Friday, May 27, 2011

Employee donations benefit Oxford HealthCare's Joplin staff

Thanks to the generosity of CoxHealth employees the CoxHealth Foundation sent personalized care packages to 15 Oxford HealthCare employees who lost their homes in the Joplin tornado.

The Joplin office of Oxford HealthCare was destroyed but employees have set up temporary offices in a local church. They've pulled together to check on their patients and they have been able to make contact with all of their clients over the last few days.

At the Foundation office, tubs were labeled with each person’s name and then filled with personal hygiene items, baby items as needed, toys and books for the children, clothing, trash bags and other necessities. Also sent were new towels, blankets, and pillows.

“All these donations came pouring in with one email to our employees about their fellow co-workers in need, we are so fortunate to have such caring people here at CoxHealth,” says Lisa Alexander, president, CoxHealth Foundation.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Teamwork is key in Joplin tornado effort

In this week’s installment of his weekly blog for CoxHealth staff, Dr. John Duff, senior vice president of hospital services, talks about the early response efforts following the Joplin tornado. Given the wide impact of Sunday’s disaster, we wanted to share his thoughts with you:

"This week the nation is focused on the devastation in the Joplin community. The tornado resulted in a historic loss of life, injuries and destruction to their town. The stories of personal hardship and tragedy that are now emerging are truly heartbreaking. Our region and state have responded to the needs in Joplin with an outpouring of support, assistance and resources.

CoxHealth has joined in the response and our staff members have been a major part of the effort. Sunday evening preparation began in anticipation of the injured patients and transfer of patients from the seriously damaged St. John’s (Joplin) hospital. Many staffers gladly worked additional shifts and longer hours. Our physicians provided treatment for the injured and ill patients brought to the Emergency Department. They also were of great assistance opening up critical care and unit beds as rapidly as possible to make room for the Joplin patients.

Our new Emergency Department and Incident Command Center provided the space and resources necessary to support the staff and physicians as they went about their work. The years of careful planning and attention to detail in the Emergency Department paid off during this disaster. Everyone who played a role in the development of this space should be proud.

Many of our staff members have felt personal loss and challenges as a result of the tornado. I’ve heard about worries over family and friends who may be unaccounted for or who are injured. At least six Cox employees have had total losses of their homes.

Donations are being accepted in their honor through the Cox Family Assistance Fund. The Oxford Joplin office was totally destroyed. The Oxford staff is working out of a church in order to continue to provide care to their patients, some of whom have not yet been located.

Disasters bring out generosity in people. As early as Sunday night, physicians, nurses and EMTs, at the request of Missouri Hospital Association, were dispatched to the Joplin area and assisted with the immediate response. CoxHealth has provided needed medical supplies, ambulances, staff and clinical services to the surrounding area. At this time, the Joplin medical community is adequately staffed by the St. John’s (Joplin) displaced workers as well as individuals from the Kansas City area. Our Nursing Administration Office is currently managing a list of clinical staff at CoxHealth who would be willing to assist in Joplin or elsewhere should the need arise.

The CoxHealth Foundation is coordinating employees’ donations of personal supplies for Joplin residents. We know the needs won’t end soon. As the immediate crisis ends, cleanup and rebuilding will begin and assistance from all of us will be just as valuable as it already has been.

We are blessed to have caring, compassionate and talented people at CoxHealth and in our community. I’d like to thank all who have helped for their response to this disaster. Remember to keep the Joplin community in your thoughts as they recover and rebuild."

Monday, May 23, 2011

CoxHealth responds to Joplin tornado

Following the tornado in Joplin, CoxHealth has received approximately 100 patients, and patients continue to report to our Emergency Department.

Our top priority is opening hospital beds to care for tornado victims. We’re asking people with loved ones in the hospital who are ready to be discharged to make transportation arrangements as soon as possible.

For storm victims who are being discharged from the hospital and do not have a place to go, we are working to arrange transportation to the Red Cross shelter at Missouri Southern State University.

If you need to check on a loved one who is a patient at CoxHealth, please call 417-269-3211.

In the early response to the disaster, CoxHealth dispatched five EMS crews, three ER physicians and nine ER nurses as well as ER and operating room supplies to the Joplin area. Staff members continue to volunteer to assist both in Joplin and in Springfield hospitals.

More updates will be released as additional information becomes available.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Sign up now for diabetes charity golf tournament

Spots are still available for the CoxHealth Auxiliary’s D-Day Fore Diabetes charity golf tournament. The registration deadline is May 31.

The tournament will be held Monday, June 6, beginning at 8 a.m., at Millwood Country Club, 3700 East Millwood Drive, in Ozark.

Proceeds from the two-person scramble, shotgun-start event will benefit the CoxHealth Diabetes Center. The center offers diabetes education, support groups, weight loss classes and more to people in the Ozarks living with this disease.

The $90 per person registration fee includes green fees, cart and a meal. Prizes will be paid to the top three finishing teams, with first place payout at $500, second place at $300 and third place at $200. Prize payout is based on 20 teams per flight. Call 269-4169 for more information or to sign up.

Each year, the Missouri Association of Hospital Auxiliaries commits to a cause selected by the organization’s president. The current president has selected diabetes as the cause hospital auxiliaries around the state will work to support.

Sponsorship opportunities are also available. All donors will be recognized. For more information about sponsorship opportunities or to register for the tournament, call the CoxHealth Volunteer Services office at 269-4169.

Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals annual telethon to be held June 4-5

For more than 25 years, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals of CoxHealth has financially supported sick and injured Ozarks’ children and their families by helping with medically related travel expenses, medical equipment purchases and much more.

The 2011 CMN Hospitals Telethon is the public’s chance to become a part of the miracle. The telethon will air live on KY3 10:30 p.m. – Midnight, Saturday, June 4, and 8 am. – 5 p.m., Sunday, June 5. The broadcast, live from Cox South in Springfield, will feature the stories of many local children who have been helped by the charity. Last year, the telethon raised $1,374,521 despite the difficult financial times.

“We could not have asked for a better event,” said Heather Zoromski, director of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, of the 2010 telethon. “We could not continue to help families across the Ozarks without the donors, sponsors, volunteers and help from CoxHealth,” she says.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sign up now to run Medical Mile

Registration is now open for the annual CoxHealth Medical Mile and 5K Run/Walk. This year marks the 20th anniversary for the event, and all participants will receive a special commemorative medal and T-shirt in celebration. The event will be held at 7 a.m., Saturday, June 4, rain or shine.

All proceeds from the race benefit Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals of CoxHealth. The charity helps sick and injured Ozarks’ children and their families with medically related travel expenses, medical equipment purchases and much more.

Participants can choose to compete in the Medical Mile or 5K Run/Walk, walk for fun in the Mile Madness event, or take part in all three events. The morning’s activities will also include an award ceremony with KY3’s Ned Reynolds; a Kids Carnival area with inflatables and refreshments; tours of the C.A.R.E. Mobile; visits with Pet Therapy of the Ozarks; fun with Louie, The Springfield Cardinals mascot; and more.

Pre-registration is available now at any CoxHealth Fitness Centers location or you can register online at Participants can pick up their packets in Conference Room A at The Meyer Center, 3545 S. National, from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m., Friday, June 3.

Race day registration and packet pick up is available for limited times. Please see or call 269-3282 for more information on race day registration, entry fees and more.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Air Care pilot receives national honors for service

Cox Air Care pilot Steve Allen was recently presented with three awards that recognize his career in aviation and his expertise in aviation safety.

Allen retired from the Army National Guard in January, having served a total of 37 years in active duty and the reserves. He’s been an Air Care pilot for the last two years and he previously flew with Air Care when the department had a helicopter stationed in Branson.

At this year’s National Guard Aviation Safety Conference, held in March at Lake of the Ozarks, Allen received:

The Gary B. Hayes Award for Aviation Safety – An annual honor presented by the National Guard that recognizes significant contributions to National Guard aviation.

Order of St. Michael – A peer-nominated award presented by the Army Aviation Association of America that recognizes significant contributions to Army aviation.

Army Legion of Merit – One of the highest non-combat medals a service member can receive. The medal recognizes exceptional conduct and lifetime achievement.

Allen says he gravitated toward specializing in aviation safety after doing “just about every aviation job in the Army.” He served as an assault helicopter pilot, a maintenance officer and a heavy-lift cargo pilot, among other things.

“I always wanted to be the guy looking out for the troops and getting the job done without anyone getting hurt,” he says.

He earned a master’s in aviation safety and began flying medical helicopters in the years after his active-duty service.

“There’s really nothing you can do with a helicopter that’s more satisfying than picking someone up who needs a trip to the hospital.”

Nursing students get global perspective

Global citizenship. Cultural diversity. High-impact experiences. These are ideas that have become cornerstones of traditional higher education in the United States, as colleges and universities work through study abroad programs to prepare their students for life in what has increasingly become a “smaller” world.

But for many nursing students, that cultural aspect of their education has been more difficult to come by. While most nursing colleges have long offered elective cultural diversity courses that typically include a week or two spent abroad, it is very rare for a nursing school to offer a true overseas clinical experience as part of the regular curriculum. Thanks to a new collaboration with Mercy Hospital in Kolkata (formerly known as Calcutta), India, Cox College is one of only a handful of nursing colleges in the United States that now does.

Dr. Anne Brett, president of Cox College, says the school has been looking for an opportunity to expose students to true cultural diversity for some time.

“We currently send students to Haiti with a mission group as part of a cultural diversity class,” she says. “They go for two weeks and do great things, but it’s not a nursing course. We wanted to do more.”

That “more” will begin in February 2012, when a group of 10 Cox College students and one faculty member will travel to Kolkata for a six-week clinical rotation as part of a semester-long course on community health. While at Mercy Hospital, the students will observe the care provided throughout the facility – the 173-bed hospital has a critical care unit, an OR, a full-service obstetrics program and more.

Students will also visit other facilities in India, including Mother Teresa’s Home for the Dying. They’ll also travel to several clinics outside Kolkata operated by Mercy staff, where the students will be able to perform primary care assessments. They will keep up with their classmates through online learning and Cox College discussion boards, sharing their Kolkata experience with those still in Springfield.

“We may only have 10 students in Kolkata, but all 40 students in the class will benefit from what they’re learning,” says Dr. Tricia Wagner, dean of nursing.

The relationship with Mercy Hospital developed from Cox College’s ties to Evangel University. Dr. Mike Tenneson, an Evangel professor who serves as academic advisor to Evangel’s pre-nursing students, traveled to Kolkata last year to do mission work. While there he spent time at Mercy Hospital and, knowing that Cox College was interested in developing an international study program, he floated the possibility to leadership at Mercy.

Mercy was interested, and arrangements were made for a hospital representative to visit with Cox College leadership while stateside. After that visit, and after a lot of emailing back and forth about the logistics, Dr. Brett says it started to look like the program was going to get off the ground.

“That’s when I said to Tricia, ‘If we’re going to do this we need to go look at it. Because I need to not only see it but feel it, so I know as an administrator and as a parent that I would be comfortable sending our students there,’” says Brett.

In March, Brett, along with Wagner and Tenneson, traveled to Mercy Hospital to make an in-person assessment of the facility. The group spent time in the hospital and visited some of the Mercy clinics and the Mercy nursing school. While they were struck by the differences between Kolkata and Springfield, the group came away satisfied that Cox College students could not only successfully complete their clinical education, but that they might be able to share some of their knowledge with Indian health care providers, particularly the nursing students.

“There are a lot of opportunities to really make this a collaborative experience,” Brett says.

While there, students will also help with Mercy’s feeding program, which provides meals to 25,000 of India’s poor every day. They will be able to live in a hostel about a block away from the hospital. College leaders hope these experiences help the students not only refine their nursing skills, but give them a better sense of how health care is practiced around the world.

“We are so cutting edge at Cox that seeing robotic surgery and labor and delivery suites is normal to us,” says Wagner. “When you see nurses working without gloves and removing their shoes to work in critical care units you get a whole different view of how health care is practiced elsewhere.”

Now that the agreement is in place, the college is busily putting the final pieces of the course together. Brett expects the first two weeks, which will occur before these final-year nursing students go overseas, to be heavily loaded with cultural information.

“We want these students to have an understanding of the Indian people and their culture before they go,” she says.

The cost to students will be approximately $2,500, in addition to their regular tuition and fees. That will cover their transportation, visa, room and board, and any medications they may need, such as those that prevent malaria and typhoid. If that cost is added as a section fee for the class, Dr. Brett says students may be able to use financial aid to help offset the cost.

The college will spend the same amount to send a faculty member with the group. That faculty member will teach the Cox College students in India as well as an online course, maintaining a regular full workload.
The college is planning to hold an orientation session in the fall before students register for classes, so that those who are interested in the India experience can learn more. But it won’t be a first-come, first-served opportunity. Interested students will also go through an interview process to see if they are the right fit for the program.

“Six weeks is a long time to be out of your culture,” says Brett. “We need to ask these students what their objectives are, why they want to go and what their travel experience is. We need to make sure we have the right group.”

A lot is hinging on that first group’s experiences. If they’re successful, Cox College may eventually send two groups a year to Mercy Hospital, and radiography students may be able to do rotations at Mercy’s clinics. In time, Brett says Cox College may be able to really affect nursing care in India through their online master’s in nursing program. Indian nursing students could take the online courses and then complete their in-person training when the Cox College faculty member is in Kolkata for the clinical rotation.

But more than anything, both Brett and Wagner believe this experience will arm students with the knowledge they need to succeed.

Says Wagner: “We are educating nurses at Cox College who will make a difference in a wide variety of places. We want to give them the tools to broaden their horizons and dream big.”