Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Organ donor honored on parade float

An organ donor from Springfield will be among those honored on the Donate Life "Seize the Day" float in the Rose Parade on New Year's Day.

Christopher "Blake" White, 20, was fatally injured in a motorcycle accident on New Year's Day 2008. White was an organ donor and his decision to donate saved the lives of five other people.

In mid-December, Blake's family and several former co-workers from Nakato Japanese Steakhouse gathered in Cafeteria A at Cox South to decorate a "floragraph" in his honor. The floragraph is a portrait created with floral materials. White's portrait will be among those displayed on the float in Saturday's parade.

Although the majority of the floragraph decorating took place in Pasadena, Calif., families unable to attend the decorating event there were given the opportunity to decorate the floragraph at their own hometown events.

In addition, through Mid-America Transplant Services' sponsorship, Blake's family will be seated in the grandstand seats during the parade.

"Our family is very excited to participate in the parade this year," says Blake's mom, Nancy Trapp. "We're thankful for Mid-America Transplant Services' support, both during and after the organ donation process and in helping us participate in the Donate Life float in California."

Drive collects $5,000 worth of toys for hospitalized children

Children receiving care throughout CoxHealth will reap the benefits of a Children’s Miracle Network toy drive that gathered more than $5,000 worth of toys this Christmas.

Members of the community and CoxHealth staffers from throughout the system donated thousands of new toys, everything from coloring books and action figures to DVDs and video games.

“The community as well as our hospital departments were so generous,” says Heather Zoromski, executive director of Children's Miracle Network. “These toys will be spread throughout our hospital departments that treat pediatric patients. We have received thousands of really nice, brand new toys that will be used for encouragement, prizes and healing all year round.”

The donated toys will be used in the CoxHealth Pediatric unit, CoxHealth Pediatric Urgent Care, Child and Adolescent Psych unit, Pediatric Outpatient Therapies area, Infusion Center and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Helping patients navigate breast cancer

Christine Hamilton (left), who was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year, underwent treatment at Hulston Cancer Center and had regular meetings with Laura Bowles, CoxHealth’s breast care navigator. Bowles helped guide her through the process, offering information and support. “I knew I could call Laura and ask questions, and that she would have the answer,” Hamilton says.

The patients spoke, the time was right, and now breast cancer patients at CoxHealth have a new ally in their fight against the disease with the Breast Cancer Navigator program, which began at Hulston Cancer Center this summer.

There has been a movement in cancer care during the last decade to establish navigators for different patient populations. According to June Johnson, administrative director of Hulston Cancer Center, CoxHealth first tried this approach by developing the lung cancer patient coordinator position a few years ago.

“The doctors loved it and the patients loved it, and we knew we had a good thing,” she says. The coordinator, or navigator, is responsible for steering lung cancer patients through the process, from testing and diagnosis through doctor and surgeon visits, treatment and beyond.

The idea to expand that coordinator program to other patient populations came from the first Hulston Cancer Center Survivors Advisory Council. This group of patients gathered to talk about their cancer treatment and to rank what they felt was most important to their care.

“There were things on that list that we knew were important. The best technology; the best doctors; caring, knowledgeable staff – those are givens,” says Johnson. “But the lung cancer patients were amazed to find out that other patients didn’t have a navigator, and we discovered that was by far the most important thing to all our patients – to have someone to guide you, to show you the way, to explain things.”

Johnson says they learned that physicians felt patient navigators were extremely important as well. “We had a situation where all of our patients were telling us ‘This is what we want, this is what we need.’ And we had our caregivers saying ‘This is it. This is the thing,’” she says. “But everything we learned from those groups wouldn’t have made a difference in getting this program off the ground if we hadn’t had the moon, stars and planets align and had the perfect person available at just the right time.”

Hulston Cancer Center is in the process of seeking a Center of Excellence designation through the American College of Surgeons for the breast cancer program. A key part of achieving that designation is having a breast cancer-specific navigator program in place.

“We have the largest mammography facility in the state, and we’ve been a center of excellence in the mind of the community and the medical community forever,” Johnson says. But the lack of a navigator program was seen as a missing piece in Hulston’s services.

Says Johnson: “I’ve seen women come out of the elevator in a daze – they didn’t know they were going to be diagnosed with cancer. Between their diagnosis and their appointment with a surgeon, there’s a gap where it may feel like there’s no one to turn to.”

Because of an organizational change at the CoxHealth Center for Advanced Pain Management this past summer, Laura Bowles, a long-time CoxHealth employee who served as full-time director for that program, experienced a change in her job description. She still oversees the pain center, but on a part-time basis. When the change occurred, Johnson, who is her supervisor, saw an opportunity to meet a patient need. She officially transitioned Bowles into the breast care navigator role after getting the position approved by the position review committee.

“The most important thing we needed was someone with the right personality. Someone who could be a servant to our patients. We needed someone with system-savvy, who knew who to call to get the answers that were needed. Those two things are what made Laura the perfect person for this position,” says Johnson.

For her part, Bowles says she feels like she’s really filling a need not just for Cox and Hulston, but most importantly for the patients. “This is the best job I’ve ever had,” she says. “It is so rewarding.”

Bowles’ goal is to contact every patient diagnosed with breast cancer at Hulston – it is one of the cancer center’s top diagnoses, with more than 300 cases found each year.

“When they are diagnosed, the Breast Care Clinic gives the patient my card. I try to give them 24 hours to absorb the news before I make my phone call. Then I introduce myself and say ‘I understand you’re getting ready to fight a battle. We’re going to do it together,’” she says.

Bowles now spends her days making those introductory calls and sending personalized notes to each patient she speaks with – but most importantly, she serves as a resource and a friend for those patients who need her – patients such as Christine Hamilton.

Hamilton was diagnosed with stage 1 cancer earlier this year, and says the help and support she received from Bowles was invaluable. “She attended some appointments with me, and offered a lot of ideas and suggestions that were incredibly helpful,” Hamilton says.

While Hamilton has a great support system of friends and family, she says she was thankful to have Laura as a resource.

“I knew I could call Laura and ask questions, and that she would have the answer, or know who to call to get it,” she says.

“There are some patients who say ‘no problem, I’ve got this,’” Bowles says. “And there are others who call me morning, noon and night. I can offer an educated opinion without being too emotionally attached, and I can be wherever they need me to be.” Bowles has gone to physician appointments and chemo and radiation treatments with her patients. Some patients have no support system to speak of, and they need a lot of love, care and support. As breast cancer navigator, Bowles is there to provide it.

Says Johnson: “Navigators are our people who carry a big satin pillow around, and our patients can just hop on and ride with them when they need to. They need that care and understanding. Yes, patients need to be accountable and make decisions about their care. Tomorrow, when they aren’t throwing up and shaving their heads, they can be big girls and make these decisions again. But today, they just need that big, pink, satin pillow. And now Laura’s work provides just that kind of support.”

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

CoxHealth and Springfield Neurological and Spine Institute join forces

CoxHealth and Springfield Neurological and Spine Institute, LLC (SNSI) have agreed to an exclusive partnership promising to expand access and services for patients throughout the region. This agreement will become effective Jan. 1, 2011.

SNSI is the largest private practice neurosurgery group in Missouri and has gained regional and national prominence for excellence in clinical care and outcomes research. The 12 subspecialty physicians at SNSI specialize in the treatment of brain, spinal and peripheral nerve disorders.

CoxHealth will purchase the clinic and assets of SNSI including their imaging center. The physicians will provide services to the clinic and the hospital. The 80 individuals employed by SNSI will become employees of CoxHealth.

“With this partnership, we expect to align physician and hospital incentives to improve access, expand services, reduce costs and create a seamless experience for patients. We will look back on this day and remember it as the day we began something very special for neurosciences in our region,” says Robert H. Bezanson, president and CEO of CoxHealth.

Dr. Mark Crabtree, neurosurgeon and managing partner of SNSI adds: “CoxHealth and SNSI have been working on tighter clinical and financial integration since October 2003, and we believe that this partnership will better prepare us to meet the future needs of the patients and communities that we serve.”

SNSI joins CoxHealth’s integrated health care delivery system through its professional services agreement (PSA) along with partner Ferrell-Duncan Clinic, Inc, and the CoxHealth employed physicians of Regional Services. CoxHealth and its physician partners plan to create a comprehensive neuroscience institute that will become an integral part of the Cox South campus with a goal of rivaling the best centers in the nation.

As a top 100 health care system, CoxHealth is committed to delivering on the proven benefits of integrated health care delivery. The joining forces of SNSI and CoxHealth further this effort to improve care for patients.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Lorenzo 'Zo' Williams mural dedicated; golf weekend set for July

Lorenzo "Zo" Williams, of MU football and NFL fame, recently visited Cox South for the dedication of a mural in his honor on the pediatric floor. The mural, which features Williams on the golf course along with his daughters and a few teammates, recognizes Williams for his charitable efforts via the annual "Lorenzo Williams & Friends Charity Weekend." The event benefits Children's Miracle Network.

As the mural was unveiled, Williams admired the detail in the painting - "I look kinda skinny, which is awesome" - before reminding the crowd that he prefers to keep the focus on the kids.

"I don't like to take credit for things that you're just supposed to do," he says. "You're supposed to help people out, that's what God put us here for."

Williams was a three-year defensive starter for the Missouri Tigers from 2003-2007. Following his college career, he spent time in the NFL with the Baltimore Ravens and the Carolina Panthers.

In July 2010, Williams led the inaugural "Lorenzo Williams Celebrity Pro-Am" golf tournament at the Millwood Golf & Racquet Club - an event that raised almost $25,000 for CMN. The tournament featured several MU football alumni, including Jeremy Maclin (Philadelphia Eagles), Sean Weatherspoon (Atlanta Falcons), Danario Alexander (St. Louis Rams) and Martin Rucker (Dallas Cowboys).

Williams originally became involved with CMN after the birth of his twin daughters.

"CMN has a special place in my heart. My daughters were born two months premature and they spent time here in the NICU at Cox South," he says. "I saw a chance to give back to CMN and we had a great time doing it."

The first year was so successful, Williams and his fellow players are planning to make the tournament a regular event. The 2011 "Lorenzo Williams Celebrity Pro-Am" will be held on Fri., July 8, with a benefit youth football camp slated for Sat., July 9.

"We love to come down to Springfield; it's like a family reunion for us getting together and talking about old times," Williams says. "And we get to help kids out with the football camp and with the golf tournament."

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Golf tournament raises funds for ALS care

Pictured above: Tyler Watskey, Chairman Julian ALS Foundation board; Rodney Arnold, Skaggs Foundation; Lisa Alexander, President, CoxHealth Foundation; and Chris Vinton, Julian ALS Foundation board member.

Patients with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) in the Ozarks have another resource for their care thanks to this year's Julian Golf Tournament. Held in Branson at LedgeStone Country Club on September 20th, the event raised $45,000.

A check for $17,000 was presented to the CoxHealth Foundation, $10,000 to the Skaggs Community Health Center Foundation and $18,000 to the ALS TDI organization for research.

CoxHealth provided care to Jeff Julian, a PGA golfer who was diagnosed with ALS in the prime of his life. Julian's wife was from the Branson area and he came back to this region during the final months of his life.

Grateful for the outstanding care he received, his family chose to honor both hospitals with support for ALS patients annually from this tournament. CoxHealth has a room in the new ER dedicated to Julian and will continue to use funds for direct patient needs, communication devices and other needs related to ALS care.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

CMN Christmas drive benefits CoxHealth's pediatric patients

This Christmas, you can help the thousands of children that are treated at CoxHealth each year by donating to the Children’s Miracle Network Christmas Drive.

CMN is seeking donations of a variety of newly purchased items, including coloring books, playing cards, board games, action figures, personal care items, DVDs, video games, scrapbooking supplies and more. For a complete list of needed items, visit the Children’s Miracle Network “Current Fundraising Programs” page on

All donations will be used in the CoxHealth Pediatric unit, CoxHealth Pediatric Urgent Care, Child and Adolescent Psych unit, Pediatric Outpatient Therapies area, Infusion Center and the Neonatal Intensive Care unit. You can drop off your donations anytime during business hours at the CMN office inside the Medical South building, 3525 S. National, Ste. 203. Donations will be accepted until Friday, Dec. 17. For more information, call CMN at 269-6853.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Honor Flight heroes welcomed home

The final Ozarks Honor Flight of 2010 arrived last night at Springfield-Branson National Airport. The nearly 80 veterans on board were greeted with fanfare by hundreds of community members, including officers from CoxHealth's Honor Guard.

Check out a few images from last night's event and watch for an upcoming Connection package with a few CoxHealth volunteers who were among the veterans on recent flights.

Thanks to everyone who participated and helped make it a great day honoring all of those who have sacrificed to serve our nation.

Collecting coats for kids in need

Case Management staff with a few of the coats they’ve collected so far (from left): Sara Busby, Donna Morris, Libby Brill, Billie Gibbens and Jeannine Wilson.

Would you like to do a good deed to help kids in the Ozarks? Staff in Case Management at Cox South are currently collecting new coats for students in need at Springfield schools.

The team had originally planned the coat drive as a holiday service project, but when they heard schools had waiting lists for coats, they started right away.

"We just decided that there should not be a child waiting for a coat," says care coordinator Billie Gibbens. "Now we have not just our department but departments from all over the hospital bringing coats in."

In their first week, they collected 30 donated coats and they’re planning to continue the drive until the demand is met. Gibbens says that if the project is able to meet all of the need in Springfield, they’ll begin to work with schools around the region to distribute coats.

Anyone interested in donating new children’s coats, hats and gloves may contact Case Management at 269-6114.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Making way for new critical care beds

Work has begun on the southeast corner of Cox South to make way for construction of the new critical care unit, which is set to open next year.

When the new unit opens, it will complement the new Emergency Department by adding 24 new critical care beds. Dr. John Duff says that in planning sessions five years ago, trends were predicting a shortage of critical care beds by 2010. Those predictions are now coming true as southwest Missouri’s population grows and greater numbers of acute patients are coming into the facility.

“We decided that now is the right time to fix that,” Dr. Duff says. “This will help support the new ED; we anticipate that with the growth of the Emergency Department we’ll see even more critically ill and injured patients.”

Construction begins this fall and the $17 million facility is expected to be complete in fall 2011.

The beds will be located on the ground floor in the same corridor as Cox South’s current critical care beds. The unit will extend to the south along National from the current unit. The construction will create 27 new beds, but it will also involve losing three surgical ICU beds, leaving a net gain of 24. It will bring the total number of adult critical care beds to 76.

“We’ve worked hard to ensure that patients return to their home environments as soon as they can and to keep beds free for the next patients,” Dr. Duff says. “By adding these beds, we’ll be able to accept patients more rapidly from the ED and eliminate delays.”

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Skeleton Scurry fun run, costume party set for Saturday

Kids, join CoxHealth Fitness Centers for a Halloween costume party and
outdoor fun run to celebrate fitness and the Halloween season!

The 8th annual Skeleton Scurry will be held 10 a.m. - noon, Saturday, Oct. 23, at The Meyer Center, 3545 S. National Ave., in Springfield.

The Scurry is for ages 2 – 11. All participants will receive a prize, goodie bag and pizza lunch sponsored by Dominos. There will be games and inflatables, too.

Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 the day of the event. Pre-registration is encouraged at any CoxHealth Fitness Centers location (Cox North, The Meyer Center, Republic or Willard.) or you can visit to print out a registration form. For more information, call 269-3282.

‘Tailoring your Lung Cancer Care’

Dr. William Cunningham, a medical oncologist with Oncology Hematology Associates, will speak at this free event for lung cancer patients and their families or caregivers.

He will discuss how physicians decide which chemotherapy treatment is right for each patient and the future of targeted therapy. Marilyn Bauer, director of Cancer Research for the Ozarks, will speak about clinical trials. This is a free program, but registration is required by Oct. 29. A light dinner will be served.

Join us Tuesday, Nov. 2, 5 – 6:30 p.m., in the Dogwood Room inside Hulston Cancer Center, 3850 S. National. Call 269-INFO for more information or to register.

Learn about osteoporosis at 'cheesy' event

Join The Women’s Center at CoxHealth for “The Power of Cheese and Exercise,” an interactive speaker/audience demonstration of exercises for those with (and at risk for) osteoporosis with physical therapist Robyn Holland. Oh, and be sure to enjoy the cheese buffet!

Studies estimate more than 52 million U.S. men and women aged 50 or older suffer from osteoporosis and low bone mass. The majority may never know until they suffer a fracture from a minor fall, or in advanced cases from a sneeze or even spontaneously.

Patti Roper, RN, osteoporosis nurse educator with The Women’s Center says, “For most people, osteoporosis is a preventable disease if they do the right things, such as getting the recommended daily amount of calcium, doing weight-bearing exercises and not smoking.”

This free program will be held 7-9 p.m., Monday, Nov. 8, in Foster Auditorium at Cox South, 3801 S. National Ave. Registration is required. Call 269-LADY today.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

'Joint Camp' a bridge to health

With the help of physical therapist Deana Hicks, Barbara Boyher takes her first steps on stairs after having knee replacement surgery at the Meyer Orthopedic Center. Boyher underwent rehab therapy as part of the Joint Adventure program, which offers patients inpatient physical therapy over three days after their surgeries. The program is designed to help patients adapt and recover after surgery, allowing them to return home more quickly, usually within a few days of their procedure.

For years, Judee Steward had suffered with severe pain in both of her knees. “I was living on pain pills, using a cane, anything I could do to get to work, to manage, to last the day. That’s how bad it was,” she says. “I did not have quality of life.”

Steward, who is a senior advocate with Cox’s Senior Advantage program, had tried a variety of treatments but says eventually she reached the point where a knee replacement was the best option. “My doctor showed me the X-rays – there just wasn’t any cartilage left between the joints and it was just time to get it done,” says Steward.

So, Steward became one of the first patients to enter Joint Adventure – Cox’s new total joint program – and on May 3 she was the first patient treated at the new Meyer Orthopedic Center.

She credits the program and the seamless care it provides with her success – she was able to return to work only five weeks after her surgery. And Steward is not alone.

While leaders won’t be able to fully evaluate data until they can collect information on patient outcomes after their six-month follow-ups with their physicians, early indicators point to a program that’s successfully preparing patients for surgery, treating them, rehabilitating them and getting them on the road to an improved quality of life with their new joint.

A team approach to care

“Joint Adventure is different because it’s a real team approach to providing total joint care,” says Fred Lerche, director of musculoskeletal services.

Born from a working group with representatives from rehabilitation, nursing, Oxford Home Health, physician offices and other areas, the program is a five-step process that carefully and seamlessly leads each knee and hip joint replacement patient through their surgery and beyond.

Joint Adventure begins with a pre-surgery class for patients and their support person, or coach, about two weeks prior to the surgery. The goal is to create a prepared, confident patient and coach.

“In the class, we try to paint the entire picture for them from now to six months down the road,” Lerche says. “We talk them through the entire process, from which door they need to come in on the day of their surgery, through what to expect during their hospital stay, what exercises they need to do now and after surgery – it’s all about preparing the patient and putting their mind at ease.”

Currently, about 85 percent of patients having a hip or knee replacement are attending the class. While program leaders would like to see 100 percent compliance, they are happy that those attending are reporting satisfaction with the program.

Program leaders have worked hard to weave the patient-centered, information-driven, team-building approach outlined in the class through the rest of the Joint Adventure program.

“We’ve timed it so that often the group that attends the class together ends up having surgery on the same day – or nearly the same day – about two weeks later. They end up working their inpatient therapy together and it creates a bond. The patients encourage each other and it’s all a part of the seamless care we want to provide,” Lerche says.

While in the hospital, patients progress from individualized therapy to group therapy, from getting up and sitting on the side of the bed or in a chair to relearning how to go up and down stairs and get in and out of a car.

Steward says she found inpatient rehab incredibly helpful to her recovery.
“You have to learn how to walk again. I compensated so much trying to take the pain off my knees that I kind of walked with a waddle. They taught me how to feel like I had control again,” she says. “And the home health care I received with Connie from Oxford was extraordinary. She really helped me regain my usage and my function so I could get back to work.”

Early signs of success

While Lerche and other leaders have big plans to evaluate patient outcomes, early indicators provide hints of the program’s achievements.

“Eighty percent of our patients are discharged to home,” says Lerche. “That’s a big indicator of success, that we’re able to safely get a patient back home, rather than into skilled nursing. Where do patients want to go? They want to go home.”

Some programs in their benchmark group have a discharge-to-home rate of 22 percent; Lerche says such rates are not uncommon.

Joint Adventure leaders are also optimistic based on the feedback they’re receiving from patients and from physicians.

“Patients are telling us they can do things they couldn’t do before. They can take walks with their grandkids. They are enjoying their lifestyle so much more,” he says.

“Sometimes you have programs that are great patient pleasers. Sometimes you have programs that are great staff satisfiers. But when you blend them both together – isn’t that what you want? That’s success, and that’s what differentiates our program from any other program in the area.”

Looking toward the future

The population of people who will want or need a joint replaced is expanding at a rapid clip. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery says experts predict a 673 percent rise in knee replacements alone by 2013. Lerche attributes this to not only the aging Baby Boomers, but to the increased durability of replacement joint components.

“Now, we’re going ahead and doing joint replacements on younger people, where 15 or 20 years ago we would have told that person to wait because the components weren’t going to last.”

Another reason for the expected increase? It’s Generation-X, the generation that gave rise to the extreme sports movement. As they age, experts predict they will need new joints, too.

“You see those extreme sports? There’s trauma taking place,” says Lerche.

The MOC was built, and Joint Adventure was designed, to handle this growth.

“The numbers are unbelievable. We have to prepare for that and that’s why Cox has committed an entire hospital to orthopedics. The volume is going to be there, and we’ve built with room to grow,” Lerche says.

As for Steward, count her as part of that growth. Not for the knee she had replaced in May, but for the one that will be replaced in December.

“Both of my knees were bad, and Dr. Wester (her orthopedic surgeon) told me I could choose which one to have replaced first. I picked the right knee, since that’s the one I drive with,” she laughs.

“They tell you the next one may not be like the first one, and I am aware as far as the level of commitment it takes to get yourself back to independence,” Steward says.

“But I love my new knee – I can go up and down the stairs, I’ve gone back to the gym and I’ve lost 25 pounds – and I know my next experience will be just as challenging but also just as gratifying as this one was.”

Monday, October 11, 2010

Breast Care Fund receives matching donation from 'Fiddler on the Roof' tickets

Pictured above (from left): Jan Baumgartner, executive vice president, Springfield First Community Bank; Lisa Alexander, president, CoxHealth Foundation; Brian Straughan, president and CEO, Springfield First Community Bank.

The CoxHealth Foundation’s Breast Care Fund recently received a large donation from early “Fiddler on the Roof” ticket sales and a matching gift from Springfield First Community Bank.

Celebrity Promotions donated $5 for every ticket sold during a two-day ticket presale event for the upcoming “Fiddler on the Roof” production at Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts.

Springfield First Community Bank offered to match the amount to bring greater awareness to the community of their commitment to women's health. During the promotion, 481 tickets were sold for a total of $2,405. With the bank’s match, the total raised was $4,810.

The CoxHealth Foundation Breast Care Fund is one of the only resources in southwest Missouri that offers financial grants to women for their medical treatment for mammography, diagnostics and follow-up care if they are diagnosed with breast cancer.

L & D staff takes training to new level

When staff members in Labor and Delivery were preparing for their annual teamwork training and emergency drills, they wanted to practice in the most realistic environment possible. This year, they found just the place as they partnered with Cox College to train at the Nursing Resource Center.

In four sessions over three days, the L&D nurses and staff ran through several emergency scenarios – everything from a postpartum hemorrhage and a neonatal code to a maternal code and a fire in the operating room.

The training is part of a Joint Commission requirement that calls for staff to have regular practice with emergency scenarios, a key component in patient safety.

“The training allows staff to become adept at managing situations like these,” says L&D nurse Debbie Burgess. “This really helps build confidence in our ability to handle an event like this on the unit.”

For each of the scenarios, team members are presented with a history on the “patient” and they manage the situation just as they would in real life.

The training covers everything from basic clinical skills (washing hands and patient identification) to critical decision-making and complex technical skills. The exercises are also a chance to improve communication skills and work on overall teamwork.

Each clinical simulation is followed by a debriefing in which the participants discuss what was learned, what went well and what needs more practice.

“The simulations are amazing,” Burgess says. “The simulator bleeds when you start an IV and everything they prepared was very realistic – the staff really responded to that.”

“People loved it, I haven’t heard one negative comment about it,” says Cozi Bagley, an instructor at Cox College.

In years past, staff had trained on the unit with a staff member posing as a patient. Burgess says the simulations in the resource center allowed for a greater variety of scenarios and they were a great alternative.

“It can be harder to act like a scenario is real when the patient is a co-worker,” she says.

“This let everyone really get into it.”

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

CoxHealth to celebrate opening of new ED

CoxHealth will celebrate the completion of the organization’s new Emergency Department with an open house, tours and a ribbon cutting ceremony 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25. The public is invited to attend.

The new Emergency Department features some of the nation's most sophisticated MRI and CT technology, an on-site lab, state-of-the-art disaster management facilities and more. The ED has 62 patient beds – a significant improvement over the 23 beds available in the existing facility, a chapel and garden area, and the latest security features for the safety of staff and patients.

The ED is located in the Lipscomb Family Wing of Cox South, 3801 S. National, on the south side of the hospital facing James River Freeway. Construction on the new 78,000 square-foot ED began in May 2009. The total cost of the project was $52.5 million, financed by a Sept. 2008 bond issuance.

Patients will continue to be treated in the old Emergency Department space until 5 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 29. At that point, all emergency care will be provided in the new facility.

Patients travelling northbound on National Ave. who need to access the Emergency Department are advised to drive in the far right lane as they navigate the diverging diamond interchange. Drivers will then need to make a right-hand turn onto Bradford Parkway, and then an immediate right onto the CoxHealth tunnel road. They will cross under National and emerge on the Cox South campus with the new Emergency Department entrance directly in front of them.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Make plans for CoxHealth's Fall Fest

Mark your calendars and plan to save the date for this year’s CoxHealth Fall Fest.

The employee picnic, which features food and fun for the whole family, is set for Saturday, Sept. 18, at the Expo Center in downtown Springfield.

The event is presented annually by CoxHealth's leadership in recognition of and appreciation for the work employees do year round.

Friday, September 3, 2010

What do Arnold Palmer, Colin Powell and James Bond have in common?

All, along with a host of other famous people, have been diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their lives. (Ok – so it was Roger Moore, not actually James Bond.) Prostate cancer is the second most common form of cancer that affects men, and more than 30,000 die of the disease each year.

CoxHealth will hold a free informational program with urologists Howard Follis and Andrew Schultz called “Life After Prostate Cancer” 5:30 – 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 30. Patients dealing with prostate cancer can learn about coping with the side effects of treatment.

A light dinner will be served. The program will be held in the Dogwood Room on the fourth floor of Hulston Cancer Center, 3850 S. National. This is a free program, but advance registration by Sept. 27 is required. Call 269-5224 for more information.

Verona Corn Maize to benefit CMN

Kick off your family’s fall activities at the Verona Corn Maize Saturday, Sept. 18, and help area children at the same time. That day only, the maze will donate 100 percent of their proceeds to Children’s Miracle Network.

The Verona Corn Maize offers a variety of activities for the family, including hayrides, a corn shucking contest, a strongman competition, a greased pig chase and more. You can see the full list of activities and get directions to the maze at their website:

Admission to the maze is $8 for ages 12 and up, $4 for children 5 – 11. Kids 4 and younger, veterans and active military with ID are free. For more information, call CMN at 269-1832.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Learn about joint replacements, how to save yours at free program

More than 770,000 Americans have a knee or hip joint replaced each year, and experts predict this number will skyrocket as the baby boomer generation continues to age. Damage done to joints can accumulate over time, causing extreme discomfort, limitation of movement and more.

Dr. Bill Duncan, an orthopedic surgeon at CoxHealth’s Meyer Orthopedic Center, will present a free program with information on joint replacements and steps you can take now to help preserve your joints later in life.

“Joints in Motion” will be held 9 – 11 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 28, in the Ozark Room at the new Meyer Orthopedic Center on the corner of National and Walnut Lawn in Springfield.

Dr. Duncan will talk about how your environment and activity level affect your joint health, the effects of arthritis, how to improve your mobility and reduce your discomfort, and more. To register, visit of call 269-9898.

Friday, August 20, 2010

CoxHealth leaders receive Patriot Award

Security director Joe Rushing receives the ESGR Patriot Award from Lt. Cmdr. Brian Rich of the Navy Operational Support Center in Springfield. Rushing was nominated for the recognition by officers Caleb Padgett and Brian Simpson.

Gary Verch of EMS is presented the Patriot Award from Lt. Cmdr. Brian Rich. He was nominated by EMT and Air Force Reservist Crystal Craver.

Two leaders at CoxHealth were recognized Thursday for their ongoing support of employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserves.

Gary Verch, Communications Manager for EMS, and Joe Rushing, director of Public Safety and Security, were both presented with the Patriot Award from Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR).

ESGR is a Department of Defense agency that serves as a liaison between employees and employers. The group provides education for employers and regularly recognizes employers that make outstanding efforts to accommodate employees serving in the National Guard and the Reserves of all military branches.

“These awards are in appreciation for the support you’ve given these employees,” Phillip Dixon, a retired Guardsman who serves on ESGR’s Springfield Committee, told the honorees. Dixon was joined in presenting the awards by Lieutenant Commander Brian Rich, commanding officer of the Navy Operational Support Center in Springfield, which works with 300 reservists.

“It’s the exceptional employer that goes the extra mile and does what’s necessary to make sure employees don’t have to worry,” Dixon says. “The last thing someone who is deployed needs to have on their mind is anxiety about their job.”

Verch was nominated by Crystal Craver, a Reservist who is also an EMT at CoxHealth. Rushing received the nomination from Reservists Brian Simpson and Caleb Padgett.

In the last year, ESGR has presented roughly 30 Patriot Awards to employers throughout southwest Missouri.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Demand leads to expanded programs, extended deadlines at Cox College

An increase in demand – this fall, enrollment is up 18 percent over the same time last year – has led Cox College leaders to expand programs and extend registration deadlines in several areas.

“We’ve extended the application deadline for the spring semester,” says Dr. Anne Brett, president of the college. “The deadline has been pushed back from Aug. 15 to Sept. 1 for January 2011 entrance into the nursing programs.”

Additionally, the college has added a weekend Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) program that will begin with 20 students in January 2011. “There’s been a lot of interest in the ASN program and a weekend option makes it more accessible for people who work during the week,” says Brett.

Students who wish to apply for the two-year program, which offers theory and clinical courses on Thursday evenings, Fridays and Saturdays, must have all general education pre-requisites finished before they can begin program.

Also due to increased demand, the college will admit an additional 30 students to its Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program in January 2011. The college currently only admits students into the BSN program once a year for the fall semester. Brett says this additional opportunity fills a need in the community. “There is a movement in the profession toward having more bachelor-trained nurses, and this will allow more nurses the opportunity to pursue their degrees,” she says.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Course prepares tweens for responsibilities of babysitting

Girls and boys ages 11 – 14 who are interested in babysitting should attend the Babysitting Basics class Saturday, Aug. 21, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., in Suite 130 of the Turner Center, 1000 E. Primrose.

This informative class will focus on child safety, first aid and age-specific activities for children. There is a $30 fee, and lunch is included. For more information or to register call 269-LADY.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Plan ahead for safety in summer heat

Photo: WikiHow

This week is shaping up to be one of the hottest of the summer and the right preparations can be key to safety. We often think of emergency kits during the extremes of winter, but a well-stocked kit is just as valuable during record heat.

Jason Henry, CoxHealth’s Emergency Management officer, passes along a few tips, compiled in part from and

1. Evaluate where you work and how far you live from work. Don't think of it in regular transportation terms. Ask yourself what you would do if you had to get home without the use of a car or public transportation during an emergency. Discuss with your family what you may do in an emergency if they can't reach you by cell phone.

2. Coordinate with your co-workers and exchange ideas for creating individual jump-and-run bags ideal for your situation, urban area, and workplace.

3. Use a large, canvas, water resistant backpack with several compartments and padded shoulder straps. A waist strap will help distribute weight and make the bag easier to carry long distances. Think function over fashion.

4. Add reflective tape to backpack and include any type of head covering (the more the better).

Pack water and high-energy dried or canned food. Pack at least one bottle of water for every family member (more if possible). Routinely check the bottles for leaks. Place them in a plastic container w/ lid or something to contain the water if the bottle were to rupture. Peanut butter, granola bars, dried fruit, and canned food of any kind are great options.

6. Get a poncho or other rain gear that compacts nicely.

7. Pack a whistle and first aid kit with sunscreen in your backpack.

8. Pack a pair of athletic shoes and comfortable socks in your backpack.

9. Pack a large umbrella or tarp to assist with providing shade if needed. Make sure to include straps or bungees to hang the tarp.

10. Purchase a portable charging unit for your cell phone and place it in your car.

11. Maintain a functioning flashlight. Test the batteries often.

12. Purchase a box of dust masks from the local hardware store. Fires are common during excessive heat periods and the masks may be a life-saver if you were forced to leave your vehicle.

13. Hide some cash (not too much) in your backpack. ATMs, debit card machines, etc., are notorious for not working during large emergencies. It is suggested to hide a spare house key here as well if appropriate.

14. Add an all-purpose pocket tool or Swiss Army knife if possible. Include a can opener.

15. Pack a battery-operated radio or purchase a hand-crank radio (doesn’t require batteries). Often important emergency information and directions is given over the radio.

Is surgical weight loss right for you?

Studies have shown that successful surgical weight loss patients experience a wide variety of health benefits after surgery, including improving their diabetes, blood pressure, sleep apnea and more.

Those considering surgical weight loss are invited to attend a free program 5:30 -7 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 10. Physicians and representatives from CoxHealth’s Surgical Weight Loss Program will discuss the Lap-Band System for surgical weight loss, the physical and mental requirements that make a good weight loss surgery candidate, and more

The program will be held in the Dogwood Room in Hulston Cancer Center, 3850 S. National, in Springfield. For more information call 875-3593.To learn more about the CoxHealth Surgical Weight Loss Program visit for a podcast, frequently asked questions and more.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Free classes focus on infant massage

Infant massage helps parent and baby bond, builds baby’s coordination, language development and muscle tone, and may provide relief when baby experiences colic, muscle tension and more. It even helps baby sleep, lowers stress hormones and may decrease the “baby blues.”

Why wouldn’t a parent want to learn more?

The Women’s Center at CoxHealth will offer a free series of Infant Massage Classes each Wednesday in August from 4:30 – 6 p.m., in suite 130 of the Turner Center, 1000 E. Primrose. Parents are asked to wear comfortable clothing and bring a towel or blanket large enough for baby.

Class schedule:
Aug. 4 – legs and feet
Aug. 11 – chest and tummy
Aug. 18 – massage for relief of gas and colic
Aug. 25 – arms, face and back.

To register or for more information visit or call 269-4130.

Air Care receives renewed accreditation

Cox Air Care was recently notified by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems (CAMTS) that the program has been fully accredited for another three years. Air Care has been CAMTS accredited since 2001, and was the first flight program in Springfield to earn accreditation. CAMTS is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality and safety of medical transport services.

“It’s a validation of what we’re doing,” says Susan Crum, program director. She says having their program reviewed by others in the industry is invaluable. “They offer constructive criticism, and look at all aspects of our program, from our quality of care and safety to the education and training of our staff, our dispatch center and even our facilities. They are very thorough.”

Crum says the Air Care staff began the CAMTS reaccreditation process back in the fall, working their way through a 125-page manual of standards. The process identified their strengths and their opportunities for improvement ahead of a site visit by CAMTS reviewers in May. “It’s a fairly intensive process, much like any other accreditation process,” she says.

“We felt that the review process went well, and that there were no outstanding issues to prevent our accreditation,” Crum says. “But we had to wait until the CAMTS board met earlier this month before we received the final accreditation results.”

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tunnel under National to open July 26

The new tunnel road under National Avenue is scheduled to open 6 a.m., Monday, July 26. The new road and underpass are designed to provide easier access to CoxHealth facilities on the east and west sides of National Avenue and smoother, safer traffic flow on National Avenue.

When the tunnel road opens, left turns from National Avenue into Cox South on the west or Bradford Parkway on the east will no longer be permitted. CoxHealth Security staff will be stationed near the tunnel road entrance and on CoxHealth property to guide drivers who may need assistance.

To access Cox facilities, use the following routes:
• From northbound National Avenue to Cox South: Turn right onto Bradford Parkway, then right again onto the Cox tunnel road and follow the road under National Avenue.
• From southbound National Avenue to Cox South: No changes. You will still be able to make a right turn from National Avenue into Cox South.
• From northbound National Avenue to Hulston Cancer Center and Wheeler Heart and Vascular Center: No changes. You will still be able to make a right turn from National Avenue onto Bradford Parkway or you can use Primrose Street to access these facilities.
• From southbound National Avenue to Hulston Cancer Center and Wheeler Heart and Vascular Center: Turn right onto the Cox South campus south of Primrose Street off of National Avenue. Turn left at the stop sign, go through the tunnel and access Bradford Parkway. Or you can use Primrose Street to access these facilities.

The completion of the loop road and tunnel is part of a $9.7 million partnership project involving CoxHealth, MoDOT and the City of Springfield. The project includes rebuilding the interchange at National Avenue and the James River Freeway (Route 60) as a diverging diamond interchange and adding auxiliary lanes on James River Freeway between National and Campbell Avenues.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Diverging diamond interchange now open

The National Avenue and James River Freeway Bridge re-opened this morning in the diverging diamond pattern which takes drivers on the left side of the road. You are still able to make a left turn from northbound National onto the Cox South campus until July 26 when the new CoxHealth tunnel opens.

The bridge will remain closed to pedestrian traffic until July 17.

The new Cox access tunnel under National Avenue opens at 4 a.m. Monday, July 26. No left turns onto the Cox South campus or onto Bradford Parkway from National will be permitted. Remember, to get to the opposite side of National from either direction, you’ll go “right and under.”

Please remember to plan extra time for your trip and be prepared for lane slowdowns as drivers adjust to the new driving pattern and work is completed. Look for signs and pavement markings which will guide you safely through these changes.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Changes at National Avenue and James River Freeway

The new diverging diamond intersection at National Avenue and James River Freeway is almost complete. Here's what you need to know to get to Cox South during the final construction phases, which begin with the temporary closing of the National Avenue bridge on Friday, July 9.

Phase one: National Avenue bridge closed
9 p.m., Friday, July 9 - 4 a.m., Monday, July 12
Reopens on Monday in the new diverging diamond traffic pattern

To access Cox South during the bridge closure:

* From westbound James River Freeway: no changes

* From southbound National Avenue: no changes

* From eastbound James River Freeway: Take the Glenstone Avenue exit, turn left at the light and cross over the freeway. Take James River Freeway westbound. Take National exit and go north.

* From northbound National: Go eastbound on James River Freeway. Take the Glenstone exit, turn left at the light and cross over the freeway. Take James River Freeway westbound. Take National exit and go north.

Access to Primrose Street on the north side of the Cox South campus remains unchanged. Drivers can access Primrose from Campbell, Glenstone or Fremont Avenues as usual.

Phase two: New access tunnel opens
4 a.m., Monday, July 26

Two weeks after the bridge reopens, a new access tunnel under National Avenue will open, allowing access to Cox South from northbound National.

To get to Cox South:

* From northbound National: Turn right onto Bradford Parkway, then right again into the Cox tunnel under National. The new traffic pattern eliminates left turns into the Cox South campus from northbound National.

* From southbound National: no changes

To get to Hulston Cancer Center and Wheeler Heart and Vascular Center:

* From southbound National: Turn right onto the Cox South campus. Turn left at the stop sign to go through the Cox tunnel to Bradford. Drivers may also use Primrose.

No left turns onto the Cox South campus or onto Bradford Parkway from National will be permitted. Remember, to get to the opposite side of National from either direction, you'll go "right and under."

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Women's 5K to benefit Fitness Centers Scholarship Fund

Join in the fun at the annual “Girls Just Wanna Run 5K Run/Walk” and help raise money for The CoxHealth Fitness Centers Scholarship Fund. This fund helps provide rehabilitation services and supports programs, education, services, equipment purchases and faculty improvements at The Meyer Center for Wellness and Rehabilitation.

Women and girls of all ages are encouraged to participate. This year’s event will begin at 7:30 a.m., Saturday, July 17, at Phelps Grove Park. Packet pick-up will be held 2-7 p.m., Friday, July 16, at the CoxHealth Fitness Center Meyer Center location, 3545 S. National. Packet-pick up will include a mini-expo with fun, interactive booths geared toward women and refreshments courtesy of Qdoba Mexican Grill and Panera Bread Company.

Registration is available at any CoxHealth Fitness Centers location, online at, or from 6:30-7 a.m. on race day. Goodie bags and T-shirts will be given to participants, but there is a limited supply so be among the first to register.

Entry fees are $20 for pre-registration, $25 on race day, and $45 for families (Restrictions apply on the family rate. Call for details.) This year’s event is presented by Fitness Showcase. For more information about the race, call 269-3282.

Today's blood drives build on recent success

CoxHealth has won the "Racin to Save Lives" blood drive contest with St. John's. We beat the competition by 77 donors and can now take back the trophy. Thanks to everyone who donated in the May and June blood drives.

Our next blood drive is Thursday, July 1, at Cox South in Foster Auditorium and Cox North in Fountain Plaza. Hours will be from 7 a.m. - 6 p.m. at Cox South and 7 a.m.-5 p.m. at Cox North.

This is our Salute a Veteran blood drive. Kathy Rigger, blood drive captain for CoxHealth's executive offices, says the gift is a Cox mug and a patriotic T-shirt.

Rigger says participants will be able to "give the shirt off your back" to feed hungry families in the Ozarks. Donors will have the option of declining the T-shirt and the Community Blood Center of the Ozarks will make a cash donation to Ozarks Food Harvest that will provide twelve complete meals for area residents who need the help.

CBCO is on a Code Yellow alert for A Positive and O Positive. If you are either of these blood types your donation is greatly needed. Our blood drives at Cox South and Cox North tomorrow are the only CBCO drives before the 4th of July weekend. They are depending on us to carry them through the long 4th of July weekend.

Kathy reminds us that those who give at three CoxHealth Blood Drives during 2010 you will have your name entered in a drawing for a big screen TV valued at $1500. The drawing will be held in January 2011.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Bringing spice to a summer menu

It’s not easy keeping things interesting when you’re serving thousands of meals daily, but Food and Nutrition Services is adding some extra variety with a summer full of special theme days.

In June, the cafeteria at Cox South began a rotation of events, ranging from “Meatless Mondays” to “Action Station Fridays.”

“We want to be healthy and offer healthy foods,” says Jason Bauer, assistant director of retail and production in Food and Nutrition Services. “And we want to have fun.”

The “Summer Promo” also includes outdoor grilling on Wednesdays and a partnership with local restaurants for lunch menus on Tuesdays.

Bauer had chosen a few restaurants with healthy menu items and then approached them to see if they’d share their recipes. Valentine’s, Ocean Zen, The Balanced Palate, Social Suppers, Tuscan Grill and The Argentina Steakhouse are among the restaurants that offered to share recipes. Over the last few months, Cox’s head chef visited the restaurants and learned the secrets to each of the dishes that will be served in the cafeteria.

“We always want to offer people healthy options and the restaurant partnership will show people the healthy alternatives that are available in the community,” Bauer says.
“It gives people the chance to try a restaurant maybe they haven’t sampled in the past.”

For this summer, the promo event will be only in the Cox South cafeteria, but Bauer says the department is working to standardize all three cafeterias. Healthier options, such as the regular “best bite” meals and Bauer’s own trail bars will be available at Cox North and Cox Walnut Lawn and during overnight shifts.

After the popularity of the summer specials, Bauer says he’s working on a fall promotion as well.

“People always like a tasty healthy option and they like the change and the variety.”

Dijon Pork Chops
5 servings

1/3 cup Honey
2 1⁄2 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1 Tablespoon Orange Juice
1 teaspoon Fresh tarragon
1 teaspoon Cider vinegar
1⁄2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1⁄2 teaspoon Onion powder
5 Center cut pork chops

1. Mix together honey, Dijon mustard, orange juice, fresh tarragon, cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and onion powder.
2. Heat up grill.
3. Grill chops until 145 degrees for 15 seconds.
4. Brush occasionally with sauce.

TIP: Goes great with baby red potatoes and steamed California-style vegetables.

Creamy Piccata Chicken
4 servings
4 5-oz. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup flour
1⁄2 cup egg substitute
2 tablespoons diced shallots
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 cup heavy cream
1⁄4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1⁄2 cup penne pasta, cooked
1⁄2 cup broccoli


1. Dip chicken in flour, egg, then flour, coating well.
2. Spray 12-inch nonstick skillet with cooking oil. Heat over medium heat and sear chicken, turning once. Remove chicken from skillet and keep warm.
3. In the same skillet, cook shallots and thyme, stirring occasionally, until shallots are tender.
4. Stir in lemon juice and cook 1 minute. Stir in heavy cream and parmesan cheese.
5. Garnish with parsley and lemon peel.
6. Spoon sauce to cover chicken.
7. Serve with pasta.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Children’s Miracle Network Telethon raises $1.37 million for area children

The 25th annual Children’s Miracle Network Telethon raised $1,374,521 to benefit local sick and injured children thanks to the outpouring of generosity from people in the community, despite difficult financial times.

“We could not have asked for a better event,” says Heather Zoromski, director of Children’s Miracle Network. “We could not continue to help families across the Ozarks without the donors, sponsors, volunteers and help from CoxHealth,” says Zoromski.

Zoromski acknowledged the generosity of a few sponsors including the following: Sensory Integrations, Downhome Productions, Re/Max, Great Southern, Credit Unions for Kids, Price Cutter Charity Championship, CoxHealth, MSU Dance Bear-A-Thon, Mason’s, Dairy Queen, Kum & Go, 92.9 Bass Country, STAR 105.1 and Walmart.

KY3 televised the event live beginning June 5 and ending at 5 p.m. June 6, making it possible for CMN to share “Miracle Kid” stories with the communities served by CMN and CoxHealth. This year the telethon also featured adults whom CMN helped when they were children.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Cafeteria's summer of variety ranges from the grill to restaurant dishes and veggie fare

Food and Nutrition Services kicked off a summer of culinary delights on Wednesday by firing up the grill in front of Cox South. Lunchtime diners were treated to grilled chicken, pulled pork hamburgers and hot dogs with all the trimmings.

The event was the first in the cafeteria’s “summer promo,” which features new themes and dishes four days a week. Jason Bauer, Assistant Director of Retail and Production in Food and Nutrition Services, details the promotion:

Meatless Mondays
On Mondays there will be no meat served in the entrée section of the cafeteria. This is to help decrease our carbon footprint, help with cutting calories due to high fat meat products and help promote meatless dishes.

Restaurant Tuesdays
We are teaming up with local restaurants in our cafeteria, on Tuesdays this summer.
The restaurants are going to give CoxHealth three healthy recipes that they serve in their establishment that we will serve in the cafeteria.
Some of the restaurants participating include: Valentine’s, Ocean Zen, The Balanced Palate, Social Suppers and Tuscan Grill.

Grill Out Wednesday
On this day we will be grilling out by the water fountain. We will feature a leaner burger and chicken every week but will have a new dish on the grill weekly, such as a chipotle burger.

Action Station Thursday
We have an action station daily, however, through the summer months we will be bringing back salads at the action station and/or will be serving new dishes every week on this day.

Friday Wraps
On Fridays we will continue serving wraps at the action station.

The “Summer Promo” will run through August.

Check out handcrafted gift items at special sale to benefit Children’s Miracle Network

Unique, affordable, handcrafted gift items, candles and more will be sold at the Children’s Miracle Network Summer Craft Sale 7 a.m. – 4 p.m., Friday, June 18, in the main lobby of Cox South, 3801 S. National Ave.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale benefit the Children’s Miracle Network of CoxHealth. CMN is a non-profit organization that provides financial assistance for sick and injured children living in southwest Missouri and northwest Arkansas. Proceeds benefit CMN projects such as the C.A.R.E. Mobile (a children’s clinic on wheels) medical equipment, financial assistance and educational programs.

For more information, call Children’s Miracle Network at 417/269-KIDS.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

CoxHealth, CPR instructor honored by Safe Community Coalition

The Springfield Safe Community Coalition recently honored CoxHealth for contributing to the greater well being of the community by providing basic and advanced life-support training to thousands of people each year. The CoxHealth Educational Services Training Center earned an honorable mention for the 2010 Springfield Safe Community and Injury Prevention Awards. The awards recognize individuals, businesses, or organizations that promote or carry out valuable community safety and injury prevention programs in Springfield.

Springfield is one of only eight designated Safe Communities in the United States. Safe Communities and the awards are a project of the World Health Organization and the winners are selected by a an international panel of judges including representatives from the USA, Australia, Sweden and New Zealand.

Since 1997, the Training Center has provided American Heart Association programming and support to instructors and community members in basic and advanced adult and pediatric life support training courses. In 2009, the CoxHealth Training Center instructors trained 10,821 members of the community as a way to reduce adult, child and infant death and disability from cardiac arrest, stroke and choking. The center has consistently trained 7000-8000 people each year for the past 13 years.

Amos Hale (center, above), a CPR instructor with the center and son of Educational Services clinical educator Cheryl Blevins, was honored as a winner in the Outstanding Youth category of the awards. Hale, now 19, has been an instructor with the center since he was 16 years old.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Medical Mile run set for Saturday

Join in the fun of the 19th annual CoxHealth Medical Mile and 5K Run/Walk scheduled to begin 7 a.m., Saturday, June 5, rain or shine. While you’re there stop by the Wellness Expo from 7 a.m. – noon at The Meyer Center, 3545 S. National, for health screenings, children’s activities and more.

The Medical Mile has something for everyone – from children to senior adults, from serious runners to casual walkers – and it all benefits the Children's Miracle Network C.A.R.E. Mobile – a mobile health clinic for kids that specializes in immunizations, check-ups, sports physicals, treatment of common childhood illnesses and other primary care.

The morning’s activities will include an awards ceremony with KY3’s Ned Reynolds as the emcee. In addition to the races, there will be a Kids Carnival area with inflatables, bubbles, carnival rides, refreshments and more. Other activities include C.A.R.E. Mobile tours, visits with Pet Therapy of the Ozarks and fun with Louie,
The Springfield Cardinals mascot.

Pre-registration is available now at any CoxHealth Fitness Centers location or you can download the registration form at participants pick up their packets in Conference Room A at The Meyer Center, from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m., Friday, June 4.

Race day registration and packet pick up is available for limited times. Please see for details. Entry fees before the day of the race are $50 for families, $20 for adults and $10 for children ages 14 and under. On race day, entry fees are $60 for families, $25 for adults and $12 for children.

A complete list of Wellness Expo activities and screenings, and more information about Medical Mile race divisions is available at

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

One northbound lane on National at James River to close overnight

MoDOT passes along the following traffic alert for those of us traveling near the Cox South campus:

One Northbound Lane of National Avenue
At Route 60 Closed Tonight (Tues., May 25)

When: 7 p.m. tonight (Tuesday, May 25) to 6 a.m. Wednesday, May 26

Where: One northbound lane of National Avenue closed at James River Freeway (Route 60)

What: Contractor crews pouring concrete to build a median on the National Avenue bridge between the southbound and northbound lanes

For more information visit And for timely traffic information in the Springfield area, visit

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Time makes 'all the difference' in stroke treatment

On May 4, Darrell Figy of Ozark was running errands when, without warning, he couldn’t move one of his legs.

“I staggered out to the car and went home to lie down,” he says. He called his wife, Jerrine, and told her he wouldn’t be able to come pick her up. “Why?” she asked. When he explained about his leg, she announced that she was coming to get him and they were headed to the hospital.

“He wanted to just lay in bed, but I said ‘I don’t think so,’” Jerrine says.

Jerrine made the right call: Darrell had suffered a stroke. Fortunately, he arrived at the ED in time to receive tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), the clot-busting drug used to treat stroke. It was successful and today, a mere three weeks later, Darrell is doing well and he reunited with his team of caregivers at today’s community stroke screening at Cox North (above).

“Getting to the hospital quickly is the main thing, that made all the difference,” Jerrine says.

The free screening continues until 1 p.m. today at Cox North in the Fountain Plaza Room.

Remember, acting FAST is key to surviving stroke. If you feel numbness in your Face, weakness in your Arm and your Speech becomes slurred, Time is of the essence. Call 911 immediately.

Quick diagnosis and treatment can stop a brain attack in progress or greatly minimize the effects. The longer you wait, the more extensive the damage to your brain will be.

Check out videos, podcasts and register for a risk assessment at

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Trail bars become a cafeteria favorite

Did you ever eat something and thought you just had to have the recipe?

That seems to be the response Jason Bauer, assistant director of Food and Nutrition Services is getting from his trail bars. The bars are served most days during snack time in the South cafeteria.

Jason gets so many requests for the recipe for Jason’s Peanut Butter Trail Bars that he asked us to post it on Cox Connect.

The bars are sweet and salty but Jason says the best part is they’re healthy.

“Every ingredient we use for the bars is all-natural,” says Jason. “We put whole oats in it to increase fiber “naturally” and help control blood sugars. Cinnamon was added to not only make it very tasty but also to assist with blood sugar control. Almonds were used to help promote lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.”

Jason's Peanut Butter Trail Bars

1. 4 cups old fashioned oatmeal
2. 1 cup brown sugar
3. 1⁄4 cup corn syrup or honey
4. 2/3 cup melted butter
5. 1⁄4 cup chunky peanut butter
6. 1 tsp vanilla
7. 1⁄2 cup whole almonds (chop almonds once measured)
8. Cinnamon

Mix all ingredients and then place in a 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes or until brown around edges. The outside of the bars will be solid but the middle will still be soft after you take them out of the oven. Sprinkle top with cinnamon to taste. Leave in pan and cut while still warm, then remove out of pan once cooled.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A quarter century of miracles

Children’s Miracle Network is celebrating its 25th year supporting kids and their families in the Ozarks.

Heather Zoromski says that when you’re sitting in her position, it’s easy to see miracles all around.

In her time as executive director of Children’s Miracle Network, she’s consoled parents who have just had a child diagnosed with diabetes or cancer; she’s helped them face the emotional and financial obstacles that can come with a diagnosis. And she’s there when kids make it through, too. She remembers when Danielle Roeder, who hadn’t been able to walk or speak was diagnosed and treated at the Mayo Clinic.

“She went for last-ditch tests and they found out what was wrong,” Zoromski says. “Now she’s running and playing. It’s incredible.

“We get to see that every day. I wish people could see what I see. When you meet the families that come in, it’s amazing.”

This year, Children’s Miracle Network is celebrating a quarter century of caring for children in the Ozarks. On June 5 and 6, Cox will host the 25th annual telethon on KYTV, an event that will reunite many of the people who have been involved with CMN since day one.

“We’re going to have families from the early telethon years come back in and tell their stories,” Zoromski says. “Children who were kids in the ’80s and ’90s are grown up and have kids of their own.”

Since CoxHealth became a CMN hospital in the mid 1980s, the organization has raised more than $22 million, all of which has gone to help children and their families here in the Ozarks. Currently, they assist more than 100,000 kids annually.

CMN was originally founded in 1983 and organizers soon decided to expand the charity by partnering with local hospitals. Here in Springfield, Cox was becoming known for its children’s care: Cox South – originally planned as a women’s and children’s hospital – had just been completed. When CMN approached Cox CEO Neil Wortley about becoming an affiliate, Zoromski says it was an easy choice.

Since then, Children’s Miracle Network has funded everything from family care grants and equipment in the NICU to CoxHealth’s Child Life Program and the CARE Mobile.

“Hundreds of thousands of families have been affected and many may not know it,” Zoromski says. Plenty of patients have benefited from equipment or educational programs or even the little extras, such as meal trays brought to the hospital room. Zoromski says touching so many lives is possible because of CMN’s special relationship with CoxHealth.

“A lot of CMNs aren’t set up like us; they have to pay for their administrative budget out of what they raise,” she says. “Many only give money right back into the hospital in equipment and they don’t get to see firsthand where the money goes.”

CoxHealth covers all of the salaries and administrative costs for Children’s Miracle Network locally, so all donations can go directly toward helping children and their families.

“Cox is wonderful to allow us to be so hands-on with our funding,” Zoromski says. “We have a lot of control and we can help families directly. Mr. Bezanson refers to it as the community’s charity, not Cox’s charity, and that’s the way we see it.”

“I meet people who have no idea what we do, or who think we send all of the money to national,” she says. “We’re all local and everything goes to the kids. And we don’t just help kids with certain conditions; you don’t even have to be a Cox kid. We’re here to help all the kids in Springfield and the surrounding areas.”

Below are the stories of three “Miracle Kids” who will be returning to the telethon this year, each of whom have had their lives changed by Children’s Miracle Network.

Chris Plate

Chris Plate says it’s hard to calculate the amount of time he’s spent in the hospital over the last 13 years. He’s now 17 and about to head into his senior year at Kickapoo, but he’s been fighting an ongoing illness since before he started school.

At age 4, he was rushed to Columbia, Mo., with kidney failure. After he was stabilized, he was diagnosed with a kidney disease known as Minimal Change Nephrotic Syndrome. This turned into Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis, a disease that attacks the kidney’s filtering system and causes serious scarring.

Growing up, he underwent a series of IV treatments, receiving a variety of chemotherapy and other drugs to treat his symptoms.

“I was in the hospital so much, getting treatment every day or every other day,” he says. “The staff always provided things for me to do to distract me while I was getting my IVs and I really appreciate that.

“Because of CMN, it wasn’t as scary for me. I didn’t worry as much like my parents did,” Chris says. “I enjoyed going to the hospital. I got to play games and hang out with the nurses and have a lot of fun.”

Chris appreciated the care so much that, as a 6-year-old, he started making Christmas ornaments – Santas made with clothespins, angels crafted from plastic spoons – that he sold to benefit CMN.

“I sold them for 2 or 3 dollars apiece,” he says. “The first year, we raised $200 and over the next few years we eventually made $1,000 a year to donate to them.”

By sixth grade, his disease was in partial remission and, for the first time, he had a chance to play sports. He loved football, but he had always been told he’d never get to play.

“When I asked the doctor if I could play and he said ‘yes,’ that’s one of the best moments I can remember from middle school,” Chris says. “Granted, I wasn’t very good, I got knocked around a little bit at 5’2” and 80 pounds, but it was a great time. I also got to run track and it was the first time I’d been involved in competitive sports.”

At the end of his freshman year, though, he had a relapse and spent half of the summer in the hospital. Now, he’s back in remission and making big plans for after high school. When he graduates, he’ll head to MU to study biology and chemistry, then on to medical school.

Even with all of those goals on his plate, he still makes time for the telethon.

“When I get around everyone else, I’m always so humbled,” he says. “Compared to a lot of other families out there, I don’t have it so bad. They’re all great people and so nice. It’s rough, but they’re strong and they have what they need through CMN.

“It’s a great organization. They help newborns and kids with severe diseases, but any one who heads up to the seventh floor benefits from their work. They really work for every family.”

McKenzie Cranor

When McKenzie Cranor was 8 years old, she woke up one morning with a severe headache. Her mom gave her Tylenol and let her lay back down. A half hour later, she had a seizure and became unresponsive. Her parents rushed her to Cox South, where doctors determined she had an aneurysm and would require emergency brain surgery.

“They were pretty blunt with my parents,” McKenzie says. “They told them to pretty much say goodbye before the surgery once they realized what was going on.”

Doctors couldn’t be sure what they were dealing with and they feared that even if surgery was successful, McKenzie might suffer brain damage. McKenzie made it through the surgery and, amazingly, avoided any permanent damage. She was in the hospital for a week and during her stay, nine machines were required to help keep her alive. Eight of the nine devices had been purchased by CMN.

She was in the ICU from Tuesday until Friday night, when she was able to go to the seventh floor. She remembers well the care staff provided and the Nintendo that they let her play.

While the surgery was a success, doctors were unable to pinpoint the cause of the aneurysm. McKenzie had a series of follow-up MRIs and when she was 13, tests found an area where it could rupture again. With CMN’s help, she was able to travel to Kansas City for the Gamma Knife procedure, a non-invasive treatment that prevented a rupture.

In the years since, McKenzie has been doing well and she and her family have been heavily involved with CMN. Her mom served on the board and she’s been in every telethon since. In 1997, McKenzie was the Missouri champion and traveled to Washington, DC, and Orlando for the national telethon.

Over the years, she has met many children helped by CMN, but some of her fondest memories are of her friends in Springfield.

“In the local telethon, the most amazing child I remember is Ryan,” she says, remembering Ryan Capps, who passed away in 2006 at age 17 after years of struggling with kidney failure and complications of spina bifida.

“She was one of the first people I met involved with the telethon. I did a lot of CMN stuff with her and she was the most amazing person – always upbeat and outgoing. Even when she was in the hospital, she was determined to get downstairs to the telethon.”

McKenzie says being a parent herself now – her daughter, Hanna, is about to turn 5 – has given her an even deeper appreciation for the work CMN does.

“I couldn’t imagine what my parents went through,” she says. “One day I was healthy and the next day I was in the hospital and they were saying I wasn’t going to make it. I couldn’t imagine being one of those parents. All the parents involved with CMN say ‘you don’t expect it to be you until it is you.’”

Justin Bess

When Stan Bess worked for KY3 in the mid-1980s, his job included working on the first telethon. He never thought then that CMN would touch his own life.

That changed in December 1987 when his son, Justin, was born 10 weeks premature. He weighed 3 lbs., 14 oz. and began his life with six weeks in the NICU.
In the NICU, the equipment required for Justin to survive was largely funded by CMN.
“All of those machines, scaled down to work with infants, are quite expensive,” says his mom, Nan. “To afford that caliber of equipment, you almost have to have an organization like CMN in the mix.”

Soon after they took Justin home, they learned his breathing reflex wasn’t fully developed. He quit breathing, but Stan was able to revive him. After a stint in intensive care, he was able to go home again.

The experience made Stan and Nan devoted CMN supporters. At just 6 months old, Justin appeared in his first CMN telethon in 1988.

For Justin, now set to graduate from Missouri State, the telethon has always been a part of his life.

“We were in the NICU a couple of weeks ago and it’s crazy all the doctors who, 20-plus years down the road, know who I am,” he says. “They have a vested interest in every child and every family that goes through there.”

Growing up, Justin underwent extensive physical therapy to improve his mobility. He says he remembers how tough some of the therapy was, like the time he went across the skywalk on his stomach on a scooter and how it seemed like he’d never make it.

“You want to give up and quit, but the therapists and staff were there every day, making sure I did it,” he says. “There was no quitting. That’s still a part of the way I go through my life today.”

Stan says it’s clear Justin’s passion and drive was forged in his early childhood.
“Any child that goes through the NICU is born fighting,” he says.

Early in his life, doctors were cautious about what they thought Justin might eventually be capable of. Stan says he remembers a twinge of selfish disappointment when doctors told him Justin might not be one of the kids who runs across the football field. He may walk, but he might not run.

Justin, however, had other plans. He played basketball and football before settling into playing year-round baseball in high school.

“To have people say, ‘don’t plan on this happening,’ ups the ante to make it happen and throw it back in their faces,” he says with a laugh. “I’m happy that I’ve been able not to just participate but to excel.”

“Without the help of the staff and CMN, we wouldn’t be sitting here talking,” Justin says. “I know the things I’ve been able to participate in, they wouldn’t have been possible without CMN.”