Patient Safety


Staph Infection- What is MRSA?

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a type of bacteria that is resistant to methicillin, and other more common antibiotics such as oxacillin, penicillin and amoxicillin. Staph and MRSA infections occur most frequently among persons in hospitals and healthcare facilities who have weakened immune systems. MRSA infections that occur in otherwise healthy people who have not been hospitalized within the past year or had a medical procedure (such as dialysis, surgery, catheters) are known as community-associated (CA)-MRSA infections. These infections are usually skin infections, such as abscesses, boils, and other pus-filled lesions, and are spread through close skin-to-skin contact, openings in the skin such as cuts or abrasions, contaminated items and surfaces, crowded living conditions, and poor hygiene.

Please click here to visit the CDC webpage for more information.
Please click here for information from Maryland’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Please click here for a downloadable Patient Fact Sheet.

Health Literacy

Health literacy is defined in Healthy People 2010 as the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information. In the United States, almost half the adult population lacks the ability to adequately understand and act on health information, leading to poor health outcomes and rising health care costs.

The Center for a Healthy Maryland recognizes that anything that impedes the quality of communication between patients and physicians can compromise the quality of care provided. Along with advanced age, low educational level and low literacy, cultural and language differences are a contributing factor to poor physician/patient communication.

The Center hopes to help bridge the cultural literacy gap as well as the health literacy gap with the goal of improving the quality of health care in Maryland. Through a grant from the Quality Health Foundation, the Center has created an online Interpreter Resources Guide to assist physicians in communicating with Limited English Proficient (LEP) individuals. Funding is being sought to develop, produce and distribute print materials to improve communication between patients and physicians.

To learn about the Ask Me3 Program, which addresses clear communication between health care providers and patients, visit To download health literacy materials for patients, providers, and organizations, visit

Advance Directives

Everyone has the right to make medical decisions about their own health care. It is advisable to set up advance directives now so that if you are not able to make informed medical decisions for yourself in the future, a person of your choosing will do so. For information on advance directives and health care instructions (sometimes called living wills), go to the Maryland Attorney General’s site.

A Guide to Maryland Law on Health Care Decisions (Forms Included)

Organ Donation

You can save lives! More than 90,000 Americans are awaiting an organ transplant. The Center for a Healthy Maryland encourages you to consider becoming an organ donor. Learn how to be an organ and tissue donor. Visit to follow one of these simple steps:

  1. Register with your state organ registry, or
  2. Designate your decision on your driver’s license, or
  3. Sign a donor card now, or
  4. Talk to your family now about your decision to be an organ donor.

Contact Information

For more information on Patient Safety, please contact:

Shayna Banfield, M.S., CHES
Director of Programs
Phone: 410-539-0872 or 800-492-1056, ext. 3341
Fax: 410-649-4131