Minnesota Hospital Association


May 21, 2012

Minnesota hospital programs, leaders honored

Minnesota Hospital Association’s annual awards recognize patient safety, volunteerism, innovations in patient care, hospital excellence

St. Paul — Minnesota hospitals are committed to excellence and innovation in patient care. On Friday, May 18, the Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA) honored innovative programs and outstanding leaders in health care at its 28th annual awards ceremony. 

Eighteen awards were given for extraordinary achievement in categories ranging from public achievement 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.

“By pursuing excellence in every aspect of their operations, the men and women of these innovative, high-performing hospitals have shown a real passion for the patients and communities they serve,” Massa said. “Thanks to their innovation, diligence and commitment, Minnesota hospitals continue to be among the best in the nation.”

Public Achievement Award

Minnesota State Rep. Steve Gottwalt

Rep. Gottwalt has been a very important leader for Minnesota hospitals. He serves as chair of the House Health and Human Services Policy Committee and has represented the people of St. Cloud since 2006.

This year, Rep. Gottwalt was the chief author of legislation supporting three MHA policy initiatives, all of which were passed with overwhelming bi-partisan support and signed into law by Gov. Dayton. These bills include:

  • Legislation to keep hospital community benefit activities locally determined, helping MHA repeal a requirement for review and approval by the Minnesota Department of Health;
  • Fixing Minnesota’s provider peer grouping law, so that hospitals and clinics will have more confidence in how they are being compared and scored on cost and quality;
  • Passing a new felony penalty for deprivation of essentials like food and water when caring for a vulnerable adult; while protecting our caregivers from unintentional mistakes.

Volunteer of the Year Award

Carol and John Buszmann, Mayo Clinic Health System in New Prague

This year’s award winners are the quintessential ambassadors for Mayo Clinic Health System in New Prague.Together, Carol and John Buszsmann have provided more than 2,700 hours of volunteer service to the hospital and its patients. Whether it’s staffing the auxiliary-sponsored parking lot at the county fair, supporting hospital departments on a busy day,setting up an auxiliary event or providing a kind and welcoming smile for patients and visitors, this couple truly exemplifies the philosophy of “pay it forward.”

Through their generous acts of kindness and self, the Buszmanns contribute to the well being of the Mayo Clinic Health System in New Prague and the patients in its communities. They are a testament to the values that ensure high quality, safe and nurturing care is provided: respect, compassion, integrity, healing, teamwork, excellence, innovation and stewardship.

Community Benefit Award (two categories)

Large Hospital Category

St. Cloud Hospital — BLEND initiative

Started in 2006 with funding from CentraCare Health Foundation, the BLEND – Better Living: Exercise and Nutrition Daily initiative is designed to improve the health of area children by addressing the problem of childhood obesity. Physicians from St. Cloud Hospital are on the BLEND medical committee to work with schools, youth-serving organizations, local government and the medical community to raise awareness about good health and to increase daily physical activity and good nutrition choices. In a move to help greater St. Cloud area residents eat better, improve their health and reduce rising obesity rates, the NuVal Nutritional Scoring System was implemented in eight Coborn’s grocery stores. The revolutionarynutritional scoring system displays food scores directly on the shelf, making it easy for customers to compare, at a glance, the overall nutrition of foods they buy. With support from a variety of sources, BLEND is an example of how private-public partnerships can have positive impacts on our communities.

Small Hospital Category

Mayo Clinic Health System in New Prague — Fitness Center

Mayo Clinic Health System in New Prague’s fitness center offers something for every one of its 1,400 members, from Fit Kids and Biggest Loser to Silver Sneakers and Lazy Man’s Biathlon. The Fitness Center is a community resource developed and supported by the hospital, designed to promote the health and well-being for members and residents of New Prague and the surrounding communities. It has grown to become more than just a fitness club through unique programs and services designed for its members, area schools, senior citizens and community residents. New programs, challenges, speakers and classes are all designed to meet the varying needs of the community and to keep members engaged and excited about being healthy. It doesn’t matter what the program – there are people of all ages and lifestyles signing up to participate. And it’s contagious. In 2011, the attrition rate for Fitness Center memberships was less than 5 percent, compared to 35 percent nationally!

Spirit of Advocacy Award

Randy Ulseth, CEO, FirstLight Health System, Mora

When MHA sends out an advocacy alert, Randy Ulseth is among the first to call his entire legislative delegation. Ulseth has such a good relationship with his area legislators that they frequently call him and ask him for his opinion on how a certain bill would impact health care in their area and the hospital in particular. Ulseth has served on the MHA Policy and Advocacy Committee, the MHA Small Rural Committee and the MHA Political Action Committee for many years. He provides a valuable perspective, one that may not always be represented by others around the table. He is generous with his time, talent and contributions.

Innovation of the Year in Patient Care Award (two categories)

Large Hospital Category

St. Cloud Hospital – Coborn Cancer Center

Patients living through cancer face a difficult road. Cancer programs often have support groups and care coordinators to meet the needs of patients, but they’re often limited to the beginning stages. St. Cloud Hospital’s Coborn Cancer Center is building a foundation of survivorship programs as well as creatively designed programs to meet the needs of patients and their families along the continuum of cancer care. They provide site specific care coordinators, distress screening, dietician, social work, meditation, yoga, art therapy, enhancement program including free wig and hats, cosmetologist-guided skin care, parenting groups, pet therapy, music therapy, survivorship care plans, and social events. These programs provide therapeutic information in a new social setting.

Small Hospital Category

Maple Grove Hospital

Maple Grove Hospital leadership took a two-pronged approach to change both process and culture as it relates to each patient and family’s experience. On the process side, a key driver in improving pain management has been the creation of a nursing checklist for real time evaluation of a patient’s pain. Every patient admitted to the medical-surgical unit establishes a comfort goal. Pain scores, comfort goals and interventions are documented at every shift throughout a patient’s stay with the hopes of closing the gap between the pain the patient is experiencing and the comfort he/she wishes to feel. To improve its culture, Maple Grove Hospital launched a multidisciplinary team to cultivate a workplace where everyone knows they havea role in patient experience. Out of this grew a campaign, known to staff as “RUC,” to ensure patient comfort by ending every single patient and staff encounter by asking the patient, “Are you comfortable?” This includes guest services, respiratory therapy, housekeeping, security and others who are removed from bedside care. 

Patient Safety Leadership Award

Steven Mulder, M.D., president and CEO, Hutchinson Area Health Care

Dr. Steven Mulder is leading the charge to improve patient safety both within his hospital and on a statewide level. He leads the organization-wide patient safety initiative at Hutchinson Area Health Care where he has been instrumental in creating an infrastructure supportive of safe patient care, services and treatments. Not only is he the organization’s CEO, but he has personally drilled deep into doing the work to really move the needle on patient safety.  Dr. Mulder championed a cultural transformation that engages the entire team of physicians, staff, managers, senior leaders, the board, and patients and families. Transparency and open communications to patients and families are pillars of his philosophy. He has served as a mentor throughout Minnesota.

Dr. Mulder is the immediate past chair of MHA’sPatient Safety Committee where he led several statewide patient safety initiatives, including adverse event calls to action, safe site surgery work, a subgroup to evaluate whether Leapfrog was working for hospitals, and standardizing  overhead emergency pages. He was also an early adopter of the just culture model. During his time as board chair, the Partnership for Patients initiative, a public-private partnership, was launched to reduce hospital acquired conditions and readmissions. Dr. Mulder also serves on the MHA Physician Leadership Council and the MHA Registry Advisory Council.

Good Catch of Patient Safety Award

Diane Westling and Andi Schmaltz of Essentia Health, St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth

This award recognizes a hospital professional who “speaks up” to prevent potential harm to patients. In accordance with their surgical count process, established as part of the MHA SAFE ACCOUNT program, nurse Diane Westling and surgical technologist Andi Schmaltz had established a baseline count prior to surgery. In performing their closing count, they discovered they did not have the correct number of laparotomy sponges. Westling immediately informed the surgeon, who re-explored the wound and found ablood-saturated sponge. Westling and Schmaltz’ adherence to safety protocol saved this patient from a retained foreign object.

Associate Member of the Year Award

MMIC Group, Minnesapolis

MMIC is a Minnesota-based company that provides insurance and information solutions to help physicians, clinics and hospitals minimize risk associated with health care delivery.  MMIC has been a strong supporter of MHA in a variety of areas including supporting and disseminating MHA’s full disclosure policy, “communicating outcomes to patients.” They have helped Minnesota hospitals implement a just culture intheir facilities through training and education. MMIC has provided financialsupport for several MHA conferences and is a strategic partner and supporter ofthe Minnesota Alliance for Patient Safety.

Health Care Career Promotion Award (two categories)

Large Hospital Category

Fairview Health Services, Cedar Riverside Partnership

The Cedar Riverside Partnership workforce committee worked in partnership with HealthForce Minnesota, Fairview Health Services, Augsburg College, the Minnesota Urban Health Education Center and others to develop Urban Scrubs Camp for Minneapolis high school students who were first-generation college bound or thought they would not attend college. Over the past two years, organizations in the Cedar Riverside Partnership have given more than 110 full scholarships for these students to attend Urban Scrubs Camp, and provided health care speakers, promotional items and other supplies for the camp. Urban Scrubs Camp gives students an opportunity to participate in a five-day, hands-on camp focusing on a variety of career options in the health care field in a college setting.

Small Hospital Category

Riverwood Healthcare Center, Aitkin
Riverwood Healthcare Center offers educational training opportunities that promote health care careers to a wide range of people. Offering opportunities that help support and foster interest in careers in health care is one of the most important things they can do to recruit and retain high quality health care professionals in a small, rural market. Each year, approximately 100 students across a variety of health care disciplines train at Riverwood Healthcare Center. In addition, about 20 high school students participate in a health care career exploration class each year. These students come to Riverwood each day and spend time learning about positions from business and administration to family practice medicine and surgery.

Riverwood has more than 30 affiliation agreements with colleges and health care programs throughout theMidwest to offer health care career training or exploration for college students. In addition to training the next generation, Riverwood wants to retain its quality employees so it offers up to a $10,000 tuition reimbursementfor each employee to get formal education to enhance their careers or even change careers within the health care field.

Best Minnesota Hospital Workplace (two categories)

Small Hospital Category

Buffalo Hospital

The committed and passionate leaders of Buffalo Hospital have invested in support for employees’ overall health and well-being and they’ve built a culture where all employees have a voice that matters. They nurture their organization like it is family; from a comprehensive health and wellness program that provides myriad opportunities for staff at no cost, to an in-depth employee retention program that has resulted in a 94 percent retention rate. The hospital has also developed a Caring for Co-Workers Fund that provides confidential, emergency financial assistance for employees who face unusual and severe financial distress due to a sudden crisis outside the employee’s control. At Buffalo Hospital, their culture of caring includes the people who work side by side for the benefit of each patient served.

Large Hospital Category

Hennepin CountyMedical Center, Minneapolis

Hennepin County Medical Center has become the employer of choice by supporting work/life balance for its more than 4,500 employees. To start its journey to become an employer of choice, human resources partnered with employees from across the organization to create an environment and offer the resources to meet the social, emotional and physical needs of employees. Created by the employees themselves, HealthQuest offers fitness and lifestyle programming and a supportive environment that extends across the organization. From a rooftop garden to community supported agriculture and a homegrown produce exchange, the commitment to supporting better employee health matches the historic mission ofthe medical center to support the health of the community.

HCMC wanted to create a workenvironment that supported healthy change so the campus went tobacco-free and helped employees quit smoking; ergonomic evaluations are available to all employees; walking routes and designated stairwells have been identified across campus and a fitness center is available to employees to use day or night. By paying attention to the whole employee and creating a sustainable work environment that supports balance, good health and well-being, HCMC has improved employee retention and engagement.

Bruce and Denise Rueben Courage Award

Anna Herrmann, Mayo Clinic Health System in New Prague

Anna Herrmann has been a trailblazer in developing a comprehensive and transparent program focused on quality, safety, service, risk and compliance at Mayo Clinic Health System in New Prague. She has worked tirelessly to develop programs and provide education, training and measurements to ensure patients receive high quality and safe care. She has led the charge to transform the hospital’s quality/safety/service culture from being reactive to proactive. Herrmann has been a visionary leader in focusing on the needs of the patients and ensuring every patient – every time – receives the best, safest and most compassionate care at Mayo Clinic Health System in New Prague.

Trustee of the Year Award

Ray Barton, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota

The Trustee of the Year Award honors a dedicated man who has helped maintain Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota’s high quality reputation. For decades, Ray Barton, chairman of Great Clips and past chairman of Children’s Hospitals and Clinics, has found ways to support families whose children are dealing with serious illness. He is committed to helping families stay together during times of crisis and has played a critical role in ensuring that pediatric patients and their families are provided services when they need them most. Barton has been a member of Children’s board of directors for seven years.

Barton is a generous benefactor who played a key role during Children’s largest expansion in history, but beyond his personal donations of time and money he is a great ambassador. He is always working to recruit key board members and new donors to ensure Children’s has the resources needed to deliver high quality family-centered care. Barton’s keen business sense has been a great asset to the Children’s board, ensuring that the hospital’s limited resources are used wisely. As one fellow board member said, “Ray is a true advocate for the hospital and for kids’ health.”

Caregiver of the Year Award

Amanda Mickelson — Unity Hospital, Fridley

The Caregiver of the Year Award recognizes an individual or caregiving team that provides outstanding patient-care services. This year’s winner demonstrates patient-centered care every day. She has a great insight into what is going on all over the hospital from clinical outcomes to patient satisfaction. This has helped immensely in her interactions with new units and colleagues in her workin the nurse Float Pool.

According to her colleagues, Mickelson demonstrates on a daily basis her leadership skills with everyone she comes in contact with. Her knowledge and how she serves as a mentor and resource to all staff throughout the hospital is ideal and appreciated. Her work on various committees, her collaboration with colleagues and the way in which she practices nursing with her patients increases the morale on units, sets a high standard for patient care and provides an extremely high patient experience.

Stephen Rogness Distinguished Service Award, MHA's highest honor

Terry Pladson, M.D., president and CEO, CentraCare Health System

Dr. Terry Pladsonhas worked in health care for more than three decades. During his tenure as president and CEO of CentraCare Health System, the organization has seen the number of employees and revenue double. He is currently overseeing a $225 million expansion of the health system’s flagship hospital – St. Cloud Hospital. But his influence goes beyond the many doors of CentraCare Health System.

As a member of the board of trustees of the College of St. Benedict, he encouraged continued support for the nursing program at a time when budgets were challenged. He also supported development of the St. Cloud State University Nursing Program. Both programs are critical to continuing and improving access to quality care clinics, hospitals and nursing homes throughout central Minnesota.

Recognizing the importance of all sectors of the economy, he served on the board of the St. Cloud Economic Development Partnership, which seeks to improve the stability of the local economy. He lends his time to countless other community activities and is a valuable advocate at the state and national level for health care issues and concerns. 

The Minnesota Hospital Association represents 144 hospitals and health systems, which provide quality care for their patients and meet the needs of their communities.