Monday, September 28, 2015

Cox Air Care participates in national safety drive

Cox Air Care recently participated in the 2015 Great American Safety Drive, helping host a Southwest Missouri stop on a national tour that promotes safety for air evac, medical transport and other public service staff members. Air Care partnered with Mercy Lifeline and the Christian County Ambulance District for a day of safety education for local fire and rescue and EMS teams.

More than 50 area professionals attended the event, which included presentations on safety issues such as the dangers that drones pose to helicopters and the challenges of maintaining personal safety when dealing with irate patients or citizens.

The event was one of several stops on the national Great American Safety Drive, which raises money for the MedEvac Foundation. The foundation funds ongoing research and provides support for families who have lost a loved one in an accident. The drive includes two custom cars that are traveling to safety events nationwide.

The southwest Missouri event featured a 2015 Camaro donated for the annual drive. Participants in the event were able to purchase raffle tickets to win one of the cars, which will be given away at the 2015 Air Medical Transport Conference in Long Beach, Calif., in October.

President of the CoxHealth Foundation recertified by CFRE International

Lisa Alexander, president of the CoxHealth Foundation, has been recertified as a fundraising executive by CFRE International. Initially certified in 2006, Alexander has served as president of the foundation since 2000, where she manages all fundraising for the CoxHealth system and the local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals chapter.

These recertified individuals join the select group of some 5,000 professionals around the world who hold the CFRE designation. Individuals granted the CFRE credential have met a series of standards set by CFRE International which include tenure in the non-profit profession, education, demonstrated fundraising achievement, and commitment to service. They have also passed a rigorous written examination testing the knowledge, skills and abilities required for a fundraising executive and have agreed to uphold Accountability Standards and the Donor Bill of Rights.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

MSU students from China visit CoxHealth

Students from Missouri State University’s Executive MBA program visited the Cox South campus on Tuesday, touring the hospital and meeting with senior leaders.

The group is made up of Chinese EMBA students studying at Missouri State University. Through the EMBA program, students with extensive business experience receive classroom training and interaction with successful local businesses. The majority of the EMBA class members are managers from a variety of industries in China.

Students met with CEO Steve Edwards as well as Mitchell Cox, CoxHealth’s director of corporate projects and planning, and Scott Rogers, system director of performance integration and innovation.

Participants learned about CoxHealth’s organizational structure, logistics and use of technology, including electronic medical records, e-visits and telemedicine for rural areas. The class also learned about pharmaceutical purchasing and the general administration of the hospital.

Vote for CoxHealth as the best!

Vote for your CoxHealth team for the Best of 417 Readers’ Choice Awards. CoxHealth is represented in the following categories:

Best Personal Trainer
Jack Misiorowski at The Meyer Center
Adam Grube at CoxHealth Fitness Center Republic

Best Place to Work Out
The Meyer Center

Best Plastic Surgeon
Dr. Arthur Hawes
Dr. Carl Price
Dr. Robert Shaw

Best Medical Spa
CoxHealth Med Spa

Best Esthetician
Jillian Kane at CoxHealth Med Spa

Best Chicken Salad Sandwich
Atrium Bakery & Cafe

Please vote by Oct. 14.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Women’s health lunch and learn will help separate fact from fiction

Skaggs Foundation Speaker Series continues on Oct. 9

Conflicting news stories, online chatter and unsolicited advice can leave many women unsure what is best for their health. Kelli Gosch, WHCNP, who has 20 years of experience working in the field of women’s health, will be the featured speaker during Straight Talk on Women’s Health Issues. The lunch and learn event set for Oct. 9 is part of the Skaggs Foundation 2015 Speaker Series.

“Many women are confused by how often they need to have their wellness exams, what tests they should have and when they should have those tests,” Gosch explained. “During the lunch and learn, 
I’m going try to clear up the confusion.”

Gosch will also be sharing the top five questions she has been asked and then give the answers to those questions.

“These are great questions I’ve been asked over the years, but as a provider, I know there are still many women out there who might be too embarrassed to ask these specific questions about their health,” Gosch said. “I’m going to address those questions so they don’t have to ask.”

Gosch has been a women’s health nurse practitioner for 20 years. Prior to working in women’s health, Gosch was a NICU nurse. She has been part of the CoxHealth Family Medicine and Obstetrics clinic in Branson for the past four years.

Straight Talk on Women’s Health Issues will be held in the Tree Rooms at Cox Medical Center Branson from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 9. The lunch and learn is free however reservations are required. Email or call 348-8998.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Fall expected to be tough time for allergy sufferers

Sneezing, coughing, runny nose and itchy, watery eyes are common for many allergy sufferers in the late summer and early fall. This year, however, allergy sufferers could be in for a harsher season. 

CoxHealth physician Dr. Brett Hronek, who specializes in allergy and immunology, said the abundance of rain that fell during the early summer months could mean more weeds and mold this fall.
In the Ozarks, pollen counts typically peak in September and October.

While Dr. Hronek anticipates a worse than usual allergy season, the amount of rain the area receives in the following weeks can also have an impact.

“It is hard to predict what type of allergy season we will have, but the quantity of rain we receive can impact the amount mold and weed pollen in the air on a daily basis,” Dr. Hronek said. “Weeds are also in the air until the first freeze, so if we have a long fall, we can have a longer allergy season.”

Over-the-counter antihistamines and nasal steroids may help with sneezing and mild cases of runny nose. If allergies are severe or interfere with day-to-day activities, it’s best to seek help from an allergist.
“An allergist can help identify which specific allergens are causing symptoms,” Hronek said. “With that knowledge, a treatment plan can be created to significantly improve the patient’s symptoms and quality of life.”

To schedule an appointment with a CoxHealth allergist in Branson or Springfield, call 417-875-3742.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Partners Spirit honoree: Stacey Sawyer

PARTNERS Spirit recognizes an employee, volunteer, physician or Cox College nursing student who has made a significant contribution to the benefit of CoxHealth, an individual or the community. PARTNERS behaviors generally demonstrate everyday excellence or exceed the employee's normal job duties.

Stacey Sawyer, EMS Greene County

From the nomination: “Stacey Sawyer showed a patient of ours compassion like none other. On a call, Stacey cared for a patient who was not able to speak due to medical reasons. Stacy noticed the patient only had an old dry-erase board and markers that hardly ever worked.

Stacy took the time to help the patient by going to the store and buying a dry- erase board with markers and an eraser to make it easier for the patient to communicate.

I believe Stacy Sawyer has gone above and beyond as an employee and as a health care provider to make things easier for our patients. She has shown what true customer service to patients is all about. She is a positive role model for CoxHealth employees.”

Partners Spirit honoree: Carl Martin

PARTNERS Spirit recognizes an employee, volunteer, physician or Cox College nursing student who has made a significant contribution to the benefit of CoxHealth, an individual or the community. PARTNERS behaviors generally demonstrate everyday excellence or exceed the employee's normal job duties.

Carl Martin, Environmental Services, Cox South

From a nomination written by the nephew of a patient: “My aunt asked me to write in to tell you about one of your employees. My aunt has trouble walking – she walks with a walker or cane and my uncle was in the ICU until he passed away. Carl was there for her every day. He helped her get in daily and even came in ICU to check on her before his shift was over to see if she needed anything.

He sat a wheelchair by the door if he wasn't going to be able to be there when she left. It meant so much to her she cried when she told me about it. He even put his phone number in her phone so she could call him if she needed help. He came in to check on her the day my uncle passed away. Carl is a very sweet and caring man and he needs some type of reward for his kindness.”

Partners Spirit honoree: Adam Wilhite

PARTNERS Spirit recognizes an employee, volunteer, physician or Cox College nursing student who has made a significant contribution to the benefit of CoxHealth, an individual or the community. PARTNERS behaviors generally demonstrate everyday excellence or exceed the employee's normal job duties.

Adam Wilhite, Environmental Services, Cox South

From the nomination: “One evening while rounding on the ground floor Adam heard a call light go off in the inpatient dialysis unit and proceeded to check on it. When he entered the room, the patient was coding and he started CPR. The code team showed up and took over.

Adam followed them down the hall and into the elevator where the patient coded again. The doctor asked Adam to do compressions so he jumped on the stretcher in the elevator and did compressions to help resuscitate the patient again. Adam showed urgency and responsiveness even though he is not a clinical staff member.”

Partners Spirit honoree: Thresa Cowan

PARTNERS Spirit recognizes an employee, volunteer, physician or Cox College nursing student who has made a significant contribution to the benefit of CoxHealth, an individual or the community. PARTNERS behaviors generally demonstrate everyday excellence or exceed the employee's normal job duties.

Thresa Cowan, 400 E/W, Cox South

From the nomination: “Thresa had just completed her 12-hour shift and was walking out to her car. She was approached by some very distraught visitors in the Atrium. Their family member had been in a terrible accident and had been in the OR for more than three hours.

The family states they were told their loved one would probably not make it and they were even brought into the holding area to say their goodbyes. They stated that after waiting for what seemed like a long time, they saw Thresa and asked for help, and she spent 15-20 minutes with them calling around until she found that the patient had made it through OR and had been taken to the Neurotrauma unit.

Thresa then walked them to the unit and went in and found their family member and spoke with his nurse. She then came out to them and updated them that the nurse was getting him settled in from OR and would be out to speak with them as soon as possible. She then settled them in the waiting room before leaving to go home.

They said she did all this with a wonderful attitude and never let them believe they were a bother or inconvenience. The patient's sister was so impressed that she called me the very next morning to tell me how great and special Thresa was."

Thursday, September 10, 2015

CoxHealth’s Total Performance Running Team to present 'Recognize, Recover, Run'

The public is invited to hear a doctor, fitness experts and even a two-time Olympian talk about recognizing and recovering from common running injuries on Saturday, Sept. 19.

The free event is sponsored by CoxHealth’s Total Performance Running Team, and features Eric Gifford, MD, a board-certified and fellowship-trained sports medicine physician, as well as Jason Pyrah, CoxHealth’s Sports Medicine Manager and two-time Olympian. Other experts in fitness, athletic training and physical therapy will also present.

Free trials of the state-of-the-art AlterG anti-gravity treadmill and prize giveaways will complete the morning.

The lecture and labs will be held from 8:30 – 11 a.m. in Conference Room B at The Meyer Center (3545 S. National, Springfield). To register, visit or call 417-269-INFO. Space is limited. Check-in begins at 8 a.m. and a light breakfast will be provided.

The Total Performance Running Team is part of the Human Motion Sports Medicine service line at CoxHealth. It is comprised of sport medicine physicians, running specialists from CoxHealth Fitness Centers, athletic trainers from Athletic Advantage and outpatient physical therapists.

Medical Explorers program expanding to Cox Branson

Kick-off fundraising event set for Oct. 10 at Branson Convention Center

Health care is a fast growing field with countless opportunities. Local students considering a career in health care now have a chance to learn from physicians, nurses, therapists and other medical professionals about what it takes to be a part of this exciting field.

CoxHealth is expanding its Medical Explorers program to the Cox Medical Center Branson campus this fall. Medical Explorers is a program derived from the Boy Scouts that brings a rewarding, non-traditional educational avenue for students, ages of 15-20, trying to decide if a health care career fits into their future by giving students the opportunity to shadow and interact with providers across the field.

The Springfield Medical Explorers Post 229 program was created in 1968 and is one of the oldest programs in the country, serving an average of 250 students each year. Registration for the Cox Branson Medical Explorers program will be open Sept. 14 through Oct. 23. The cost to participate is $77. To learn more, call 269-4157 or visit and search “medical explorers.”

On Oct. 10, CoxHealth, Skaggs Foundation and the Missouri Foundation for Health will celebrate the expansion of Medical Explorers Post 229 with a kick-off fundraising event at Branson Convention Center. The event will raise scholarship funds for local students in need. The event will feature Cox Branson President William Mahoney, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Executive Director Tim Siebert, Ferrell-Duncan Clinic Department of Orthopedic Surgery Dr. William Wester and Boy Scouts of America Ozarks Trail Council Scout Executive John Feick. 
Current and past Medical Explorers will also speak about their experiences during the event.

To RSVP for the event, contact Victoria Miller at 348-8998.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

September charities of the month

Our CoxHealth family is invited to support these family-focused charities in September.

In Springfield: Isabel’s House Crisis Nursery of the Ozarks

Healthy non-perishable snacks for kids (graham crackers, animal crackers, fruit snacks); 100% juice boxes
  • Enfamil Infant, Newborn, and Gentlease formula
  • #TeamIsabel volunteers. The next volunteer orientation will be Monday, Sept. 21 at 6 p.m. (registration is required; contact Kory Wilcox at 865-2273
  • CoxHealth employees are also invited to Community Tour Day, Thursday, Sept. 17 from 3-6 p.m. This is an opportunity to see firsthand how Isabel’s House keeps kids safe and supports families during difficult times.

Child Advocacy Center, a child-friendly center offering age-appropriate services during the investigation of abuse and neglect

  • Healthy non-perishable, individually wrapped snacks for kids (graham crackers, animal crackers, fruit snacks); 100% juice boxes, small water bottles.
  • Volunteers for clerical assistance, light indoor and outdoor maintenance, light housekeeping special events. On-site volunteers must complete a background check.

Look for collection bins at Cox South (North Lobby, West Pavilion); Meyer Center lobby; MORH cafeteria; Cox North (Outpatient Center and FMCC entrances).

In Monett: Children’s Center

  • Healthy non-perishable snacks for kids (graham crackers, animal crackers, fruit snacks); 100% juice boxes
  • Toothbrushes and toothpaste
  • Small toys
Look for the collection bin near the Kronos time clock on the first floor of Cox Monett Hospital.

In Branson: Gift of Hope “Cents of Pride” store provides essentials such as food, clothing, hygiene products and bedding to students in the Forsyth School District grades 5-12. See a short video about this program.

  • pillows
  • blankets
  • hygiene items
  • clothing
Find a complete list of needs on the CMCB intranet. Look for collection bins in the Cox Medical Center Branson cafeteria and Plaza One, Suite 404.

Foundations partner to provide additional safety and security

The CoxHealth Foundation and Skaggs Foundation have come together to provide additional safety and security equipment for CoxHealth public safety officers and guards. The CoxHealth Foundation purchased $29,000 worth of ballistic vests for public safety employees in Springfield and Monett. The Skaggs Foundation made a $16,000 investment in the Branson public safety employees, purchasing ballistic vests and Tasers for Branson officers.

“Having these tools to help mitigate any threat that our officers may face will allow them to focus on their tasks and know that they are prepared for any situation that may arise,” said Eric Clay, director of CoxHealth Public Safety.

The new vests are much lighter and higher quality than public safety employees had in the past. Additionally, the vests were custom fit to each individual officer so they fit properly and provide the best protection.

The additional equipment also means all public safety and security officers in Springfield and Branson now have Tasers.

“It is important for us to find a weapon system the guards could use to protect themselves and others,” said Clay. “We think the Taser is that system.”

Tim Nichols, president of the Skaggs Foundation, said the decision to purchase the equipment was an easy one.

“We hope that our officers never need to use this equipment, but if they do, we want to know that we provided the best for them,” Nichols said.

CoxHealth Foundation President Lisa Alexander said this was not the first time the CoxHealth Foundation had invested in the public safety department.

“Our first purchase was three years ago when they didn’t have any bulletproof vests,” Alexander said.
She said when Clay explained recently that the vests break down after a period of years and the material is no longer as safe, the board absolutely agreed to purchase the new vests for officers.

“Our board understands that our security department is the first line of defense for our patients, their families and our staff,” Alexander said. “What could be more important than protecting them?”

Friday, September 4, 2015

Margaret Rymer celebrates 56 years with CoxHealth

CoxHealth’s longest-serving employee, Margaret Rymer, celebrated with her colleagues this week as she reached another milestone.
Thursday, Sept. 3, marked Margaret’s 56th year as a CoxHealth employee.

“Yesterday they showed up with a cake,” Margaret says. “That was actually the day I was hired.”
Margaret has worked in the same department in the Mail Room at Cox South, and in the same job as a mail room clerk for her entire career here.

“I always have liked it,” says Margaret. “It was one of those jobs that if you don’t like what you’re doing you can get up and do something else. There’s not a lot of jobs like that and time just goes by.”

From a CoxHealth internal publication dated May, 1960.
Margaret says people ask her quite often when she’s going to retire. At this point, she doesn’t know and says she’ll tell us when she’s ready.
“As long as I feel good I thought I might as well be working,” says Margaret.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Health care is a family affair for mom, sons

For the McCullah family, their introduction to health care was one of necessity, not of choice.

About 15 years ago, Lisa McCullah’s husband, Gary, had undergone a series of medical challenges, ranging from a rare heart condition to a back surgery. Like many families, the McCullahs found themselves spending more time than they’d like in and out of the hospital.

Even though those experiences were stressful, Lisa says they exposed her to the miraculous work that goes on daily in health care. Seeing that compassion first hand changed her life.

“Everyone at the hospital made me feel like we were a part of making him better,” she says. “With all the doctors and nurses encouraging him, I thought, ‘This is a cool place, I’m going to see if I can find a job here.’”

At the time, she had been driving a school bus for 13 years. She had never given any thought to health care, but she was determined to get her foot in the door at CoxHealth.

Lisa found an open position in the Mailroom and began working there. Before long, she met Sterile Processing Director Ellen Gray, who encouraged her to consider joining her team.

That was nine years ago. Lisa took Ellen up on the offer and quickly learned the ropes in the department. When Lisa’s sons were about to begin college, she suggested that they apply at CoxHealth and make working in Sterile Processing a family affair.

Today, you can find Lisa working the overnight shift, her older son, Ellis, working weekends and her youngest son, Alex, working around his college schedule during the week.

“They were both born here. Ellis is the 1987 model and Alex is the 1989 model,” Lisa says with a grin. “We work well together. I’m still the boss at home, though.”

When Ellis joined CoxHealth five years ago, he was looking for part-time work during college, not a career. He began in the storeroom and in just a few months, Ellen offered him a full-time position, with flexibility around his classes. That, of course, left an opening in the storeroom, which Alex quickly applied for.

In the years since, working in the department has inspired health careers for both of the boys. Ellis graduated with a business degree from Missouri State University and is set to take on a new role in Surgery, as a technician employed by Stryker.

Meanwhile, Alex is enrolled at Ozarks Technical Community College, working on prerequisites to pursue radiology at Cox College.

Ellis and Alex say the experience in Sterile Processing opened their eyes to career possibilities and they both credit Ellen with encouraging them and helping them arrange their schedules around school.

Lisa says Ellen’s commitment to education has benefited her as well as she began taking classes to expand her skills.

“I’ve definitely grown and working here has brought out my passion for education,” she says. “Health care can be intimidating because you have one chance to make it right. You have to stay focused and stay driven. There’s so much to learn and I love it.”

Alex and Ellis say it’s both humbling and rewarding to play a behind-the-scenes role in providing care for our community.

“This is a vital part of the hospital,” Alex says. “Sterile Processing is like a root for a tree – it’s incredibly important, but not always visible.”

Ellis agrees: “Each day you can see what we did, with the stocked shelves and the case carts. It’s great to see all the surgeries going on because of the work you did.”

“When you clean instruments and know they will be used to cut someone open, to do heart surgery for example, you have a lot of respect for it,” Alex says. “You respect the work and you take pride in it.”

Lisa says she couldn’t be happier about making the move into health care. Mr. McCullah is doing “fabulous,” and she credits his recovery to the employees, doctors and nurses the family worked with at CoxHealth.

“If it wasn’t for the employees making you a part of the healing process, we never would have considered working here,” she says. “I would have never thought that I could be working alongside them.

“This really has been the experience of a lifetime. It’s better than a dream: My husband is doing great, my boys got an education and great jobs. Life is good.”

About the series: CoxHealth Colleagues
We’re sharing stories about some of our most interesting colleagues -- do you know someone at CoxHealth with a great story to share? Email us at

Here's your chance to nominate CoxHealth as the best

417 Magazine is accepting nominations for the Best of 417 Readers’ Choice Awards. Consider nominating CoxHealth in the following categories to let our community know about our quality services and staff. Nominations are due Sept. 9.

Medical Spa – CoxHealth Med Spa
Esthetician – Jillian Kane and Amanda Woodman
Plastic Surgeon – Carl Price, MD; Arthur Hawes, MD; and Robert Shaw, MD
Fitness Center – CoxHealth Fitness Centers
Personal Trainer – Choose your favorite from our team of trainers at CoxHealth.
Fitness Instructor – Choose your favorite from our team of instructors at CoxHealth.

Partners Spirit honoree: Courtney Gott

PARTNERS Spirit recognizes an employee, volunteer, physician or Cox College nursing student who has made a significant contribution to the benefit of CoxHealth, an individual or the community. PARTNERS behaviors generally demonstrate everyday excellence or exceed the employee's normal job duties.

Courtney Gott, Surgery, Springfield

From the nomination: “Over a weekend, one of our employees in Surgery had a medical emergency at her home. Courtney lives across the street and was summoned to the home where she found the spouse of her co-worker attempting to do CPR. Courtney took over and proceeded to do CPR for 30 minutes. She then began to talk other people through the process.

Paramedics arrived and the patient was transported to the hospital where she was in critical condition for days. Additionally, the patient/co-worker had custody of her three grandchildren, so Courtney rearranged her work schedule and took the children in and cared for them so her co-worker’s family could be at the hospital.

Courtney saw a need and stepped up to go the extra mile for a co-worker and her family!”

CoxHealth recognized as a Center of Excellence in bariatric surgery

CoxHealth Surgical Weight Loss has reached the national standard criteria set forth to be recognized as a Center of Excellence in Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery through the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program.

CoxHealth Surgical Weight Loss is a comprehensive surgical weight loss program consisting of a team of experienced health care professionals focused on patient success. The program at CoxHealth is structured to incorporate a thorough approach to weight loss surgery utilizing a multi-disciplinary team comprised of registered dietitians, psychologists, nurses and surgeons to provide safe and comprehensive surgical weight loss.

“Being recognized as a Center of Excellence certifies that our program meets the national standards in bariatric surgery for effectiveness and safety in surgery,” said Dr. Matt Simpson. “We focus on excellent patient care and maximizing the patient’s short and long term success. This recognition has been made possible through years of experience, hard work, adhering to evidence based best practices and overall great patient care.”

The Centers of Excellence recognition will allow CoxHealth Surgical Weight Loss to provide services to a number of patients with various insurance providers that currently require the patient to obtain surgical services at a Center of Excellence.

For more information about the CoxHealth Surgical Weight Loss Program, call 417-875-3593 or visit

Cox Branson among best in nation for patient outcomes

Cox Medical Center Branson has scored more than 15 points higher than the state and national average in patient outcomes, according to the most recently released Hospital Value Based Purchasing (VBP) Program Performance Reports. Nationally, this puts Cox Branson in the top tier of all hospitals participating in VBP. VBP patient outcomes includes heart failure, heart attack, pneumonia, hospital-acquired infections.

“Great patient outcomes is ultimately the goal for every hospital,” said Cox Branson Chief Nursing Officer and Vice President of Clinical Services Lynne Yaggy. “We strive to have the friendliest care, a beautiful facility and great service, but when you or a loved one is ill, you want to know that hospital has a great track record for patient outcomes and at Cox Branson we have that proven track record. These results validate what I’ve believed for a long time - Cox Branson is the best for those who need us.”

The VBP Program is a relatively new system used by Medicare to reward hospitals that provide high-quality care for their patients. The scores are based on information collected by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

During 2014, Cox Branson also scored in the top decile (i.e., top 10 percent of all hospitals) in several areas of process, patient experience, patient outcomes and efficiency. Nationally, this places Cox Branson among the highest performing organizations.

Because of this high level of performance, Cox Branson will receive an incentive payment from Medicare for the entire next federal fiscal year.