I’ve been posting these computer discounts that Dell Computers offers UTMB for its employees. We buy a lot of Dells at this university; this program allows us an opportunity to share the benefits of volume pricing. I’ve been shopping around for a new desktop to replace my system at home and the one they’re offering this month looks to be a pretty good deal. If I order it I’ll let you know how it goes. Download the flyer at EPP.July07.pdf
Archive for June, 2007
I’m hearing good things about the clinic that Family Medicine recently opened at 6710 Stewart Road. Staffed by Drs. Cynthia Ripsin and James King, and P.A. Susan Berkley, the clinic saw about 100 patienst its first week. A West End friend and fellow employee was one of them, and she had great things to say about the staff, about the facility, about how easy it was to get in and how helpful they were. That sounds good to me. If you want to find out for yourself, call the clinic at (409) 744-4030 or visit their web site.
I’ve always believed that as far as bushy tailed rodents go, squirrels are pretty cool. They’ve been featured in my blog before. They scamper around in the trees staring down at the rest of us, pocketing nuts and the crusts from discarded PBJs. They make death-defying leaps from branch to branch, skillfully dodge cars and cats, and entertain us with their antics.
However, one recent antic wasn’t quite so entertaining, not for the fellows in Facilities and much less so for an unfortunate squirrel. Wednesday we reported on a partial power outage at the Primary Care Pavilion. One of our furry neighbors squeezed himself into the wrong place and zapped one of the power feeds to the building. FOAM and the power company were able to get all the juice back in about an hour, and the two casualties were the squirrel and one of the 20 AC units that serve the building.
We recently moved to League City (the story on this in another post) and found ourselves in need of a pediatrician at a location more convenient to our new home and the kids’ schools. As is often the case in many U.S. homes, my wife took on the task of finding a new care provider. (I was still recovering from box-shock and trying to figure out the best place for the TV.)
She went online and very easily found a UTMB pediatric clinic near our new home. She was quickly set up with a new doc and was offered an appointment for the ankle biters as soon as she wanted/needed it. While she’s not one to gush praise, she had good things to say about the information the clinic and Pedi Department had online, and good things to say about the people that helped her get our kids re-established in a new UTMB medical home.
Now, I wonder if I could get anyone in Pediatrics to help me find my remote control? I think I saw it packed with the spatulas.
The web version of Popular Science published a list of the “worst jobs in science,” or what they call their “salute to the men and women who do what no salary can adequately reward.” I noted with a chuckle that one of our collaborative programs with NASA made the list:
Number 7: Gravity Research Subject
They’re strapped down so astronauts can blast off
Spend time in outer space, and the lack of gravity will earn you the bloated look astronauts call puffy face, as well as atrophied muscles and bone degeneration. Researchers hope to combat these symptoms by developing artificial-gravity therapies for long voyages. But the only way to approximate the effects of weightlessness is by having volunteers lie still for weeks on end.
Granted, it’s no weekend in Cancun for the study participants, and I’m not sure I could do it. A few weeks tilted upside down in bed might not be ”a giant step for mankind,” but I am one of those people who believe we are destined (or will be driven) to break from Mother Earth, as inevitably as ships slipped their safe ports for the uncharted and unknown waters of the New World a mere five centuries ago. You can’t head off to the stars without first finding solutions to the issues these studies are addressing. More power to you, eartho-nauts. Read the clip…
You may have seen on iUTMB that this past week was Outpatient Service Associates Week, something UTMB Hospitals and Clinics has been sponsoring for the past few years. What is an OSA? They’re the patient’s first contact with our clinics. They answer the phones or manage front desks, schedule appointments, check in patients, and make sure all of the paperwork is completed before the patient goes in to see a doctor or other care giver.
The goal of the week is to boost morale, recognize hard work and reward dedication, and one way they’ll do this is by selecting an OSA of the Year, which happens at a party this evening.
I had an opportunity to experience several OSA’s this week. I’ve had a nagging sore throat for a couple weeks and finally went to check it out, fearing that I was starting to spread germs like Typhiod Mary (it was just allergies). I called to find out about getting an appointment at my normal clinic, and my first encounter with an OSA this week wasn’t so hot. She wasn’t particularly pleasant on the phone, didn’t seem all that interested in helping me, and probably isn’t in the running for the “OSA of the Year” award. Had I not had a vested interest in getting care at UTMB, I might not have.
And that would have been very unfortunate, because the next three OSAs I met were wonderful, extremely helpful, bright and energetic. So was the nurse who took my vitals, and the practitioner who looked me over. It was a great clinical encounter: the visit was on time, quick & convenient, all the staff were courteous and professional, I was given a lot of good information and had all my questions answered, and had my next checkup scheduled. Perfect.
Except that it almost didn’t happen, and that speaks to how important every OSA is, and why we need to appreciate them, give them good tools and skills, value them as team members, hold them to a high standard and reward them for attaining that standard, and thank them for their hard work. OSAs, I salute you. To the ladies that unknowingly restored my faith in our system, I thank you deeply.
In case you missed it on iUTMB today, the holiday schedule for the coming fiscal year is now posted. It’s online.
(Richard Dawson and the gameshow Family Feud. How many of you remember that?)
I mentioned in an earlier post that the next Impact was going to have a summary of the You Count results. If you can’t wait, the info is also posted to the You Count web site at http://intranet.utmb.edu/youcount/. There’s the article from Impact and a PDF with more that 300 pages of results. (If you are off campus you may still be able to get to this by replacing “intranet” with “www.”
I scanned all the results pretty quickly. A few impressions: First, factoring that the survey followed what was probably the lowest point in the 10 plus years I’ve experienced at UTMB, the overall results are pretty darn good. I know how I responded—I’ll admit that I expressed my frustration and concern in a few places. But I tried to be honest and fair, and it looks like many of you might have done the same, based on what are a lot of positive responses in important areas. If, when things were at their darkest, so many of us still saw the good, it speaks well for our future.
Second point that jumps out: overall, faculty were not happy when You Count rolled around. Neither were the 60 or so Police Department members who responded. I imagine the faculty compensation plan, lots of changes and general unrest factored in the former, I’m not sure what the drivers were with the latter. In any case, I hope the tide is turning for those of you who felt so disenfranchised.
Third point: There’s a lot less love going down for executive leadership in this survey than we’ve seen in the past, which if you recall the strife caused by the “N” word (Navigant), the leadership changes, the uncertainty about a lot of things, it’s not a surprise. Removed a few months, it doesn’t seem like it was that bad, but that’s ’cause time heals all.
Fourth and final point: love it or hate it, You Count! seems to work. The participation numbers are strong, which means we’re getting a good picture of ourselves, and the responses seem to confirm what many of us would have intuitively guessed they might be, at least in many areas. The trick now is to act on what we learn about ourselves, to make this an even greater and better place to work.
The next Impact will be one you’ll want to be sure to read. It’ll contain an overview of our upcoming benefits options and costs, a summary of the last You Count survey, the holiday schedule for next year (which should also be posted online by Thursday), and (I think) a recap of the past legislative session. As we found out this week with a last minute veto of some dollars earmarked for a great UTMB program, it ain’t over ’til it’s over. Watch for the issue in your mailbox by the middle of next week.
Last night I took a late evening call from a colleague who was on the road, making a presentation and in need of a visual. No big deal, until I went to pull up the UTMB web site and got the dreaded “server not found” message. My attempt to VPN in and get on our network was equally fruitless. Everything else still seemed OK. Foiled and frustrated, I was tempted to wake a few others to get the scoop. But I had a suspicion that maybe it wasn’t a UTMB issue. There was a switch in service that took place Tuesday, from Roadrunner to Comcast (I get broadband service at home via cable). Sure enough, the disruption in access to UTMB was limited to Roadrunner/Comcast customers, and it lasted a few hours while the routers, widgets and technical gadgets figured out there was a big university and medical center at the end of one of its strings of fiber.
The story has a happy ending. I found an image on the hardrive of my laptop and emailed it off that night using my Google email account. Good ol’ Google. The issue with the ISP was resolved a bit after midnight and it looks like smooth sailing from…uh…hello?…can you still hear me…?