening Van is coming to Greenwood Public Library on Wednesday, April 23. Free or low-cost mammograms will be given to women who have scheduled an appointment. Women interested in receiving a mammogram must call 888-672-9647 before April 23 to schedule an appointment. No one will receive services without an appointment. A doctor's prescription is also required. Don't delay in calling if you are interested in receiving this service at no or low cost. Mammograms can save lives by finding breast cancer as early as possible. The van is administered by the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, Inc. and offers high quality services delivered by professional medical staff. The Greenwood Public Library is located east of the railroad tracks, on the corner of Market Street (DE Rt. 16) and Mill Street. You may call 888-672-9647 or 302-349-5309 for information.

    Alzheimer's offers courses The Alzheimer's Association Delaware Valley Chapter is offering professional training programs at the Georgetown office. These programs include CEU credit for social workers, nurses and nursing home administrators. Certificates of completion are also available. Courses include "About Dementia" on Tuesday, May 6 from 9 a.m. to noon (three credits); "Making Connections" on Tuesday, May 13 from 10 a.m. to noon (two credits); and "Understanding Wandering" on Friday, May 23 from 10 a.m. to noon (two credits). The cost of each session including CEU credit is $49 or a certificate of completion is $29 per registrant. Pre-registration is required by e-mailing Jamie Magee at or by calling 302-854-9788.

    Stroke support group Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will offer free monthly Stroke Support Group meetings designed for individuals who have survived a stroke and their families and caregivers. Meetings are held the third Thursday of each month at Nanticoke Cancer Care Center, from 1:30 - 3:30 p.m. The meetings will consist of guest speakers and breakaway sessions, in which caregivers and survivors will meet in two groups to discuss concerns, provide support and networking. Refreshments will be provided. Sheila Brant and Joan Burditt, occupational therapists at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, will facilitate the support group meetings. Pre-registration is not required. For more information, call 629-6611, ext. 5121.