Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Cox South rated best in Springfield for surgery safety

Lester E. Cox Medical Centers in Springfield placed among the best in Missouri in a Consumer Reports rating of the safest hospitals in the nation for surgical care. 

In the September issue, Consumer Reports rates Cox South as among the top eight hospitals in Missouri for providing safe surgeries to our patients. No other Springfield hospital rated higher in the magazine's "Your safer-surgery survival guide" article.

CoxHealth staffers: a FAQ on 2013 Silver Dollar City Fall Fest

UPDATE: Looking for information on the 2014 event at Silver Dollar City? See the full details on the 2014 event, coming up Sept. 6 in the new blog post at this link.

Original info on the 2013 event continues below:

The 2013 CoxHealth Employee Fall Fest is rolling into Silver Dollar City on Saturday, Sept. 7 and we’re ready for a day of family fun! If you're a CoxHealth employee and you're planning to join us, here are the details:

When will the guest tickets go on sale? 

Tickets are now on sale in the gift shops at South, MORH and North. Hours vary at the different locations. Tickets will be sold until the end of business on September 5.

Do I need to show my badge to purchase tickets?

Yes, you must show your badge to purchase extra tickets in the gift shop. CoxHealth has been provided a great price on the SDC guest tickets so we need to do our part to be sure tickets are not made available to the general public. Tickets are available for purchase exclusively for CoxHealth employees.

Can I use payroll deduct to buy tickets? 

Payroll deduction will be an option with the same guidelines as any other gift shop purchase.

When will I receive my free tickets? 

We have created individual ticket packets for every employee based on the information provided by the direct supervisor or manager. Managers may pick up their department’s packets in HR South. We have arranged direct distribution with different areas and will also have packets available for pick-up at the next Department Head meeting.

Remember, once you receive your ticket packet, be sure to keep the tickets and wristbands in a safe place. We cannot replace lost tickets or wristbands.

What about new hires? 
Starting the week of August 12, new hires will receive their tickets and wristbands at New Hire Orientation. Managers need to contact HR for other new hires who were not included in their department lists.

What if I am working on September 7? 

We will distribute post-event tickets for employees working on September 7 beginning September 9.

If I am working September 7, will I get a free lunch? 

Because of the nature of the SDC event, we will not offer a free meal to working employees this year. Unlike previous years, those working on September 7 will have the opportunity to attend SDC to make up for missing the event.


When is the event? 

Our annual Fall Fest which recognizes our employees will be held September 7, 2013.

What does the CoxHealth Annual Fall Fest at Silver Dollar City include?

· Full day’s admission to the park.

· Exclusive ride time in the park from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. and again after the park closes from 6 to 10 p.m.

· Discounts on food and refreshments. A discount list will be provided at a later time.

· Trams will start running at 7:15 a.m. Breakfast will be offered at a reduced price at The Mill and Mollie’s restaurants for those who want to come early. Both restaurants will begin serving at 8 a.m.

· Bingo scheduled for various times throughout the day at the Opera House.

Who can I bring with me? 

All CoxHealth employees, including contracted employees (Crothall, Cerner, Cardinal, etc.) from all campuses and affiliates will be provided tickets and wristbands for themselves and their immediate family members. If your family member meets the criteria as a dependent for health insurance, you may receive a ticket and wristband for them. Immediate family members are defined as those who could be or are dependents on our health insurance plan.

· Eligible dependents would be a spouse, unmarried dependent under age 26 and legal dependents (disabled adult child, foster child, etc). There will be no exceptions.

· Employees may bring extended family members or other guests by purchasing tickets and wristbands at the significantly reduced rate of $25 per guest. Be watching Connect Daily for more information about the sale of these extra Silver Dollar City tickets/wristbands for guests.

What must I have to enter the SDC park on September 7? 

· CoxHealth employees and their guests will be provided their ticket and wristband before September 7 and the ticket needs to be presented when you arrive on September 7.

· The ticket must be presented for admission to the park.

· The wristband must be worn to enjoy the exclusive ride times and to obtain the vendor discounts.

· You will not need a photo ID to enter the park, only the ticket and wristband.

· Tickets and wristbands will not be provided the day of the event. Once you receive your tickets and wristbands, please put them in a safe place so you’ll have them on the day of the event.

· You will be allowed to enter the park after 6 p.m. provided you have your ticket and wristband.

What happens if I forget my ticket or wristband? 

If an employee arrives at SDC on September 7 without a ticket or wristband, SDC will expect payment at full ticket price for park entry. Without the wristband, you will not be able to enjoy the discounts or the exclusive ride times. There will be no exceptions.

What if I am scheduled to work on September 7? 

Employees working during the 24-hour period of September 7 will be provided tickets for themselves and eligible family members to be used by October 6. Distribution of tickets for post-event admission will be September 9.

What if I am not able to attend on September 7? 

The September 7 date is our annual Fall Fest, offering an opportunity for all CoxHealth employees to enjoy a day at the park to visit, ride, and dine with family and friends. It is intended to be an event, not simply a free pass for admission to Silver Dollar City.

As with the traditional Fall Fest event at the Expo Center, there wasn’t a make-up date for those unable to attend. As indicated above, we are able to provide a second chance for those employees who must work on the day of the event so those who work on the 7th will be able to obtain a pass on September 9 to be used by October 6, 2013.

What if I already have a season pass? 

Employees who have season passes will need the wristband to be eligible for discounts and exclusive ride times. Please notify your manager that you only need the wristband.

During our event on September 7, using the pass that CoxHealth provides, Silver Dollar City is offering CoxHealth employees the opportunity to upgrade to a season pass for the remainder of the 2013 season for the price of $30.00.

What if my guest already has a season pass? 

The purchase of a wristband will be necessary to take advantage of the exclusive ride time and the food discounts offered throughout the park. The price is $25.00 regardless if they need the admission ticket and wristband or just wristband.

Can we bring food into the park? 

Silver Dollar City allows park guests to bring their own food and small coolers into the park. The parks asks that large coolers be kept in vehicles and allows guests to go back to their car to retrieve their food. Many people put food in backpacks and bring them into the park which would work for many us during our event.

Getting back in motion in our rehab garden

Patient Jack Tennis, of Chestnutridge, Mo., works alongside Kristi Vandeloecht and Shanna Stafford in the rehab garden at Meyer Orthopedic and Rehabilitation Hospital. The garden’s raised bed (high enough to accommodate a wheelchair) allows patients to get back to an enjoyable outdoor activity as part of their rehabilitation. 

“Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.”
- Luther Burbank, American botanist

People who enjoy gardening know the truth of those words. But following an illness or injury, many patients are no longer physically able to enjoy the activity that once brought them so much joy. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of staff at the Meyer Orthopedic and Rehabilitation Hospital, patients can again find happiness in the garden, while completing their therapy program.

“Recreational therapy is an underestimated part of healing,” says Kristi Vandeloecht, a physical therapy assistant who helps with the garden. “Focusing on PT and OT is important, but the recreation side of therapy – helping patients relearn to do things that bring them inner peace – that’s what gives us the full picture of healing.”

Shanna Stafford, recreational therapist, worked with Vandeloecht to create the plans for the garden’s newest addition – a raised planting bed built from a wooden pallet. “We had it built so patients in wheelchairs can roll up to it and work while they remain in their chair. The sides are waist high so patients can lean against the pallet and work without the hindrance of a walker,” she says.

The adaptive tools the pair has created, including a rake, a shovel and a trowel, allow patients who are experiencing weakness the ability to perform gardening tasks. “They’re still able to do what they love,” says Vandeloecht.

Patient Jack Tennis enjoys working in the garden. “I like to plant stuff and grow things, and I really enjoy the time I get to spend outside,” he says. Tennis’ family has become involved with the project, too, caring for the plants when they visit.

The entire courtyard surrounding the garden spaces was built with rehabilitation in mind. As patients tend to the plants, they move across a variety of walking surfaces, from concrete to wood chips to grassy slopes and even sand. “Everyone has a different surface at home, and this allows our patients to practice on the different surfaces they will encounter,” says Vandeloecht.

Says Stafford: “Having an illness or injury doesn’t mean you have to quit doing the things you like to do. Our goal with recreational therapy is to take someone’s interests and get them as close to their previous functioning level as we can. This garden helps us do that.”

Monday, August 12, 2013

Small steps to better health

Mollie McGinnis, mind-body coordinator at CoxHealth Fitness Centers, leads an outdoor yoga class for staff members. As wellness efforts ramp up this fall, leaders are planning free classes, walking clubs and nutrition demonstrations for staff and the public. 

Last fall, the Wellness department at CoxHealth conducted personal health assessments for a record number of employees, with more than 4,000 staff members participating. The results offer the most comprehensive view of our organization’s overall physical health we have ever had. Wellness leaders say our numbers are similar to those of the businesses the Wellness department serves as corporate clients – unfortunately, we’re all suffering from the same major risk factors: obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure.

Our local results reflect a national epidemic, which has become so widespread that the American Medical Association recently designated obesity as a disease. The causes are complex, ranging from genetics, to sedentary lifestyles, to an environment that encourages obesity. That complexity means that any simple solution is likely to be no more effective than the quick fixes pitched in late-night infomercials.

There is good news, though: The problem presents a real opportunity to improve community health and even small changes can make a difference.

When “Blue Zones” author Dan Buettner spoke to audiences in Springfield in June, he put it this way: We have to stop looking for a “silver bullet” solution to America’s obesity problem and instead consider “silver buckshot” – small actions, on both the personal and community level, that can nudge us in the right direction.

Leaders at CoxHealth are embracing that approach and our Wellness department is expanding its offerings this fall. The goal is to surround all of us with convenient ways to get active and eat healthier.

“The idea is to create a culture of wellness – we want to provide opportunities to people if they want to improve their health, whether it’s smoking cessation, nutrition or just well-being,” says Jason Bauer, manager of corporate wellness. “People know the right things to do, we just have to put opportunities in front of them and remove the barriers.”

The Wellness department is expanding walking clubs, coordinating free activities on the weekends and hosting seminars in CoxHealth cafeterias. Those opportunities will support what Buettner advocates: making small environmental changes to encourage people to move a little more and eat a little better.

Buettner and other experts have observed that obesity is an epidemic because our culture – with readily available fast food and limited options for walking and biking, for example – makes it easy to be overweight. It’s an environment that Dr. Dan Sontheimer, CoxHealth’s chief medical officer, calls “obesogenic.”

Individual willpower can only do so much in that kind of environment. For individuals, families and communities, making a dent in obesity will require making healthy choices just as convenient as unhealthy ones.

Dr. Sontheimer says seeing obesity as a disease will help health care providers get out of the traditional mode of “diagnose, treat and cure” and into approaches that treat obesity as an ongoing health condition.

“Obesity is a disorder that really requires ongoing, lifetime treatment,” he says. “If you hit a goal weight, you have to maintain all of those lifestyle changes or the weight will come back.”

Our personal health assessments show that 71 percent of participating employees have a body mass index (BMI) higher than 25 (overweight), and 44 percent have a BMI greater than 30, making them clinically obese. While obesity may not seem as urgent as other conditions, the health risks are real.

From a purely medical perspective, those extra pounds place a real strain on the body: of the wellness participants, 47 percent have high blood sugar and 41 percent have elevated blood pressure.

Dr. Sontheimer offers a simple analogy: the heart is designed to pump for an optimal body size. If the body grows beyond that size, it’s like adding capacity to a swimming pool without increasing the size of the pump.

“If you decided to make your pool larger, you’d probably replace the pump, but our bodies can’t do that,” he says.

The heart will do its best to keep up, but over time, that strain will lead to problems.

It’s not just the heart that is stressed. Obesity works directly against the body’s efforts to control blood sugar. The pancreas provides the insulin required to regulate glucose in the bloodstream, but the presence of more fat can make the body insulin resistant, meaning that the pancreas must supply more insulin to handle the same amount of glucose. Over time, the pancreas will fail, leading to the need to supplement with insulin.

The good news: incremental improvements make a difference.

“Most diabetics can lower their insulin resistance by losing 10 percent of their current body weight,” Dr. Sontheimer says. “Everybody thinks about some ideal weight they need to reach, but just losing 10 percent of your weight is a good goal that can improve your blood pressure and the way your body handles sugar.

“It may just move you 1 point on BMI, but you’ll see a tangible difference.”

To begin losing weight, Dr. Sontheimer says incorporating more movement into your daily routine is a good first step. We’ve all heard that we need to move more, but that doesn’t necessarily mean jumping into a workout routine. Incremental changes count here, too: walking more and taking the stairs can change the body even before the scale starts to move.

“You can become fitter while weighing the same,” Dr. Sontheimer says. “It’s important to just break the sedentary cycle and increase your activity. If you haven’t started losing weight, but you can climb more stairs than you used to without getting winded, that’s a serious improvement.

“Muscles use glucose and even a 20-minute walk can help reduce your blood sugar.”

When it comes to changing your diet, every little bit helps there, too. We all eat things we know aren’t good for us. Dr. Sontheimer says we should think about what we would be willing to adjust: Would we consider cutting back on sweets? Limiting sodium? Adjusting portion sizes?

Bauer and Dr. Sontheimer say that the key to a successful wellness program is engaging people around the changes they are willing to make.

The Wellness department at CoxHealth is working to expand healthy opportunities on CoxHealth campuses, with walking clubs, nutrition demonstrations and poker walks like this one held at Burrell Lake in June. 

That’s exactly what the Wellness department will be working to do this fall with the more than 6,500 employees who’ll be receiving personal health assessments. 

Bauer notes that this year, wellness coaches will be looking at the results and working directly with the participants who need the most support. Participants with a combination of risk factors will meet with coaches. Together, they’ll look for ways they can support the employees’ efforts to be healthier. Bauer says the coaches will serve as personal wellness coordinators for program participants. 

“Our coaches are going to be able to connect employees with resources, such as dietitians and staff at the Diabetes Center,” he says. “Our coaches will be centralized coordinators for getting people the help they need – like ‘account managers’ for wellness.” 

While coaches work one-on-one with employees, the Wellness department is undertaking several efforts to create a culture of wellness for all of us at CoxHealth. A few of the highlights: 

Sample Saturdays: Free, public wellness events at CoxHealth and in the community that focus on natural movement. So far, there have been yoga classes, group strength classes with the Meyer Center and Crossfit classes with local partners. Bauer says the events are designed to introduce new kinds of exercise and connect community members around fitness activities. A list of upcoming events can be found at coxhealth.com/getconnected. 

Wellness Wednesdays at Cox South and Lunch and Learn at Cox North: Presentations on diet, exercise and wellness during lunch at the CoxHealth cafeterias. The full schedule of upcoming events is coming soon to the intranet. 

Random Acts of Wellness: A monthly, in-person recognition of employees who are demonstrating healthy lifestyle habits. Wellness staffers will present vouchers and healthy snacks to enhance CoxHealth’s culture of wellness. 

Tuesday Trek: Tuesday Trek is a walking club for CoxHealth employees occurring once a month led by a member of the wellness team. Wellness leaders will have a mapped out course and meet in the same location each time. The events will begin in August. 

Bauer and the wellness team are also working on a book club and a number of wellness challenges in the coming months, such as stair-climbing challenges and jumping-jack competitions. The idea is to create fun activities that encourage employees to move more and have fun while doing so. Also, keep an eye out for “wellness champions,” staff members from throughout the system who will be inspiring their co-workers and coordinating departmental wellness activities. 

Bauer and Dr. Sontheimer say that if we can make health and wellness a part of the way we work every day, we can improve our personal lives and our ability to be a leader for the general public. 

“We have a tremendous opportunity to not just serve as a center for the treatment of illness, but as a model for developing a healthy community,” Dr. Sontheimer says. 

“That starts with our own community. We are getting healthier and that’s going to drive us as we work to be the best to foster health for everyone we serve.” 

3 steps to get started 

Improving wellness can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Dr. Dan Sontheimer says incremental improvements make a difference, and they’re the best way to start a cycle of positive change. His tips: 

1. Start small: Increase your movement. Working out doesn’t have to mean distance running or hitting the gym six days a week – all movement counts: walk a little more; take the stairs. 

2. Tweak your diet: Rather than getting overwhelmed with a diet plan, look for one thing you’d be willing to change. Maybe it’s dropping soda, or reducing sodium, or choosing fruits and nuts as snacks. Change one habit and build from there. 

3. Create little rules: Experiment with changing your behavior by setting rules. Trying “no snacking after dinner,” or “no desserts during the week” can add up to improvements. You can find what works for you and what doesn’t and you can make adjustments.

Injured under the Friday night lights? Try Friday Night Clinics for treatment

Clinics offer alternative for athletes injured in Friday night play 
CoxHealth and Ferrell-Duncan Clinic are again offering Friday Night Clinics to all area high school athletes with sports-related injuries, beginning Friday, Aug. 23 at 9 p.m. The clinics offer an alternative to crowded emergency rooms when care is needed for a non-emergent injury sustained during play, and you don’t want to wait until Monday to see your primary physician.

The clinics will be held in The Bone and Joint Center, 3555 S. National, Suite 200, in Springfield. Each Friday Night Clinic team is led by an orthopedic surgeon and includes a nurse, certified athletic trainer, radiology tech and clerical staff. Minor radiology exams are also available on-site to assist the physician with patient evaluation. 

Insurance claims will be filed. Coaches and athletic trainers can refer an athlete to the clinic by calling 417/269-7778. The final sports injury clinic of the season will be Friday, Oct. 25.