Minnesota Hospital Association

MHA AWARDS

The Minnesota Hospital Association Annual Health Care Awards honor the best and brightest in Minnesota health care — individuals who have offered dedicated service to hospitals and organizations that have implemented successful, innovative programs.

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Award Type:
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MHA Associate Member of the Year Award

Witt/Kieffer, Shakopee

2016

WIttKieffer image Witt/Kieffer helps hospitals, health systems and other health-related organizations identify leaders with the best mix of skills, experience, vision and character to fulfill their missions. The firm is driven to help bring great leadership to Minnesota's hospitals and health systems and the services the firm provides to candidates are truly valuable. Witt/Kieffer excels in identifying an excellent candidate pool during leadership transitions at hospitals or health systems. Witt/Kieffer provides tremendous service to MHA members and has been a generous sponsor at many MHA educational events.

MHA Best Minnesota Hospital Workplace Award

River's Edge Hospital & Clinic, Saint Peter

2016

Rivers Edge image In recent years, leaders at River's Edge have implemented a series of best practices to improve employee turnover, morale and, ultimately, patient satisfaction. The hospital identified several new processes for orientation, training and recognition that resulted in increased employee retention. These processes, along with monthly employee rounding, thank-you notes and employee engagement surveys, have helped River's Edge develop a culture of camaraderie and teamwork. Employees have embraced the changes that have taken place at River's Edge. Everyone has a stake in what matters most - patients' well-being and satisfaction. This value is exemplified daily in the halls when staff, regardless of job title, are helping patients and visitors.

MHA Best Minnesota Hospital Workplace Award

Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare, Saint Paul

2016

Gillette Childrens image Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare recognizes that an engaged, devoted workforce is crucial to providing excellent health care. Much of Gillette's success stems from employees' deep commitments to the organization's mission, their patients and their colleagues. Meanwhile, an environment that supports employee recognition, professional development, wellness and financial security bolsters workplace satisfaction. Local and national organizations have repeatedly honored Gillette for workplace excellence and employee engagement. Gillette's positive employee culture can be summed up in this comment from a staff member: "Gillette is a special place that expects the very best from each and every employee. Compassion and resolve are at the core of this organization because our patients deserve nothing less… Passion for excellence, both in outcomes and the patient experience, is what defines Gillette; that is what our patients and families will remember about their experiences at Gillette."

MHA Caregiver of the Year Award

Andrew J. Kopperud - Staff

Sanford Westbrook Medical Center, Westbrook

2016

Andrew Kopperud image Dr. Andrew Kopperud - or Dr. Andy, as he prefers to be called - has provided quality, patient-centered care for all ages at Sanford Westbrook Medical Center since 2010. Following medical school and residency, Dr. Andy accepted a position at Sanford Westbrook in Westbrook, Minnesota - his hometown and the smallest hospital in Minnesota. Dr. Andy works to improve patient care each day through his medical practice and involvement in groups, boards and committees. He is currently chair of seven Sanford Network Clinics. In this role, he works with providers, clinic staff and administrative staff to support and enhance high standards of quality care at each facility. Dr. Andy has unselfishly stepped up to help neighboring facilities during times of staff turnover, filling in until permanent staff are hired. Every day, he demonstrates his commitment and passion to helping rural residents and communities keep health care close to home. In addition to his leadership at Sanford Westbrook Medical Center, Dr. Andy is a member of numerous civic organizations and work groups related to health care. He strives daily to provide patient-centered care to patients of all ages and all medical conditions. His commitment to his patients and the community he serves embodies that of a true caregiver.

MHA Community Benefit Award

Lake Region Healthcare, Fergus Falls

2016

Lake Region image "Lake Region Takes Root" is part of Lake Region Healthcare's growing commitment to wellness and preventive health care. It is centered on the concept that to achieve optimal health, members of the hospital's community and region need access to affordable fresh produce. Through its community health needs assessment, Lake Region Healthcare learned that regularly accessing affordable produce was a concern for the community. To address this issue, Lake Region Healthcare leveraged a land donation of 1.5 acres in a residential neighborhood within the city limits to create a community garden used to grow fresh fruits and vegetables for families in Otter Tail County who have the most difficulty accessing healthy foods. Food grown at the garden is planted, tended to and harvested by volunteers and then donated to families participating in the Women, Infant and Children Program in Otter Tail County, as well as to three area food shelves. In 2015, Lake Region Healthcare grew 7,781 pounds of food, impacting 3,500 individuals in the community.

MHA Community Benefit Award

Cuyuna Regional Medical Center, Crosby

2016

Cuyuna Regional Medical Center image When the final school bells ring and summer break begins, more than half the 1,033 youth in Cuyuna Regional Medical Center's service area are at risk of going hungry. Six hundred students receive free or reduced-cost meals through the National School Lunch Program, but none of these kids receive meals through the summer months. As part of Cuyuna Regional Medical Center's commitment to keeping kids healthy, the hospital partnered with area churches to provide nutritious meals to kids and teens throughout the summer and continued its commitment by also providing basic needs to students over holiday breaks and free food during community events. Cuyuna Regional Medical Center's overall goal is to promote and improve the health and well-being of the community by ensuring that young people's basic nutrition needs are met. Meals are prepared with input from a CRMC registered dietitian who emphasizes appropriate portion sizes and encourages youth to drink water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages. The Lunch Bunch provided 3,820 nutritious meals to kids in the summer of 2015, as well as meals to nearly 2,000 people at two community events during the year.

MHA Good Catch for Patient Safety Award

Sherrie Eischens, RN - Ambulatory Care

CHI St. Joseph's Health, Park Rapids

2016

Sherrie Eischens image Sherrie Eischens' attention to detail and willingness to speak up prevented a patient from harm. An elderly patient was admitted to the Ambulatory Care Unit with orders from a local clinic for a bronchoscopy and biopsy of a right lung mass. When admitting the patient and confirming the procedure to be performed prior to assisting with obtaining the informed consent, the patient stated that he thought he was having a left lung mass biopsy. Sherrie stopped the admission process and consulted with the surgeon, who confirmed the location of the mass in the left lung by reviewing the scans. The patient was correct. The written order was incorrect. The patient went on to receive the correct procedure. Sherrie used one of St. Joseph's recommended error prevention techniques - "STOP AND RESOLVE" - whenever there is a question about a physician order. Had the error not been detected, the patient may have received an incorrect diagnosis and may not have received the surgery that he ultimately needed for a positive lung biopsy a week later. As a result of this case, St. Joseph's is collaborating with the local clinic to explore changes to the surgical procedure scheduling process using MHA Safe Scheduling best practices as a guide.

MHA Innovation of the Year Award, in Patient Care

Regions Hospital, Saint Paul

2016

Regions Hospital image Regions Hospital earned this award for its street-to-treat initiative, which is designed to get patients with stroke-like symptoms an accurate diagnosis as soon as possible, starting with the first responders who respond to the 911 call. If stroke seems likely, they give the Emergency Center at Regions Hospital a heads-up by calling a Code CVA. The code activates a team of stroke experts that meets the patient and first responders at the ambulance bay. Once the patient arrives, the EMS team gives its report and the patient and stroke team move into a nearby imaging room. American Stroke Association guidelines indicate that a CT scan should be initiated within 25 minutes of the patient's arrival. By partnering with more than 60 local EMS agencies to call the Code CVA ahead of time, Regions Hospital has reduced this time to less than six minutes. After implementing street-to-treat, Regions Hospital increased the percentage of stroke patients treated in less than 60 minutes from 33.6 to 62 percent of patients - compared to 14.4 percent of patients in a CDC study of 98 hospitals. In 2014, Regions was the first hospital in Minnesota certified as a Comprehensive Stroke Center by The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. In December 2015, surveyors from The Joint Commission came to Regions to recertify the stroke program and were able to witness the street-to-treat initiative firsthand. After shadowing the Stroke Program Coordinator during a Code CVA response, the surveyor was so impressed she called it a best practice and said she intended to share it with other hospitals across the country.

MHA Innovation of the Year Award, in Patient Care

New Ulm Medical Center, New Ulm

2016

New Ulm image New Ulm Medical Center is a collaborative partner, a founding member and the sole outpatient provider of drug court programs for participants in the Brown, Blue Earth and Watonwan county drug courts. One in 12 people experiences addiction to drugs or alcohol. Drug courts have been created to support and improve outcomes for individuals with substance use disorders. In fact, drug courts significantly reduce drug use and crime and are more cost-effective than any other proven criminal justice strategy. Since 2005, New Ulm Medical Center has provided treatment services for the drug courts in Blue Earth, Brown and Watonwan counties. Patients attend a group session three times a week where the participants support each other and hold one other accountable in working through stressors in their lives, current and past. Addiction impacts every area of these patients' lives including work, home, relationships, finances, parenting and spirituality. Care team members at New Ulm Medical Center are able to help patients identify new, healthy ways to manage challenges and celebrate successes. In addition to facilitating group sessions, the hospital's licensed alcohol and drug counselors collaborate with other organizations to provide a multidisciplinary approach to the support provided to the drug court participants. Working with a collaborative team allows drug court participants to receive well-rounded and all-inclusive assistance and ensures the participant is supported.

MHA Patient Safety Improvement Award

Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare, Saint Paul

2016

Gillette image Through partnership among care teams, with patients and with health care organizations across the country, Gillette strives to create an environment of ongoing safety improvement. Safety Forward is a commitment: safety is, and will continue to be, Gillette's priority - for every patient, every time. Safety at Gillette begins with a culture of partnering with patients and families. The hospital's family council is integral to promoting safety by helping to identify opportunities that will improve patient and family satisfaction with care, as well as collaborating with staff and offering input to leadership. Throughout Gillette, teams help increase safety by focusing on reducing hospital-acquired conditions and promoting other safety best practices. These teams work closely with patients and families to ensure patient safety, inside and outside the hospital. Gillette also participates in a safety collaborative called the Children's Hospitals Solutions for Patient Safety, with the goal of sharing information in order to reduce safety events. Many hospitals in the collaborative address safety by tackling one or two hospital-acquired conditions at a time - but Gillette is addressing all nine hospital-acquired conditions so the staff can immerse themselves in a culture of continual measurement and improvement, providing patients with the very best practices for safety.

MHA Patient Safety Improvement Award

River's Edge Hospital & Clinic, Saint Peter

2016

Rivers Edge image In 2015, River's Edge experienced a significant increase in admissions, and this growth prompted a need to address patient falls. In the second quarter of 2015, River's Edge had a 10.04 fall rate. The Falls Steering Committee was formed, comprised of staff from the medical/surgical, quality and emergency departments, and pharmacy and physical therapy, and set a goal of having an average of less than 3.5 falls per quarter. Improvement was made soon after the committee started implementing some best practices and training staff to reduce falls. Upon arrival at River's Edge Hospital, patients are assessed and, if noted to be a high risk for falls, a yellow banner appears on the resident summary in the electronic health record. Assessments are performed on each shift and status changes are noted. Family members and the patient are notified of the fall risk and are educated by staff through discussion and printed material. In the fourth quarter of 2015, River's Edge reduced its fall rate to 3.94, closing in on its goal.

MHA Public Achievement Award

The Honorable Lucinda E. Jesson

2016

Lucinda Jesson image During her five-year tenure as DHS commissioner, Lucinda Jesson was a strong, effective, well-respected leader and a champion for providing health care access to all Minnesotans. When her office was charged with executing Medicaid expansion in Minnesota, she took what was projected to be a nine-month job and completed it in only three months with higher-than-expected enrollment. Her department took care of all the processing that needed to happen - including working by hand - to make sure everyone who qualified received coverage. Lucinda was an innovator, helping Minnesota remain a leader in providing health care models that meet the needs of Minnesotans. Thanks to Lucinda's leadership, Minnesota is one of only two states to have a basic health plan, MinnesotaCare, which leverages federal funding to provide health coverage for low-income working individuals and families. Lucinda spearheaded the creation of Minnesota's Integrated Healthcare Partnership program, which now has 19 organizations - most of whom are MHA members - doing Medicaid accountable care organization projects. This nation-leading effort is unique because providers are allowed to tailor their ACO to meet patients' needs rather than adapting to a one-size-fits-all model. Lucinda was also a passionate advocate for mental health services. During her final legislative session as commissioner, she led the effort on behalf of the state to secure legislative funding for mental and behavioral health care. The resulting $51 million investment was Minnesota's largest increase in mental health spending in decades. By comparison, Congress in the same year increased mental health funding in the federal budget by $200 million dollars - so Minnesota's investment in mental health for state services was equivalent to over one quarter of the federal investment for the whole country. Lucinda recognized the needs of patients receiving mental health services and made addressing those needs a priority. Lucinda saw MHA as a partner that could help advance areas of common interest, and saw MHA members as a constituency of DHS. She was open to hearing ideas from MHA and members - and even when we did not agree on an issue, MHA would get a fair hearing and a balanced perspective from Lucinda. MHA appreciated being able to work in partnership with Lucinda and her team at DHS on behalf of patients across Minnesota.

MHA Spirit of Advocacy Award

Joy M. Plamann, MBA, RN, BC - Care Center Director, Medicine

St. Cloud Hospital, Saint Cloud

2016

Joy Plamann image Joy Plamann, section director of hospital medicine for CentraCare Health, began her career as an RN at St. Cloud Hospital 21 years ago and currently leads three nursing units, the respiratory department and three physician groups. She began as a strong advocate for the employees at CentraCare and is now a national leader in promoting hospital safety for patients, visitors and staff. She was instrumental in furthering work to prevent workplace violence, even before the issue was taken up by state lawmakers Serving as the chairperson for the St. Cloud Hospital Aggressive Incident Prevention Committee since its inception in 2010, Joy has led this interdisciplinary team in creating many initiatives to improve staff and patient safety while preventing violence in the health care setting, such as providing de-escalation training for staff. She has shared her expertise on the topic of preventing violence in the health care setting locally, regionally and nationally. She has led an annual conference hosted by CentraCare but open to any provider for four years. Joy has presented on workplace violence prevention to several Minnesota Hospital Association committees; served on a coalition of health care stakeholders on violence prevention led by the Minnesota Department of Health in 2014, which resulted in a road map for health care facilities; and was MHA's go-to person in the 2015 Legislature to testify on violence prevention legislation.

MHA Stephen Rogness Distinguished Service Award

John Fossum - Chief Executive Officer

Ely-Bloomenson Community Hospital, Ely

2016

John Fossum image John has served in his current leadership role since 1998. Prior to becoming CEO at Ely-Bloomenson Community Hospital, John was CEO of Madison Hospital and Madison Lutheran Home in Madison, Minnesota, from 1992 to 1998. Throughout his career as a hospital leader, John has served as a strong and committed advocate with a passion for protecting access to rural health care. John is an outside-the-box idea guy - he is an outspoken and prolific contributor of innovative suggestions, proposals and strategies for consideration. His inspirations enrich MHA's leadership discussions and help shape the direction of our work statewide. John has a long history of involvement with MHA, both at the regional level and statewide. While CEO in Madison, he served as MHA Region 5 chair. During his time as CEO at Ely-Bloomenson Community Hospital, he has served two terms as MHA Region 2 chair and participated on several MHA subcommittees. John is currently a member of MHA's Board of Directors and participates in the Strengthening Healthy Communities Campaign Steering Committee, Price Transparency Workgroup, MHA Annual Meeting task force, Small Rural Hospital Committee and the MHA Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota CEO Council. In addition, John is an involved member of his community, serving on the Ely Area Joint Powers Economic Development Committee and the City of Ely Charter Committee. He also was appointed by the Minnesota Department of Health to serve as Level 4 Hospital Representative to the State Trauma Advisory Committee, where he provides the sole voice for rural communities. John has demonstrated consistent passion for strengthening the health of rural communities across the state through the delivery of high-quality health care.

MHA Trustee of the Year Award

Ronald Osladil - Trustee

Essentia Health-Sandstone, Finlayson

2016

Ron Osladil image Ron has spent 20 years as a dedicated board trustee of Sandstone's hospital and nursing home, attending many MHA trustee conferences. For the past 10 years, he has served as board chair for the North Pine Area Hospital District. Previously, Ron spent more than 10 years as volunteer, raising funds for the hospital and nursing home with the Lutheran Aid Association. With a soft-spoken and hard-listening personality and leadership style, when Ron offers his thoughts and opinions, other board members offer their full attention and regard. Ron's style has guided the North Pine Area District Hospital Board through a thoughtful new campus feasibility process culminating with the creation of the new Pine Healthcare Campus at Sandstone's I-35 exit. With Essentia Health, Gateway Family Health Clinic, Thrifty White Pharmacy and Golden Horizons Senior Care Community as campus partners, a $35 million, fully integrated campus was realized when construction began December 17, 2015. Ron demonstrates selfless devotion to all the citizens of his community and hospital district. His decades of dedication have yielded valuable contributions to high-quality hospital governance and a healthier community.

MHA Volunteer of the Year Award

Bob Nelson

St. Cloud Hospital, Bowlus

2016

Bob Nelson image Bob began his volunteer service at St. Cloud Hospital in 2006. Since then, he has dedicated more than 2,800 hours serving in a variety of roles. Bob understands the importance and value volunteering can bring to someone's life - and how devastating it can be if someone has to leave a volunteer position that they enjoy. This led him to spearhead the Volunteers in Transition project. Volunteers in Transition was created to help maintain the dignity and usefulness of volunteers who, because of health or other situations, no longer can safely perform their current role. Volunteers in Transition allows volunteers to effectively transition to more appropriate roles, while remaining in the volunteer program as long as possible. In his role as vice president of the Volunteer Auxiliary Board, Bob attends Health Care Auxiliary of Minnesota district meetings, the annual meeting and conference. Bob graciously extended his volunteerism to include serving as a workshop presenter at the 2015 Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration Conference and at the Association of Healthcare Volunteer Resource Professionals national conference in September 2015, where he presented on Volunteers in Transition. Conference attendees were excited to learn about this unique and proactive approach and were grateful to have a compassionate solution offered to a sensitive and complex issue facing volunteer programs.