Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Join our team of volunteers

 Glenda Patterson (above) is ready to assist customers in the Cox South Gift Shop

Whether it's bringing some cheer to a lonely patient, delivering flowers from loved ones or making a sick child less anxious, volunteers at CoxHealth have a great and lasting impact on our patients.

When Glenda Patterson of Springfield visited Cox South she always noticed the volunteers.

“They are always so helpful. This prompted me to find out about volunteering at the hospital,” says Glenda.

Soon she was volunteering at the Cox South Gift Shop (below) one day a week.

“I assist customers who need help finding a specific item. I also help with the flower and candy bouquets by making sure they get to the correct patient and location,” says Glenda.

Glenda says she enjoys meeting people and helping others as a volunteer, and she receives a discount off purchases in the CoxHealth gift shops.

Positions are currently open in the gift shops and at the information desks, and on-the-job training is provided.

To learn more, call 269-4169 in Springfield and 417/354-1409 in Monett. For information about volunteer opportunities at Oxford HealthCare, call 883-7500, extension 3395. You can also find out more at

Saturday, December 8, 2012

CMN Hospitals, Slumberland team up to provide beds to children in need

Thanks to a partnership between Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals of CoxHealth and Slumberland Furniture, the children of 11 area families will sleep more soundly this holiday season – and for years to come.

Slumberland has donated 16 mattress sets and bed frames, plus pillows and teddy bears, to CMN Hospitals to help local families in need - a donation valued at $5,600. Families receiving mattress sets were identified through CMN Hospitals and in conjunction with other local agencies. 

Slumberland and CMN Hospitals are making deliveries to the homes of new parents such as Rocio Orozco of Springfield. Orozco recently had a new baby, and was without a bed for her older son – 18-month-old Francisco, who has now taken on the role of big brother. 

“This is awesome; I’m really glad,” Orozco told reporters who came to cover the bed delivery on Dec. 4. “We needed something like this, especially after his little brother came along. He’s going to have some stability with his own little bed.” 

Project organizers say that stability is key to children’s health.

“If you have a child who’s not sleeping in a place that is conducive to getting good sleep, that has health ramifications,” says Tim Siebert, executive director of Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. “We’re very grateful to Slumberland for providing this donation to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals so we can help these families.” 

Brad Moulder, general manager of Slumberland in Springfield, agrees: “Sleep is so very important for children, it has a lot to do with their physical and mental well-being, we’re happy to be able to give that back to the community and especially to children; especially this time of year.”

Monday, December 3, 2012

Christmas toy drive benefits hospitalized children at CoxHealth

This Christmas, you can help the thousands of children that are cared for at CoxHealth each year by donating to the CoxHealth Child Life Christmas Toy Drive.

Donations of a variety of newly purchased items for all ages are appreciated, including coloring books, playing cards, board games, action figures, personal care items, DVDs, video games, scrapbooking and art supplies, and more. For a complete list, visit

CoxHealth’s Child Life staff work closely with hospitalized children and their families, helping kids stay calm so medical care can be provided and helping parents cope with the stress of having a hospitalized child. Donated items will be used throughout the year as rewards, prizes and gifts for these children.

Toy drive collection bins are located at Cox South, 3801 S. National, in the North Entrance lobby and in the West Pavilion lobby. For more information, call 269-6784.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Skaggs Regional Medical Center plans to adopt the Cox name

Press release, November 29, 2012:

An important milestone in the history of healthcare in the Branson area is made today as Skaggs Regional Medical Center plans to change its name to Cox Medical Center Branson, effective January 1, 2013. The Skaggs Board of Directors voted on the name change during its monthly board meeting this morning.

“The decision was not approached lightly,” says William K. Mahoney, Skaggs President and CEO. “Initially during the partner search, Skaggs Regional Medical Center Board of Directors indicated that no name change would be pursued. During due diligence, a letter drafted in the early 1960’s to the hospital’s board of directors by Marion B. Skaggs was discovered, indicating he wished to downplay the name Skaggs in connection with the hospital. Following the formal announcement of the agreement between CoxHealth and Skaggs in July, various internal stakeholders approached hospital administration and said they felt strongly that now is the time to change the facility name. Then, the Skaggs Board of Directors began reviewing a possible name change while maintaining respect for M.B. Skaggs’ donation and wishes.” 

A community survey was conducted by third party marketing research firm, H2R Market Research of Springfield. “It was clear by many of the comments made by community members in Taney and Stone counties that a name change would reflect our broader delivery of healthcare initiatives,” explains Mahoney. “The name Cox Medical Center Branson adds strength to an already dedicated medical facility that will secure healthcare for years to come.” 

“Skaggs and CoxHealth have a long history of shared values and beliefs,” says Steve Edwards, President and CEO of CoxHealth. “We have great respect for the leadership of Skaggs, and have deferred to the Skaggs Board to make this naming decision. As we embark on this new partnership, it is fitting that we do so acting as one entity, under one name. The significance of the Skaggs name and the legacy of the man who spearheaded the development of this hospital will not be forgotten. We are enthusiastic and optimistic about coming together to better serve our communities, and recognize this would not have been possible without the work of great men such as Lester E. Cox and M.B. Skaggs.” 

When Skaggs Community Hospital opened its doors in 1950, its name recognized a man who envisioned change and committed himself to ensuring healthcare existed for the residents of Branson. The Skaggs name will continue to be proudly honored. Options for memorializing and honoring the Skaggs family and original donors are currently being explored. “I believe the original donors of both facilities would be proud of the achievements made in healthcare for our area,” says Mahoney. “Adopting the name Cox Medical Center Branson provides better alignment between both institutions that proudly serve the Ozarks.”

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Serving a need in Peru

Dr. John Washburn will soon leave his post in CoxHealth's urgent care to spend three years at a hospital that serves rural residents of the Andes. 

John Washburn had always known he wanted to use his talents to give back to others. It was on a mission trip in 2003 in the mountains of Peru that he came face to face with a level of need that inspired him to reach out on an international scale.

Hundreds of patients had lined up at a medical clinic and filled out forms describing their ailments. One man listed “broken arm” as his complaint and Dr. Washburn asked if he could take a look. The man rolled up his sleeve and the break was obvious as he bent his arm. Dr. Washburn asked how long it had been this way. “Two years,” the man replied.

“He told me it was really difficult to carry buckets and do his work every day with it broken,” Dr. Washburn says. “ I, naively, asked him why he hadn’t had it fixed and he told me ‘I walked two days to get here and there’s usually no care available here.’”

The clinic wasn’t set up to do surgery, so the man would have to wait a little longer for his arm to be fixed, but Dr. Washburn says he knew he wanted to return to Peru to help care for patients like this man: hard-working, rural people who often live their whole lives without ever being able to see a doctor.

“I wanted to be in a position to provide that care, high-quality care where there is so much need.”

In the coming weeks, Dr. Washburn will leave his post at CoxHealth’s urgent care to begin serving that need in Curahuasi, Peru. He’ll spend the next three years volunteering at Hospital Diospi Suyana (above), which sits at 9,000 feet and is surrounded by the 17,000-foot peaks of the Andes mountains.

The facility was founded by missionaries in 2007 to meet the health and spiritual needs of locals who are geographically isolated from many services – between 30 and 40 percent of the patients at the hospital travel more than 10 hours to get there.

Dr. Washburn will lend his expertise to a small team of volunteer doctors who work in the hospital. The facility has labs, medicine, ultrasound and CT technology – all donated – but physicians are the resource that frequently limits care. On weekends, 400-500 people line up to get tickets to receive care the following week; typically, the physicians are only able to see about 250 patients.

“The patients we can’t see leave empty-handed and have to come back the following week to wait in line. This is the sad situation for the poor who need health care in rural Peru,” Dr. Washburn says. “The patient needs don’t vary based on when doctors are available.”

Dr. Washburn and his wife, Crystal, are currently raising funds and as soon as they are fully funded – hopefully by the end of the year – they will make the move. The couple and their two young children will live in a town near the hospital, where they hope to find lodging “with a non-leaking roof, maybe with hot water and maybe with an indoor bathroom. Maybe.”

Once you’ve seen the need up close, Dr. Washburn says, those temporary inconveniences are a small price to be able to make a difference.

“I had been on missions in church when I was growing up and I realized early on that I have way more than most people do,” Dr. Washburn says. “God has blessed me with that and with the ability to help people.”

That perspective has played a key role in Dr. Washburn’s personal and professional development. After completing his undergraduate study in biology at Colorado State, he headed to Ross University School of Medicine in the West Indies, where he studied with medical students from all over the world. Alongside his medical training, he went on several mission trips – he and Crystal actually met on a mission to Serbia.

“I feel like it’s my responsibility to help those who are less fortunate. Of course, that can be done here in the U.S. and abroad. For me, personally, it’s abroad.”

The missions he participated in were almost always focused on regions where access to medical care is a major issue. Visiting physicians are often restricted by access to medications and limited facilities in temporary clinics. That’s what makes the hospital in Peru so appealing: it offers a centralized facility in the middle of an underserved region.

“The hospital is special – you have what you need to provide great care,” Dr. Washburn says. “It’s nice to feel like I can give good quality care and make a difference.” 

Providing a broad range of care has always appealed to him – it’s one of the things that attracted him to the Cox Family Medicine Residency – and Hospital Diospi Suyana offers ample opportunities. The 55-bed hospital is usually staffed with two pediatricians, one surgeon, one gynecologist and one urologist. Whoever is on call sees whatever cases come through the door.

“It’s very patient-focused. Working there teaches you to rely less on technology and more on clinical skills, which is important. It’s satisfying, but it can be scary. Here, there’s a specialist to call, there, it’s you and a handful of doctors. You rely on your gut instinct and go with it.”

He’s seen how much of a difference a handful of doctors can make. He recalls a tropical medicine rotation he did in Ecuador in 2009. When he arrived, he met a woman who had suffered a snakebite and had been undergoing treatment for a few weeks. Her foot was swollen, but she was able to walk and she was making progress. On that same day, he saw a patient who had been bitten a month earlier. She hadn’t been able to access treatment and she had just arrived on an emergency flight.

“I could smell the odor of decay. Flesh was falling off her leg and I could see the femoral artery pulsating. Her leg was essentially dead, but was still attached. It had to be amputated. She left without a leg while the woman who had access to the hospital was able to recover. That’s why the hospital is there.”

Dr. Washburn says seeing the life-changing care that is possible makes it clear that Peru is the place for him to make an impact. Even when the cases aren’t dramatic, being able to provide basic, daily care to people who have lived so long without it is especially satisfying.

“It’s completely different there, and yet it’s the same: people have back pain, knee pain, gastritis, and they need care. It’s cool to take care of people, knowing they’ve never seen a doctor before in their lives. It’s an honor to have their trust and it’s really a privilege to be able to care for them.”

Want to help? 

Dr. Washburn, like all the physicians at Hospital Diospi Suyana, will work on a volunteer basis and will raise his own funds to support himself during his stay. 

If you’d like to donate, visit, click “support a missionary” and enter Dr. Washburn’s name.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

CMN Hospitals at CoxHealth receives $45,155 grant from Kohl’s Cares to teach area children about heart health

Grant will be used to continue the Kohl’s CARDIAC Kids program, and identify children at risk for obesity and heart disease

Springfield, Mo., Nov. 20, 2012 — Children from Pleasant View Elementary in Springfield attended an assembly today to learn about staying heart healthy – in a kid-friendly way. It was the kick-off to a renewed partnership between Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals of CoxHealth and Kohl’s Cares that aims to identify children at risk for obesity and heart disease, and teach them and their families how to live a healthier lifestyle.

Childhood obesity has become an epidemic in the United States, and southwest Missouri is not immune. Poor eating habits, improper nutrition and a lack of exercise can lead to serious health problems as children grow. With the $45,155 donation from Kohl’s Cares®, CMN Hospitals is continuing the Kohl’s CARDIAC Kids program, which will work to fight the childhood obesity epidemic through a variety of fun events aimed at children ages 5-18 and their families. Through the program at-risk children and adolescents will be identified and will be able to participate in a number of fun events with their families, where they can learn more about living a healthy life.

Last year, the first year for the collaboration, nearly 2600 children and their families participated in Kohl’s CARDIAC Kids events, which included education and health screenings. Through the health screenings, 177 participating children were found to be overweight or at risk for becoming overweight and 190 children were found to be at risk for high blood pressure. These children and their families received follow-up education including healthy, kid-friendly recipes, exercises and more. Last year’s results will be compared to those obtained in 2013, and analyzed for trends.

“We know childhood obesity is a widespread and dangerous problem. Thanks to Kohl’s Cares®, we’re able to make a real impact on the health of area children, teaching them about exercise, nutrition and healthy choices in a fun and engaging way,” says Lauren Holland, CoxHealth Health and Wellness educator and Kohl’s CARDIAC Kids coordinator.

Kohl's commitment to CoxHealth and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals is made possible through the Kohl's Cares® cause merchandise program. Through this initiative, Kohl’s sells $5 books and plush toys where 100 percent of net profit benefits children’s health and education programs nationwide, including hospital partnerships like this one. For more information, visit

CoxHealth employee recognized for leadership in health care quality

The Missouri Association for Healthcare Quality has presented its “Missouri Quality Health Care Professional Award” to Arlo F. Stallion, administrative director of quality at CoxHealth.

The Missouri Association for Healthcare Quality presents the award annually to recognize professionals in quality management who have demonstrated significant accomplishments and contributions. The award was presented Thursday, Nov. 8, during an awards luncheon at the Missouri Hospital Association’s 90th Annual Convention & Trade Show in Osage Beach, Mo. 

Stallion is responsible for planning, coordinating and monitoring the effectiveness of clinical care at CoxHealth. She tracks and evaluates quality outcomes, cost effectiveness and patient centeredness of hospital services and works to align the hospital’s work with its quality-centered mission. 

Stallion is responsible for setting the direction of the quality programs at CoxHealth. In leading peer review, quality and performance improvement initiatives; she combines her clinical expertise and leadership skills to influence outcomes, systems and practices. She is a driving force behind the organization’s efforts to model national and state quality criteria established by the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and the Missouri Quality Award. 

“Arlo’s leadership in quality improvement at CoxHealth has been immeasurable,” said Steven D. Edwards, president and CEO of CoxHealth. “She is an important voice in helping CoxHealth meet its mission of ‘providing the best for those who need us’ and is active at all levels of care and management – from the board of trustees to the patient’s bedside.” 

The Missouri Hospital Association is a not-for-profit association in Jefferson City that represents 154 Missouri hospitals. In addition to representation and advocacy on behalf of its membership, the association offers continuing education programs on current health care topics and seeks to educate the public about health care issues.

Friday, November 16, 2012

CoxHealth chaplain named associate member of national flight chaplains group

CoxHealth chaplain Larry Cooper, DMin, has been named as an associate member of the Association of Professional Flight Chaplains (APFC), an interfaith pastoral care organization that supports flight medicine crews and staff in emotional, physical and spiritual need. 

Founded in 2008, the organization provides members with tools and resources to support flight crews in their work. As CoxHealth’s associate member of the APFC, Cooper works with the Cox Air Care crew.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

CoxHealth wins marketing, PR awards

CoxHealth has received statewide recognition for several public relations and marketing projects the health system produced this year.

The Show-Me Excellence Awards, presented annually by the Missouri Association for Healthcare Public Relations and Marketing (MAHPRM), recognize high achievement and superb quality in advertising, marketing, communications and public relations projects produced by hospitals and health care systems throughout the state.

CoxHealth won the following awards:

1st place, Crisis Communications, “CoxHealth Helps Victims of Homeless Shelter Fire” – The award recognized the overall communication plan surrounding the opening of Cox North to victims displaced in last winter’s fire at the Missouri Hotel. The award recognized outstanding performance in media relations, news coverage, social media and internal communications.

1st place, Internal Publications/Routine-electronic, “Connect Daily” – CoxHealth’s popular daily email publication took top honors in its first year.

1st place, Special Marketing or Public Relations Project, “Critical Care RN Recruitment Campaign” – This campaign was focused on recruitment of critical care providers to prepare for the opening of a new 27-bed Neurotrauma Intensive Care unit. The campaign, which included radio, print and web ads, helped double the applications for employment for the CCRN positions.

1st place, Writing, “An Inside Look at Steve Edwards’ First Day as CEO” – CoxHealth Connection editor Randy Berger took 1st place honors for the hour-by-hour account of a day in the life of CEO Steve Edwards. The piece originally appeared in the February issue of CoxHealth Connection and is one of 2012’s most-read posts on CoxHealth’s external blog.

2nd place, Advertising-Multimedia Campaign, “CoxHealth Express” – The award recognizes Marketing & Planning’s campaign that was designed to engage patient interest prior to the formal rollout of CoxHealth’s online patient express feature. The promotional campaign included video, print, radio and web ads, as well KY3 news pre-roll ads, and promotions on Facebook.

2nd place, Advertising-Multimedia Campaign-large, “We Believe in Miracles” – The campaign promoted the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals’ 2012 telethon with radio and outdoor advertising. New this year was a 30-minute television special on CMN Hospitals, which aired more than 50 times throughout May on local stations and cable. Employees also received a DVD of the special in their homes.

2nd place, Video, “Power of Pink”— The video is Marketing & Planning’s creative way of reminding the public that getting mammograms is key for women in their 40s. the disco-themed music video was shown online and in local movie theaters; the audio appeared in a series of radio ads. The promotion advertised the Pink Ribbon Rally and luncheon and served to create overall awareness.

3rd place, Internal Publications/Routine-printed, “CoxHealth Connection” – CoxHealth Connection, our monthly employee publication, competes in a wide-ranging publications category, which includes bi-weekly newspapers and full-color glossy magazines. Connection routinely ranks with the leaders in our state; this year placing alongside Children’s Mercy’s “Take CARE” and BJC’s “BJC Today.”

The awards were presented at the Missouri Hospital Association’s 90th Annual Convention and Trade Show. A statewide panel of public relations and marketing professionals judged the entries in this year’s competition.

The awards competition is the only Missouri competition dedicated to hospital and health care public relations and communications efforts. With 22 categories, the competition included projects in media relations, advertising, publications, writing, photography, marketing, public relations and more.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Four leading not-for-profit health systems announce formal relationship to improve patient care, reduce health costs

For immediate release
Oct. 24, 2012

Springfield, Mo. -- CoxHealth of Springfield, Mo., BJC HealthCare of St. Louis, Mo., Memorial Health System of Springfield, Ill., and Saint Luke’s Health System of Kansas City, Mo., today announced they have partnered together to create the BJC Collaborative. This new, multi-system Collaborative has been formed to achieve even higher quality care for the patients served by these health care organizations. 

With a footprint of 4,821 hospital beds spanning Missouri, Illinois and Kansas, and combined annual revenues of almost $7 billion, the members of the BJC Collaborative will focus on achieving savings; deploying clinical programs and services to improve access to and quality of health care for patients; lowering health care costs; and creating additional efficiencies that will be beneficial to patients and the communities served by the member organizations. 

Steven Edwards, President and CEO of CoxHealth, says the Collaborative will build upon the strengths of the four institutions. “The strength of our collaboration is in building upon the expertise of each member,” says Edwards. “Together we are stronger, and the benefits will be experienced by our patients in greater quality and safety, highly trained professionals and cost-effective care.” 

CoxHealth is Springfield, Missouri’s only locally owned, not-for-profit health system. It is accredited by The Joint Commission, distinguished as one of the nation’s Top 100 Integrated Health Care Systems (2006 – 2012), and recognized as a U.S. News and World Report Best Regional hospital. In FY 2011, CoxHealth provided more than $122 million in community benefit to serve the unmet needs of the community. Established in 1906, CoxHealth serves more than 900,000 people in a 25-county service area in southwest Missouri and northwest Arkansas, offering a comprehensive array of primary and specialty care including four hospitals and more than 65 clinics in 20 communities. The health system includes Oxford HealthCare (routinely the nation’s second largest hospital-based home health agency), Home Parenteral Services (home infusion therapy), CoxHealth Foundation, Cox College, Cox HealthPlans and more.

BJC HealthCare is a 13-hospital system with urban, suburban and rural hospitals serving eastern Missouri and southern Illinois. With nationally recognized adult and pediatric teaching hospitals affiliated with the Washington University School of Medicine, 28,000 employees, approximately 275 employed physicians, as well as behavioral health, corporate, home and community health services, BJC is among the largest non-profit health care organizations in the country. 

Memorial Health System is a three-hospital, non-profit health care organization serving Illinois patients in a 40-county region. With a teaching hospital affiliated with Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, two critical access hospitals, 6,000 employees, 75 employed physicians and mid-level providers, behavioral health and home services, Memorial Health System is the largest private employer in the greater Springfield area. 

Saint Luke’s Health System is the largest non-profit health care provider in the Kansas City metropolitan area. The system consists of 11 area hospitals and several primary and specialty care practices, and provides a range of inpatient, outpatient, and home care services. It has 9,700 employees and 318 employed physicians. Affiliated with the University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Medicine, Saint Luke’s is renowned for its programs in heart and stroke care, national honors including the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, and consistent top rankings for high-quality health care by Kansas City consumers. Founded in 1882 as a faith-based, not-for-profit organization, Saint Luke’s Health System’s mission includes a commitment to the highest levels of excellence in health care and the advancement of medical research and education. 

The four systems that are part of this new Collaborative are leaders in their regions and have entered into this new relationship with a commitment to doing what is best for their patients. The Collaborative is buoyed by the tenets of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that encourage partnerships and innovation to improve patient outcomes and reduce health care costs. Its members believe they are well positioned to work together to achieve economies of scale, learn from each other and share best practices that will ultimately lead to better patient outcomes, improve health care access and lower costs.

“This is a good day for BJC and a great day for patients served by each of our hospitals,” said Steven Lipstein, President and CEO of BJC HealthCare and Board Chairman of the Collaborative. “We are embarking on an innovative journey to work across systems and states in ways that have not been done before. We are confident that being able to learn from others and share what we know will be beneficial to all of our patients.” 

“The organizations in the BJC Collaborative share common values and a commitment to be national leaders for excellence in patient care,” said Edgar J. Curtis, President and CEO of Memorial Health System. “Through this collaborative, we will work together to treat more patients, lower our costs and deliver higher quality care. The BJC Collaborative will create many opportunities for us to grow and learn from one another.”

Melinda L. Estes, MD, President and CEO of Saint Luke’s Health System, says the Collaborative will provide numerous benefits for patients, staff and the communities served by Saint Luke’s. “This collaborative provides a unique opportunity for these leading regional health systems to leverage our combined knowledge and resources to ensure we continue to provide exceptional care for the communities we serve,” said Dr. Estes. “Because we share similar missions, we can work together to maximize value for our patients and expand the ways we deliver care.” Dr. Estes also serves as Vice-Chair of the Board for the Collaborative.

Opportunities that may be explored by the Collaborative include:

· Population Health Management – developing and sharing population health information & assessment, physician recruitment & engagement strategies, and accountable care organization & medical home development 

· Clinical and Service Quality – sharing best practices for performance improvement, 
staff development and training - including e-learning, management & leadership development, clinical skills training, clinical decision support, safety event reporting, and emergency preparedness 

· Capital Asset Management – expanding supply chain relationships, facilities design, clinical engineering, technology evaluation, energy conservation and facilities management 

· Financial Services – best practice sharing for capital resource analysis, treasury operations, revenue cycle, managed care contracting, business intelligence and actuarial expertise 

· Information Systems and Technology – sharing best practices for achieving Meaningful Use of Health IT, data center management, data warehousing, software applications, hardware configurations & emerging technologies, and data security & patient confidentiality. 

Working together on these and other initiatives that are imperative to achieving better patient outcomes and lower costs, the Collaborative will bring sustainable advantages for patients and families that can be replicated by systems across the country. 

Media inquires may be directed to: 

June Fowler at BJC HealthCare,, 314-286-2114 

Laurie Duff at CoxHealth,, 417-269-3070 

Ed McDowall at Memorial Health System,, 217-788-4265 

Kerry O’Connor at Saint Luke’s Health System,, 816-932-8646 

BJC Collaborative Q and A 

1. Why these four organizations? 

Answer: BJC, Cox, Memorial and Saint Luke’s are the leading and largest not-for-profit health systems in their respective regions. The territories they serve are adjacent, largely within the contiguous states of Illinois, Missouri and Kansas, but do not overlap. Each system brings a strong commitment to its unique mission and its local community, and all four systems are highly regarded for clinical quality, patient service, and responsible financial stewardship. 

All four systems have boards of trustees that are proactively anticipating the changes to come in American health care. We recognize that medical science and technology is advancing rapidly, making it more and more difficult for smaller health care organizations to keep pace. We anticipate that new payment models, such as accountable care organizations or specialty care bundles or other innovative approaches, will require higher levels of care coordination, sizable investments in information systems, and greater assumption of financial risk. All hospitals will be challenged in the years ahead to improve their outcomes and quality, while reducing the cost of medical care. 

These four systems have a history of creating larger clinical platforms that involve bringing previously independent hospitals together for the benefit of their respective communities. Together, these systems can achieve scale, a diverse and comprehensive offering of health care programs and services, and a focus on the population health in Southern Illinois, Missouri and Eastern Kansas that few other system groupings could replicate. 

2. Is this the first step toward merger? 

Answer: The four systems have not discussed merger. The new Collaborative signals a commitment to working together – under a structure that allows each member to maintain its unique identity, to preserve its independence, to serve the health care needs of their local communities - while at the same time, deriving both the quality-of-care and financial benefits that come from being part of a larger collaborative enterprise, enabling the four systems to share services, costs and best practices. 

3. Will there be leadership changes? 

Answer: No. Each system will continue to operate independently, with local governance and local leadership teams as presently constituted. Initially, the Collaborative will not have employees or a physical location. The CEO of each system and a representative of each system’s board will serve as the voting members of the board of directors of the Collaborative. The work of the Collaborative will be conducted through “operating committees.” Members of each system’s leadership team will be called upon to serve on these committees, bringing to the effort their unique expertise in areas of shared endeavor. 

4. How will health system employees be affected by this collaborative? 

Answer: Initially, the work of the Collaborative will be transparent to patients, families and the people who take care of them. The early years will be devoted to capturing opportunities to reduce or share costs in areas such as supplies, energy management, contracted services, equipment purchasing and maintenance, and information technology hardware and infrastructure. We will convene leadership roundtables to share best practices in areas such as regulatory compliance and employee lifelong learning and professional development. We will work together to find new approaches to improving patient care and service and making our hospitals even safer places to receive medical care. 

5. How will physicians be affected? 

Answer: Physicians from among the medical staffs at the four health systems who want to collaborate in the development of clinical programs and services will be encouraged to do so, and will be supported by the Collaborative. Importantly, the granting of medical staff credentials continues to be under the purview of each hospital’s board of trustees. 

6. Exactly how will this collaboration lead to better patient care? Reduced costs? 

Answer: Each of the four health systems has achieved superior quality scores in a number of clinical service areas. Comparing different approaches and measuring patient-specific outcomes will help us determine what works best and for whom. While BJC may have coined the phrase, each system is equally committed to “Making Medicine Better.” 

The four systems already have a proven track record of working together as members of VHA, Inc. VHA, and its group purchasing organization, Novation, have already afforded these four systems numerous cost reduction opportunities. The idea is to expand the list of what we can purchase together, what we can develop together, and what we can implement together to realize even greater economies of scale and improvements in service. 

7. Are you creating a new, combined purchasing organization? 

Answer: No. All four systems are presently members of VHA, and three of the four (excluding BJC) are owners of Mid-America Service Solutions, Inc. However, to the extent that the four systems can adopt standards for certain products, supplies, and equipment – and coordinate the timing of these purchases – there may well be additional opportunity for savings. Examples of opportunities to be explored could be food purchases or data center back-up services. We are already working on a list. 

8. What does this mean for BJC’s relationship with the Washington University School of Medicine? 

Answer: Each of the four systems involved have affiliations with Schools of Medicine: BJC with Washington University, CoxHealth with the University of Missouri-Columbia, Memorial Health System with Southern Illinois University, and Saint Luke’s with the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Our shared commitment to academic medicine and to education in the health professions 
is one of the key reasons we have selected one another as partners in this Collaborative. The Collaborative does not change any of these medical school affiliations. 

9. What does this mean for CoxHealth’s relationship with the University of Missouri-Columbia? 

Answer: Same answer as #8 above. 

10. What does this mean for Memorial Health System’s relationship with Southern Illinois University School of Medicine? 

Answer: Same answer as #8 above. 

11. What does this mean for Saint Luke’s Health System’s relationship with the University of Missouri-Kansas City? 

Answer: Same answer as #8 above. 

12. Will you have one EMR platform? 

Answer: Not for a very long time. Each of the four health systems has already made a sizable investment in different software applications that in the aggregate, make up an electronic medical record and allow each of the systems to qualify as a meaningful user of health information technology as defined by the federal government. However, over time, it is quite possible that as we need to replace existing hardware configurations, or upgrade communications systems and data centers, or replace technology platforms, we may migrate to common solutions for mutual benefit. 

13. Will telemedicine be a part of this collaborative? 

Answer: It is too early to identify which clinical programs and services have the greatest potential to benefit from our Collaborative. We will consult with clinicians at each of our respective systems, identify gaps in knowledge or service offerings, and then we will explore how best to meet each other’s needs. 

14. Can others join the Collaborative? 

Answer: Initially, we plan to spend our time working among these four health systems. In time, if we are successful together, others may benefit from what we have established. 

15. Does this mean CoxHealth will not be partnering with any other health systems in the future? 

Answer: CoxHealth will continue to have business relationships with other organizations. However, we are committed to working through this Collaborative in the priority areas we have identified to reduce costs, share best practices and improve quality. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

CoxHealth announces new alignment with Cerner to enhance delivery capabilities

News Release
Oct. 22, 2012

CoxHealth and Cerner have formed a strategic alignment, Si3 - The Star Initiative for Information Innovation – dedicated to transforming health information in our region, enhancing clinical processes and health care delivery capabilities, and positioning the health system for future growth and advancement.

Since 1997, CoxHealth and Cerner have partnered to implement clinical information systems, improve patient outcomes, and transform health care delivery through the use of the Cerner Millennium system. The new alignment will allow CoxHealth to rapidly advance its health care system, and deploy new capabilities to optimize resources, achieve efficiencies and cost savings. Cerner will assume operational and administrative responsibilities for the CoxHealth information technology environment via its Cerner ITWorksSM solutions and services, including remote hosting, monitoring and system performance capabilities. These capabilities will protect CoxHealth’s electronic health data, while ensuring high availability of systems.

“CoxHealth is excited to partner with Cerner on the Si3 strategic initiative for our community. Our collaboration will enable us to leap frog forward with advancement and innovation in our use of electronic health records (EHRs),” said Steven D. Edwards, president and CEO. “Through the Cerner alignment, CoxHealth will rapidly enhance its systems and processes to propel the organization’s capabilities for delivering value to patients.”

Clinician and patient benefits include:

• Improved quality of care through broader access to more complete cross-continuum health record information electronically;

• Integrated flow of data from medical devices directly into the electronic health record for contextual access to all clinical information;

• Increased efficiencies and streamlined workflows;

• Increased system speed, usability, and uptime, including increased first contact resolution with an enhanced help desk.

The strategic alignment positions CoxHealth for future growth within the region. With increased access to staffing and training, greater flexibility of skills and resources, and an Information Technology talent pool better poised to expand with the growing needs of the health system.

“Additionally, the effort will lay the foundation for CoxHealth to manage health care across the entire community. This will enable the community to proactively manage their health together with their care providers through electronic health records,” said Jake McWay, senior vice president and chief financial officer. “The alignment will emphasize a model of care that puts the patient at the center and ultimately builds efficiency, effectiveness and technological advancements of the CoxHealth system, while lowering the overall cost.”

Frequently Asked Questions 

Q: What is the Star Initiative for Information & Innovation (Si3)?

A: CoxHealth and Cerner have created a strategic alignment (Si3) to enhance the delivery of Health & Care through the innovative use of health care information and technology. Si3 will enable CoxHealth to advance the delivery of safe, secure and quality care using enriched clinical systems functionality, empower clinicians with the latest technological innovations and provide highly available health information systems to support optimal patient outcomes.

With the growing demands of health care, CoxHealth’s strategic direction is to continue to invest in key areas to stay ahead of the curve. The strategic alignment with Cerner will position CoxHealth for future growth within the community. It will increase access to staffing and training, drive greater flexibility of skills and resources, and position the talent pool to expand with the growing needs of CoxHealth.

Q: How will the Si3 partnership help improve health care for the community of Springfield and serve as a model for other communities?

A: The Si3 partnership will lay the foundation for CoxHealth to manage health care across the entire community, enabling the community to proactively manage their health together with their care providers through electronic health records. The alignment will emphasize a model of care that puts the patient at the center and ultimately builds efficiency, effectiveness and technological advancements of the CoxHealth operation.

The systems and support functions for clinicians and patients at CoxHealth will be a central focus, as we work to further “meaningful use” for federal government-mandated IT compliance requirements for electronic health records. At the same time, this alignment will optimize hospital, clinic and pharmacy workflows, patient scheduling and other operating efficiencies; and provide an improved digital infrastructure that connects all of the care system. With this new alignment, we commit to a significant improved delivery of IT systems.

Q: How will the partnership between CoxHealth and Cerner work?

A: With this partnership the Cerner and CoxHealth organizations become linked within Si3 utilizing tightly integrated strategies, goals and objectives. Si3 will bring members of the CoxHealth Information Technology staff to Cerner with the goal of providing the community enhanced health care IT delivery capabilities utilizing the best attributes that both CoxHealth and Cerner can provide.

Q: Will any jobs change with this arrangement?

A: Si3 will bring current members of the CoxHealth IT staff (143 employees) to Cerner, providing them with additional opportunities for career growth, training and advancement. We anticipate that Si3 will aid the local economy with increased job opportunities.

Q: How will the arrangement impact clinicians at CoxHealth?

A: Information technology continues to play an increasingly essential role in the practice of medicine. Si3 will promote innovation and optimization in clinical practice within the health system’s clinics, hospital, laboratories and diagnostic centers. This new alignment will advance the way health care is delivered with access to real-time information that enhances patient outcomes through evidence-based medicine, and creating efficiencies for health professionals by automating workflows.

Q: How will the CoxHealth – Cerner alignment benefit Skaggs?

A: CoxHealth’s partnership with Skaggs stipulates that the IT platforms will be integrated to maximize efficiencies and provide for the seamless delivery of health care. The CoxHealth-Cerner alignment will assist in this transition. The timeline for this transition has not been established, but will move at a reasonable pace that is appropriate for Skaggs.

About CoxHealth

CoxHealth is Springfield’s only locally owned, not-for-profit health system. It is accredited by The Joint Commission, distinguished as one of the nation’s Top 100 Integrated Healthcare Systems (2006-2012), and recognized as a U.S. News and World Report Best Regional Hospital. In FY 2011, CoxHealth provided more than $122 million in community benefit to serve the unmet needs of our friends and neighbors. Established in 1906, CoxHealth serves more than 900,000 people in a 25-county service area in southwest Missouri and northwest Arkansas, offering a comprehensive array of primary and specialty care including four hospitals and more than 65 clinics in 20 communities. The health system includes Oxford HealthCare (routinely the nation’s second largest hospital based home health agency), Home Parenteral Services (home infusion therapy), CoxHealth Foundation, Cox College, Cox HealthPlans and more.

CoxHealth Media Contact: Stacy Fender, Media Relations Coordinator, 417/269-4113,

About Cerner 

Cerner is contributing to the systemic change of health and care delivery. For more than 30 years Cerner has been executing its vision to make health care safer and more efficient. We started with the foundation of digitizing paper processes and now offer the most comprehensive array of information software, professional services, medical device integration, remote hosting and employer health and wellness services. Cerner systems are used by everyone from individual consumers, to single-doctor practices, hospitals, employers and entire countries. Taking what we’ve learned over more than three decades, Cerner is building on the knowledge that is in the system to support evidence-based clinical decisions, prevent medical errors and empower patients in their care.

Cerner® solutions are licensed by approximately 9,300 facilities around the world, including more than 2,650 hospitals; 3,750 physician practices covering more than 40,000 physicians; 500 ambulatory facilities, such as laboratories, ambulatory centers, cardiac facilities, radiology clinics and surgery centers; 800 home health facilities; 40 employer sites and 1,600 retail pharmacies.

Certain trademarks, service marks and logos (collectively, the “Marks”) set forth herein are owned by Cerner Corporation and/or its subsidiaries in the United States and certain other countries throughout the world. All other non-Cerner Marks are the property of their respective owners. Nasdaq: CERN. For more information about Cerner, please visit, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

Cerner Media Contact: Megan Moriarty, (816) 888-2470,

Cerner Investors Contact: Allan Kells, (816) 201-2445,

Friday, October 12, 2012

Halloween-themed Trivia Night to benefit Cox College

The CoxHealth Foundation will hold a Halloween-themed Trivia Night event Friday, Oct. 26, at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 2340 W. Grand, in Springfield. 

Proceeds from the event will benefit The CoxHealth Foundation’s Cox College of Nursing Fund. This fund helps the college provide students with the technology and educational resources they need to be successful as they pursue careers in health care. 

This fun team trivia event will be emceed by KY3’s Paul Adler and Maria Neider. The event will include a silent auction, a 50/50 raffle, prizes for the best costume/best theme table and more. 

Doors open at 6 p.m. and play starts at 6:30. Registration fee is $80 for a team of eight, and online registration is available at For more information, contact the CoxHealth Foundation at 269-7150. This is a popular event, and tables sell out quickly.

Monday, October 1, 2012

At CoxHealth, 'Best' is how we roll!

Keep an eye out in Springfield: Our streets are about to get more colorful! Festive “Best Hospitals” graphics will soon appear on three CU buses, each featuring CoxHealth employees and physicians from the five specialties recognized as “high performing” by U.S. News & World Report.

Monday, September 24, 2012

CoxHealth opens new Sports Medicine Center to care for area athletes

The center features state-of-the art equipment for injury prevention, recovery and post-concussion assessment 

Athletes of all ages and skill levels need expert guidance to improve their performance and help prevent injuries – and they need expert care to recover, should they become hurt on the playing field. 

CoxHealth has opened a new Sports Medicine Center for the training and rehabilitation of area athletes, from young athletes playing competitively to weekend warriors. The center houses state-of-the-art equipment, including the area’s first Alter G anti-gravity treadmill, CoxHealth experts who use ImPACT computerized tools to help determine an athlete's ability to return to play after suffering a concussion, and more. 

The center is also home to the CoxHealth Athletic Advantage program, which offers one-on-one strength training and conditioning, ACL injury prevention, and speed and agility camps for athletes ages 10 and older. 

An open house will be held Monday, Sept. 24, from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m., at the new CoxHealth Sports Medicine Center, 3555 S. National, inside The Bone and Joint Center. Media and the public are invited to tour the training facility, meet the physicians, athletic trainers and therapists on the sports medicine team; and check out the area's latest training equipment. 

For more information about the open house or the CoxHealth Sports Medicine Center, call 269-7778, or visit

CoxHealth announces latest DAISY Award winners

Each quarter, CoxHealth recognizes nominated nurses with DAISY Awards. The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses is presented in medical facilities throughout the United States to recognize the education, training, skill and compassionate care nurses provide. Patients, their families, physicians, coworkers and volunteers may nominate a nurse for the award.

This quarter’s winners are: 

Karen Salemie, RN, Labor & Delivery, Cox South

Mellisa Thompson, RN, 300 West, Cox South 

Rachel Hutsell, RN, Same Day Surgery, Cox Walnut Lawn. 

To learn more about the DAISY Award, visit To nominate a CoxHealth nurse for the award, visit

Walmart and Sam’s Club associates, customers and members raise $253,438 for CMN Hospitals at CoxHealth

It was a record-breaking year as a total of $253,438 was raised locally in the annual Walmart and Sam’s Club six-week fundraiser for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals at CoxHealth. CoxHealth is the only CMN Hospitals-affiliated facility in the Springfield area.

Walmart and Sam’s Club associates, customers and members together raised the campaign’s biggest total ever, mostly $1 at a time, with donations taken at the register and all proceeds going to CMN Hospitals at CoxHealth. 

The total marks a 37 percent increase over the 2011 campaign. 

“We are grateful for the generosity of people in our community and the passion of the Walmart and Sam’s Club associates,” said Tim Siebert, executive director of CMN Hospitals at CoxHealth. “Taken together, small gifts add up and can really make a positive impact for the children and families we serve.” 

CMN Hospitals at CoxHealth uses funds raised for urgent needs including equipment purchases, research and education. Assistance is also provided to children for prosthetics, wheelchairs, leg braces, hearing aids, prescriptions, hospital bills and travel expenses for doctor’s appointments. 2012 marks the 25th year Walmart and Sam’s Club have been raising funds for CMN Hospitals. 

“We know it helps children in our local community and that is what is important,” said Jill Lesh, personnel coordinator at the South Campbell Walmart in Springfield, Mo. “We even have Walmart and Sam’s Club associates whose friends and family members have been helped through Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.” 

This year’s fundraising campaign was record-breaking on a national level as well, with more than $41 million raised for all of the hospitals associated with the charity nationwide.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Skaggs Board of Trustees approves partnership with CoxHealth


For immediate release
Sept. 20, 2012

The Skaggs Regional Medical Center Board of Trustees has approved the Board of Directors’ recommendation to strategically partner with CoxHealth. This is a significant accomplishment for both healthcare systems, setting in motion progression and stability of healthcare for the Branson Tri-Lakes region.

Under the agreement, a member substitution model, Skaggs continues to maintain its own hospital board while becoming a subsidiary of CoxHealth. CoxHealth, as the parent company, assumes the responsibilities previously held by the Skaggs Board of Trustees. Additionally, CoxHealth will have representation on the Skaggs Board and Skaggs will have representation on the CoxHealth Board. This allows both parties to act together as one entity for the purposes of contracting, recruitment and growth.

“The Skaggs Board of Directors is pleased that the Board of Trustees recognizes the advantages that come from collaboration with CoxHealth,” says David Smith, Chairman of the Skaggs Board of Directors. “The board’s growth strategy focuses on developing necessary components and relationships, resulting in coordinated care and reduced cost. We are certain CoxHealth is the right partner to help maintain and grow healthcare for our area residents.”

In January, Skaggs issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking a strategic partner for the future. The field was narrowed to two potential partners, locally-owned and governed not-for-profit CoxHealth, based in Springfield, Mo., and LifePoint, a for-profit healthcare system based in Brentwood, Tenn. In June, the Skaggs Board of Directors signed a letter of intent with CoxHealth. Leadership from both organizations worked closely together to review operational practices in preparation for its formal recommendation to the Skaggs Board of Trustees for a final vote.

“We are humbled by this decision, and by the faith Skaggs’ Board of Trustees has shown in selecting CoxHealth as the partner to help secure the future of their organization,” says Steven D. Edwards, President and CEO of CoxHealth. “We look forward to investing in technology, facilities, employees and physicians to bolster the healthcare resources available to residents of the Branson Tri-Lakes region. Our health systems will now stand strong together for the good of the communities we serve throughout the Ozarks.”

“On behalf of the CoxHealth Board of Directors, we are grateful to the Skaggs Board and Trustees for their decision to partner with us to provide quality healthcare to the people of the Branson Tri-Lakes region,” said Larry Lipscomb, Chairman of the CoxHealth Board of Directors.

Skaggs President and CEO William K. Mahoney said, “This is an exciting time in healthcare for the Taney and Stone county communities. Physical changes to the existing hospital are expected to begin in the first half of 2013 with a pronounced focus on recruiting additional physicians to serve the Branson Tri-Lakes region.”

The partnership will provide Skaggs’ 1,100 employees security and stability, adds Edwards. “We value the engaged and committed medical staff and employees who have made Skaggs the vital institution it is today,” Edwards says.

The agreement must now be approved by various government agencies, including the Missouri Attorney General and the Federal Trade Commission. Upon approval, CoxHealth and Skaggs officials will begin integrating operations. The agreement is anticipated to be complete by Dec. 31, 2012.

About Skaggs
Skaggs Regional Medical Center is a 165-licensed bed community-owned and supported healthcare facility dedicated to improving the health of all area residents. Skaggs holds the highest national accreditation available for medical facilities from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. Skaggs has also earned the Gold Seal of Approval™ for its advanced inpatient diabetes care and is an Advanced Primary Stroke Center through the Joint Commission on Accreditation.

About CoxHealth
CoxHealth, recently named as a Best Hospital by U.S. News & World Report, is accredited by The Joint Commission and distinguished as one of the nation’s Top 100 Integrated Healthcare Systems (2006-2012). Established in 1906 and based in Springfield, Mo., CoxHealth serves more than 1 million people in a 22-county service area in southwest Missouri and northwest Arkansas. Their comprehensive array of primary and specialty care includes four hospitals and more than 65 physician clinics in 20 communities. The health system includes Oxford HealthCare (a home health agency), Home Parenteral Services (home infusion therapy), CoxHealth Foundation, Cox College, Cox Family Medicine Residency Program and much more.

Michelle L. Leroux
Media Relations Specialist
Direct: 417-335-7460
Fax: 417-335-7100

Laurie Duff
Vice President of Corporate Communications
Direct: 417-269-3070
Fax: 417-269-3104

Authors in our midst

Creative co-workers are finding publishing success; here are three CoxHealth writers and their latest works.

Dr. Mark Ellis
"The Granddad Tales" 

Mark Ellis’ sons, Ryan and Garrett, were about 3 years old when they started telling their dad stories about their granddad. He recalls coming home from work as a family practice physician and being met at the front door by the boys, who would then immediately tell him about something their grandfather had done.

The stories started out simple, and believable enough, but before long they evolved into tall tales that mixed the boys’ admiration of their grandfather with a healthy dose of imagination.

“One day, I came home and Ryan told me, ‘Daddy, I was taking a hike with Granddad and a skunk jumped up and bit him in the pants!’” Dr. Ellis says. It was around this time that Dr. Ellis started to see the creative seeds of a series of stories. “I knew I had to preserve the memory of their priceless statements.”
He had always had a fondness for a story well told, and he began writing down the boys’ adventure reports, spinning them into larger stories and even including elements of his own childhood. Before long, Dr. Ellis had a series of eight tales based on the boys and a fictional granddad modeled on his own father.

Those stories formed the basis of Dr. Ellis’ first book, “The Granddad Tales,” which was published this spring.

“It’s really inspired by Ryan’s and Garrett’s creativity; it’s not biographical per se, but it includes foggy ‘memories’ of both imagined and true happenings,” Dr. Ellis says. “Anyone with kids or who loved their childhood will enjoy it.”

For Dr. Ellis, writing the book was a chance to stretch his literary skills. He’s had a passion for writing since his years studying English as an undergraduate.

He had previously focused on poetry, with several pieces published in medical and literary journals. After he completed “The Granddad Tales,” he spent several months searching for agents and publishers before reaching a deal with a company that specializes in undiscovered authors.

In that time, he was able to continue writing and seeing his first book in print has inspired him to pursue two new projects: “Tales from My Tea Garden,” a children’s book of short stories and “The Park,” a novel for teens and adults.

“When I first started ‘The Granddad Tales,’ I just wanted my sons to have a memory of story-telling time,” Dr. Ellis says. “But writing it has stirred a passion in me for helping others see the power in the shared act of storytelling. And now, my sons and I love to create stories together after their reading time; and, they love to tell me their own stories. So, the gift comes back to me.”

“The Granddad Tales”

“The Granddad Tales” is available at and in the Allenbrand Resource Center on the ground floor of Hulston Cancer Center. More about Dr. Ellis’ work can be found at:
Glenna Muse
"Warm hats for Wee Noggins” 
Over the last few years, respiratory therapist Glenna Muse and a knitting group at Cox South have been lending their talents to create knitted hats for premature babies in the NICU. Now, the success of Muse’s knitting hobby is driving her in the pursuit of another passion: writing.

In 2011, Muse collected 19 of her own hat designs and wrote a book proposal for arts and crafts publisher Leisure Arts. Just 40 days after her submission, she had a contract in hand for “Warm Hats for Wee Noggins,” which was published late last year.

“I’ve been so blessed and the reviews have been great,” she says. “It’s nice that people appreciate what we do for our patients.”

The book has been so popular that a follow-up is already planned. She’s currently gathering 20 new designs that will be published in 2013.

Muse was pleasantly surprised to see that the first book included a three-page introduction adapted from her book proposal. For someone who has loved writing her whole life, it was exciting to see her work in print. And it’s a thrill she hopes to repeat soon with some of her other writing projects.

Right now, she’s about 50,000 words into her first novel, with an outline crafted for the remaining chapters and time set aside to complete it. The book, called “Letters From My Bath,” is the story of a woman who is encouraged by a life coach to write frank letters to the people who have been sources of tension in her life. The letters are a writing exercise only, just for her. Or at least that was the intent, before her well-meaning husband stumbled upon the sealed envelopes and mailed them.

Muse plans to complete the manuscript this fall and then find an agent who can help in the search for a publisher. The novel has been years in the making, but she says the personal rewards of writing make the effort worthwhile.

“Only so many people can support themselves through fiction; there’s only one Stephen King,” she says. “I’m lucky to have a job I love. I work three days a week, 12- hour shifts, and that gives me time to pursue other things I love.”

Muse says her work in the hospital has provided inspiration for some of her writing. “There are no better stories than being in a hospital,” she says. “It’s a microcosm of human nature.”

It was the perspective that only health care workers have that inspired both Muse’s desire to work in respiratory therapy and her first published piece, a poem called “Code Blue. ” She wrote the poem, which appeared in a journal at the University of Oklahoma Medical Center, after responding to her first code.

“It was the first time I had done compressions and felt someone come back to life under my hands,” she says. “I had seen death in my own life, but to work it and see someone pink up, come back and start fighting is such a unique experience medical people have.

“I just watched someone die and come back; it’s a miracle I knew I wanted to be an RT before, but that sealed it.”

“Warm hats for Wee Noggins”

Glenna Muse’s “Warm hats for Wee Noggins” is available at local craft stores, Amazon and at the publisher’s website, Muse also writes a cooking blog at:
Jean Rosenow 
“Blessed are the Pure in Heart” 

Storytelling has been a part of Jean Rosenow’s life for as long as she can remember. During long road trips with their parents she and her brother would make up stories to pass the time. The pair would see something as simple as a patch of daffodils in a field and spin a story about a family that had once lived in a cabin in that spot, with flowers near the front door.

The siblings’ storytelling habit continued into adulthood: Rosenow and her brother would send one another a list of three or four unrelated words and ask that the other send back a story based those words. Her brother has since passed away, but that tradition of storytelling links Rosenow to a part of her childhood, and to a simpler time she works to share with readers.

“My childhood was a very different time than what people experience now,” she says. “Back then, there was a real sense of community. It was a good way to grow up and I wouldn’t want it to be lost.”

Rosenow spends her days as a dietetic assistant in Food and Nutrition Services, but in her free time she writes nostalgic stories for publications like “Looking Back” and “Good Old Days.” This summer, her first novel, “Blessed Are the Pure in Heart,” was published by Avalon Books.

The book focuses on a woman, Emma, who has dedicated her life to caring for her younger brother, Rodney, who has Down syndrome. A local farmer, Ira, places an ad in the personals section of a newspaper and Rodney decides he might be perfect for his sister.

“It’s a story about community and good people,” Rosenow says. The novel captures the spirit of the spirit of rural southern Missouri that she observed first-hand when she lived on a farm near Alton. “I just think the Ozarks are wonderful and I’ve always wanted to write about that experience.”

Rosenow says she enjoyed building a story around people like those she’s met in this area. She tends to write by building from a seed of an idea, without plotting out where the story will go beforehand. Working on a novel gives her enough time to see characters develop, a process that begins to feel like getting to know actual people.

“Characters take on a life of their own and they tell their own story and what they want people to know about them,” she says. “The most rewarding part is seeing where the story is going and seeing it come out.”

Rosenow says her co-workers are excited and supportive about the book and it’s been a little overwhelming preparing for its publication.

“It can be scary,” she says with a laugh. “You realize your personal thoughts are no longer private; they’re launched into the world!”

The rewards are worth it, though. Rosenow is already hard at work on her next project: an historical novel about the lumber boom in the Ozarks that began in the 1880s.

She says the biggest challenge is to find the time to do it.

“I’m not a full time writer, there are too many things to do. I still have a few books in me and I’d like to write them.”

“Blessed are the Pure in Heart” 

Jean Rosenow’s “Blessed are the Pure in Heart” is currently available on Amazon. A full list of her published works can be found on her website at

New ambulances offer enhanced safety

We all know ambulances, and the crews that staff them, save countless lives each year. Yet while designed with the care and safety of patients in mind, older model ambulances were not designed to protect the crew while they care for these patients. Crew members work unrestrained in the patient compartment, and quick stops, sharp corners and other maneuvers a driver must make to avoid an accident can have serious consequences. In the case of an actual crash, the results can be even more serious. 

“Statistics show the American ambulance is one of the most dangerous vehicles on the road for its passengers,” says Mark Alexander, director of CoxHealth Pre-Hospital Services.

Thankfully, this situation is changing as newer, safer ambulances are becoming more common, and CoxHealth is proud to bring the first of these ambulances to the area. The organization has purchased two 2011 Mercedes Mirage EX Sprinter ambulances as part of its fleet, and plans to systematically replace the entire fleet as existing ambulances reach the end of their life expectancy.

Ambulances built on the Sprinter platform have been in use around the world for years, and are the ambulance of choice in Europe, Australia and other countries. But their use in the United States has been fairly limited.

“In the EMS industry, we have tended to take the approach that we’re there to protect our patients – which we are – and that the risks we take in moving around inside the vehicle are part of the job. But now we’re saying, ‘Why take that risk if you don’t have to?’” says Mike Dawson, Pre-Hospital Services operations manager.

Sprinter ambulances are narrower, which allows for a forward-facing seat with a four-point safety harness for the paramedic or EMT providing care in the back. This configuration allows the staff member to reach supplies and care for the patient while being safely restrained.

“I can’t say that we’ll be safely restrained the entire time we’re providing patient care, but we can be most of the time,” says Dawson. “That is a significant improvement over the situation in American-style ambulances.”

The new ambulances were customized by Demers Ambulance, located near Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Dawson and Webster County EMS manager Fred Savage flew to Montreal in June and spent two days driving the ambulances back to Springfield. According to Dawson, Demers was selected because of the high level of safety features they build into the vehicles they produce.

“Demers builds ambulances that are used in 25 different countries, and they made the decision that they would build to the most rigid safety standards available. This, and the innovation they brought to the table, is why we selected this company,” says Dawson.
The new ambulances also feature back-up cameras with microphones, a microphone in the patient compartment so the driver is aware of what is happening with the patient and his or her crew member, replicated warning lights so vehicles approaching a scene from behind can see the lights when the vehicle doors are open, and more.

“We don’t let paramedics and EMTs go into a scene that’s not safe, that hasn’t first been secured. And then we put them in the back of an ambulance where they’re not secure and can be easily harmed during an accident,” says Alexander. “These ambulances change that.”

Another leading reason for making the switch to the Mercedes Sprinter platform? Cost – both in purchase price and savings related to operations. Each new, fully outfitted Sprinter costs $91,999. That’s $50,000 - $60,000 less than a similarly equipped new Ford or GM ambulance like those the organization has purchased in the past. Plus, Sprinters are more fuel efficient – each is expected to save CoxHealth approximately $7,000 a year in fuel costs.

The Mercedes platform also offers some unexpected benefits. “One thing we’ve found that we weren’t necessarily expecting is that these vehicles offer a much smoother ride,” says Dawson. That’s a benefit to the patient and to staff providing care. Other Demers innovations offer more patient benefits – the heater in back vents below the patient cot instead of from the ceiling, helping keep the patient more comfortable. And the attendant seat in the back even includes an integrated child safety seat for times when a child may need to ride with an adult patient.

“They’ve thought of almost everything,” Dawson says. 
Operations manager Mike Dawson points out features of the new Sprinter ambulances to Springfield News-Leader reporter Jonathan Shorman during a media event.

Including the Sprinters, CoxHealth has an ambulance fleet of 27 vehicles. Additionally, the organization maintains and manages another 24 ambulances in the region that are registered to individual ambulance district boards.

These new ambulances will be based in Greene County and are expected to have a life span of 6 – 8 years and roughly 300,000 miles.

“CoxHealth has been an innovator and leader in pre-hospital patient care since we began providing full-service ambulance care in 1987,” says Dawson. “By adding the Sprinters to our fleet, we are continuing that tradition.”
The ambulances were customized by Demers Ambulance in Montreal, Quebec, and then brought to Springfield for custom graphics, applied by Dick Harper at Stripes, Ltd.

Pre-Hospital celebrates quarter century on the cutting edge 

This year marks CoxHealth’s 25th anniversary of providing full-service ambulance care to area residents, and through the years CoxHealth has been a leader in pre-hospital care.

In 1972, CoxHealth became one of the first hospitals in the nation to operate a mobile coronary care unit. This unit carried specially trained staff who traveled to pick up patients suspected of having a heart attack. The diagnosis and treatment of the patient began on the way to the hospital.

In 1987, CoxHealth first stepped into full-service ambulance care with the purchase of the Stone County ambulance service.

Later that same year, Cox purchased ambulance services in Ava, Republic and Springfield.

In 1988 and 1989, ambulance service was expanded to Christian, Dade, Barry and Webster counties. Before this time, most ambulance services were operated by funeral homes and county governments. There were no training requirements or standards and the value of trained paramedics and EMTs had not yet been realized.

In 1989, Cox launched a regional dispatch center that answered 911 calls for a seven-county area.

In 1997, a computer-aided dispatch center was brought on-line, providing GPS and tracking strategic placement of ambulances so we could provide the fastest response times possible.