Wednesday, November 11, 2015

CoxHealth Auxiliary named top in Missouri for volunteer services

After 154,517 hours of service, the Missouri Hospital Association has named CoxHealth’s Auxiliary the state’s top auxiliary in the large hospital category. The award was presented at a luncheon during the Missouri Hospital Association’s 93nd Annual Convention & Trade Show in Osage Beach, Mo. on Nov. 5. It’s the second year in a row that CoxHealth’s Auxiliary has been chosen for the award – and 11th time overall.  

 “CoxHealth’s Auxiliary provides an incredibly valuable resource to the health care system and our community as a whole,” says Barbara Frogue, CoxHealth’s director of volunteer services. “Our volunteers’ hours of service really can be life-changing as they donate time and raise money for new resources and development right here in southwest Missouri.”

Besides number of hours, the hospital system’s 1,224 auxilians were recognized for helping donate more than $160,000 to support the hospital and community, including $70,000 for the new patient tower that will house the Dee Ann White Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Post-Partum Floor and Neuroscience Unit. The auxiliary also contributed $45,960 in scholarships for students pursuing associates and bachelor’s degrees in nursing, $1,500 to support the Medical Explorer Program and six scholarships of $1,500 to Medical Explorer Program participants.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

CoxHealth receives Donate Life Award for its commitment to organ and tissue donation

In recognition of its commitment to organ and tissue donation, CoxHealth has been recognized by the Missouri Hospital Association with a Donate Life Award. The award, which honors the health care system’s exceptional leadership in raising awareness of organ and tissue donation and transplantation, was presented on Thursday, Nov. 5, during an awards luncheon at the Missouri Hospital Association’s 93nd Annual Convention & Trade Show in Osage Beach, Mo. CoxHealth was only one of two hospitals in Missouri to receive such an award.

“Organ and tissue donation are a wonderful opportunity and a crucial resource for patients,” says Jami Blackwell, CoxHealth’s trauma program manager. “We at CoxHealth do all we can to help better people’s lives through the second chance these donations can bring.”

CoxHealth continues a longstanding commitment to organ and tissue donation. In 2014, the hospital had an 86 percent conversion rate of potential vital organ donors and a 100 percent referral and approach rate of all potential vital organ donors. Between 2012 and 2014, CoxHealth increased its conversion rate by 15 percent and doubled the number of organs transplanted.

Awareness is essential to organ and tissue donation. CoxHealth holds numerous events annually to inform staff and the public about the importance of donation and transplantation. The system’s Donation Council helps engage and educate staff and ensure program compliance. Moreover, the hospital has worked to build physician champions, placing the donation efforts under the umbrella of the director of trauma as the lead physician champion. Beginning in 2012, CoxHealth established a Donor Champ program for front-line staff volunteers to receive additional training on the donation process so that they may provide donation resources to their units.

For more information about organ donation, log on to

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Partners Spirit honoree: Misty Denevan

PARTNERS Spirit recognizes an employee, volunteer, physician or Cox College nursing student who has made a significant contribution to the benefit of CoxHealth, an individual or the community. PARTNERS behaviors generally demonstrate everyday excellence or exceed the employee's normal job duties.

Misty Denevan, Branson ED
From the nomination: “Misty was on her way to the airport to travel to a conference when she saw a huge car crash. No firefighters, EMS, or police had arrived on the scene yet. There were bystanders there trying to break into a car that was on fire.

She responded to the scene and was able to get into one of the vehicles where she found a very elderly gentleman with obvious injuries: fractures, blood on his swollen face and legs pinned. He was holding his side and she was concerned about his spleen, ribs, and lungs.

She was able to reassure him and found out his name. She secured what she could, and held c-spine until EMS arrived. He looked at her and asked if he was going to die. She assured him that he was going to be taken care of by some amazing staff.”

Kohl’s Department Stores donate more than $35,000 to CoxHealth to support heart health education for local children

In an effort to improve the lives of area kids, Kohl’s Department Stores recently donated $35,074 to CoxHealth for its Kohl’s CARDIAC (Coronary Artery Risk Detection in Area Children) Kids program. The program, implemented four years ago, helps tackle the issue of childhood obesity through health screenings and education.

“CoxHealth’s Kohl’s CARDIAC Kids has been working to fight childhood obesity in the Ozarks by spreading the message of a healthy lifestyle through school-based and community events,” explains Lauren Holland, CARDIAC Kids coordinator. “We’re working closely with children and their families to help them understand the connections between food, activity and overall health.” 

The donation was celebrated with a kick-off event on Monday, Nov. 2 at Nixa Espy Elementary School. The event consisted of an assembly where kids learned about heart health, fitness activities and how much sugar is in certain food products.

But CARDIAC Kids offers much more: In additional to assemblies in local schools, the organization also reconnects with families through CARDIAC Kids Family Fun Nights for information on things like exercise and kid-friendly healthy recipes.

Health screenings are also a part of the program, which have determined that 38 percent of local kids are at risk for being overweight or obese, 40 percent have elevated blood pressure and 20 percent have abnormal cholesterol.

There is good news, however: Sixty-nine percent of students with abnormal cholesterol during the 2013-14 school year improved their cholesterol during the 2014-15 school year. “We’re working with these families to help them change their child’s health and future,” says Holland.

The program is made possible by yearly grants from Kohl’s Cares. Since 2011, Kohl’s has donated more than $169,000 to CoxHealth to support the CARDIAC Kids program.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Jared Neuroscience Center: Many teams, one focus

While new buildings like the West Tower at Cox South are obvious signs of progress, it’s the evolving collaboration underway inside that is revolutionizing the care we deliver.

When the Jared Neuroscience Center opened this summer, it ushered in a new era of unified neuroscience care.

The center and the neuroscience service line bring together two large, award-winning services: Ferrell-Duncan Clinic Neurology and Springfield Neurological and Spine Institute. These two groups have joined with Neuroradiology, rehab specialists and psychology services to create our region’s only fully integrated neuroscience service line.

Now, the top three floors of the new West Tower offer a place where providers work side by side and patients have the best access to experts in a variety of fields.

“Patients come to us for interdisciplinary care,” says Dr. George Wong, neurologist and co-director of the Jared Neuroscience Center. “By coming together, we will allow patients the ease of moving from one specialty to another as we consult each other. We’ve all been trained uniquely, but what brings us together is the patient. That’s our focus: how our talents and disciplines come together for comprehensive patient care.”

The neuroscience service line sees a wide variety of patients, many of whom have conditions that require care from neurology, neurosurgery and additional disciplines. Having those services under one roof is a powerful change.

In the past, outpatient clinics were off-site, which made it challenging for physicians and nurses to travel back and forth and check on patients. Now, you can ask any provider and they’re quick to point out the advantages of working close to their partners and their patients.

“From the surgeon’s perspective, your life is in the hospital,” says Dr. Chad Morgan, neurosurgeon and co-director of the center. Clinic work is a big part of the job, but there are huge advantages to having an outpatient clinic in the hospital facility.

Dr. Morgan recalls a patient who was being treated for a brain tumor who came into the clinic with an issue. He was in the operating room all day, but since the clinic is now located in the hospital, he could work her in.

“I was able to come up between cases and see her in the clinic. We admitted her to the inpatient floor, just one flight up, and we operated the next day,” Dr. Morgan says. “Even the first day, I was in the OR, but my nurse could go up and check on her and make sure she was feeling better.”

Dr. Wong says the ability to check on patients by simply taking an elevator ride is a welcome change from the years of traveling from a clinic to the main hospital campus. But that convenience pales in comparison to the easy access to other providers.  

“The ability to walk down the hall, turn a corner and talk to someone who can aid you is so valuable,” he says. “That proximity is important – it’s so much better than dealing with the barrier of a phone call, voice mail, or messages.”

The Jared Neuroscience Center’s design also encourages interdisciplinary care, with specialized collaboration rooms where physicians and providers can gather to consult, discuss patient cases and examine X-rays.

“Our care is so much less fragmented than when there was care in the hospital and care in an ambulatory center,” says Max Buetow, the center’s administrative director. “Now, it’s a more seamless situation.”

In addition to centralizing neurology and neurosurgery, the center allows easy access to areas like neuropsychology and physiatry, as well as specialized clinics for Parkinson’s and ALS. Buetow says subspecialties, such as neuro-oncology, are also in the works through partnerships with the University of Missouri School of Medicine.

A benefit to inpatients
The proximity of the specialty clinics on the seventh and ninth floors is also improving the care delivered on the inpatient eighth floor. When the team on the neurosciences inpatient floor needs a second opinion, it makes a real difference having providers only one floor away.

“It’s very nice to be able to ask a nurse, ‘Can you come and look at this with me?’” says Shannon Rantz, nurse manager on the eighth floor. “It’s a great convenience for patients and it makes us more flexible.”

Rantz says sometimes patients are eligible for an early dismissal when they’re doing well and the discharge process goes much faster in the centralized neuroscience center. A provider can write prescriptions and sign orders quickly, whereas in the past, staff members on the floor had to wait for the next time the provider was rounding in the unit.

“Now, with their offices nearby, it’s easy to have last-minute details taken care of,” Rantz says. “Doctors can handle an issue for us and be back in the clinic without skipping a beat.

“When families are visiting their loved ones, physicians can take a break in the clinic and drop in to see them,” she says. “The families feel like the physicians are more readily available and there’s better communication. It helps with a lot of family questions.”

Leaders say patients are appreciating the changes. The centralized location is convenient, and the teamwork it fosters pays off in improved communication and well-coordinated care.

“This is a nice building and facility, but our staff has done such a nice job communicating directly with our patients,” Buetow says. “And we have the best group of volunteers here in the West Tower. Our patients have access to those people and it makes a great difference.”

Flying the ‘Jared flag’
As the Jared Neuroscience Center transforms care, it’s also changing the way the community sees CoxHealth.

“Our service line is made up of the same award-winning teams, but the commonality of branding is a big deal,” Buetow says. Soon after the center opened, Buetow met a woman in the lobby who remarked that she didn’t realize we had such comprehensive neuroscience care. “She told me, ‘I’ve always had my care at Washington University, but when I found out that CoxHealth had this new center, I moved all my care to CoxHealth.’”

The center has done wonders to unify and energize the service line teams, Buetow says.

“People are so proud to walk their family members through this center,” he says. “We have several entities working together here, but being on the Cox South campus reinforces that we’re a part of CoxHealth. And we’re proud to fly the Jared flag – the name makes us feel like part of something bigger and broader in the Springfield community.”  

Dr. Morgan agrees. “People feel more connected. CoxHealth is a big part of the community and this center helps us live up to our reputation. We had the specialists and talent, but it’s a lot easier when you have the bricks and mortar that reflect that.

“This concept has been in the making for a decade and we’ve brought all the parties together under one name, one roof, with one mission statement. We’re excited it’s here and the community will see a big change in the way we deliver neuroscience care.”


New inpatient space enhances teamwork

Since the center opened, the eighth floor has been busy with a full load of patients and staff members have been adjusting to the new, larger space.

“We changed the way we assigned patients, we changed the way we give medications and we changed the way we get their supplies out to patients,” says nurse manager Shannon Rantz.

New scanners are in place for scanning medications and supplies are now located in Omnicell cabinets, which makes record keeping and charging for supplies more efficient.

At the front desk, a large digital screen features patient IDs and room numbers, so arriving providers, transporters and staff can quickly locate their patient.

Rantz says the decentralized nursing pods allow staff members to spend more time in patient rooms. The larger space has also fostered teamwork as nursing and nursing assistant staff members get to know one another and work closely together.

And patients are loving the space.

“When you round, you see how much patients love the rooms, they love the ability to look out the windows. That’s a major incentive to getting them up and moving – they want to get up and see everything out the window,” Rantz says.

Looking for a fight: Meet boxer Mary Nguyen

When Mary Nguyen stepped into the boxing ring at the 2015 Pathway to Glory Olympic Qualifier in Baltimore, Md., it was a chance for a lot of hard work and preparation to pay off. Yet while winning was a goal, simply having the opportunity to compete made the event a success to her. “Not a lot of people have this chance,” says Mary, who works as a physical therapist in Acute Care Therapy at Cox South.

So even though she wasn’t officially declared victorious in her preliminary bout on Sept. 8, she doesn’t have any regrets. “It was a great experience,” says Mary of the fight, in which she boxed the woman currently ranked third in the world in their weight category. “I felt like I was really able to fight my fight.”

Mary’s journey as a flyweight boxer began three years ago. However, it wasn’t this Republic native’s first attempt at the sport. “I did walk into a boxing gym when I was 17, broke my arm the next week and never walked back,” says Mary.

A decade later, she got into the ring and decided to stay. At first, it was because it offered her a chance to stay in shape and keep competitive. But now she’s reaped other benefits that she wasn’t initially aware of. “It helps me with my social anxiety a little bit,” says Mary. “Because in boxing, you’re up on a stage and it’s just you.”

While it’s true that matches require solo work, that’s not what it’s like during training. “The way we do it at our gym, it’s more like a family and it is like a team,” says Mary, who now trains at Smitty’s Mid-West Boxing Gym in Springfield. “We train together, we work together. We push each other. Yes, I’m performing by myself, but they’re always there with me.”

At 5’3” and less than 115 pounds, Mary says she regularly surprises people when she mentions she boxes. “When people think of boxers, they think of this big, burly man. They don’t realize that there are smaller weight classes and a lot of people don’t even realize that females do box.”

Those reactions reflect a bigger issue. While women definitely box, it’s true that there isn’t an abundance of them in the sport – leaving Mary few people to practice with. “It is frustrating,” says Mary. “I feel like I spend a lot of my time training and not a lot of time competing.”

That lack of competition is a new thing for Mary. In high school, she was a member of the school’s basketball, softball and track teams. Later, as a student athlete at Southwest Baptist University, she played center field on the U.S. Athletes International team. She’s learned over the years that all sports require dedication and determination – but she’s also found that when it comes to difficulty, boxing wins hands down.

“It’s so much different than any other sport out there,” she says. “People say, ‘Oh, two-minute rounds. That’s no big deal.’ A two-minute round seems like a lifetime.”

While getting through the physical – and mental – aspects of the sport can be challenging, Mary says she has great inspiration. “My big motivator is honestly my patients. There are so many people out there who wish they could do physically what I’m getting the chance to do.”

A message from Mary
“Thank you to all my friends, family, co-workers and CoxHealth for being in my corner as I took my shot at the Olympic qualifier.

I dropped the decision to a humble and very worthy opponent. Although I did not come out with the win, the experience has been great.”

Taking open enrollment on the road

As the open enrollment season for health care coverage kicks off this fall, CoxHealth has a new way to help the uninsured across our region get signed up: The CoxHealth enrollment bus.

The repurposed CoxHealth shuttle will be hitting the road this month to raise awareness about health insurance. As open enrollment begins in November, certified application counselors will travel to health fairs and community events throughout a 16-county area. The bus is the first of its kind in Missouri.

“Health insurance is a complex issue. It’s important to have it and it’s important to maintain it,” says Diane Rozier, certified application counselor manager at the CoxHealth Network. “You have to go where people are and craft a message for them. The bus will help us get to the people who need us.”

The bus is key to helping people understand their options: A counselor can explain the available plans and walk anyone through the enrollment process.

“If you don’t have insurance or if you know someone who doesn’t, you need to know that you can talk to a counselor,” Rozier says. 

Meet our latest Daisy award-winning nurses

Three nurses at CoxHealth were recently presented the DAISY Award in Springfield, celebrating them for extraordinary clinical skill and compassion.

Cynthia Myler, 700 East
Cynthia was nominated by fellow nurse Ashley Lacea. Ashley wrote: “Cynthia is one of the hardest working, caring and dedicated individuals I have ever met. She goes above and beyond and gives 110 percent in everything she does.”

Recently a patient had been involved in a shooting and was concerned about her safety and the safety of her family. This patient received discharge orders well before she was ready. Cynthia worked with Case Management to postpone the discharge. She also worked with social workers and the facility that the patient was to discharge to, to get the therapies at that facility to come to the hospital to work with the patient.

This was very important to Cynthia due to the sensitivity of the situation. This patient has since been discharged and is doing well, thanks in part to the care Cynthia provided.

Sheila Lander, Same Day Surgery
Sheila was nominated by fellow nurse Lynn Rossner, who wrote: “Sheila always displays a positive, caring attitude toward others. Her patients have her undivided attention and leave feeling well cared for with the knowledge to continue that care at home.”

One example of her devotion was with a homeless patient she cared for. After many phone calls to arrange transportation and a place for him to stay, she noticed he left his pain prescription lying on the bedside table.

After many unsuccessful calls to get the medication delivered to him that day, Sheila drove across town to deliver the needed medication after working a busy 12-hour shift.

“Sheila demonstrates this kindness toward all she comes in contact with. She is a proud employee of 41 years and portrays the mission, vision and values of CoxHealth.”

Melissa McCarty-Clark, 500 West
Melissa was nominated by the family of a patient who was facing complications from cancer. The family wrote: “Melissa is one of those people you automatically like. She was so attentive and caring. Every time she came on, she greeted him with a ‘Hello, handsome.’ My uncle, who was meticulous about his looks, had lost his hair from chemo and this meant a lot to him.

“One night when he was in pain, she came in to give him his meds while talking softly to him and comforting him. We realized she was crying. It is so nice to see a nurse with heart. She is truly amazing. You’ve got a very special nurse there!”

Fourth annual Pack the Pantries Healthy Food Drive begins Nov. 9

Improving the health of the community is our mission at CoxHealth.

Our healthy food drive meets a critical need in our communities for healthy food available for people who rely on food pantries, especially those on special diets.

Our Pack the Pantries Healthy Food Drive runs Nov. 9-23 in Springfield, Branson and Monett.

Check out this list of healthy food items and the collection locations below.

Springfield (benefiting Crosslines of Springfield)

Cox South: Near North Entrance, West Pavilion Entrance and West Tower Entrance

Meyer Fitness Center: In the lobby near the front doors

Cox North: Inside the Outpatient Entrance off Robberson; and near FMCC entrance off Jefferson

Medical South Building: Wound Care Clinic waiting room, first floor

Ferrell-Duncan Clinic (main): Employee entrance next to the time clock

Home Support/HPS: Lobby

Monett (benefiting Crosslines of Monett)

Cox Monett: Near the hospital’s first floor Kronos time clock

Branson (benefiting Christian Action Ministries)

Cox Branson: In cafeteria and media relations office in Suite 404, across from Administration in Plaza One.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Two CoxHealth nurses chosen as Nurse of the Year award recipients by March of Dimes

Two nurses from CoxHealth were honored as Nurse of the Year award recipients at the 4th Annual March of Dimes Nurse of the Year Awards Gala earlier this month in St. Louis.

Glenda Miller, Center for Health Improvement, won Nurse of the Year in the Advanced Practice category. Terry Westrip, Cox South Surgical Services, won in the Surgical Services category. The nurses were recognized for their extraordinary level of patient care, compassion, professionalism, integrity and leadership in the nursing profession. The March of Dimes Missouri Chapter received more than 500 nominations for Nurse of the Year.

Daniel Brumbaugh, Senior Adult Psych, was recognized as a Nurse of the Year finalist in the Behavioral Health category.