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.