May 1, 2014

Minnesota Hospitals and Leaders Honored

The Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA) honored innovative programs and outstanding leaders in health care at its 30th annual awards ceremony on Friday, April 25.

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 women and men 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.” 

The awards and recipients are:

Spirit of Advocacy: Michael Mahoney, Essentia Health, Duluth

Best Minnesota Hospital Workplace: Mayo Clinic Health System in St. James and Fairview Lakes Health Services, Wyoming

Community Benefit:  Riverwood Healthcare Center, Aitkin; New Ulm Medical Center, part of Allina Health; St. Joseph’s Area Health Services, Park Rapids; and St. Francis Regional Medical Center, Shakopee

Health Care Career Promotion: Mayo Clinic Health System in New Prague

Public Achievement: Representative Thomas Huntley, Duluth

Caregiver of the Year: Helen Bagshaw, CCRN, Winona Health

Good Catch for Patient Safety: Priscilla McLaughlin, Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Children’s Hospital, Duluth

Patient Safety Improvement: Fairview Health Services, Minneapolis and Essentia Health St. Mary’s Hospital-Detroit Lakes

Bruce and Denise Rueben Courage Award:  Loren Morey, Lakewood Health System, Staples

Trustee of the Year: Art Skarohlid, Fairview Northland Medical Center, Princeton

Innovation of the Year in Patient Care: Fairview Ridges Hospital, Burnsville

Volunteer of the Year Award: Ben Luense, Mayo Clinic Health System in Springfield

Stephen Rogness Distinguished Service Award: Dr. Alan L. Goldbloom, CEO, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota

2014 MHA Annual Award Winners

Spirit of Advocacy Award

Michael Mahoney, Essentia Health, Duluth

Having a strong hospital presence at the state legislature and before Congress is deeply dependent on strong participation and advocacy by members. Michael Mahoney, vice president of public policy at Essentia Health, is deeply dedicated to his work promoting health care issues. Mike ensures that Essentia has a strong voice at both the state and our nation’s Capitol. He is an outspoken advocate for rural health care in particular – supporting funding for small community hospitals and for training the next generation of health care professionals. Mike demonstrates his commitment to MHA by actively participating in committees including Policy and Advocacy, Small Rural, Finance, Nurse Staffing, In-House Legal Committee, and the Minnesota Hospital Political Action Committee Board. He brings a wealth of experience and has put forth considerable effort to help shape a health care system in Minnesota that will provide high quality care long into the future.

Best Minnesota Hospital Workplace (two categories)

Small Hospital Category

Mayo Clinic Health System in St. James

Mayo Clinic Health System in St. James has gone through a culture transformation that has improved employee and community engagement, and, most important, the lives of the patients it serves. Over the past two and a half years, thanks to a dedicated and engaged group of leaders and providers who truly function as a team, Mayo Clinic in St. James has become an aligned “work family” by implementing strategies around a culture of safety, trust and communication. Efforts such as leadership walk-arounds to engage staff in conversations about safety, culture and communication and an employee-led team that creates monthly activities to create fun in the workplace have contributed to a positive work environment. The hospital recognizes co-workers for making a difference, and, in 2013, there were nearly 7,000 nominations. Employee satisfaction has improved from 58 percent in 2008 to 86 percent in 2013, and in the past two years just five employees have left for a job outside the organization.

Large Hospital Category

Fairview Lakes Health Services, Wyoming

Fairview Lakes Health Services has worked deliberately to strengthen its culture and to focus on being the best for its patients and their families. The hospital has focused on enhancing leadership visibility and communication; implementing best practices for health care management; and using performance improvement as a critical tool to improve work processes. For example, the hospital implemented weekly leadership team rounding across departments and holds quarterly employee forums to help staff connect with leadership. The hospital is cultivating a culture of “thankfulness” with deliberate use of handwritten thank you notes to team members. Employees have a voice in creating a better environment and better processes for patients and families. These changes have created an exceptional work environment and are improving staff retention and engagement. According to one employee, the focus on improving the hospital’s culture has enhanced the professional and personal growth of employees, improved relationships between departments, and between management and front line staff.

Community Benefit Award (two categories)

Small Hospital Category (3 winners)

Riverwood Healthcare Center, Aitkin

Over the past year, Riverwood Healthcare Center implemented several new innovative wellness strategies and partnerships to support prevention and behavioral health. Riverwood introduced a coaching program and community outreach platform to Aitkin County and the Garrison area. All programs were free and easily accessible to the community. The coaching program, designed to support patients with weight loss, reached more than 300 individuals with an average weight loss of 10 pounds per person. Community outreach included a Healthy Living newsletter, health seminars, farmer’s market, 5Ks, and resource guides to encourage patients to access existing community wellness resources as a way to improve health. Riverwood also focused on wellness at a system level by forming a partnership with the Minnesota Department of Health to assess and implement evidence-based strategies to better address BMI, tobacco use and blood pressure in the clinic setting. These efforts reached several thousand people and engaged them in better health.

New Ulm Medical Center, part of Allina Health

The Heart of New Ulm project is a 10-year demonstration project that applies evidence-informed policies and practices to make healthy changes to how people live their lives. The goal of the project is to reduce the incidence of heart attacks and health risk factors using interventions in the community, workplace, and health care settings. For example, there is free phone-based coaching to patients who are identified at risk of having a heart attack within the next 10 years, patients with heart disease and diabetes, and patients identified as overweight. Monthly phone calls supplement the relationship between participant and primary care provider and provide additional support between office visits. Other interventions include free heart screenings; commitment from 13 local restaurants to offer items with more fruits and vegetables and fewer total calories; community health programs such as cooking classes, tobacco cessation courses, dancing, neighborhood walking clubs, group fitness classes and educational seminars; and a worksite wellness program for local employers and employees. After one year, electronic health record data revealed an improvement in persons with controlled blood pressure, controlled glucose and controlled total cholesterol. There has been a slight improvement in the community smoking rate, BMI and, most notably, a 24 percent reduction in heart attacks.

St. Joseph’s Area Health Services, Park Rapids

In 2011, St. Joseph’s Area Health Services received a Goodwill/Easter Seals of Minnesota “Pathways to Responsible Fatherhood” grant for a program for struggling dads in Hubbard County. Fostering Actions To Help Earnings and Responsibility — or FATHER Project — promotes responsible parenting and helps low-income, non-custodial dads engage in their children’s lives. With father involvement, children learn more, perform better scholastically and socially, exhibit healthier behaviors, and benefit from better overall health. Community Health Needs Assessments have consistently shown Hubbard County citizens to be generally poorer with higher unemployment rates and more uninsured compared to other Minnesota counties. In 2011, Hubbard County ranked last in its comparison of child support collection rates for counties under 25,000. Successful father recruitment and their subsequent completion of programs has empowered more than 100 nurturing dads to re-connect with their children, become employed, and pay child support. With newfound purpose, these dads have gained knowledge and skills to strengthen their families and contribute to their community.

Large Hospital Category

St. Francis Regional Medical Center, Shakopee

St. Francis Regional Medical Center and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community have worked together to improve the health and well-being of local tribal members. Witaya, the Dakota word for “coming together” brings members of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community together with health care resources through St. Francis. The creative approach to addressing community need stemmed from mutual interest in maintaining the tribe’s cultural uniqueness and improving disjointed care. Efforts include:

  • adding a care navigator to help facilitate the care process;
  • integrating medical records;
  • integrating imaging services so medical images can be shared between the tribal clinic and hospital;
  • identifying preferred physicians to treat SMSC patients, creating a consistent approach to care;
  • educating leaders, nurses and staff about the unique health care preferences of tribal members; and
  • developing relationships to meet mental health and chemical dependency needs.

Together, these efforts are helping Native American community members experience improved health and confidence in their health providers.  From 2011 to 2012, inpatient hospital admissions decreased from 31 to 6. Increasing numbers of community members are requesting to participate in Witaya Care.

Health Care Career Promotion Award, small hospital

Mayo Clinic Health System in New Prague

Mayo Clinic Health System in New Prague’s Healthcare Career Exploration Class is a partnership with New Prague High School for high school seniors to have a hands-on week-long experience in 20 different hospital departments. Students in this class have an opportunity to achieve comprehensive learning objectives and competencies as well as explore educational requirements, job duties, salary expectations and career opportunities for more than 20 health care careers. Feedback from students completing this class range from knowing they may want to explore the operational side of health care to realizing they can’t wait to work in surgery or the emergency room so they can be “where the action is” in caring for patients. This hands-on class has ignited a new passion among students considering health care careers.

Public Achievement Award

Representative Thomas Huntley, Duluth

Representative Huntley is a 22-year veteran of the Minnesota Legislature. In his 11 terms serving the people of the Duluth area, Representative Huntley has been a very important ally for Minnesota hospitals. He has been a champion for primary care and ensuring access to care in the state’s rural areas. He played a critical role in the creation of MinnesotaCare and was instrumental in both state and federal health reform. Three key accomplishments characterize Representative Huntley’s contributions. First, Representative Huntley crafted the compromise that allowed Minnesota to expand Medicaid, providing coverage for more low income Minnesotans. Second, he was the chief author of the landmark 2007 “Freedom to Breathe” Act which banned smoking in public places, places of employment and public transportation. Third, he has been a tireless advocate for MERC — Minnesota’s Medical Education and Research Costs program — which supports education and training for Minnesota’s future health professionals. Recognized for his expertise in health care funding, he was always the lead House Democrat on the Health & Human Services Finance Committee.

Caregiver of the Year

Helen Bagshaw, CCRN, Winona Health

View Caregiver of the Year video

Helen Bagshaw is a nurse in Winona Health’s intensive care unit. Helen was nominated for her warmth, compassion and dedication to her patients, coworkers and community. Not only is Helen dedicated to outstanding bedside care, but she is also an active leader in Winona Health’s Continuous System Improvement efforts. Understanding the importance of rest to a patient’s ability to heal, Helen brought forward research and led efforts to make the inpatient units a more restful environment for patients. The Quiet Time initiative was designed to ensure a relaxing, restful, healing experience for all patients. When she isn’t on duty, she may be delivering meals to community members or teaching a group of people how to save a life. Helen has taught CPR for more than 10 years. Last year, she began teaching community members Hands-Only CPR. Through 30-minute workshops, she’s taught more than 550 people.

Good Catch for Patient Safety Award

Priscilla McLaughlin, Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Children’s Hospital, Duluth

The Good Catch for Patient Safety Award recognizes a hospital professional who speaks up to prevent potential harm to patients. While caring for an infant in the NICU, Priscilla noticed that the TPN, or intravenous nutrition, for the baby was clear when the other TPN bag in the NICU was yellow. She immediately called the pharmacy to question the preparation of the bag. She was told there was a shortage of the pediatric multivitamins and a product switch had occurred mid day. She was told the new product was clear so it was safe to give to the baby. However, the call reminded the pharmacist that a TPN bag had been incorrectly prepared earlier in the day with trace elements instead of multivitamins. To be sure Priscilla’s bag was safe, the pharmacist agreed to remake the TPN. When the pharmacist went to remake the bag it was discovered that there were pediatric multivitamins in the refrigerator – meaning Priscilla’s TPN bag should have been yellow, not clear, if it had been made correctly. Her insistence caused the pharmacist to re-evaluate the preparation of the bag and ensure it was made correctly the second time. If Priscilla had hung the bag without questioning its appearance, the baby likely would have experienced an adverse event.

Patient Safety Improvement (two categories)

Small Hospital Category

Essentia Health St. Mary’s Hospital-Detroit Lakes

Essentia Health St. Mary’s Hospital-Detroit Lakes had been challenged to meet core quality measures and Surgical Care Improvement Project measures, but nurse managers were unable to identify areas that could help further move the needle. A new chief nursing officer helped them create a checklist of all the elements needed to ensure patients were receiving appropriate and excellent care every day. With the checklist, began an innovative “huddle on the move.” Every day, the chief nursing officer and nurse managers meet and go through the checklist on each floor of the hospital, enabling them to ensure that requirements are met, review other issues, patient census, discharges and staffing, reinforce patient satisfaction at the bedside and much more. This method of rounding and the clear checklist has helped staff feel empowered and able to voice questions and concerns. They feel a part of the team, can celebrate successes and are developing a bond. Core and SCIP measures have greatly improved and patient satisfaction scores are through the roof. Patient comments such as “the best place they’ve received care” help reinforce that patients are receiving the care they deserve.

Large Hospital Category

Fairview Health Services, Minneapolis

Fairview Health Services in Minneapolis stood out for its efforts to eliminate preventable birth injuries through the Zero Birth Injury initiative. In 2008, as part of its transformation to embrace a culture of safety, Fairview began an initiative to reduce birth injury at its hospitals. Birth injury is devastating to all – patients, families and care team members – so working to eliminate such events is impactful and has broad support.

An interdisciplinary workgroup with key stakeholders from across the system built a project on three pillars: evidence-based clinical practice; system infrastructure; and behavior change. To integrate the most rigorous evidence-based clinical practice into daily practice, Fairview relied on tools such as the Insititute for Healthcare Improvement’s perinatal bundles and standardized order sets, policies, procedures and patient education. Implementation followed a path of engagement, consensus and overcoming barriers. Early adopters and site leaders went back to the sites to spread the message, which helped obtain local approval and build consensus. The Zero Birth Injury initiative’s results speak for themselves. Since its implementation there has been a 25 percent reduction overall in adverse outcomes and 40 percent reduction in birth trauma.

Bruce and Denise Rueben Courage Award  

Loren Morey, Lakewood Health System, Staples

The Bruce and Denise Rueben Courage Award recognizes an organization or individual who has demonstrated great courage in their actions on behalf of Minnesota’s hospital patients and their families. As board chair, Loren Morey helped develop Lakewood Health System’s first-ever governance committee, which is responsible for recruiting new board members, board training and education programs, and evaluating board members’ performance. Loren has been a strong advocate for board member education and MHA certification, resulting in Lakewood having the highest number of MHA-certified trustees in the state. He earned his own MHA certification in July of 2009, has served on MHA’s Trustee Council since 2010 and has been a trustee representative on MHA’s board of directors since 2012. Loren serves on the compensation and finance committees and has been relentless in the pursuit of meeting Lakewood’s financial goals to ensure future viability. Under Loren’s leadership, Lakewood has experienced improvements in patient satisfaction scores, employee engagement and patient safety, including reducing avoidable readmissions, decreasing post-operative infections and reducing the number of early elective deliveries. He continues to inspire Lakewood’s board members, administration, medical staff, employees and patients by demonstrating courage, both personally and professionally.

Trustee of the Year

Art Skarohlid, Fairview Northland Medical Center, Princeton

Art Skarohlid embraces the Fairview values — dignity, integrity, service and compassion — and uses them in his leadership of the board. Art has seen Fairview Northland steadily raise its performance and services and evolve its culture into a workplace that’s received multiple awards including MHA Best Hospital Workplace. His active participation and leadership supported the organization and led to results of exceptional patient experience and exceptional clinical care. Art also has strongly supported the development of Rum River Health Services, a not-for-profit community resource for health needs not met by the traditional health system. His involvement in this organization along with Fairview Northland has facilitated a strong working relationship to better serve the community.

A lifetime resident of Princeton, Art always reminds colleagues that “we are blessed to have a hospital in our community.” Nominators said the hospital and community of Princeton are blessed to have him volunteer his time, talents and leadership to the board. Art retired this year after 27 years of service on the board of directors. These 27 years of service alone could be the basis for recognition as Trustee of the Year.  But it’s not just his years of service, it’s his unwavering passion to ensure his community has access to high quality, patient-focused care that makes Art Skarohlid stand out as the Trustee of the Year.

Innovation of the Year in Patient Care, large hospital

Fairview Ridges Hospital, Burnsville

A spirit of excellence propelled the Fairview Ridges Hospital Emergency Department to develop a series of innovative measures designed to improve its system of patient arrival and triage. With the firm belief that patient care, safety and satisfaction are optimized when definitive care is expedited, they focused on improving the time between patient arrival and physician contact time — known as Door-to-Doc time. Patients are pulled directly back for triage at the bedside, eliminating the stop at a triage station when rooms are available.

Double RN triage during peak hours and multidisciplinary bedside triage brought the average Door-to-Doc time from 54 minutes in 2011 to 37.2 minutes in 2012. Continued dedication of staff and physicians to adjust, hone and perfect these processes throughout 2013 brought the average Door-to-Doc time to 17.4 minutes. As Door-to-Doc times decreased, the department’s national overall patient satisfaction scores for similar size hospitals increased from the 68th percentile in 2011 to the 92nd percentile in 2013. The number of patients who left without being seen decreased from 1.44 percent to 0.55 percent.

Volunteer of the Year Award  

Ben Luense, Mayo Clinic Health System in Springfield

Having lived in Springfield, Minnesota since 1966, Ben Luense has made giving back to the community a priority in order to make Springfield a better place to live. Many of his leadership efforts involve Mayo Clinic Health System in Springfield, including serving on the board of directors, and on the foundation board from 1996 to 2013, including several years as president. Outside of his leadership responsibilities, Ben volunteers as a valet — parking cars for patients and visitors at the hospital. When he is not parking cars, he personally greets those entering the medical center, sharing a story and offering them a cup of coffee or ride in a wheelchair if needed. Ben has cleaned the snow off cars from the overnight shift and has been known to shovel snow at the main entrance on difficult weather days.

He helped develop the Helping Hands Charity Golf Tourney, which will celebrate its 18th year raising money for the foundation in 2014. Money raised is used for scholarships for future health care employees from the area. Ben’s involvement with the foundation has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars, including more than half a million dollars to support a major building expansion from 2005 to 2007. A retired firefighter, Ben also has been a realtor for many years, helping to sell not only houses but the community to prospective medical center physicians, other employees and their families.

Stephen Rogness Distinguished Service Award, MHA’s highest honor  

Dr. Alan L. Goldbloom, CEO, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota

Since Dr. Goldbloom joined Children’s 12 years ago, it has achieved national prominence for clinical outcomes. His philosophy: only the outcome and the care of the child matters. Quality is the beacon that has guided every phase of his career. Under Dr. Goldbloom, Children’s underwent a $300 million transformation that has helped enhance its national reputation for excellence and its role as a regional source for pediatric medicine and education. He has served on the MHA Board of Directors since 2003, including chairman in 2008. He has been involved in MHA’s patient safety efforts, including the adverse health care event reporting system. He regularly encourages Children’s employees to serve on MHA committees to represent the voice of children.

Dr. Goldbloom has helped to protect the state’s Medicaid program from cuts, worked with other hospital CEOs to encourage national Medicaid funding for the vulnerable children with complex needs and defended funds needed to train the next generation of pediatric sub-specialists. Improving the health of all children means taking on issues typically viewed to be outside the scope of hospitals. For example, Children’s has tackled public health topics such as vaccinations, obesity and bullying through a multi-year advocacy campaign called “Children’s Check-Ups.” Dr. Goldbloom’s visionary, results driven and compassionate leadership has improved the delivery of care not only for Children’s patients but also for children throughout our region.