Easy Ways to Fight the Flu This Year


Before the flu gets you, learn to fight back.

There are plenty of things you can do to keep yourself and your loved ones healthy now that flu season is upon us. It all starts with getting vaccinated. The Charles County Department of Health has flu shots and nasal mist vaccinations available to residents at no charge.

Beyond that, the Maryland Department of Health recommends the following easy steps that you can take each day to protect yourself and limit the spread of influenza:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze.
  • Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • If tissues are not available, cough or sneeze into your sleeve.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
  • If you do become ill, keep away from others as much as possible to keep from making others sick.

If — despite your best efforts — you do come down with the flu, we have some good news. The new UM Charles Regional Urgent Care is now open and accepting patients in downtown La Plata. Our staff of experienced and compassionate medical professionals will make sure you get the best care possible, so you can feel better fast.

Fight Cardiovascular Disease During American Heart Month


Nearly half of all Americans — men, women and children — are at risk for heart disease right now.

It’s why February has been designated as American Heart Month. It’s our chance to raise awareness and spread the word about the things we can all do to lower the chances of experiencing heart-related health issues.

Some risk factors are out of our hands, including age and family history. But there are things we can do to reduce our chances of heart disease. The American Heart Association calls it “Life’s Simple 7” and it includes these seven steps to take to protect yourself against heart disease.

  1. Get Active
  2. Control Cholesterol
  3. Eat Better
  4. Manage Blood Pressure
  5. Lose Weight
  6. Reduce Blood Sugar
  7. Stop Smoking

Heart disease is serious and can cause life-threatening occurrences like heart attack and stroke. Though 1 in 3 adults have some form of cardiovascular disease, 80% of heart disease and stroke can be prevented. So take this as a challenge and let’s all do our part this month to reduce our own risk of heart disease and to help the ones we love do the same.

UM Charles Regional Named Top Performer on Key Quality Measures for 4th Consecutive Year


UM Charles Regional Medical Center recently announced that it has been recognized as a 2014 Top Performer on Key Quality Measures® by The Joint Commission, the leading accreditor of health care organizations in the United States.

This represents the fourth consecutive year that the hospital has earned this honor. UM Charles Regional will be featured in The Joint Commission’s 2015 annual report, America’s Hospitals: Improving Quality and Safety, for attaining and sustaining excellence in accountability measure performance for heart failure, pneumonia, surgical care and venous thromboembolism.

UM Charles Regional is one of only 1,043 hospitals out of more than 3,300 eligible hospitals in the United States to achieve the 2014 Top Performer distinction. The program recognizes hospitals for improving performance on evidence-based interventions that increase the chances of healthy outcomes for patients with certain conditions.

To be a 2014 Top Performer, hospitals had to meet three performance criteria based on 2014 accountability measure data. Each accountability measure represents evidence-based practice – for example, giving aspirin at arrival for heart attack patients, vaccinating high risk patients to prevent pneumonia and giving antibiotics one hour before surgery to prevent infections.

“Delivering the right treatment in the right way at the right time is a cornerstone of high-quality health care. I commend UM Charles Regional Medical Center for their excellent performance on the use of evidence-based interventions,” said Mark R. Chassin, MD, FACP, MPP, MPH, president and CEO of The Joint Commission.

Noel Cervino, president and CEO of UM Charles Regional, said this award is especially significant because it represents the combined efforts of the so many talented medical professionals, all dedicated to providing the best care for patients in Southern Maryland.

“To be named a Top Performer by the Joint Commission the first year was a great honor,” said Noel Cervino, UM Charles Regional’s President and CEO. “To receive it four years in a row is a testament to the diligence and dedication of our staff. It tells our community that this hospital is committed to providing safe, effective, high quality care and positive outcomes for our patients.”

For more information about the Top Performer program, visit

Accumulating Snow, High Winds, and Cold Temperatures Likely For Charles County Beginning Friday



A winter storm system is heading toward Charles County and will likely bring heavy snow, high winds, and cold temperatures to the area. The storm is expected to begin early afternoon on Friday, Jan. 22 with the heaviest precipitation occurring Friday afternoon through Saturday. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a blizzard watch for central and southern Maryland and a winter storm watch for western Maryland beginning Friday at noon and going through Saturday evening.  Potential blizzard conditions mean gusty winds and low visibility.

Residents are urged to make preparations now and are urged to stay off the roads during the height of the storm.

“The Department of Emergency Services is working closely with the State and the National Weather Service to stay apprised of the situation,” said Charles County Department of Emergency Services Director William Stephens.

In addition to staying off the roads and monitoring the weather and power outages, residents should take the following actions:

  • Keep devices charged so you will have a way to follow weather forecasts and local emergency information and be able to contact family and friends.
  • Be cautious shoveling snow or ice to avoid overexertion. Take frequent breaks and keep hydrated. If snow is accumulating on your rooftop, consider removing snow if it is safe to do so.
  • If you must travel, make sure to have car chargers, kitty litter, or sand for traction, and extra drinks and snacks in case you get stuck in traffic. Let friends or family know of your travel route and expected arrival time.
  • Check on friends, neighbors, and relatives, especially the elderly or vulnerable residents who may have trouble staying warm or maneuvering on icy surfaces.
  • Know who to contact in the case of a power outage.

Severe weather notices are posted online at:

Weather updates are also aired on CCGTV, which broadcasts on Comcast channel 95 and Verizon channel 10. Sign up for the Citizen Notification System at to receive inclement weather and traffic alerts by text message, email, or phone. For information on power outages, view the SMECO outage map at Call 877-747-6326 to report a power outage.  Call 9-1-1 in the event of an emergency.

January is National Blood Donor Month: The Importance of Donating During the Winter


Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood.

That means that 41,000 blood donations are needed every day to meet the needs of those who require blood transfusions, according to the American Red Cross.

But as winter settles in, fewer people make the pledge to donate blood. The American Red Cross says that donations are historically lower during November, December and January because of competing seasonal activities, celebrations, shopping and inclement weather. That’s why UM Charles Regional Medical Center is proud to support National Blood Donor Month.

The Red Cross has observed National Blood Donor Month every year in January since 1970 with the goal of increasing blood and platelet donations during winter. If you are eligible to donate, you can help the Red Cross meet the needs of people in your community this winter

You don’t have to travel far to donate. Join us on Monday, January 25, from 1pm to 6:30pm at the American Legion Post 82 in La Plata for a blood drive that’s jointly sponsored by the American Legion and UM Charles Regional Medical Center.

Ready to be a hero? Visit this site to learn more and choose a donation time.

Celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the CRMC Foundation at the Celebration Gala

Our annual black tie fundraising event is less than two months away, and you’re invited to help us celebrate! Join us on Saturday, March 5, from 8pm to midnight at Swan Point Yacht and Country Club for our Celebration Gala.


This year’s Gala will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the CRMC Foundation and honor Healthcare Champion and retired orthopedic surgeon Guillermo Sanchez, M.D. The Foundation will provide a special tribute to Dr. Sanchez for his four decades of distinguished service to Southern Maryland.

Proceeds from the Celebration Gala support UM Charles Regional’s Comprehensive Rehabilitation Programs, including speech, occupational, and physical therapy as well as cardiac rehab and cardio-pulmonary services.

Throughout the night, guests will be treated to an array of gourmet hors d’oeuvres, delectable desserts, an open bar and an 11-piece dance band. And with three levels of reservations available, you’re invited to choose the experience that suits you best.

  • VIP Reservations | 6pm admittance | Early Bird pricing is $175 per person through Feb. 5 and $200 thereafter (Limited Quantities Remain)

Take part in an exclusive seated dinner with a chef-inspired menu before enjoying all of the Celebration Gala festivities.

  • Gala Reservations | 8pm admittance | Early Bird pricing is $125 per person through Feb. 5 and $150 thereafter

Attend the traditional Gala and enjoy all of the festivities and entertainment until midnight.

  • Late Night Reservations | 9:30pm admittance | Early Bird pricing is $75 per person through Feb. 5 and $100 thereafter

Arrive a little later to dance the night away! Open bar, cuisine stations and live entertainment are included.

Ticket prices increase on February 6, so purchase your tickets online or by calling 301.609.4132 today!

Want to get your business involved? Sponsorships provide numerous benefits, including complimentary reservations and exclusive promotional opportunities. Click here to learn more about sponsoring our Celebration Gala.

8 Resolutions to Help You Live a Healthier Life in 2016

Improve Your Physical and Mental Health in the New Year

We’re just a few days from saying goodbye to 2015, and if you’re like many people, you’re getting ready to put some serious thought into your New Year’s resolutions.


Although choosing your resolutions can be difficult, following through all year long can be even harder. To help, we’ve put together a list of eight great resolutions you can make in the new year. And we’re including a few tips and tricks for reaching your yearlong goal.

Resolution 1: Get Moving

  • Whether you’re committed to walking more or you’re beginning a full-blown exercise regimen at the gym, making the decision to get started on a fitness program is the most important step.
    • Keys to Success: Start slowly, both in your workouts and in your expectations. Being realistic about your goals will prevent you from getting discouraged (and quitting). As you get into a routine, follow some basic tips for staying with your original plan. And don’t forget to warm up and stretch, paying close attention to the signals your body is sending you. Nothing derails a fitness resolution faster than an injury.

Resolution 2: Eat Healthy

  • Let’s face it, the holidays are always a prime time for unhealthy eating. We all could do without a few of those cookies and sweets throughout the season. But whether your holiday diet was naughty or nice, eating healthy is a great way to feel better and even fight sickness.
    • Keys to Success: Focus on long-term goals of overall health and fitness by making small changes rather than short-term objectives with extreme measures. Find ways to keep your diet interesting and delicious with healthy recipes that entice you. If, despite your best efforts, you do gain weight, don’t get discouraged or use it as an excuse to indulge.

Resolution 3: Quit Smoking

  • It’s hard to quit smoking, there’s no question about it. But 2016 can be your year to call it quits forever. Deciding to quit means that you’ve decided that you want to enhance both the length and the quality of your life, and if you know what you’re up against, what your options are and where you can go for help, your chances of becoming a non-smoker for good are that much better.
    • Keys to Success: Attack both the physical and the mental addiction to tobacco. For most people, the best way to quit will be a combination of medicine, a change in habits and emotional support. Setting up a “Quit Plan” is a fantastic way to get you started, and it’ll set you up for long-term success as well.

Resolution 4: Stress Less

  • Believe it or not, stress affects much more than just your emotional well-being. Excessive stress can be the cause of a number of disorders and even puts you at risk for developing illnesses and other ailments. Focusing on reducing stress in the new year is an ideal way to live a healthier life.
    • Keys to Success: Stress is natural and will never fully go away, but take time every so often to reflect on how stress is affecting you physically. You don’t need to take a long weekend or vacation to relieve yourself from stress. Simply taking a step back and following some basic tips is a great way to clear your mind and improve your health.

Resolution 5: Laugh More

  • When it comes to relieving stress, laughter is just what the doctor ordered. On top of its contagious nature, laughter has many short- and long-term benefits that include stimulating organs and strengthening your immune system. And it even burns a few extra calories!
    • Keys to Success: If you don’t feel like you have a good sense of humor and laughing isn’t something you do all that often, the best news is that it can be learned. Surrounding yourself with things that make you chuckle, people who make you smile and movies that crack you up are easy, fun ways to put more laughter in your life.

Resolution 6: Get Screened

  • The best way to prevent illness and to increase your chances of living a longer, healthier life is by scheduling regular health exams and tests. These screenings not only help you detect problems before they start, but they better your chances for effective treatments.
    • Keys to Success: Visit your regular health care provider. You’ll be more comfortable going to an environment that you’re familiar with. If you don’t have one, start your search for health care providers in your area. And because men and women will have different guidelines for check-ups, go into your health screening with an idea of what you should be screened for and when.

Resolution 7: Seek Help

  • Depression and other mental illnesses are indiscriminate and can affect people regardless of age, gender, race or physical health. The best thing you can do if you find yourself experiencing mental health issues is to seek help. And don’t be afraid to encourage your loved ones to do the same if they’re the ones affected by it.
    • Keys to Success: Whether you’re seeking help for yourself or for someone you know, arm yourself with an understanding of what depression is and how it happens. A better understanding of mental illness makes it easier for a person to get help. Most importantly, never ignore any of the warning signs from someone who may be suicidal.

Resolution 8: Spread the Word

  • Think of this eighth resolution as an all-encompassing guide for succeeding with any of the previously listed resolutions. Committing to your resolutions is easier when you are accountable to others. Share your 2016 health resolutions with friends and family and help one another take steps to healthier lives.
    • Keys to Success: Get out there and share your resolutions! Teamwork makes the dream work, and partnering with a family member or friend can make your resolutions easier to keep through 2016.
Save the Date: Celebration Gala is March 5

Ready for the perfect reason to wear your pearls?

You’re invited to attend our Celebration Gala on March 5. We’re celebrating the CRMC Foundation’s 30 years of philanthropy and support of our community hospital — the pearl anniversary.

We’ll also be honoring Dr. Guillermo Sanchez as a “Healthcare Champion” for his four decades of distinguished service to Southern Maryland.

Tickets to this black-tie event go on sale January 1. So mark your calendar and let’s get together at the Swan Point Yacht and Country Club for one of the year’s most anticipated events. We’re transforming their elegant space and expanding it with a gorgeous climate controlled tent so join your community for an evening of delicious cuisine, open bar, live music, dancing and philanthropy.

Proceeds benefit the hospital’s Comprehensive Rehabilitation Programs, including physical, speech, occupational and respiratory therapy, as well as cardiac rehabilitation and cardio pulmonary services.

Celebration Gala

  • When: Saturday, March 5, 2016
  • Where: Swan Point Yacht and Country Club

Ticket Info

  • VIP Reservations (limited availability)
    • 6pm Dinner and Gala admittance
    • Early Bird Pricing: $150 each through February 5 ($175 each after)
  • Gala Reservations
    • 8pm Gala admittance
    • Early Bird Pricing: $125 through February 5 ($150 each after)
  • “Late Night” Reservations
    • 9:30pm Gala admittance
    • Early Bird Pricing: $75 through February 5 ($100 each after)
UM Charles Regional Medical Center Continues Christmas Toy Drive Tradition

444Employees of UM Charles Regional Medical Center have once again teamed up with Christmas Connection to provide Christmas gifts for children in low-income families.

Members of our staff have collected dozens of new, unwrapped toys, filled over 500 stockings and raised funds through a bake/pizza sale to help support the mission of ensuring that every family can have a happy, healthy holiday season. As a result of the bake/pizza sale, $1,036.85 was raised to purchase toys that will benefit Christmas Connection.

Volunteers donated their time and filled stockings with toys.

Volunteers donated their time and filled stockings with toys.

The annual program includes six local agencies that have combined their efforts to provide gifts, clothing, books and food to thousands of low-income Charles County residents. This year, the Christmas program, the largest of its kind in Charles County, is expected to help more than 3,000 children, 200 senior citizens and 200 other in-need adults.

UM Charles Regional employees giving back to their community and children in need.

UM Charles Regional employees giving back to their community and children in need.

Honor a Loved One and Support Restoring Good Health at the Christmas Tree of Life

There’s still time to make a gift in recognition of someone who has touched your life.


Have a light shine in honor or memory of a loved one, living or deceased, at our annual Christmas Tree of Life event.

On Wednesday, December 9, from 5:30pm-7:00pm at UM Charles Regional Medical Center in La Plata, we’ll illuminate our Christmas Tree of Life to celebrate the people who have made our lives better. In addition to the illumination ceremony, the event will feature a dessert reception and holiday music.

Gifts can be made through December 9 — a light for a tree is $15 and a Healing Garden Luminary is $50. Or you can ensure that a light shines each year to honor your special person with an Angel Perpetual Light for a one-time gift of $100.

Funds raised through these contributions help our hospital provide the very best care for our community and will support our Comprehensive Rehabilitation Programs, including physical, speech, occupational and respiratory therapy, as well as cardiac and cardiopulmonary rehabilitation.

Don’t miss this chance to honor your loved ones this holiday season and support a great cause. For full details or to give your gift, visit the official Christmas Tree of Life event page.

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