Monday, October 13, 2014

1906, the new employee store, opens at Cox South

A grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony was held 11 a.m., Monday, Oct. 13, for CoxHealth’s new employee store, named 1906. The event was held in the new store located in the tunnel at Cox South on the Engineering office and Printing Services hallway.

The name is a nod to CoxHealth’s founding year and the logo features the 30-bed, three-story hospital where our history began.

The store, located in the tunnel at Cox South, will offer more than 100 products to add value and convenience for employees as we carry on CoxHealth’s legacy of service. 1906 will sell household items such as diapers, baby wipes, batteries and sterile supplies as well as foods, including bread, milk and eggs.

Gift cards, ready-to-go meals and CoxHealth logo wear will also be available, as well as concierge services for dry cleaning and auto service. 

The store is now open for business! Store hours will be Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.- 5:30 p.m., and the store’s number will be 269-1906. Later this year, an online store will be launched to serve staff members at CoxHealth’s other campuses.


Friday, October 10, 2014

Nurses recognized for going above and beyond

Three nurses were recently presented the DAISY Award, celebrating them for extraordinary clinical skill and compassion. The latest winners are:

Rhonda Toler, Ambulatory Procedure Center, Cox Monett

Rhonda in the Ambulatory Procedure Center (APC) at Cox Monett was nominated by a fellow nurse for the compassion she showed to a patient who comes to the APC two times per week. When the patient came to the center one week so she could leave town to be with her son in Texas who was dying of cancer, the nurse noticed that Rhonda, after work had come back to be with the patient. “Rhonda knew the patient had no one to stay with her during her infusion and she was grieving terribly so she prayed with, talked with, listened to, and shared tears because she is a compassionate and caring nurse.”

Kathleen Mullen, Nursing Education 

“Kathleen has a passion for nursing” writes a fellow nurse of Kathleen. Kathleen has worked with the staff at The Martin Center to obtain and educate them on the use of specialized lift equipment to accommodate bariatric patients. One day, the Martin Center staff contacted Kathleen regarding a patient that would be coming for treatment. Kathleen organized the transfer of equipment and staff to assist. She personally assisted with the transfer and stayed after work hours to ensure the patient’s safety. “Kathleen treats the patient with courtesy, compassion and respect and encourages and engages staff while promoting safety for both the staff and patient.”

Kathy Jacks, 700 West Peds/PICU

Kathy was nominated by a fellow nurse for going above and beyond to ensure the comfort of patients and families. A fellow employee was battling cancer and had traveled to California to lay her father’s ashes to rest when her illness took a turn for the worse. She became paralyzed and was unsure of how she and her family would get back home. Kathy using her own money and time flew to California and assisted in the safe return of her friend and fellow nurse and her family home. “I know the employee and family will be forever grateful for Kathy’s time and help.”

Thursday, October 9, 2014

CoxHealth’s three birthing hospitals recognized for eliminating early-elective inductions

Cox Monett

CoxHealth is the only hospital system in the state to be recognized at all of its birthing hospitals by the March of Dimes and the Missouri Hospital Association for eliminating elective inductions and Cesarean deliveries performed before 39 completed weeks of pregnancy.

This achievement was recognized through a banner from the March of Dimes and Missouri Hospital Association (MHA). The banners were recently presented to the Labor and Delivery Departments of each hospital.

A total of 68 birthing hospitals in Missouri were eligible to apply for the honor, according to Trina Ragain, state director of program services, advocacy and government affairs, March of Dimes Missouri Chapter. Ragain said 25 hospitals applied and met the criteria and out of those 25, 19 had an early elective delivery rate of 0%. CoxHealth has approximately 4,900 births each year at its birthing facilities in Springfield, Branson and Monett.

The March of Dimes says this will give more babies a healthy start in life. Babies delivered before full-term are at increased risk of serious health problems and death in their first year of life.

“We’re proud of our expert team of physicians and nurses who saw this opportunity to improve care in our community and put in place policies to avoid scheduling elective inductions or caesarean deliveries before 39 weeks of pregnancy, except when medically necessary,” said Beth Rutherford, Administrative Director of Nursing, CoxHealth.

Cox South

Babies born just a few weeks early have higher rates of hospitalization and illness than full-term infants. Recent research by the March of Dimes, the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found that although the overall threat is small, the risk of death more than doubles for infants born at 37 weeks of pregnancy when compared to babies born at 40 weeks, for all races and ethnicities.

“The last weeks of pregnancy are extremely important. Babies aren’t just putting on weight. They are undergoing important development of the brain, lungs and other vital organs,” Ragain said. “The March of Dimes commends CoxHealth for being a champion for babies with their quality improvement effort.”

“We know that the last weeks of pregnancy are vitally important in a baby’s development,” said Tracey Williams, RN, director of OB Women’s Services. “At Cox Medical Center Branson, we eliminated early elective inductions and Cesarean deliveries in the best interest of the babies we deliver and are honored to be recognized by the March of Dimes for this effort.”

Cox Branson

A two-year partnership between the March of Dimes Missouri Chapter and the Missouri Hospital Association (MHA) is achieving its goal of significantly reducing early elective deliveries (EEDs) by the end of 2014. Of the 46 participating birthing hospitals in Missouri, 78 percent report a rate of five percent or less and 61 percent have had no EEDs in the last six months of reported data.

Additionally, of the 46 hospitals, 87 percent now have a “hard stop” policy in place which establishes strict medical guidelines for when a physician may schedule a delivery. Only 35 percent had a hard stop policy in place before the MHA/March of Dimes collaboration began. The policy prohibits doctors from scheduling a delivery – either by induction or cesarean section – before the baby is at a confirmed 39 weeks gestation. The policy applies to non-medically indicated (elective) deliveries only.

“In the best interests of the health of mothers and infants, Missouri's hospitals have been working to reduce early elective deliveries,” said Herb Kuhn, president and CEO of the Missouri Hospital Association. “This is one of many quality improvements they are aggressively pursuing to achieve the Triple Aim of better care, better health and lower costs.”

More information is available at

Friday, October 3, 2014

CNBC at CoxHealth for national 'Where the Jobs Are' report

The national news network CNBC is at CoxHealth today reporting live for a national segment called Where the Jobs Are. The focus is a shortage of medical coders. Click here to see their first live report that aired this morning. They’ll also be live during the CNBC Power Lunch at 12:50 p.m., and CNBC Street Signs at 1:05 p.m., and will run another report during National Business Report on Ozarks Public Television tonight at 5:30 p.m.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Tonight: CoxHealth Center for Prosthetics and Orthotics open house

The new CoxHealth Center for Prosthetics & Orthotics is having its open house tonight, Oct. 2, from 4-8 p.m. All are invited to attend. Join us for interactive tours, including demonstrations and special guest Whitney Harris, product champion for the Ossur Power Knee. The center is located at 2224 West Sunset, just off Kansas Expressway. Food and drink will be provided. Call 269-INFO or 730-2000 for more information.

Prosthetics career is a chance to give back

Orthotic technician Ashleigh Bentz works in the prosthetics shop at CoxHealth’s new Center for Prosthetics and Orthotics in Springfield. Bentz has had a prosthetic foot her whole life and the care and support she received led to her career choice. When she heard CoxHealth was opening the center, she says she knew immediately that she wanted to be on the team. 

Ashleigh Bentz has a unique relationship with the new CoxHealth Center for Prosthetics and Orthotics. “It was what I was born to do, you could say,” she laughs. That’s because Ashleigh, an orthotic technician at the center, became an amputee at the age of two. 

“I was born with three toes and no fibula bone and a degenerative bone disease,” she says. “My mother was given the option to have my foot removed at a young age or to wait and later in life have it amputated above the knee.” 

“It’s one of those things, you play the hand you’re dealt, but you learn to deal with it.” Growing up, Ashleigh says having only one foot was just a normal part of life. She recalls with a laugh how when her sister wanted to play, she’d bring Ashleigh’s foot to her. She has a sense of humor about her prosthetic, too: “Yeah, I had a lot of fun with substitute teachers.” 

Now, she has a new prosthetic, made at the Center for Prosthetics and Orthotics. “People get new ones because of wear and weight change. With mine, it was just time for a new one,” says Ashleigh. “The leg I have is pretty simple. I’m just missing my foot.” 

Ashleigh’s lower leg slides into a socket that connects to a carbon foot, ordered from an outside vendor. As an orthotic tech, she helped make the socket that covers her leg and attaches to her new foot. 

As an orthotic technician and amputee, Ashleigh is excited to relate to her patients. 

“When I was in Shriners Hospital, I saw what it meant to help someone. Through the relationships I built there, I knew this was for me. When I found out that CoxHealth was opening up a new facility, I just knew I needed to be here. CoxHealth has given me the opportunity to do what I wanted to and I couldn’t be more excited to help people the way that I was helped.” 

As a child, Ashleigh benefited from the services of the Shriners Hospital, but once out of its care she soon missed the integrated system where the prosthetist can talk to the physical therapist under the same roof. 

“Coming back to this area there really wasn’t a model like that, so with the new center for prosthetics and orthotics, it’s going to be nice for people to come to one place, an integrated system.” 

When you talk to Fred Lerche, administrative director of outpatient rehab services and prosthetics and orthotics, and Chris Cobb, clinic manager, the excitement about the type of service CoxHealth can provide for amputee patients is contagious. 

“We will have an integrated physical therapy department, allowing therapists and prosthetists to work closely together for maximal patient outcomes and satisfaction,” says Chris. “It’s a true team approach that benefits the patient. For example, adjustments to prosthetic devices can be made in real time during a patient’s therapy visit, eliminating the need to schedule another appointment with the prosthetist.” 

The Center for Prosthetics and Orthotics has on its staff certified prosthetists and orthotists, pedorthists, orthotic fitters, experienced fabrication technicians and physical therapists. 

“It’s fantastic,” says Ashleigh. “It’s one of those things where there’s not a model like it here in town. You’re able to get a new leg, then go right across the building and have physical therapy training and even an adjustment. The prosthetist can talk to the physical therapist, no one is missing a step and your care is in the best hands because they’re communicating in the same facility. You’re good to go.”

Oct 2, 2014 open house
The new CoxHealth Center for Prosthetics & Orthotics is having its open house tonight, Oct. 2, from 4-8 p.m. All are invited to attend. Join us for interactive tours, including demonstrations and special guest Whitney Harris, product champion for the Ossur Power Knee. The center is located at 2224 West Sunset, just off Kansas Expressway. Food and drink will be provided. Call 269-INFO or 730-2000 for more information.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Two Missouri healthcare leaders partner to provide a new Medicare plan in southwest Missouri

Two of Missouri’s most trusted names in health care, CoxHealth and Essence Healthcare, have partnered to bring comprehensive, affordable coverage to more than 87,000 Medicare beneficiaries in Christian, Greene, Stone and Taney counties through a new Medicare plan called CoxHealth MedicarePlus.

CoxHealth MedicarePlus was carefully designed to solve a growing problem for southwest Missouri’s Medicare recipients: health care costs are on the rise. With the rising costs, many people with Medicare are being forced to dip further into their savings and retirement to cover their health care expenses. Some are even forgoing taking medications they need to stay healthy.

CoxHealth MedicarePlus is able to offer better, more affordable health care coverage by taking a new approach, originated by Essence Healthcare that brings doctors and insurance companies together to collaborate on ways to improve the cost and quality of care.

“Medicare Advantage plans are a popular option among Medicare recipients who want a simpler way to get the comprehensive coverage they need and also want to lower their out-of-pocket costs,” says Steve Edwards, CEO and President, CoxHealth. "We are excited to extend our comprehensive and quality health care services into a single Medicare Advantage plan, CoxHealth MedicarePlus."

“Through this collaboration, we are able to offer coverage and protection that traditional Medicare plans cannot,” said Richard Jones, CEO of Essence Healthcare. “We are not only providing comprehensive health coverage, but also important financial protection that shields people from the rising costs of health care. We believe CoxHealth MedicarePlus will bring much needed security and peace of mind to people with Medicare in the Springfield/Branson area.”

By working together to improve cost and quality for Missouri’s Medicare patients, CoxHealth MedicarePlus can specifically address the rising cost of health care by providing benefits traditional Medicare plan cannot. These benefits include:

Medicare parts A, B and D
CoxHealth MedicarePlus helps people with Medicare simplify and save by bundling medical, hospital and prescription drug coverage together in one plan.

Extra benefits
In most Medicare plans, valuable extras like dental and vision coverage are not provided. CoxHealth MedicarePlus offers those extras free of charge, and includes free health club memberships to keep members healthy and active.

$0 Premiums
CoxHealth MedicarePlus is a $0 premium plan that allows members to forgo high monthly payments. Plan members won’t pay any additional premium above and beyond the Part B premium they currently pay.

Maximum out-of-pocket protection
CoxHealth MedicarePlus protects people’s savings and retirement by limiting the total amount patients have to pay out of their own pocket for medical services each year regardless of sickness or injury, important protection not offered by traditional Medicare plans.

Access to Great Doctors and Hospitals
Members of the CoxHealth MedicarePlus plan will be cared for by the high quality doctors, nurses and hospitals of CoxHealth.

“We have seen the benefits of similar plans really impact the quality of life for Medicare patients in the St. Louis area,” said Jones. “We’re thrilled to work with CoxHealth to bring that same patient-centric model to southwest Missouri.”

For more information on CoxHealth MedicarePlus visit

Friday, September 26, 2014

#CoxHealthCommunity: Supporting our local schools

We all know CoxHealth is building for the future on our own campuses, but did you know we're supporting our community with building projects as well? For the latest example, look no further than the new fence at Springfield's Mary S. Boyd Elementary School.

CoxHealth took part in a celebration of several major upgrades at the school in Midtown Springfield on Thursday. As part of a community effort, CoxHealth co-sponsored the building of a new fence surrounding Boyd’s playground. The fence project was organized by the Boyd PTA and supported by key community donors.

School leaders held a ceremony to unveil the fence, which is anchored by majestic stone columns featuring the school’s mascot, the bobcat. The event honored community donors, who made possible a number of improvements, including:

- New music room
- New outdoor running track
- New school store.
- New outdoor reading area.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

'Topping out' is complete at new Cox South tower

Employees, board members, construction workers and members of the community joined us Thursday afternoon for the topping out ceremony on the new patient tower at Cox South.
Board members took a tour of the facility and had lunch with about 300 workers on the fourth floor of the new tower.

Back on the ground, employees placed the final signatures on the beam before it was hoisted into place by the smaller of two tower cranes on the site.

Our thanks to everyone who came out to share in this historic event!


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Cox College Hosts Panel Discussion on Alzheimer’s

Cox College will be hosting a panel discussion focusing on their fifth common reader program selection, "Love in the Land of Dementia: Finding Hope in the Caregiver's Journey," by Deborah Shouse, on Sept. 24, 2014, at 6 p.m., in Foster Auditorium at Cox South, 3801 S. National Ave. 

Presenters come from varying disciplines: 
Brenda Wiegand Williams, Ph.D., an evaluator and therapist who works with dementia patients and their families, as well as patients suffering from cognitive decline; 
Tracy Taylor, Assistant Nurse Manager, Transitional Care Unit; 
Judee Steward, Senior Advocate at Senior Advantage & Co-facilitator of the Alzheimer's Support Group; 
Gayle Cooper, Caregiver and Co-facilitator for the Alzheimer's Support Group; 
Dr. David Carson, anatomy/physiology instructor for Cox College; 
and moderator Jason Young, ASR Faculty at Cox College. 
All faculty, staff, and students of the college are invited, as is the community. Refreshments will be served.