Archive for the ‘Awards’ Category

It is hard to believe that it has been four years since we opened Medical Center of the Rockies. Happy birthday to all of the employees, volunteers, physicians, community members and others who worked so hard to make this happen.

About seven years ago, when we were just in the planning stages of MCR, it seemed like it would never happen. During that time I happened to be driving with Chad McWhinney, CEO of McWhinney Enterprises, and we were talking about how difficult it was to make things like this happen. We agreed during that car ride that when MCR opened he and I would stand at the top of MCR and toast the event with a glass of sparkling cider (he was so kind to indulge the fact that I don’t drink :)  So, several years later, at the grand opening of MCR, we were fortunate enough to keep our pledge to each other.

Chad McWhinney and Rulon Stacey at MCR Grand Opening

During the four years of operation of MCR the team at MCR and the rest of PVHS has been successful in meeting every clinical and financial expectation. Let me summarize just a few:

Clinical: Just a few months ago MCR received Magnet designation from the American Nurse Credentialing Center. In receiving that designation they joined Poudre Valley Hospital (which is one of just a handful of hospitals in the United States to receive Magnet designation three separate times), the intermountain West’s first Magnet designated hospital. To their credit, MCR applied for Magnet designation the moment they were eligible, which makes MCR, as far as I know, the first hospital ever to receive this designation as soon as they were eligible.

Clinical 2: And…it gets even better!  Just a few weeks ago the ANCC announced that MCR and PVH were two of only five hospitals in the country to receive the NDNQI award for outstanding nursing quality. Again…remember that MCR has only been in existence FOUR years!  What an amazing accomplishment!  (see my blog post from a few weeks ago outlining this outstanding accomplishment)

Financial:  In the early days of MCR I was amused by the number of people who were trying to find ways to discredit the amazing accomplishments of the people involved there.  My favorite was “a million dollars a month.”  Several in the area were suggesting that MCR was losing “a million dollars a month” and that it would not be in business long, or that in order to stay in business we would have to compromise our mission by contracting with Kaiser, etc.  This, of course, after they said we would never get financing to build the hospital in the first place.  So….four years later, the facts are that MCR is well ahead of every projection we put in place, and both Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s have given PVHS bond rating upgrades in each of the last several years.  Doesn’t hardly seem likely that bond rating agencies would be so positive in light of “a million dollars a month!” :)

So…congratulations to the entire MCR staff for Four great years!  You have distinguished yourself like no other new hospital I have ever worked with!


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We’re in health care to take care of people and our community. It’s pretty simple.

So when the American Nurses Association, which keeps the healthcare industry’s only database that helps other hospitals and healthcare providers nationwide make improvements in nursing and patient safety, says your two hospitals are among five nationally that consistently deliver outstanding nursing quality that improves patient care and safety, that’s a big win for our patients and our community.

That’s exactly what happened in Miami this morning, when the ANA announced that Medical Center of the Rockies and Poudre Valley Hospital were among five U.S. hospitals receiving the NDNQI Award for Outstanding Nursing Quality. MCR earned the award for community hospitals, while PVH earned the award for teaching hospitals.

The award recognizes the top five of more than 1,700 hospitals nationwide that report results to the database. The database allows nursing units to compare their performance to similar units at other hospitals at the local, state, regional, and national levels. Hospital-acquired pressure ulcers, patient falls with injury, infections acquired as a result of hospitalization and nurse turnover are among indicators tracked.

“The common traits of the award-winning hospitals are strong leadership, teamwork, commitment to ongoing improvement in patient care quality, continuous staff education and efficient use of resources,” said ANA President Karen A. Daley.

PVH, maybe not coincidentally, was the first hospital to receive the award after it was created in 2008. This was PVH’s fourth consecutive year receiving the award.

Medical Center of the Rockies, which isn’t even four years old yet, earned the NDNQI award for the first time. The PVHS Facebook page has a picture of the happy first-time recipients.

Congratulations to PVH and MCR, to the nurses and staff that make them the incredible hospitals they are, and most importantly to our patients and community, who are the reason we come to work each day.


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On Thursday night this week I had the great pleasure of giving the keynote address at the Lincoln Foundation for Performance Excellence at their annual awards dinner in Naperville, Illinois. What a fabulous group they have there under the leadership of Paul Kuchuris, the longtime CEO. The group was of course lead by Illinois’ own Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downer’s Grove, one of this year’s Baldrige National Quality Award winners.  What an impressive organization with impressive leadership. Congratulations! I was sad to learn that Paul will be retiring in a few months.  He will leave a great void as he has distinguished the Illinois State Quality Program in the entire country.

I left those in attendence with basically three thoughts for success:

1) Engage your employees, and be able to prove with data that you have an engaged workforce.

2)  Hardwire your strategy process so that it can be duplicated and improved every year, even if the CEO leaves.  The process simply can’t be dependent on any one person (Thanks to Quint Studer for teaching this better than anyone else!).

3) Don’t rest without results. In the end, it is all about getting better, so measure, measure and measure some more until you can demonstrate that your results are world-class.

Thanks to the good people at The Lincoln Foundation for having me.  It was a very engaging night.


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Poudre Valley Hospital got some great news this month that also has a big impact on stroke patients in northern Colorado.

The Joint Commission, which measures the quality of health programs nationwide, announced that Poudre Valley Hospital earned the Gold Seal of Approval Award for certification as a primary stroke center. PVH is now the only advanced stroke center north of Denver and one of 10 in Colorado.

The certification means PVH delivers the type of care for stroke patients that can significantly improve outcomes for those patients, according to The Joint Commission. It’s also a testament to the incredible skill and dedication by care providers at PVH.

As Dr. Gerald McIntosh, medical director of PVH’s stroke program and a neurologist with Neurology Associates of Northern Colorado, points out, “With a stroke, time lost is brain lost.”

That’s why incoming patients with stroke symptoms are evaluated immediately in the emergency room and treated by a team of neurologists, ER physicians and nurses, and specialists from such areas as radiology, pharmacy and laboratory. The patient undergoes diagnosis through computer tomography scanning within 20 minutes of arriving in the ER.

Great job, PVH.


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The Joint Commission is the organization which is tasked with evaluating hospitals throughout the world.  Representatives show up without notice at hospitals throughout the world to inspect how care is provided.  This process provides an unbiased assessment of hospitals, and assures patients and government officials of the standards of care within a hospital.

As luck would have it, The Joint Commission survey team came to Medical Center of the Rockies on Tuesday morning, and left Thursday afternoon.  As you would expect, the comments about MCR were very positive.  In fact, one of the survey team commented that if they lived closer, they would come to MCR for their care!  How about that! :)  In fact, they even said to a group of employees, “if you are thinking of leaving MCR, don’t! We see facilities across the country, and this is one of the most beautiful we have ever visited.” Very nice of them!

Although I know it is a sensitive topic, they also complimented PVHS on our flu vaccination policy, saying that it was clearly in the best interest of the patient, and mirrored identically The Joint Commission flu vaccination policy which they recently adopted as well.

Congratulations to the staff at MCR for being so prepared.  This means that both MCR and PVH are Joint Commission accredited organizations, both are designated by The American Nurses Association as Magnet facilities, both are Baldrige Award winning organizations…and the list goes on.  Northern Colorado is well served by the dedicated staff of the entire Poudre Valley Health System!


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Last week I ran a summary of PVHS being the ONLY Colorado Health System or hospital to be recognized by Modern Healthcare Magazine as a top 100 employer.  Some people have asked me why that was important?  Look at these numbers:

692 – Number of new positions hired at PVHS in 2009

37,782 – Number of applicants for those positions in 2009

552 – Number of new positions hired year-to-date 2010

30,111 – Number of applications for those 2010 positions

So, when I say we have the best employees in the country, I’m really very serious.  For every position we post, we have, on average, 54.54 applications for that position.  That allows us to make sure that only the best people work for PVHS.  So…if you are one of those…YOU ROCK! :)

One more number:

The blog hit 50,000 hits just a few days ago.  A major milestone!!  Thanks to all of you who are reading and commenting. 


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We learned this week that Modern Healthcare had for the third consecutive year name Poudre Valley Health System as one of the 100 Best Places in Healthcare to work in the United States.  PVHS has been on the list each of the three years Modern Healthcare has published it. Very cool!  This is important to us because happy employees make long-term employees, and long-term employees provide the highest quality care at the lowest possible cost…and that is what our goal is.

When I meet with new employees at their orientation I tell them that this has to be the best single job they have ever had or I will not have done my job.  If we can make certain that our employees like their jobs, then we can better meet the needs of our patients, physicians and others who use our system.  So, this designation is very important for us.  And since I could never be objective on the topic, I’ll just tell you what others have said about PVHS:

1) ONLY Colorado health system to be named a top 100 place to work

2) ONLY Colorado health system named a top 100 health system

3) ONLY health system in the US named a 2008 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipient

4) Bond rating upgrade just last week from Standard and Poor’s

The important thing about this list (which could go on and on) is that if we were not able to do No. 1, we would never be able to do the rest.  So, thanks to the employees of PVHS for making us among the best in the world!


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As you know, the vision of Poudre Valley Health System is to provide world-class health care. Every objective review indicates that PVHS has been as successful in doing that as any healthcare organization in the country. Kudos to the physicians, employees and volunteers at PVHS who have very seriously distinguished themselves.

The trick, of course, is to offer the highest quality healthcare in the country while maintaining the organization’s financial viability.  To that end, today we will announce in a press release that Standard and Poor’s, one of the nation’s leading bond rating agencies, has upgraded the PVHS bond rating (you’ll need to register for a free S&P account to read their release) for the second consecutive year.  Holy cow! That is absolutely stunning.  That means that PVHS has now received a bond rating upgrade from Moody’s (the other major national bond rating agency) in 2008, from Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s in 2009 and from Standard and Poor’s in 2010.  That’s three consecutive years of bond rating upgrades. I would love it if anyone could find any other healthcare organization in the country with such a recent track record.

The A rating from S&P leaves PVHS with its highest bond rating ever.  The moral of this story?  If you do the right thing by focusing on quality first and giving physicians the choice to make their best clinical decisions, then the organization will excel financially! We are living proof!

Congratulations to the PVHS team! You really are world-class!


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When you try as hard as we do at Poudre Valley Health System to provide world-class care and customer service, people notice.

It happened again last week at the Avatar Symposium, an annual gathering in Orlando sponsored by Avatar International. I told you in May about the recognition PVHS received from Avatar for our outstanding patient satisfaction scores.

Kristin Baird, president and founder of the Baird Group and a speaker at the symposium, singled out Medical Center of the Rockies, PVHS’ Loveland hospital, and noted she’d used MCR as an example of best practices in her 2008 book “Raising the Bar on Service Excellence.”

In the book, Baird details how Medical Center of the Rockies built its patient- and family-centered care model even before the hospital opened its doors in 2007, and how MCR leaders invited the community to help design the care model and the emergency department based on their hospital experiences.

MCR Chief Nursing Officer Kay Miller said it was an honor for Baird to highlight MCR. More importantly, however, Baird’s example is a snapshot of the top-notch care and service patients and visitors receive at the hospital, and at every PVHS facility, Miller said.

As I’ve said before, our goal is to deliver world-class health care and customer service that exceeds expectations. The Avatar Symposium was some validation of that. If we haven’t done that for you, please tell us — we know there’s always room for improvement.


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A special welcome to the more than 300 people attending the 2010 Summer Institute of the Continuous Quality Improvement Network (CQIN).  Representatives from 49 colleges and universities from Maryland to California are going to be in Fort Collins this week for their annual meeting.

What an honor it is to have such a distinguished group select the Poudre Valley Health System to host this meeting.  Each year CQIN selects a different site for their summer institute, and this year they picked PVHS to explain our quality journey and how it relates to education, and for that matter, all other industries.

CQIN Annual Meeting in the Fort Collins Hilton Hotel

This is such a huge honor for PVHS to be selected to host a group such as this.  For 20 years CQIN has been a national leader in promoting continuous quality improvement.  As their name would suggest, they have made a career out of identifying national leaders and learning what they can from different organizations each year.  It was a great honor for me to be able to speak to the group on Sunday afternoon.

Addressing the General Session of the 2010 CQIN Summer Institute

CQIN could have chosen to have their annual meeting anywhere in the country, but they chose to come to Fort Collins and the Fort Collins Hilton Hotel.  Obviously, having 300 people spend three or four nights in Fort Collins is also important to our local economy, which is another reason we are excited to host CQIN.

Later on this week the CQIN participants will also tour Medical Center of the Rockies to review how we used the quality improvement process to build a new hospital which is several years ahead of the original financial projections.  Just one more evidence of the benefits of a sincere commitment to quality improvement and the quality improvement process.  MCR is truly one of the unique hospitals in the country through its partnerships and subsequent ability to offer the highest volume heart program and trauma program in the region.

In short, this is a distinct honor to have CQIN here this week.  Thank you for taking the time to come visit!


P.S. A special note to those in attendance from Colorado Mountain College.  Several years ago when I was the CEO of the hospital in Leadville I taught Economics and Business at the Leadville Campus of CMC and loved it so much I wanted to be a college teacher.  So, that is what prompted me to go back and get a Ph.D.  I still hope I can be a teacher when I grow up!  Thanks to CMC for the inspiration!

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