Minnesota Hospital Association’s annual awards recognize patient safety, volunteerism, innovations in patient care, hospital excellence
St. Paul — The Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA) honored innovative programs and outstanding leaders in health care at its 29th annual awards ceremony on Friday, May 17.
Eighteen awards were given for extraordinary achievement in categories ranging from advocacy on behalf of hospitals and volunteerism to innovation and improvement in patient care and patient safety.
“The achievements showcase the kind of top-quality care that typifies Minnesota hospitals,” said MHA President and CEO Lawrence Massa. “The men and women of these innovative, high-performing hospitals have set the bar high for patient care and for meeting the needs of their communities. Thanks to their innovation, diligence and commitment, Minnesota hospitals continue to be among the best in the nation.”
See below for a complete list and descriptions of the award winners.
Spirit of Advocacy Award
Karen Brill, Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, St. Paul
The recipient of this year’s Spirit of Advocacy Award has lent her knowledge and expertise from 26 years as a nurse to further legislative outcomes that will ensure staffing decisions remain with the state’s hospitals and health care professionals. As chair of MHA’s Nurse Staffing Steering Committee, Karen Brill mobilized nurse leaders to oppose the House and Senate bills supporting government‐mandated nurse staffing ratios. Through advocacy efforts that included legislator meetings, letter‐writing campaigns and House and Senate floor testimonies, Karen helped educate key decision‐makers on the importance of maintaining hospital control of nurse staffing. In addition to Karen’s work with MHA, she has championed numerous safety and quality initiatives at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare as the vice president of nursing and patient services.
Best Minnesota Hospital Workplace (two categories)
Small Hospital Category:
Fairview Northland Medical Center, Princeton
Fairview Northland Medical Center has paid close attention to creating the kind of environment that promotes both employee and patient satisfaction. Guided by the saying, “Our every day is their once in a lifetime,” Fairview Northland in Princeton has built a culture that focuses on communication and places a strong emphasis on improving results. The hospital has had great success through the use of a powerful tool used to create effective communication between patients and their health care team members. The A-I-D-E-T five steps of effective communication — Acknowledge the patient; Introduce, Duration, Explain, and Thank — provides a way for staff to introduce themselves and team members and give patients information on what the plan is and what they can expect. The hospital has focused strategically on better engaging physicians with monthly physician leadership meetings, identification of the role of physician leaders and tracking of requests or issues brought by physicians through a stoplight report. Involvement of physicians and front line staff in key decision-making and providing details and the “why” behind decisions and strategic planning have been key to Fairview Northland’s success and employee engagement.
Large Hospital Category:
Fairview Southdale Hospital, Edina
Fairview Southdale Hospital in Edina has implemented a variety of strategies and tactics to transform the workplace culture and improve employee engagement and retention. A positive side benefit is the reduction of employee injuries and increasing patient satisfaction scores. These programs included the “Healthy Environment Initiative,” which focuses on transforming the workplace culture and the “Going the Extra Mile Awards Program” that last year recognized more than 110 employees, volunteers and physicians who have made a significant achievement that supports Fairview Southdale’s vision and strategic goals. The Southdale STARS Program” recognizes employees and volunteers who create an extraordinary experience for patients, families and team members while demonstrating the Fairview values of dignity, integrity, service and compassion. Finally, the “Champions of Care Program” provides opportunities for patients and families to honor a caregiver for making a compassionate difference in their health care experience.
Community Benefit Award (two categories)
Small Hospital Categor:
Riverwood Healthcare Center, Aitkin
With unhealthy behaviors and lifestyle choices driving up obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other chronic illnesses, wellness education is essential and not just a bonus. In January 2012, Riverwood Healthcare Center launched a year-long wellness campaign in the three primary communities it serves called “BINGO — Win with Wellness in Aitkin, Garrison and McGregor.” Tapping the fun and simplicity of the BINGO game, Riverwood developed a series of four quarterly BINGO game cards offering 24 wellness tips each that individuals could do daily, weekly or monthly. Taking a holistic approach, the wellness tips covered activities for mind, body and spirit. Partnering with the local newspaper, schools, grocery stores and other organizations, the BINGO cards were made widely available and used by community residents of all ages. Feedback from participants indicated that the simple steps to wellness motivated people to adopt healthy habits and behaviors that will hopefully last a lifetime.
Large Hospital Category:
Allina Health, Minneapolis
Allina Health is working with the community to encourage physical activity, support healthful eating, and maintain a balanced life. Allina Health partnered with the non-profit organization Free Bikes 4 Kidz to give 5,000 free bikes, helmets and concussion prevention information to under-served children throughout its service area. A core team of Allina Health employees planned and implemented two community events: a community-wide bike collection day and a bike distribution event. At the collection day events, community members dropped off new and used bikes at 48 Allina Health sites across the state. Allina Health employees and volunteers from the community then cleaned and fixed up the bikes so they were ready to be matched with a child. At the giveaway events, each bike was matched with the age and size appropriate for each child. Thousands of kids learned about bike safety, were fitted for a helmet and selected a bike. For many, it was the first bike they ever had.
Health Care Career Promotion Award (two categories)
Small Hospital Category:
Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, St. Paul
Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare in St. Paul has made a commitment not only to the children it serves, but also the next generation of health care workers. Gillette has focused its energies on a six-pronged approach to creating greater awareness of health care careers, including: a simulation lab experiential program, e-mentoring, tours, interactive career demonstrations, school presentations and summer paid internships. Gillette is also a site for Minnesota Healthcare Occupation Students of America, the Step-Up Achieve Jobs Program, Project Lead-the-Way Biomedical Science Program, and other schools that have a demonstrated interest in providing first-hand experiences to students interested in health care. The goal is to expose students to the vast number of clinical and nonclinical careers that the health care industry offers and the education and qualifications necessary to compete for those positions. During the simulations you can see the students’ fascination, intense focus and desire to learn more about health care careers that shows an impact is being made.
Large Hospital Category:
Fairview Health Services, Minneapolis
Fairview Health Services partnered with St. Olaf College since 1999 to create a pipeline of future physicians. The Fairview/St. Olaf J-Term program provides exposure to St. Olaf students who are considering a career in health care, particularly as physicians. The students observe a surgery at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview; shadow physicians several days a week; attend lectures; research and present a health care topic of interest; keep a journal of their experiences; and write a reflection paper. This J-term interim course allows students interested in a medical career to experience the real world of medicine to help them make informed decisions. Students shadow physicians and other patient care professionals in hospital and clinic settings, and an attempt is made to place students in their areas of interest. The program requires each student to spend a portion of his or her time in a primary care setting.
Good Catch for Patient Safety Award
JoAnn Hill, RN and Susan Lackson, LPN, Essentia Health, St. Mary’s Medical Center, Duluth
The Good Catch for Patient Safety Award is an honor that recognizes a hospital professional who speaks up to prevent potential harm to patients. The award is a symbol of the strong patient safety culture we strive to instill in all of our hospitals. Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center nurses JoAnn Hill and Susan Lackson were caring for a patient who had undergone a repeat Caesarean section the day before. Although the patient’s vital signs were stable, both nurses noticed the patient was in great pain and didn’t look right 24 hours after the birth. The two have cared for hundreds of women after Caesareans and felt something wasn’t right. The patient’s abdomen was too distended and she was having difficulty breathing. JoAnn sought out an obstetrician to check on the woman. The obstetrician immediately called in a hospitalist and the patient was taken for a CT scan, which showed that she had a life-threatening condition. The woman was taken into surgery that night. These seasoned and experienced nurses saved this patient’s life by their close observation, excellent clinical judgment and continual advocacy for the patient.
Patient Safety Improvement (two categories)
Small Hospital Category:
Buffalo Hospital, part of Allina Health
Buffalo Hospital recognized a few years ago that the concept of patient safety needed to be more than just buzz words within their facility. Buffalo Hospital made it a priority to embrace a safety philosophy that empowered, motivated and rewarded leaders and staff for speaking up and stopping the line when something just didn’t feel right and have since seen a significant increase in near miss reporting and staff involvement in process improvement, a decrease in harmful events, and an improvement in patient outcomes. In December 2012, Buffalo was the highest scoring hospital in Allina for overall perception of safety. Leadership has been recognized for changing the culture of the hospital to one in which teamwork and a multidisciplinary approach to patient care through strong physician leadership and involvement is a priority.
Large Hospital Category:
Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota
The majority of today’s pediatric patients in an acute care setting receive medications via intravenous (IV) pumps, versus “pills, shots or drops.” Yet because children often require a variety of precise medication doses and timings, manual administration of IVs account for medication error rates. To address this, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota incorporated virtually all medications, including infusions, into a first-of-its-kind full-loop medication delivery system that has helped avert potential medication errors and potentially serious adverse drug events and has advanced patient safety throughout the hospital. In 2012, Children’s completed a pilot study in its pediatric intensive care unit showing the technology reduced adverse drug events by about 70 percent.
Caregiver of the Year Award (tie, two winners)
Joe Wilson, RN, St. Cloud Hospital
The Caregiver of the Year Award recognizes an individual or care giving team that provides outstanding patient-care services. The first honoree is a registered nurse in the intensive care unit at St. Cloud Hospital. Joe Wilson comes from a family of nurses and was greatly influenced by his mother to provide compassionate nursing care. Joe has a great reputation with staff and always receives positive feedback from patients and their families. He has a good sense of intuition and knows how to approach patients or family members given their unique circumstance. Committed to providing quality care and improving delivery models, Joe is a member of the ICU Vent Bundle Team and is a mentor to new staff. In his nomination, ICU Director Aleen Roehl called Joe a “strong advocate who readily speaks up on behalf of his patients. He treats patients with compassion and respect and welcomes families to be involved in their loved ones’ care.”
Anne Stocker, RN, Mayo Clinic Health System in New Prague
Anne Stocker has been instrumental in providing and promoting the highest level of care to patients and willingly shares her talents and expertise with others. She is described by the nominator as an excellent nurse, role model and mentor to the entire team. According to the medical director of the emergency department at Mayo-New Prague, Anne embodies the crucial traits of an effective and comforting emergency nurse — compassion, technical competence, team spirit, thick skin and a three-gallon bladder! He went on to write, “In a pressure-cooker environment where tensions run high and both clientele and staff occasionally get surly, I have seen Anne moved to tears of sympathy, caught up in fits of laughter or moving like a blur through a chaotic emergency department, but never once have I seen her lose her cool. My blood pressure drops five points when I arrive for a shift in the ED and see Anne behind the desk.” Anne’s passion for nursing and for her patients has earned her nomination to the Mayo – New Prague Grand Council that represents all nursing departments in the hospital setting.
Trustee of the Year
Steve Laraway, St. Cloud Hospital
The Trustee of the Year Award recognizes a hospital leader who has contributed significantly to the health of the community by providing leadership and guidance to the hospital or health system board. Steve Laraway has been a champion for St. Cloud Hospital since joining the board in 2005, serving as chair since 2011. According to St. Cloud Hospital President Craig Broman, Steve understands the importance of the board role in strategy development, policy making, monitoring performance and protecting the reputation of the organization. He invites the input of every board member and facilitates meetings to be respectful of everyone’s time and commitment. Steve is a family man, community leader, philanthropist and volunteer. Fellow board members describe him as visionary, confident, organized and open-minded.
During Steve’s tenure on the board, St. Cloud Hospital has completed a $223 million, 360,000-square-foot addition that includes a new endovascular suite and numerous operating rooms, family birthing center, intensive care unit and cardiovascular thoracic unit. A new neonatal intensive care unit will open this summer. Steve brings to the hospital board the knowledge of a lawyer, certified public accountant, certified financial planner and business owner. One fellow board member described Steve in this way: “Steve is visionary in working with the board and administration in developing an approach to dealing with the impact of health care reform and guiding our strategic planning process so St. Cloud Hospital is well prepared and positioned for the future.”
Innovation of the Year in Patient Care (two categories)
Small Hospital Category:
New Ulm Medical Center, part of Allina Health
New Ulm Medical Center, part of Allina Health created a social worker position to provide care coordination services to emergency department and clinic patients. The social worker provides care coordination for patients with excessive emergency department utilization, with the goal of referring them to appropriate community-based services and primary care so as to reduce the likelihood of readmission. In addition, patients who are identified by primary care as potentially benefitting from mental health and substance abuse services, or having social service needs that impact the health status of the patient and/or family, are referred to the social worker who connects the patient with the appropriate resources. In the first six months of the program, 69 patients received a meaningful intervention by the social worker, resulting in a 41 percent reduction in ED visits and a 49 percent reduction in hospital admissions. Thirteen patients were admitted directly from the ED to a nursing home, preventing the cost of an inpatient hospital stay.
Large Hospital Category:
St. Cloud Hospital
Congestive Heart Failure patient readmissions to St. Cloud Hospital within 30 days of discharge were nearly double the overall hospital readmission rate. To decrease readmission rates, St. Cloud Hospital implemented the Transitions of Care pilot project in 2012 for CHF patients who were identified at medium or high risk of re-hospitalization. Using a readmission risk assessment at the time of admission, 80 percent of all CHF patients were identified as medium or high risk for readmission. Of those, 77 percent chose to enroll in the pilot program. With a focus on the transition of care between the hospital and home, the pilot included interventions such as the addition of a pharmacist to the patient’s care team in the hospital to provide medication reconciliation at admission and discharge, disease-specific education and the introduction of a transition coach. The transition coach provided information and guidance to the patient and family for an effective care transition, improved self-management and enhanced patient-provider communication.
Results of the pilot were encouraging. Readmission rates for CHF pilot patients was 16.7 percent, compared to 26.9 percent for those non-pilot heart failure patients treated during the same time period. Not only did the Transitions of Care project decrease readmission rates, it improved the quality of care for patients and provided peace of mind for their loved ones. Due to the success of the pilot, similar interventions are now offered for heart failure patients on all units with plans to expand to patients with COPD and pneumonia in July 2013.
Volunteer of the Year Award
Marlene Fondrick, Perham Health
As a volunteer for Perham Health, Marlene has volunteered her time to teach, mentor and contagiously share her passion for patient advocacy. Her initial investment began as a family member of a Perham Health patient, later as a patient herself and now as an advocate for all patients and families. She helped start a patient and family council and continues to be a member of this group known as the Partners in Care Council. She also serves on the Quality Council, Just Culture Task Force and the Home Care Advisory Committee. Marlene chose to use her personal experience fighting breast cancer to improve local and regional health care processes related to communication, referrals and transitions of care. Perham Health CEO Chuck Hofius remarked, “I have never seen one individual that has had more impact on the lives of patients, families and caregivers than Marlene Fondrick.”
Stephen Rogness Distinguished Service Award
(MHA’s highest honor)
Mary Klimp, chief administrative officer, Mayo Clinic Health System in New Prague
This year’s honoree is the very definition of a “servant leader.” She has the ability to appreciate the needs of others, especially the patient, in the midst of what has been termed turbulent times in health care. Her focus and dedication to the improvement of health care delivery make her a role model for stewardship and advocacy.
As chief administrative officer of Mayo Clinic Health System in New Prague she has carried a vision that reaches far beyond the walls of the organization. To serve patients close to home, she recognizes that it’s imperative to engage in broad examination of our health care system as a whole, to ensure that high quality, safe and affordable care can be delivered to those in need.
Her commitment goes beyond her own organization, dedicating herself to leadership on behalf of her community.
The Minnesota Hospital Association represents 144 hospitals and health systems, which provide quality care for their patients and meet the needs of their communities.