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.

PBR riders visit Pediatrics

PBR pros Justin Koon (in white) and L.J. Jenkins (in black) stopped by Pediatrics at Cox South Friday morning to meet the kids and sign a few autographs. The pair toured the unit before their appearance in the annual PFI Western Invitational at JQH Arena Thanks to them for taking the time to visit our pediatric patients!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Two golf tournaments – one for the boys, one for the girls – in support of women with breast cancer

The CoxHealth Foundation is now accepting registrations for the annual Boys Against Breast Cancer and Ozarks Women’s Links golf tournaments. Proceeds from these events are used to support local women with breast cancer and their families. This year, the events will be held Monday, Sept. 24 and Millwood Golf and Racquet Club, 3700 E. Millwood Drive, in Springfield. The men tee off at 8 a.m., the ladies at 1 p.m.

Registration for this four-person scramble tournament includes breakfast and lunch for the men, lunch and a happy hour for the women, great swag bags and fun prizes. Fees are $150 per person, of $600 for a team of four.

Both tournaments benefit the CoxHealth Foundation Breast Care Fund, which provides financial grants to help women with their breast cancer care.

Easy online registration is available at, or call 269-7150.