Friday, May 31, 2013

Local health leaders team up to bring message of health, wellness and longevity to Springfield

Dan Buettner, author of the New York Times bestseller “The Blue Zones” will hold free discussions on living well 

For immediate release 
Springfield, MO, May 31, 2013 – What causes some populations of people to live longer, healthier lives than others? Author Dan Buettner, a National Geographic fellow, has traveled the planet to uncover the secrets of longevity and happiness, distilling what he learned down to the Power 9® – the nine principles that have helped people in certain areas of the planet, known as Blue Zones, achieve this lifestyle. 

Thanks to Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Missouri, CoxHealth and Mercy, Dan will bring his inspiring message about the Blue Zones way of life to Springfield on Tuesday, June 11. He’ll speak for free to the public at the O’Reilly Family Event Center on the Drury University Campus, 935 N. Summit, in Springfield. The event begins with a book signing and health fair at 3 p.m., and is followed by the presentation “Blue Zones® – the Secrets of Living Longer” at 4 p.m. Registration is requested but is not required; call 417-269-INFO or 417-820-8888. 

National and local studies consistently show that obesity, heart disease and diabetes are at epidemic levels in the Ozarks and across the U.S. Dan’s message of nine simple steps that can improve your quality of life is designed to encourage us all to put health first. 

“The Blue Zones principles are consistent with our mission to improve the lives of the people we serve and the health of our communities,” said Steve Martenet, president of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Missouri. "We are proud to sponsor bringing Dan Buettner to the Springfield community.” 

“Dan’s research has discovered that it takes a community making deliberate environmental and lifestyle choices for individuals to see meaningful change in their health and wellness,” said Brian Williams, vice president at CoxHealth. “We believe Dan’s visit will help Springfield begin this conversation and set us on the road to the Blue Zones way of life.” 

“As a practicing physician, I know that living a long life is great, but even better is living a long life that's active and vibrant well into those last years,” said Robert W. Steele, MD, president of Mercy Hospital Springfield. “What we learn from Dan Buettner's research is how possible that is for all of us; we just have to be willing to make a few changes to enjoy a richer, fuller life.” 

While he’s in town, Dan will also speak to business leaders about Blue Zones principles, and how encouraging these simple lifestyle changes in employees can be the “Making of a Healthy City.” Business leaders can register to attend this presentation, scheduled for 7:30 a.m., in the Bass Pro White River Conference Center, 600 W. Sunshine, by visiting or, or calling 417-269-INFO or 417-820-8888. 

For more information about Blue Zones and the Power 9®, visit

Thursday, May 30, 2013

CoxHealth is the top Heart Walk fundraiser

Karl Schmidt, director of the American Heart Association (right) recently presented the trophy for Top Fundraising Company to representatives of CoxHealth's Heart Walk team. Team members include (from left): Rosemary Lewis, community liaison; Stacey Cannon, 400 nurse manager; Becky Watts, administrative director, Cardiovascular Services; Lindy Biglieni, director, admissions, Cox College; and Jim Waring, director of non-invasive imaging and business development.

CoxHealth has again claimed the title of Top Fundraising Company in the annual Heart Walk, benefiting The American Heart Association. Our team of nearly 300 walkers raised more than $30,000 for the cause. Our own Stacey Cannon, nurse manager on 400, was among the top individual fundraisers. CoxHealth has been the top fundraising company for seven of the last nine years. The American Heart Association also recognized CoxHealth as a Gold Level Fit-Friendly Company.

It’s Miracle Weekend at CoxHealth!

Join the organization for the annual CoxHealth Medical Mile and the 2013 CMN Hospitals Telethon 

For more than 25 years, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals of CoxHealth has financially supported sick and injured Ozarks’ children and their families by helping with medically related travel expenses, medical equipment purchases and much more. Because CoxHealth underwrites all administrative expenses of the local CMN Hospitals office, 100 percent of all gifts and proceeds help children with medical needs right here in the Ozarks. 

This weekend, you can support CMN Hospitals of CoxHealth in two ways: 

· The 22nd annual CoxHealth Medical Mile and 5K Run/Walk is Saturday, June 1, beginning at 7 a.m. In addition to the races, we’ll have fun activities for the kids including games, inflatables and more. Packet pick-up is 7 a.m. – 7 p.m., Friday, May 31, but it’s not too late to sign up. Visit for registration details and information on event day registration as well. Proceeds benefit CMN Hospitals. 

· The 2013 CMN Hospitals Telethon is the public’s chance to become a part of the miracle. The telethon will air live on KY3 10:30 p.m. – Midnight, Saturday, June 1, and 8 am. – 5 p.m., Sunday, June 2. Broadcast from Cox South in Springfield, the telethon will feature the stories of many local children who have been helped by the charity. Last year the telethon raised $1,462,269. 

“We’re so appreciative of everyone who supports Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, whether it’s through these activities or the many events held throughout the year,” said Tim Siebert, executive director. “I want every individual and every corporate sponsor to know their donations truly make a lasting difference in the lives of so many children.”

Friday, May 24, 2013

CoxHealth Sleep Disorders Center receives five-year reaccreditation

The CoxHealth Sleep Disorders Center recently received a five-year reaccreditation from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. 

The AASM accredits centers with a demonstrated commitment to high quality diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders. To be accredited, a sleep center must show compliance with AASM standards related to personnel, policies and procedures, data acquisition, scoring and reporting, patient evaluation and care, quality assurance, and more. Accreditation requirements are designed to ensure patients receive the highest quality care. 

To learn more about the CoxHealth Sleep Disorders Center, visit

CoxHealth and Price Cutter announce new partnership

Dietitians to offer cooking classes and supermarket tours at Price Cutter 

CoxHealth and Price Cutter are pleased to announce a new partnership designed to provide the local community the opportunity to engage with dietitians during cooking classes and supermarket tours. 

Every month a dietitian with CoxHealth will offer a cooking class at Price Cutter’s Taste Culinary Classroom, located within the Price Cutter at 2021 W. Republic Road in Springfield. This month’s class is scheduled for Thursday, May 23, at 6 p.m. Jason Bauer, RD/LD, MHA, will teach the class entitled “Flavor-Packed Culinary Bundles and Wraps.” 

“Although many people might think a cooking class taught by a dietitian is going to be all about what you can’t eat, that’s not my approach at all,” emphasized Bauer, who is Manager of Corporate & Employee Wellness at CoxHealth. 

“The ingredients I’ll be using, such as Greek yogurt, basil pesto, bell peppers, cheese, avocado, shrimp and fresh mint, all bring color, texture and great flavor to the three dishes I’ll be preparing. This is food you’ll enjoy eating because, first and foremost, it tastes great. But you’ll also feel good about eating it because it’s wholesome and healthy.” 

Shoppers interested in learning how to navigate the supermarket so they can make healthier food choices for their families, can sign up for a supermarket tour led by CoxHealth registered dietitian, Donna Webb. The tour takes place on Tuesday, June 11, at 3 p.m., and lasts one hour. It will be conducted at the same Republic Road Price Cutter. 

“I’ve been leading supermarket tours for some time and people just bring their shopping carts with them as we walk through the different aisles. By keeping the tours at just eight people, everyone feels comfortable asking questions about different products and sharing recipe ideas,” said Webb. “We really have a lot of fun, and Price Cutter stores offer such product variety. Eating healthier really begins with selecting the right ingredients and they do a great job of offering products that are on the cutting edge from a nutrition perspective, such as coconut oil.” 

The newly forged partnership not only provides the ideal venue for CoxHealth dietitians to educate consumers on product selection and preparation, it brings nutrition expertise to Price Cutter shoppers. 
“I’m very pleased to be partnering with the dietitians at CoxHealth. It enables us to bring experts in healthier eating to our shoppers who we know are very interested in providing quick and easy nutritious meals for their families,” noted Larry Hayward, Executive Vice President for Price Cutter. 

“We already offer the NuVal program which scores products based on their nutritional value. The CoxHealth cooking classes and tours are just the next step in assisting our shoppers interested in eating healthier.” 

“Plus both companies are locally owned; we have an established reputation for supporting local businesses in our community which our shoppers appreciate.” 

The cost of participating in either the CoxHealth sponsored cooking class or supermarket tour is $10 per person. For more information and to register, visit

CoxHealth Trauma Services notes increase in motorcycle, bicycle, ATV accidents

CoxHealth Trauma Services has noted a recent increase in the number of patients needing emergency care due to motorcycle, bicycle and ATV accidents. Several of these cases have resulted in serious injuries and even death. 

“The number of motorcycle collision patients we’ve cared for this year is already two and a half times what we saw in all of 2012,” says Jami Blackwell, CoxHealth Trauma Services coordinator. “The number of people injured in bicycle and ATV collisions is up as well. Many of these injuries could be prevented if simple safety steps were followed.” 

Blackwell attributes the increase to a number of factors, including the nice weather. “Once the temperatures warm up, more people get out to enjoy the weather. But unfortunately, they also sometimes engage in risky behaviors that increase their chances of being hurt, or hurting someone else,” she says. 

According to Blackwell, wearing a properly fitted helmet designed for bicycle riding, or ATV or motorcycle riding, is the easiest and most important thing you can do. Other safety tips include: 

· Be aware of your surroundings.
· Avoid distractions, including cell phones.
· Don’t use alcohol before riding.
· Bicycles and motorcycles should obey all traffic laws and signals.
· Motorists should be aware of their surroundings as well, and should watch for bicycle and motorcycle riders.
· ATV riders should never use public roadways, should never carry passengers, and should never allow children under 16 to operate an ATV.
· For everyone, excessive speed and stunts should be avoided. 

To learn more safety tips visit the safety and injury prevention section of,

CoxHealth Skilled Nursing and Transitional Care Units honored by U.S. News & World Report

The Skilled Nursing and Transitional Care Units at the CoxHealth Meyer Orthopedic and Rehabilitation Hospital have been named a best nursing home in Missouri by U.S. News & World Report magazine. 

The ranking is based on ratings from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for overall performance in health inspections, nurse staffing and quality of medical care. Of the 81 nursing homes in southwest Missouri, 18, including CoxHealth, received an overall five star rating, qualifying them for this recognition.

Transitional care units and skilled nursing units provide nursing and rehabilitation care to patients who are recovering from illness or injury and are not yet able to return home. To see the ranking and learn more, visit

Friday, May 17, 2013

CoxHealth breaks ground on new patient tower at Cox South

On Wednesday, CoxHealth broke ground on a new 310,000-square-foot addition to Cox Medical Center South. This new patient tower, scheduled to be completed in 18-24 months, will house a Women’s and Children’s Hospital, a Neuroscience Center, and will include room for expansion.

CoxHealth’s president and CEO Steve Edwards said the new tower is designed to meet the area’s health care needs now and in the future. “Our existing tower was designed 30 years ago. It has served us and the community well. But we know the population we serve is growing and aging, and looking forward we determined that now was the time to expand to meet those needs.”
The $130 million project is financed in part by an April bond issuance. Two major gifts in support of the project were also announced at today’s groundbreaking. Donors include:
· The Jared Family: Linda and Jerry Jared, Curtis and Jade Jared, Roger, Andrew and Cindy Jared, and Brian and Michelle Jared, in support of the now-named Jared Neuroscience Center.
· Arthur and Ruth Ann White, in support of the now-named Dee Ann White Women’s and Children’s Hospital.
“As Springfield’s only locally owned non-profit health system, CoxHealth depends on the generosity of our friends and neighbors,” said Lisa Alexander, CoxHealth Foundation president. “We’re thankful to those who have committed to this project, and we look forward to working with community members at all levels of donation who want to help CoxHealth meet the needs of those around them.”
Once completed, the Dee Ann White Women’s and Children’s Hospital will occupy the Ground – 2nd floors of the project and include a new Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Pediatric Unit and Post-Partum Unit with easy access to Cox South’s existing Labor and Delivery area and women’s and children’s physician offices. The Jared Neuroscience Center will occupy floors 7 – 9 and include inpatient care units, plus clinic space for Springfield Neurological and Spine Institute physicians and Ferrell-Duncan Clinic neurologists.
CoxHealth leaders say that even though there is uncertainty in the health care industry, historically low interest rates in the bond market made now the time to make this investment. The organization’s analysis shows that if current interest rates were to increase by only 1.5 percentage points, the cost of the bond offering would have increased by $43 million.

CoxHealth Sleep Disorders Center receives five-year reaccreditation

The CoxHealth Sleep Disorders Center recently received a five-year reaccreditation from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. 

The AASM accredits centers with a demonstrated commitment to high quality diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders. To be accredited, a sleep center must show compliance with AASM standards related to personnel, policies and procedures, data acquisition, scoring and reporting, patient evaluation and care, quality assurance, and more. Accreditation requirements are designed to ensure patients receive the highest quality care. 

To learn more about the CoxHealth Sleep Disorders Center, visit

Monday, May 13, 2013

New Cox South tower is key to the future

CoxHealth CEO Steve Edwards and board chair Jim Hutcheson spoke to reporters and staff members during the press conference announcing the planned expansion on the Cox South campus. 

A 310,000-square-foot addition to Cox South will provide advanced care and position us for growth. 

In 1983, when administrators at Cox were making plans for a women’s and children’s hospital in south Springfield, outside consultants from Chicago urged them to consider building a full-service facility. It would be a gamble to create a nine-story hospital in a field beyond where National Avenue ended, but the board and hospital leadership took the advice and expanded their plans.

When the hospital opened in 1985, patient stays were getting shorter and reimbursements were going down. Cox South’s first year of operation is the only time the health system has lost money in the last 50 years. The project was off to a shaky start, but leaders weren’t looking at what was best for that moment – they were looking toward the future.

“People thought it was a bad idea, and if you look at that first year, it looks like a mistake to build Cox South,” says Steve Edwards, CoxHealth president and CEO. “Now, in hindsight, it’s the best mistake we ever made – our whole future was dependent on that success.”

Just as our current success hinged on the decisions made 30 years ago, leaders say the key to CoxHealth’s future lies in a 310,000-square-foot addition now planned for Cox Medical Center South. When ground is broken on the nine-story tower, it will kick off the final major expansion on the Cox South campus. When the project is complete, likely in the fall of 2014, it will be home to a Women’s and Children’s Hospital, a Neuroscience Hospital and additional floors ready for future expansion.

“This is similar to the creation of Cox South in that this is not a two-year project, but a part of our plan for the next 25-30 years,” Edwards says.

Adding a second tower on the Cox South campus has been a possibility for years, but a combination of demographic and financial factors make now the ideal time.

“We know that to continue to provide the absolute best patient care and meet the needs of our growing and aging population, we must have facilities designed for the highest standards of care and efficiency,” Edwards says. “This new patient tower places us securely at the forefront of health care in the Midwest.”

Between regional growth, an aging population and health care reform leading to more patients covered and seeking out care, the need to build is obvious. Right now, interest rates are at historic lows, which means it’s the best time to borrow.

“We’ve thought about building a new tower and new patient space for a long time and we, prudently, pushed it off multiple times in the past decade,” says Jake McWay, CoxHealth’s chief financial officer. “We’ve solved inefficiencies and maximized what we can with our current infrastructure. There may never be another chance in my career to borrow money at this level. If we miss the opportunity, we may lose it for 20 years.”

The construction is funded by the sale of roughly $200 million in bonds in early April. The bonds, which all sold within their first hour on the market, have an average interest rate of roughly 4.5 percent. Edwards and McWay point out that if interest rates had risen just 1.5 percentage points – a very real possibility – a project like the new tower would cost an additional $43 million in interest alone.

“The value in going to the bond market when we did is measured in that savings,” Edwards says.

In addition to meeting the needs of a growing patient population, the new tower will improve the care CoxHealth offers in a variety of ways, beginning by offering all private rooms. Patients are increasingly expecting private rooms and leaders say making the switch is simply the right thing to do.

The private bed model offers therapeutic benefits for patients and it improves outcomes. Studies show that when a hospital adopts private beds, nosocomial infection rates drop, patient falls go down and satisfaction scores improve.

Rooms in the current Cox South tower will be made private simply by removing a bed. Hookups for electricity and medical gases will remain, allowing the rooms to become semi-private again in the event of abnormally high volumes or an emergency.

The private rooms also allow for more efficient use of space and better throughput. With Cox South’s current semi-private rooms, there may be 20-30 beds blocked out at any given time, due to isolation precautions or gender issues.

Dr. John Duff, senior vice president and chief hospital officer, says we can see plenty of evidence of the benefits of private rooms in new units at the Meyer Orthopedic and Rehabilitation Hospital. Even though the care is the same as in the past, patients are rating their experiences more positively, simply because of the comfort and privacy.

With value-based purchasing tying the patient experience to reimbursement and with a future environment where patients have more choice of hospitals, making the patient experience an outstanding one is key to CoxHealth’s success.

The new tower will expand the care we offer by creating a new home for CoxHealth’s women’s and children’s services and neurosciences.

The Women’s and Children’s Hospital will occupy three floors of the addition. The hospital will include a new Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Pediatric Unit and Post-Partum Unit, all with easy access to CoxHealth’s existing Labor and Delivery area and women’s and children’s physician offices.

The new Neuroscience Hospital will also utilize three floors of space and will include inpatient care units, plus clinic space for Springfield Neurological and Spine Institute physicians and Ferrell-Duncan Clinic neurologists.

“Our neuroscience and women’s and children’s teams are an absolute strength of this organization. We deliver more than 3,000 babies a year, and our neuroscience team has been rated number one in the nation for spinal fusion by CareChex,” Edwards says. “We want to complement first-rate care with first-rate facilities, and this expansion allows us to do that.”

All of the new floors will incorporate modern design standards, as seen in recent projects such as the Emergency Department and the Meyer Orthopedic and Rehabilitation Hospital. Those designs will allow for increased efficiency and fewer steps for staff members.

The remaining space will include a dedicated mechanical floor and two floors built as empty shells, poised for future growth. That design decision maintains the integrity of the original structure, by attaching the same number of floors, and it is another example of investing wisely for the future. Each shelled floor adds about $5 million in cost while gaining 31,000 square feet of space. With current low interest rates, it makes sense to build space to grow into.

McWay says the financial picture for hospitals, and the nation in general, is currently challenging, but our long-term success depends on our ability to evolve with the health care climate.

“We owe it to the community to provide the care they need and the facilities to do that,” he says. “We need to be able to care for new patients who are uninsured today and we need to be positioned to attract new customers. This investment will help us offer an appealing platform for people to access health care.”

Edwards says investing now is key to growth – in the coming decades, we’ll be glad we did.

“If reimbursements are cut, and you can cover your costs and bring in revenue by growing, we want to do that,” he says. “We have to have quality facilities so we can care for our patients and this expansion will allow our health care professionals to provide this outstanding care in the area’s best facility, bar none.”

Project details 
A groundbreaking ceremony will be held at 9 a.m., May 15 for the new Cox South patient tower. The ceremony will be held in the parking lot between Cox South and the Turner Center.

The new tower at Cox South will be built in an 18-24 month construction period. The goal is to have a dedication on Thanksgiving Day, 2014 - the 108th anniversary of Ellen Burge’s donation of her home for a hospital on what is now the Cox North campus. The project has a $130 million budget, financed by an April bond issuance combined with donor support. The bond issuance totals approximately $200 million, allocated as follows:

• $115 million for the new Cox South tower

• $50 million for Cox Medical Center Branson ($25 million for acquisition and $25 million in initial capital commitments, including an expanded ER)

• $35 million in refinanced debt for Cox Branson

While the focus is on the Cox South campus for this project, leaders point out that our commitment to fulfill our mission at our other facilities continues – there are no expected changes in the services we provide at Cox North or Cox Monett.

CoxHealth’s Family Medical Care Center has been recertified as a Patient-Centered Medical Home

The concept of the medical home and a need for coordinated, accessible primary care is a cornerstone of health care reform. The CoxHealth Family Medical Care Center recently became recertified as a level three patient-centered medical home. The clinic was first certified in 2010, and was the first such clinic in southwest Missouri and only the second in the state. 

A patient-centered medical home is a model for care that seeks to strengthen the physician-patient relationship and coordinate care. Medical home recognition is granted by the National Committee for Quality Assurance, and level three is the highest level available. The NCQA is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to improving health care quality, and is governed by a board of directors that includes employers, consumer and labor representatives, health plans, quality experts, regulators and representatives from organized medicine. To learn more about the NCQA and Patient Centered Medical Homes, visit

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Prestigious partners: Dr. Tim Woods and Janna Woodall

In mid-April, CoxHealth employees were recognized for their years of service to our organization. More than 1,100 employees and their guests gathered at University Plaza Convention Center to celebrate 12,500 combined years of service among employees receiving service pins. Here are the final two winners of CoxHealth's annual Prestigious Partners Awards:

Dr. Tim Woods, Ferrell-Duncan Clinic
Janna Woodall, CREW

Dr. Tim Woods and critical care nurse Janna Woodall were nominated for the care they provided to a patient and her family on one of the most difficult days imaginable – a day when it seemed the family would be losing their mother.

The patient had presented at the Cox South Emergency Department with severe abdominal pain. She was in critical condition with low blood pressure and severe dehydration. Dr. Woods told the family that he would need to perform an exploratory surgery. The patient was ill enough in the ER that Dr. Woods told her family that this could be catastrophic. They should prepare for the worst.

Dr. Woods removed a bowel obstruction, but the patient remained in critical condition. He sent her to the ICU and let the staff know that the patient was very sick and might not recover. The charge nurse assigned Janna to the patient exclusively, since the woman’s condition was so severe.

Janna met the family – including one of her daughters, who works here at CoxHealth. She told them how critical the situation was. And she kept them informed of everything that was going on – anytime she spoke with Dr. Woods, she told the family what was happening.

Janna noticed that the patient was having problems maintaining her blood pressure. Janna suspected that she might be losing blood. Dr. Woods contacted peers and co-workers, trying to figure out what could be making her critical. Everyone was at a loss.

Dr. Woods recalls: “Later that day, she started dying on us in the ICU. I couldn’t get her blood pressure up, her pulse was horrible, her oxygenation was horrible. I told the family, ‘I don’t think she’s going to make it through.’”

Then, the patient’s blood count came up slightly and Dr. Woods saw an opportunity for one last chance to save the woman’s life.
Woods decided another emergency surgery would be necessary. He didn’t believe the patient would survive a trip to the OR – they would have to operate in the ICU.

Dr. Woods told the staff: “We have to operate, and if we don’t get started in minutes, she will die.”

He called the OR and asked for assistance stat. Immediately the OR provided 3 nurses, 2 techs and 3 anesthesia providers. Working quickly, Woods and the team performed surgery, discovering that the patient’s colon had essentially died.

“In minutes, we had an operating room in that ICU, it was amazing teamwork.” Dr. Woods says.

“We removed her colon in literally 20 minutes. We needed to, she was that sick. I really believe if we hadn’t done something in a couple of minutes, she would have died. There’s no way she could have tolerated a trip to the operating room.”

The second procedure improved the patient’s vital signs and renewed hope for her survival.

Dr. Woods says: “That was absolutely what she needed. She was extraordinarily sick and by doing the surgery it got us the extra couple of days to allow us to resuscitate her.”

With the patient improving, Dr. Woods and Janna worked to support her family members: keeping them informed and letting them know that they were here to help. Dr. Woods says that’s something families need to hear -- to know that physicians and hospital staff are going to be there for their family member until they get better.

Dr. Woods says: “As a physician, when you’re taking care of a loved one, if you’re not focusing on the family, you’re missing the ball. When I finished that surgery, I told them, ‘listen, I’m in this for the long haul and I’m going to be here with you until we hopefully successfully help her leave the hospital.”

Janna says supporting families in difficult times is one of the reasons she became a nurse.

She says: “I think about, if that was my family, what would I want said to me? That’s how I approach all my patients, critical and otherwise. I’d want them to be upfront and honest, but not just give me numbers. I want to be compassionate and empathetic.”

Janna says you form a bond with the families in a situation like this.

She says: “It’s very emotional, but it’s just part of what I do. I’m a person of faith and we all have God-given gifts and talents and I think relating to families is one of mine.”

After a stay of several weeks in the hospital, the patient was able to go home. She’s now living in Las Vegas with one of her daughters.

Dr. Woods says it’s the kind of outcome you work toward in health care. He says: “She’s had some other complications, but she was able to walk out of our hospital. She’s alive, she can hold her grandbabies and her quality of life is rather good. If somebody is going to go through something like this, I strive to get them the best quality of life we can.”

Like many partners winners, Woods and Woodall say they were surprised about the award. From their point of view, they were simply doing their jobs.

Janna says she was moved to tears by the nomination. She says: “This was my first one and that’s part of why it was so meaningful. I’m honored to share it with Dr. Woods. He’s very astute and he always listens and trusts our judgment, especially if we have a concern.”

Dr. Woods says the award was a shock to him as well.

He says: “None of us do this to try to get accolades. I was honored and humbled that the family felt strongly enough to nominate us. Without the help of everyone on the team, we couldn’t have achieved what we did.”

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Meet Prestigious Partner Lana Martin

In mid-April, CoxHealth employees were recognized for their years of service to our organization. More than 1,100 employees and their guests gathered at University Plaza Convention Center to celebrate 12,500 combined years of service among employees receiving service pins. Meet the third of our five Prestigious Partners winners below:

Lana Martin 
Trauma Services 

Lana Martin is an RN, a Certified Emergency Nurse, and works as a nurse clinician in Trauma Services in the Cox South ED. She is also a SANE nurse, which stands for Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner. SANE nurses are specially trained to care for and collect evidence from assault victims.

One night in the ER, Lana was assisting a girl who was a victim of a sexual assault. She was 16 years old. She was very emotional and crying. The girl’s family was with her. Lana says, “It was a bad situation.” And like many sexual assaults in the community, this one involved drinking.

Following protocol, Lana called the Springfield Police Department so an officer could interview the patient. Lana remembers the officer who came in was a physically big man who was acting “very macho” as Lana described his behavior and was already indicating to Lana that he didn’t believe the victim’s story.

Lana tried to explain to the officer that memory recall in trauma victims comes in pieces at times and details aren’t always told in the order they happened. Lana could tell that the officer’s emotions were already not where they needed to be.

The two walked into the patient room and Lana went through the series of questions she asks all assault victims and then collected evidence. At one point, the officer began saying comments to the girl as he was standing over her, things like “I guess you learned your lesson.” And ‘you’ll never do this again, will you?”

Lana said it was horrible. The girl was lying with her face down in the bed, crying uncontrollably. Lana was herself crying because of the officer’s behavior.

Lana has a great deal of respect for people in authority but she nearly had the officer escorted off the property.

After the experience Lana felt like something needed to be done to prevent this from happening to anyone else in the future – “coming into an emergency room after that trauma and then being re-traumatized by an officer.” 

She eventually contacted the officer’s sergeant who came to interview Lana at work. He took a complete statement of the events that took place and told her there would be an investigation. He also suggested that she report it to Internal Affairs which she did. Communication with the department went on for some time.

A few months later she got notified that Internal Affairs did not find fault in the officer’s actions.

But the sergeant of the officer informed Lana that the investigation which included her details of the case led to changes in the way officers with the Springfield Police Department respond to sexual assault victims. The sergeant sent Lana the three-page document that outlines the new protocols and processes which include specific explanations about how officers should behave during interactions with victims.

Lana says knowing something good came from the event makes her feel awesome. She hopes that this will never happen to anyone else ever again. As Lana says, “I was traumatized by the experience and I can’t imagine how the victim felt and she’s 16. She was a kid.”

Meet Prestigious Partner Jessica Green

In mid-April, CoxHealth employees were recognized for their years of service to our organization. More than 1,100 employees and their guests gathered at University Plaza Convention Center to celebrate 12,500 combined years of service among employees receiving service pins. Meet the second of our five Prestigious Partners winners below: 

Jessica Green 
Case Management 

When Jessica Green joined CoxHealth’s case management department two years ago, she was intrigued by the work that takes place in a hospital. There was only one area she was nervous about: working with terminally ill patients. As luck would have it, one of her first assignments was working with cancer patients on 900 West. 

During one of Jessica’s shifts, a woman had arrived at the ER with severe pain and she was admitted to the ninth floor. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer that had spread throughout her body. Her physician, Dr. Albert Bonebrake, said it was the worst case he had ever seen. 

Jessica was tasked with placing the woman in a skilled nursing facility, which would be difficult, since the woman was young, only 25. 

She soon noticed that the patient didn’t have many visitors. In talking with her, Jessica learned that the young woman had not had an easy family life. The patient had spent recent months caring for her mother, who was dying of cancer. She was her mom's nurse until her passing and she had also lived with her grandparents and had been their nurse when they died. The young woman had been taking care of other people and neglected her own health. 

Jessica says: “She was one of the kindest people. She was so sweet, she never complained about anything, not even about her pain.” 

Doctors soon decided that she was too ill for skilled nursing – she would spend her remaining days on the unit at Cox South. 

For Jessica, who had also been struggling with her uncle’s battle with cancer, the young woman’s case became personal. 

Jessica says: “She rarely had visitors, so I would go in her room -- I would take my work and go to sit with her. She didn't want to be alone. She would panic when she woke up alone.” 

Occasionally, the woman would express surprise that Jessica was still there. Jessica asked if she wanted her to leave, but the patient always said “no.” When the patient’s dad or her friend would come, Jessica would leave and let them be with her, but then she would come back. 

Jessica says: “We would sit and would talk about life. She loved pink lemonade and she loved scotty dogs. She had an older dog of her own and we were able to bring her dog into the hospital to be with her. That was special to her.” 

Jessica brought her patient a robe and comfortable slippers and she tracked down packets of pink lemonade. As she sat with the young woman, Jessica started to believe she had been placed on the floor for a reason. 
Jessica says: “I used to pray that I would never be called to sit with someone in a situation like this -- where I would be there to witness someone’s last breath. What do you say to people who are dying? You can't say, ‘I understand.’ That was a struggle. But they don't want you to say anything, they just want you to be there. That's what I learned. It was something she needed and it gives you a different perspective on life.” 

Only a week after she first arrived at the ER, the young woman passed away. 

Jessica says she had no idea what her Partners nomination was for when heard about it. 

She says: “I didn't save someone's life, I just did what I would have wanted someone to do for me. That's the perspective you take every time you enter someone's room. I'm a firm believer that no one should die alone. If I was lying in that bed, I would want someone to be there for me. To always let me know what's happening. To be there to hold my hand, wipe my brow and find me some pink lemonade.”

Monday, May 6, 2013

Prestigious Partner: James 'Chewy' Vroman

In mid-April, CoxHealth employees were recognized for their years of service to our organization. More than 1,100 employees and their guests gathered at University Plaza Convention Center to celebrate 12,500 combined years of service among employees receiving service pins. Meet the first of our five Prestigious Partners winners below:

James “Chewy” Vroman 
Biomedical and Technical Services Coordinator, Cox Monett 

James “Chewy” Vroman is a man who brings a knack for creative problem solving to all of his efforts. From building robots to computer programming in his spare time, he’s always looking for a way to make things work. As the coordinator for Biomedical and Technical Services at Cox Monett, he says he never knows what he’ll wind up fixing during the course of the day.

During last summer’s CARDIAC Kids events, Chewy stepped in to meet a need by providing computers, printers and logistical support for the public celebrations. The Kohl’s CARDIAC Kids program provides free screenings, entertainment, and health and wellness information for area children. Last year’s events – held at the fairgrounds in Monett and Kohl’s in Springfield – drew more than 500 children.

Organizers were looking for a way to set up computers and printers for data entry and Chewy had a solution. Using eight de-commissioned computers and two printers, he set up a peer-to-peer network that allowed organizers to quickly enter height, weight and other measurements into a spreadsheet that could be printed out for parents.

He says: “We just improvised with what we had to work with and we were able to do it with no cost for the hardware.”

But his gift for problem solving didn’t stop there. He helped set up both events – providing an air compressor to inflate basketballs, building storage containers for sports equipment, and bringing safety supplies such as cots and first-aid kits.

Wellness educator Lauren Holland nominated Chewy for his eagerness to step up and make things happen. She says: “He was a real team player. This program - wasn't something that Chewy had to do, but something he chose to help with. His dedication and quick thinking helped not only CoxHealth but the families in the community.”

Chewy has been displaying that teamwork and inventiveness at Cox Monett since he joined the organization in early 2001. His mother has worked at Cox Monett for more than 25 years and he’d always been interested in the variety of work that takes place in a health care setting. And he was eager to take on the challenges.

He says: “I’m an electronics technician by trade, but I love the diversity. You never know what you’ll get into each day. I like a challenge – if you tell me something is impossible, you have my interest.”

Recently, he’s handled big challenges: repairing the overhead doors in the ER bays and replacing the desks of the nurses’ station in the ER. And small challenges: fixing a weather radio and repairing a phone jack that a patient bed had banged into.

Things that may be well-worn are never quite worn out when Chewy is nearby. The cash register in the gift shop, for example, uses an ink roller that is no longer made. A new register will be installed soon, but in the meantime, Chewy found a way to add ink to the old roller to get a little more life out of it.

As they gear up for this year’s CARDIAC Kids events, he’s working on ways to make improvements, including testing out a remote server that will allow kids and parents to fill out information from their phones or other mobile devices. He even has a plan for a way to make the server fun: he’ll house it inside a wheeled robot that he has kept stashed in the basement at Cox Monett. The robot was a fixture at Cox events in the 1980s and Chewy sees a chance to give it a facelift and a new life with CARDIAC Kids.

Chewy says participating in the events was “a blast” – “It’s a great way to get the CoxHealth name out there in the community. And the program is so impressive. There was a lot of recognition among parents that they need to help kids get out more. Playing video games all day isn’t any way to get in shape.”

When he found out he had received the prestigious partners award for his efforts, he said he laughed and asked, “for what?” “This is really important for the kids and we just got out there an did it. It was just a lot of fun!”

CoxHealth patient Dustin Reaves named 2013 Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Missouri Champion

Dustin Reaves will represent Missouri and raise awareness and funds for the charity on a national level 

Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals of CoxHealth is proud to announce that Dustin Reaves of Fair Grove has been named this year's Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Missouri Champion. Dustin will serve as a fundraising and awareness ambassador for CoxHealth CMN Hospitals and all children treated at CMN Hospital’s 170 member hospitals across North America.

Dustin, 13, was chosen for facing his unique medical challenges with courage and will serve to illustrate the impact of CoxHealth CMN Hospitals and why donated funds are needed for treatment, recovery and charitable care. This fall, Dustin and champions selected from each state will gather for an official ambassador trip to Washington, D.C., and Orlando, Fla.

Since Dustin’s diagnosis with type 1 diabetes at age 4, he’s been fascinated with the human body and medicine. Daily insulin injections and regular doctor appointments have given him a unique insider’s view into the medical field. Thanks to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Dustin now has an insulin pump that has eliminated painful daily injections and improved his quality of life. Now a teenager, he wants to become a pediatric endocrinologist so he can help other kids cope with this chronic condition.

“We’re happy for Dustin and thrilled that he will represent Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals of CoxHealth and Missouri,” said Tim Siebert, CoxHealth CMN Hospitals director. “The champions program highlights the important work of CMN Hospitals across the nation, helping the families of sick and injured children with medical expenses, medically related travel expenses and so much more.”