Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Expansion underway at Cox Monett ER

A new reception desk (shown in this rendering from Sam A. Winn & Associates), additional treatment rooms and a dedicated trauma room are all part of the renovation of the Cox Monett ER. The project is set to be complete in early 2015.

Work is well underway on a renovation that will make the Cox Monett Emergency Department more welcoming and comfortable for patients, and more efficient for staff members.

As soon as patients arrive, they’ll see the changes. A new registration window will allow multiple patients to check in at once and a nurse will be stationed at the front to begin triage immediately.

“The entire project is patient focused,” says Darren Bass, executive director at Cox Monett. “This will help us improve patient privacy, patient comfort and patient flow through the department.”

The $980,000 renovation will create seven private, 140-square-foot treatment rooms, along with a dedicated trauma room. Currently, the ER has four rooms of this size, along with three smaller spaces, some of which use curtains or accordion dividers rather than walls.

“In addition to being better for patients, this will improve the staff experience as well,” Bass says. “When you give care in an undersized room, sometimes you can’t look a patient in the eyes as you document, sometimes you have your back to them. This will allow staff members to have a more comfortable room to treat our patients.”

Bass says the expansion is accompanied by a reconfigured triage process designed to get patients back to rooms and through the ED as quickly as possible. Meanwhile, the dedicated 335-square-foot trauma room will allow Cox Monett to care for select trauma patients, many of whom are currently transferred to other facilities.

The renovation will also locate the Security department between the ED and the waiting room, so officers will be easily accessible if needed to manage situations arising in the ED.

As we head into the holiday season, crews will be completing the current phases of the project and will begin working on the registration area soon. The entire project is scheduled to be complete in March 2015.
“We have a phenomenal, highly engaged ED staff,” Bass says. “When this project is completed, they’ll have even more of a sense of ownership and pride in our facility.”

Partnership offers free legal services for patients in need

Legal Services attorney Andrea Long meets with Dr. Mark Entrup on 500 West to discuss a patient’s legal and social challenges.

The path to good health can be complex especially for patients facing social issues that can harm their health – domestic violence, poor housing conditions, eviction, homelessness and the loss of food or insurance benefits.

As physicians, nurses and social workers learn about their patients’ struggles, they work to connect them with community resources as part of the patient’s discharge plan; however, once the patient is out of the hospital, it is difficult to be sure they get the support they need.

“When faced with these challenges, some patients put their health farther down their list of concerns,” says Dr. Mark Entrup, hospitalist and medical director of Case Management at Cox South. “They get well and leave the hospital but return to the same environment and the next thing you know they are back with us again.”

In an effort to break the cycle of hospitalization, CoxHealth and Legal Services of Southern Missouri have partnered to create a Medical-Legal Partnership (MLP), the first of its kind in southwest Missouri.

Through a four-year grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health, The CoxHealth MLP brings health care and legal professionals together to provide free legal services to patients who meet income guidelines. Caregivers refer patients to the MLP for a free consultation with a Legal Services attorney who is available to come to the patient’s bedside to begin addressing legal needs even before they leave the hospital. MLP staff will follow the patient after discharge if needed to resolve the issue.

“This partnership has the potential to impact the community as a whole as we begin to remove those economic and social barriers to health for people living in poverty,” says Sharon Alexander, Legal Services of Southern Missouri.

The grant provides for a Legal Services attorney, Andrea Long, and a paralegal, Jeanne Crawford, who work from an office on the first floor at Cox South. MLP services are available for CoxHealth patients at any location, as well as for CoxHealth employees who are eligible.

MLP staff will provide training to caregivers on how to screen patients for the social factors of health that may have legal remedies. Long says caregivers can listen for “IHELP” issues – Income maintenance and food insecurity; Housing such as evictions, utilities and foreclosures; Ensuring safety through orders of protection, divorce and custody for victims of domestic violence; Legal help with simple estate planning and health care directives; and Powers of attorney and guardianship.

“A patient might say they have a hard time making it to the end of the month, they can’t pay their bills, their utilities were cut off, or they don’t have enough food,” says Long. “The caregiver can make a referral and we can talk to the patient.”

Since caregiver referrals are vital to connecting patients to the service, Dr. Entrup asks physicians and nurses to incorporate this new resource into their delivery of care.

“It’s not going to take any more of our time to have someone come in and talk to the patient,” he says. “To improve the health of this community as our mission directs, we have to be thinking about this.”

Dr. Entrup says one of the biggest needs is guardianships. A common situation is a patient with psychiatric issues who can’t make medical decisions. A patient may have to wait up to 90 days for a court order to grant a family member the ability to make those medical decisions.

“We’re going to see more action earlier on to help these patients transition out of the hospital sooner,” says Dr. Entrup.

“This is the next piece of the puzzle in the transition of care,” says Bobby Davis, social worker manager in Case Management. “This will help us close the gap in getting patients connected to the services they need.”

CoxHealth earns top 100 distinction; leads Missouri in 10 categories

CoxHealth in Springfield has been recognized by CareChex for being among the top 100 U.S. hospitals in the nation in 12 categories including overall medical care, and the top hospital in Missouri in 10 categories, in the group’s 2015 America’s Top Quality Hospitals medical excellence ratings.

Unlike other publicly available hospital quality ratings, CareChex, a division of Comparion, provides a comprehensive, multi-dimensional analysis of medical quality by evaluating process of care, outcomes of care, and patient satisfaction data. Their National Quality Rating Database includes virtually all general, acute, non-federal U.S. hospitals.

For medical excellence, CoxHealth is rated number one in Missouri for general surgery, heart failure treatment, neurological care, major neurosurgery, spinal fusion and spinal surgery, major orthopedic surgery, pneumonia care, pulmonary care and major bowel procedures.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Staff members go above and beyond to earn Partners awards

Dr. Sarah Smitherman, Springfield Inpatient Physicians 
Dr. Smitherman was nominated for providing care with a personal touch for a child in Pediatrics at Cox South. Dr. Smitherman hand made a dress for her young patient so she would have something special to take home after her discharge. The staff member who nominated her wrote, “Dr. Smitherman always goes above and beyond for her patients but this was way over the top! We are so lucky to have Dr. Smitherman in our organization.”

Wanda Boyd, Volunteer 
Wanda helped make a patient’s birthday special during his stay in the hospital. The patient had many books and his family members (who live out of state) mentioned that he was an avid reader. Wanda got the patient a Barnes & Noble gift card and had it delivered to the patient on his birthday. The staff member who nominated Wanda wrote, “This is a wonderful example of Wanda’s kind heart and taking the extra step to let a guest and patient know how much we care, both physically and mentally.”

David Hoover, CoxHealth EMS, Christian County
A family nominated David for his efforts in saving the life of their teenage son, who was involved in a motorcycle accident. Surgeons at CoxHealth and at Barnes-Jewish in St. Louis both commented to the family that it was a miracle their son made it to the ER.

The patient’s parent wrote, “My son wouldn’t be alive today if it weren’t for the knowledge, experience, and actions of David Hoover. David has now gone a step further, having a direct impact on my son’s life; I recently reached out to David again thanking him for giving my son a second chance and giving us the opportunity to keep our child, brother, and grandson. … My words are not enough to thank you for Mr. Hoover’s actions.”

The three winners above were part of a group of honorees recognized at the November Partners luncheon. Other winners included:

Kathy Jacks, Pediatrics
Brooke Batesel, Pediatrics
Ara Schnelle, Huston Cancer Center
Kathi Loehmann, EVS/Emergency Department
Heather Farrell, CoxHealth Family Medicine Kimberling City
Dr. Audrey Williams, Family Medical Care Center
Katie Mader, NTICU/FDC

1906, The Employee Store, now serving staffers

In mid-October, HR Vice President John Hursh, Director of Corporate Benefits Andy Hedgpeth and Benefits Coordinator Courtney Burlison (from left, above) cut the ribbon on 1906, the employee store now open in the tunnel at Cox South. 

CoxHealth’s new employee store, named 1906, is now open for business in the tunnel at Cox South. The store, which is named in honor of our founding year, offers a variety of necessities and convenience items designed to make life easier for staff members working busy schedules.

“We give it all for our patients when we are here and the only thing worse than battling traffic to get home once our shifts end is having to stop by the store first,” says Andy Hedgpeth, director of corporate benefits in HR. “Now you can purchase items before you go home so you can spend more time with family when you’re away from our family.”

Staff members, HR leaders and community representatives from the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce launched the store with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in mid-October.

Tracy Johnston and Thelma Alexander, who both work in EKG at Cox South, were among the employees on hand for the grand opening.

“For a long time, we had thought about how nice it would be to have an employee store,” Johnston says. “It’s nice to have the bread and milk, things that you have to stop on the way home to pick up. We’re excited about it!”

1906 offers more than 100 different products and services to employees, everything from household items to concierge services, including drop-off dry cleaning from Braden’s Dry Cleaners.

Many of the items sold in the store and online are available at a considerable discount by leveraging CoxHealth’s group purchasing power with our Mid-America Service Solutions partnership.

For project leaders, the opening of the store is the culmination of years of effort and it represents a milestone in the benefits CoxHealth provides for employees.

“So many people have played a role in the creation of 1906 and this is all for you,” Hedgpeth told the group of employees gathered at the grand opening. “1906 is an investment CoxHealth has made in you because we know how much you’ve invested in CoxHealth. It’s awesome to see.”

A convenience for CoxHealth employees 
1906, the employee store, is now open in the tunnel at Cox South. The store, located in the Engineering offices and Printing Services hallway, is open 7 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Monday-Friday. The shelves at 1906 feature essentials such as baby items, personal hygiene products, over-the-counter medications, logowear and gift cards. Here’s a small sample of what’s in the store:

Milk (half gallon) $2.71
Eggs (dozen) $1.84
Butter $3.50
Bread $1.92
Pre-made meal (serves 4 + 2 sides): $16
Toilet paper (1 roll) $.75
Diapers (various sizes/qty.) $6-$6.50

An online portal is planned that will allow staff at other campuses to order from 1906. The store can be reached at 269-1906.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Cox Branson named a Top Performer by The Joint Commission

The Joint Commission, the leading accreditor of health care organizations in the United States, announced today that Cox Medical Center Branson has been named a 2013 Top Performer on Key Quality Measures®. Cox Medical Center Branson was recognized as part of The Joint Commission’s 2014 annual report “America’s Hospitals: Improving Quality and Safety,” for attaining and sustaining excellence in accountability measure performance for surgical care, pneumonia, heart failure and heart attack. Cox Medical Center Branson is one of 1,224 hospitals in the United States to achieve the 2013 Top Performer distinction.

“Delivering the right treatment in the right way at the right time is a cornerstone of high-quality health care. I commend the efforts of Cox Medical Center Branson for their excellent performance on the use of evidence-based interventions,” said Mark R. Chassin, M.D., FACP, M.P.P., M.P.H., president and CEO, The Joint Commission.

“We understand what matters most to patients is the quality and safety of the care they receive. At Cox Medical Center Branson, our mission to be the best for those who need us and that is why we have made it a top priority to improve positive patient outcomes through evidence-based care processes,” said William Mahoney, president of Cox Medical Center Branson. “We are proud to be named a Top Performer as it recognizes the knowledge, teamwork and dedication of our entire hospital staff and physicians.”

The Top Performer program recognizes hospitals for improving performance on evidence-based interventions that increase the chances of healthy outcomes for patients with certain conditions, including heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, surgical care, children’s asthma, stroke, venous thromboembolism and perinatal care, as well as for inpatient psychiatric services and immunizations.

To be a 2013 Top Performer, hospitals had to meet three performance criteria based on 2013 accountability measure data, including:

  • Achieving cumulative performance of 95 percent or above across all reported accountability measures;
  • Achieving performance of 95 percent or above on each and every reported accountability measure where there were at least 30 denominator cases; and
  • Having at least one core measure set that had a composite rate of 95 percent or above, and (within that measure set) all applicable individual accountability measures had a performance rate of 95 percent or above.
For more information about the Top Performer on Key Quality Measures® program, visit

Friday, November 7, 2014

Employees teaming up for annual healthy food drive

CoxHealth is once again raising awareness and taking action to address a critical need in our community for healthy food at local food pantries.

The third annual Pack the Pantries food drive will be held Nov. 3-14. We will be collecting low-sodium, low-sugar, low-fat, high fiber foods for several area food pantries in Springfield, Monett and Branson.

Last year, CoxHealth employees helped raise more than 4,000 pounds of food during the healthy food drive. Let’s challenge ourselves to donate even more this year!

Check out this flyer for the list of healthy food items and collection locations and get ready to bring in your food during the drive Nov. 3-14.

Thank you for helping CoxHealth “Pack the Pantries.”

CoxHealth Auxiliary named Auxiliary of the Year

CoxHealth Auxiliary in Springfield is among four hospital auxiliaries honored by the Missouri Association of Hospital Auxiliaries for their volunteer services to the health care community.

The hospital auxiliaries were presented the recognition on Thursday, November 6, at a luncheon during the Missouri Hospital Association’s 92nd Annual Convention & Trade Show in Osage Beach.

CoxHealth Auxiliary received recognition for its exceptional efforts as an auxiliary with more than 301 members.

The hospital’s 1,122 auxilians performed 155,810 hours of service in the hospital and community from June 2013 to May 2014. The auxilians participated in numerous in-service activities throughout the hospital and conducted a fundraising drive for a new nine-story, 310,000 square-foot patient tower.

Since its inception 65 years ago, the auxiliary has contributed $8,461,123 to improve the health of the communities served by the hospital. The auxiliary provided $76,500 to students seeking associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in nursing, as well as to high school seniors pursuing a profession in health care.

Stop by and thank the CoxHealth Auxiliary for all it does. A banner celebration in their honor is scheduled for Friday, November 14 in Foster Auditorium at Cox South.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Kohl's CARDIAC Kids launches new year of heart-healthy education

Kohl’s Department Stores recently donated $53,541 to CoxHealth for its Kohl’s CARDIAC (Coronary Artery Risk Detection in Area Children) Kids program. The program tackles the issue of childhood obesity through health screenings and education for fourth graders in Nixa. A kick-off event was held on Monday, Nov. 3, at Nixa High Pointe Elementary School.

The event consisted of an assembly where kids learned about heart health, participated in a jump-roping activity, learned about how much sugar is in certain food products and much more.

“CoxHealth’s Kohl’s CARDIAC Kids has been working to fight childhood obesity in the Ozarks for three years by spreading the message of a healthy lifestyle through school-based and community events,” explains Lauren Holland, a CoxHealth wellness coordinator and CARDIAC Kids coordinator. “We’re working closely with children and their families to help them understand the connections between food, activity and overall health.”

Health screenings are a part of the program. “Our health screenings in the past have identified 39 percent of the children are overweight or at-risk, 58 percent have elevated blood pressure, and 17 percent have abnormal cholesterol results,” says Holland. “We’re working with these families to help them change their child’s health and future.”

In addition to the health screenings, CARDIAC Kids educators host fun, educational assemblies for students, and, through CARDIAC Kids Family Fun Nights, reconnect with at-risk families for information on exercise, kid-friendly healthy recipes and more.

The program is made possible by yearly grants from Kohl’s Cares. Since 2011, Kohl’s has donated more than $134,000 to CoxHealth to support the CARDIAC Kids program.