Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last Blog of the Year

December 31, 2009

To All Our ACH Colleagues, Physicians and Volunteers…and Board of Trustees

I haven’t blogged as often as I would have liked this year but I definitely wanted to end 2009 year by saying how proud, fortunate, and blessed I am because:

1) I have the opportunity to work beside/with so many dedicated and passionate people.
2) I am graced with such meaningful work; to actually be paid to do something I truly love to do.
3) I have my family and my health,

Bearing all this in mind, I'd like to share some comments from a letter that was sent to several of us here at ACH from the family of a patient:

"…thanks and love to all those who participated in the recent care of our father and for all the kindness shown to our family as a whole…"

"Over the years Dad had been hospitalized at several of the area hospitals where he received great care … but here at Alliance Community Hospital, we received much more than health care and it all started at the front door…"

"We want to thank all the Ambassadors, the pink ladies and gentleman, and the cafeteria staff for their words of encouragement and keeping us fed…"

"To Security who watched over members of our family who left the hospital late into the night…"

"Our gratitude to all the technicians from the Lab and the Respiratory department and everyone whose skills and kindnesses were shared with our father…"

"We want to thank Housekeeping who worried and cared so much about us…"

"To all those behind the scene who are many times overlooked -- may we thank you for your expertise and kindnesses…"

"And lastly we want to extend our love and most heart felt thanks to the Nursing staff … your care, concern, and compassion went beyond measure…”

As for me, I can only add what I observed as someone who wanders about the halls of our organization… it was a total team effort!

Thank you, Dr. K and to all ACH team members, for reminding me, as always, what caring is all about -- and for inspiring me.


Monday, November 9, 2009

First E-Mail of the Day

November 9th, 2009
Great way to start a Monday…First email of the day

Comments: I would just like to say that I have never had a better experience with any facility/hospital as the experience that I had with yours. My boyfriend's mom was there - the hospital stay was short n sweet - she had a hip fracture - 87 years old - it was within the rehab facility that our experience was so awesome and words cannot express the feelings that we came away with after her stay was over.

First of all, Becky RN - Brandi PT - Amy PTA - Lana PTA - Rachael OT - just a hand full of employees that I would love to give them endless thanks and praises for their continued effort, kindness, and professionalism - and so much more.

I worked in a hospital for 4 years and would have loved to have had the opportunity to work with a group of individuals as great as these. Everyone, including Samantha, Elisabeth, Kathy (from hospital), and a couple of the other social workers were there for us also. His mom is supposed to get in home PT and OT - and we are so disappointed that they won't even measure up to the group you have working for you.

We really do miss them as they not only helped - but enriched our lives as well.
Thank you for them - please let them know that we really did appreciate...

Way to go team.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

October 30th, 2009
This says it all !!!! Here's a recent comment I received.

"Dr. Kuentz, the nurses, and nurse aides on 3 east, and the respiratory therapists treated Dad as if the best part of their day was when they were in his room…"

Thanks to our ACH physicians and colleagues for what they do each and every day.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Inspiration - - An ICU Wedding at ACH

September 28th, 2009

I haven’t written a blog for quite sometime and have been gathering my thoughts to continue to write about health reform and make the case for why change is so desperately needed.

Somehow after receiving an e-mail from Amy (one of our nursing supervisors) that subject --although important-- needed to take second seat to a more important story.

This past weekend many of our colleagues helped create a beautiful experience for the family and friends of one of our ICU patients. Amy did such a nice job of describing what occurred that I want to share her words with you. She and I both are so very proud of our team, their compassion, and how they choose to go about their work in service to others in such a special way. Here's Amy's summary:

We currently have a patient in our ICU who has been with us (in some capacity) for nearly two months. She is from the Youngstown area and initially came to our facility as a patient of Dr. Hudzik. Unfortunately, her health has continued to decline and her chances for survival.

(Over the time she's been with us ) the nurses in ICU have bonded not only with her, but, also with her family. Her daughter is scheduled to be married sometime near the end of October. As time goes by, it is becoming apparent that she won't be able to attend the wedding, and may not even survive until then. So, the family asked if they could have a ceremony in her room in ICU for their immediate family. (Critical Care Director) Deb Clemens got the go ahead from all the necessary folks and the date was set for 9/26 at 9:00pm.

The nurses in ICU stepped up and began planning an informal celebration for the bride and groom. I can't even begin to list all the things they did, but, some included: cake, many, many decorations, food, balloons, punch, music, and even a dress for her to wear. All the patients in ICU were informed (of our plan to host a wedding) and, if they chose not to participate, their curtains were shut during the activities.

Most of the families visiting other patients participated and one family even bought a second cake! Many of the ICU nurses and secretaries even came in on their day off -- on a Saturday night.

A little after nine, the couple was married in her room with their minister and then had a small celebration in the conference room. I'm not sure how much (the patient) absorbed, as she was getting worse throughout the day, but her family could not have been more appreciative and I could not have been more proud of the ICU staff and our hospital.

This probably isn't listed on any Planetree pamphlet as a service we offer, but it was, without a doubt, a very Planetree effort.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

August 12th, 2009 - More on Health Reform

Ever since I came back from the health care forum recently held in Shaker Heights, I have been wishing the momentum begun there would continue and that leadership would step up and work together. Well, obviously that is not the case. We are losing sight of why change is necessary and confusing the general public. Right now, we are witnessing democracy at its worst. We need out leaders to rise to the occasion and stop making this a win/ lose situation. What is missing?

Those of us in health care leadership need to remind our patients and their families what is really broken in the system. We need to explain that the system we have in place now is unsustainable. We need straight talk. As more “Baby Boomers” enter and lose health insurance (from their employers), we are finding that: 1) the current system, if not improved, will implode in about six years, 2) the ranks of the ever-increasing number of unemployed people is exacerbating the situation even more, and 3) doing nothing is not an option.
The government is tackling this mess with the same old political process, with likely the same old political results: someone will win or lose based on votes -- or worse yet, we will get a compromise. Merely tinkering with the system is the worst thing we can do. In this case the end doesn’t justify the means and how we get to where we need be is vital. We didn’t get to the moon or develop the means to perform transplant surgeries through political processes. Where are the best and brightest who understand our health care system and why aren’t they working together under the direction of the current leadership? This issue is too important for all Americans for this overhaul to fail because of stereotypical politicking. And there is a huge difference between keeping a political promise and doing the right thing.

We in health care are forced to ration our services every day in one form or another. We over-utilize in some respects, in order to protect our selves from lawsuits. We compete with each other to make the claim of “full service.” The way we receive monetary reimbursement (which allows us to be able to afford to function) often relates more to negotiation skills rather the basis of our true costs as a health care provider. The public can’t decisions on what is best (even from a price standpoint) because of an unseen “middle man” who negotiates on their behalf. They are not allowed to know rates for health care services in advance of receiving them. They learn their out-of-pocket expenses after the fact. How do the insurance companies really help manage care? Let’s face it, everybody wants the health care we are capable of delivering. It’s just that, more and more over time and due to this broken system, we just can’t afford to offer it. So where is there value added? Where is the waste? With all these supposed and proposed changes, will we have an affordable system? If not, do we redefine the old economic question: “Do we produce more guns or butter?” or to put it another way: “Do we produce health care the same old way or not save our economy and our future?” Sadly, that is our choice at the moment.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Health Care Reform

July 27th, 2009

Health Care Reform…

What is Being Said; What is NOT Being Said - and Why We had Better CHANGE

Last week I went to hear President Obama speak while he was visiting Shaker Heights. I came away from his speech inspired and even more focused on looking at our own health care costs in our hospital and our community… and in consideration of what are we doing to change ourselves and our system.

At ACH, we are just a microcosm of what is happening on a national basis. Compared with larger cities in Ohio and to other health care facilities in the region, the cost of care in Stark County is far less than in most places, yet, it is getting more expensive all the time. We are self-funded in terms of health coverage for our hospital employees. If the current trend continues we will drive ourselves out of business because our own health care costs are simply too high.

The most important message I heard President Obama give is this: all of us should be demanding change and the quicker, the better. Health care is hurting the economy big time and just because we haven’t experienced job changes here at ACH yet, it is a fact many Americans have and many more will. I believe the President should keep pushing the issue. I wish he would appoint a group of objective experts (with no political agendas and who are simply inspired by the desire to do the right thing) as the team to take a fair plan to Congress and urge them to get it passed. Now that would be real change.

It wasn’t long ago I heard Tom Daschle and Tommy Thompson’s recorded comments agreeing on almost 80% of the things that should be done to fix health care. Why not start with that list?

What happens when the stimulus dollars for Cobra-assisted health insurance runs out? Many hospitals have already had layoffs.. Fortunately, we have been able to avoid this at ACH to date. Yet, how much will laid-off employees be spending for their Cobra plans? At our hospital, we offer three health plans. For those employees utilizing our highest level of coverage, it would cost $22,000 for family coverage. The least expensive option plan at ACH (which includes an HRA) would still be $9,000 a year. Both plans are extremely costly, particularly if you are receiving only an unemployment salary.

Somehow, we have heard so much about the uninsured that many of us with coverage haven’t really taken a close look at what is actually happening to both us and to the health care system as a whole. What is not being said is that there really isn’t enough money around to make the current system work and that we all are going to have to pay more, expect less, and assume more responsibility for our own health care costs and our own individual health, period.

I can’t change what is happening on the national level but I can begin at home by trying to impact change here at the local level. I want to double check our statistics, but a few years ago the hospital was paying about 70% of the cost of family coverage and 94% of the health care costs for single coverage for full time employees. Today those numbers are 85% and 88%, respectively. Our costs of care have skyrocketed, so our employees are paying more for family coverage even though their share of the costs is actually down from just a few years ago. Similarly, singles are paying more of their costs on a percentage basis and yet, there is less money for wages and needed investments today.

It is clear that we need to redesign our health benefit plan to include incentives for taking better care of individual health (and that of dependent family members). We need to promote transparency so that people can know what their out-of-pocket expenses for health care will be PRIOR to receiving services. We are part of the health care system, so we need to teach ourselves and others how to shop for health care smarter.

At one time in my career, I was in favor of a single payer system that was not necessarily public or private. I was just trying to simplify the paperwork and bureaucracy. But perhaps the most useful single payment system would be one that is not entirely unlike the one I hear the President suggesting. With an ideal single payment system, pricing should be known in advance of service. As it stands, billing and the payment of insurance claims are far too bureaucratic and costly and the buyer is too disconnected to be able to determine the best way to spend their health dollars. Transparency and competition in health care care will benefit all consumers. It will help ensure accountability -- either by forcing us to pay more for health care services services by choice or by forcing us to take better care of ourselves -- or both.

I want to give President Obama 100% of my support for demanding that the system change and I wish that he would not relax his timetable. Hopefully he will find a way to get something done in Congress without having to bargain for it. Let's hope he will be able to encourage his peers (i.e. fellow politicians) to do the right thing.


P.S. There is very little with which I could disagree in President Obama’s Shaker Heights presentation, but there were two comments he made which gave me extra consideration. One such statement was a remark about how people in unions are not actually receiving pay increases because their health care costs are going up faster than their salaries. The truth is, this problem is affecting all employees, both union and non-union. Likewise, I agreed with his assertion that the Cleveland Clinic is a world class health center, but I am unconvinced that it is the model of efficiency for our own health system. If you drove down the road an hour (within Stark County), the cost of your open heart procedure could be almost $100,000 less than it might be at the Cleveland Clinic. That is why we need known pricing and transparency. Our health system is ready to compete -- we must change our manner of educating consumers so that our businesses outside of health care can compete globally.

Monday, July 13, 2009

July 8th
Headed off for some vacation, but before taking off, wanted to play some catch up from a few stories from 2009…

From JC: Miracle Workers

Summary from 55 days of ER/ICU/Community Care/Rehab:

I could go on forever…but let me summarize:
~Dr. Catalano and the ER staff were so helpful
~I equate the care I received at CCC to ICU and ICU to the best
~CCC/rehab colleagues are miracle workers. I am confident that my husband would not have walked again without Mike,Amanda,Maggie and Carol
~Outpatient therapy continued to work their magic

From CB:
Three surgeries this past year, the last from Dr. Palutsis, he was excellent. The whole hospital, atmosphere was just unbelievable.

Just wanted to recognize certain people. Bob Mick night shift, the rest of nurses on # East and Lori in Nuclear medicine, she was right there by my side and she was wonderful.

Anonymous: Thank You to my doctors. Dr Kolb, Dr. Byers, Dr. Johnson and Dr. Singh

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

It Has Been A While

It has been awhile… but my inspiration to Blog was triggered by a card received from a patient. It made my day and I am sure it will make others'. It was that simple reminder why we are all here. In the midst of all the distractions and interruptions that divert our focus, a reminder that the patient should be at the center of all we do was and is a good thing.

In her card, M.D. writes:

“I have been to the hospital and to several doctors' offices many times…recently I became very ill and visited the ACH emergency (department)…I was treated with compassion and kindness and felt so comfortable with my care…I never met a doctor who made me feel he had all the time I needed to answer all of my questions and really cared about me, as (did) Dr. Bosch…I will always be grateful…the nurses couldn’t have been more attentive and their kindness will always be appreciated…a special thank you to Rhonda and Debbie…I am so proud to let others know what a great emergency room and hospital we have in our community."

Great work. Glad to be part of the ACH family.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Planetree Difference

April 8, 2009

Haven’t blogged for a while, so might as well start off with a really good one.

As I was walking through the CafĂ© this morning a good friend of mine stopped me to say “Hi.” Although she was here on community business, she wanted to talk about her family’s experience of being in a Planetree Hospital. She asked me to pass on comments to all of the appropriate personnel and colleagues --- especially those in our ICU.

Her father recently passed away here and she said that the total support and care given to her dad and entire family and all the accommodations that were made, left her feeling that there was literally nothing more that we could have done. She wanted to make sure our colleagues knew how much they were appreciated by all of the members of her family. Obviously, she said she could see the differences of being in a Planetree Hospital and how our staff seems to know just how to demonstrate their compassion and caring.

Recently, I had the privilege of attending the National Healthcare Conference in Chicago. There were many relevant sessions that I attended that will assist our organization, but the most rewarding and beneficial part of experience was the chance meeting I had with the author of “Why Hospitals should Fly,” Mr. John Nance. His book should be required reading for all who are interested in patient safety and quality in hospitals. Although some may view it as being farfetched and idealistic, I feel we need more writings of this nature that are transparent in a very meaningful way. It clearly identifies a very necessary cultural change that is needed in many of our hospitals.

Hopefully, it will inspire our organization as well as many others.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Going from Good to Great

Going from good to great….all it takes is a willingness to want to be the best.
March 16th, 2009

Today was a good day. A colleague told me about a personal health caring experience regarding herself and one of her family members. Overall everything was really, really good….but yes; there was a but.

Treatment in the ER was appropriate and comforting…her relative was admitted and the family was advised that the surgeon would be in very early in the morning to meet with patient. Expectations were set and the whole family organized themselves to help. All their planning didn’t work out as well as expected and many things had to be rearranged because the surgeon’s and hospital's timetable changed by almost five hours. I am not sure whether the timetable could have been adjusted. Perhaps the only thing which might have helped would have been an explanation about the reason for the delay as soon as it could have possibly been communicated, so that the patient and their family would have been expecting the delay.

Is there a learning lesson here?

Having this discussion reminded me about something that is special about the way we practice here at ACH.

What is interesting to me is how often patients and members of their family use the words “I really don’t want to get anyone in trouble” and truly, they don’t. However, they do want someone to understand what dissatisfied them and didn’t meet their expectations -- or why their expectations were not met. Just as often when I follow up on a complaint (which I consider a great opportunity to do something better), I here these words from a colleague or a physician: “You have to hear my side of it”. Usually they are a little startled when I say that I don’t.

Then I go on to explain why. I let them know the reason I don’t have to hear "their side," is because I believed whatever they were doing, they were trying to do the right thing. The point is the customer, or in this case the patient, is always right. What is most important is that we have an opportunity to figure out what we could have done to meet or exceed their expectations.

Time is critical, especially if the patient is still at the hospital -- and the focus should always be on how could we make it better. If we are willing to accept constructive criticism, knowing that no one will get in trouble, and focus on what could we have done differently rather than worrying about explaining what happened, we are well on the way from going from good to great.

Below is a message we give to patients when they come into our facility. I think it is worth repeating. We actually tell our patients our expectations of them. We encourage them to express their complaints to us.

A Welcome To Our ACH/Planetree
Customers and Guests, Families and Friends
We, the Colleagues, Physicians and Volunteers are striving to help Alliance Community Hospital (ACH) become the Premier Community Hospital in the State of Ohio, which means:

The Best People Providing the Best Service and the Best Place To Work

As a Planetree Hospital our models of “Health Caring” are cultivating an environment and service philosophy that combines the best of hospitals with the best of spas and hotels…where just being here begins the comforting or healing process.

Our Expectation of You, our Customer and Guest
We can only achieve this vision with your help. Throughout your visit or stay here you will constantly be asked “Is there anything else I or a fellow colleague can do for You?” This is your cue to let us know how we could go from being good (in your eyes) to being great, or if we haven’t met your expectations, how we might do so. Other hospitals may view your advice or suggestions as "tattle tales" or getting someone into trouble; we view them as free consulting advice.

So please when you are asked, let us know the little things that you would appreciate to make your stay or visit with us special or more comforting.

Every department or service you visit or use has their Vision and Health Caring Standards posted or published. Please look for them and read them. We know we are not perfect and there are times when if you were rating our service you might not be able to say it was excellent. Please take the next opportunity when one of our colleagues asks “Is there anything else I or a fellow colleague can do for You?” to let them know what would help you or perhaps the next customer or guest. We thank you in advance for helping us help others.

During your stay or visit with us any of our colleagues may offer you their business card. On the bottom of their card is the leader of the service or department with whom the colleague works. If the colleague can’t respond to your request directly, their boss is available to help back them up. If for any reason they might not be able to respond to your need, feel free to turn the card over and contact me directly, Stan Jonas, CEO, Alliance Community Hospital. My direct business and home numbers, along with e-mail, are also listed. We know every one of our customers and guests are individuals and everyone may have different needs.

Again, we value your opinions and suggestions and for helping us to continually improve and pay attention to the things that are most important to you our customer and guest.

Stan W. Jonas, Chief Executive Officer
Alliance Community Hospital

Sometimes people still are hesitant to express their dissatisfaction until after they have left the hospital. So, if the patient or the family member is hesitant to express their feelings, how might we encourage that?

The easiest way is to always ask our strategic question. "Is there anything else I or a fellow Colleague can do for you?" It is what differentiaties us from our competition each and every chance we get.

Thanks for listening.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Catching Up . . .

February 11, 2009

Catching up… an opportunity and two letters from January.

Yesterday one of our out patient guests called to suggest we do something about improving the
parking for patients and visitors of our professional office building on Arch and State. The good news is, it is very busy with many patients and visitors coming and going… the bad news is, sometimes the folks who shouldn’t walk far (particularly in inclement weather) are parked in spots that are the farthest away from the entry doors.

Although we hand out information throughout the campus about our Shuttle Service, many of our patients and guests are still not aware of how to take advantage of that service. Dan, who is the most frequent driver of our shuttle (which is a white Toyota Scion), carries a cell phone,330-417-5454. If you call him from your parking spot, he will pick you up and drop you off at the entrance which is most convenient to you. At the conclusion of your service, you can ask an ACH colleague to call Dan and he will bring you back to your car.

In January, one of our patients (J.W.) wrote, “Dear Mr. Jonas: During the night my temperature rose to a disturbing level and my nurse called a 'rapid response'…a team brought me back to normal with compassionate and loving professionalism…I ask that you express my appreciation to all the registered nurses, aides, and clinical technicians who treated me with great respect and skill…also commend your housekeepers who were also very friendly and caring. I would be remiss not to include Dietary who accommodated my special needs…(what a) wonderful hospital staff for the Alliance Community."

Also in January, our nursing supervisor received a call from the wife of one of our patients. She wanted to tell us about the excellent care that was received in the ER, "especially Dr. Kolb and the nurse that assisted… Dr. McNally picked up with Dr. MkParu.." She wanted all to know how grateful she was.

Hope to talk with you soon.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Thanks to All

February 9th, 2009

C.T. writes:
"During a recent visit to my family in Ohio I became very ill, necessitating a visit to the ER…from the first person who I encountered …to the last person that discharged me, everyone was professional and kind. Lynn was very efficient and so caring…the radio logic technologists were also very professional and used two patient identifiers…I am sorry didn’t catch their names. They were instantly by my side when I needed them due to my medications……the doctor, nurses, and ancillary staff that took care of me were exemplary. Please convey my thanks and praise to all of them."

More Comments about Therapy Services

February 6th, 2009

Once again therapy saves the day! Here are some other positive comments I received:

~D.P. called in to say he was going through a very bad situation until he got to our therapy services…All he could say was "excellent…couldn’t thank Tiffany and Gail enough…they were just super…P.S. what a great laugh Tiffany has!"

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Say What You Mean & Do What You Say

February 6th, 2009

Say what you mean and do what you say … touched and inspired by words of support.

("Everyone can shave a little if they have to...")

Just prior to Christmas 2008 we held special Colleague forums at ACH. Usually, every month for the last 12 years, I have held communication forums through which I update the staff and anyone who works or volunteers at the hospital can ask me questions.

The intent of this special forum was for me to ask people to be conservative in their personal spending as well as watch our hospital expenses. I wanted to share my concerns that 2009 and 2010 may be tough years as we try and turn our economy around. I really didn’t want to have layoffs in the future and wanted to let everyone know that we may need to take actions that would affect people’s incomes, in order to keep Colleagues employed through the tough times ahead.

Personally I told them --as a leader who might be asking them to take time off each month (without pay)-- that I would begin January 1st by voluntarily reducing my income by just under 7%.

We will watch our monthly performance and I will first ask management to take off one day per month. I will give them 30 days notice of putting that into effect. I wanted all staff members to know that leadership needed to step up.

The above is just one example of what we may have to do in 2009. I also stressed that this is a great time of opportunity for us, as well, because of the culture in our organization and the way we practice. We need to be thankful for every time a patient or customer chooses us and puts their faith in our hands with regard to their healthcare needs.

Several weeks after this presentation I was deeply touched by a message I received from one of our Colleagues. They told me they appreciated my actions and they, too, wanted to help. This Colleague makes around $20,000 per year and told me that "everyone can shave a little here and there if they have to," so they wanted to give back $50/month. They said how very much they appreciated their job here and felt they needed to help. too. I told them when the time comes I will take them up on their offer but for the time being, hold off.

As I was writing this blog today I was interrupted by a call from one of our outpatient guests…more to come tomorrow.


A Look Back, A Look Forward; Some Old & Some New

February 5th, 2009

2007 and 2008 have proven to be very challenging years for hospitals and health systems, particularly for those with variable rate municipal bonds and for those seeking access to new capital to continue to replace and upgrade equipment and facilities.

In 2007 the phrase "sub-prime" took on special meaning as many of the risks associated with variable financing that had never previously occurred -- actually happened. For some, interest rates on millions of dollars worth of debt hit double digits (in some cases, going as high as 20%). Fortunately for us at ACH, our rates (not quite) doubled from 3.5% to over 6% and only for about four months. Again in October 2008, for only 9 days, our rates hit 9% and then returned to normal. While many organizations were fully invested in the market, we have been financially conservative (earning our 4-7%) and we have learned to operate on what we make. So, while the market has been devastating to others, we were very fortunate to complete our new campus in 2006 and avoid huge losses in the market in 2008.

I remain optimistic about our future for several reasons:

First and foremost is the spirit of cooperation with our medical staff in terms of finding new ways to support each other and to serve our patients even better. We know in the future there will be shortages of primary care physicians and we have been able to recruit three additional family doctors to serve in Louisville, Alliance, and in new markets to our north. In addition, we have signed two new radiologists and will have, for the first time in a while, a total of three serving our community. We have a great team of dedicated colleagues and volunteers who exemplify the meaning of patient-centered care every day. Below are summaries of some comments from patients or their families that were received before I started my Blog, as well as some very recent ones from this past fall and our winter season:


A pat on the back, a hug and a handshake, who could ask for more…
One of our colleagues was seen walking an elderly gentleman to the lobby. Another colleague overheard the patient say, "You’ve been very kind to me. Thank you so much.” As usual our colleague asked “Is there anything else I or a fellow colleague can do for you?” The patient said no, but as they left he patted our colleague on the back, hugged him and then shook his hand. I was wondering what he might say about his health caring experience, but didn’t have to wonder long because as he was leaving he was already sharing his story with his wife.

A touching moment...
Dear Stan:
I had to write and tell you about a touching moment I had with an elderly gentleman that I discharged from PCU. Before he left the floor, he told me he received excellent care here and that all the nurses were excellent. He wanted me to pass on those words to all the PCU staff. He requested accompaniment down to his car, so I went with him and his two daughters to the car. As he was getting in I shook his hand and thanked him for letting us take care of him and how much we appreciated the opportunity. He looked at me sort of funny and then asked him why I would thank him? I told him that of all the hospitals in the area, he chose Alliance Community Hospital to provide his care. He took my hands(he had tears in his eyes) and he said, "I never looked at it like that, but that is a sweet thing to say and now if I ever need care Ill be back for sure.” Now I know I will not forget to say thank you to my patients.

A donation…December 23, 2004...
Dear Stan,
The enclosed check is in appreciation for the wonderful care I received from your exceptional staff during my recent stay at ACH. Enclosed was a very generous donation to our Foundation.

Health Caring Nurse...
"Kudos to the health caring nurse who [probably didn’t see me observing her as she greeted the person she was caring for with a warm and friendly, "Hi Mrs.____., I am here to help you with your medications." All I saw was an individual who had so much to do on a very busy floor, yet gave an impression of not being rushed at all. She stayed by the bedside and sat for a very brief moment, her patient smiled and thanked her and in the next moment she was off to take care of someone else. How you do things sure does make a difference."

The following was presented to our colleagues early on in our Planetree journey and judging from the comments above, it is the way most of us choose to practice each and every day...

Your Role (As a Member of the ACH Team) is to Create a Great Health Caring Experience;
Find that next right answer to do the extraordinary for just one person, be it a patient or by assisting a fellow colleague

I. All of our patients expect good clinical care.
They come to us because they or their physician have determined they need to be in a safe, comforting environment to receive more medical information or treatment.

II. What most patients are not expecting, and it is surprising how few hospitals still don’t provide them, are the simple courtesies of our five Health Caring Standards:

· Acknowledge their presence in a warm and friendly way
· When appropriate, address by name
· Provide a friendly, timely and comforting discharge or departure
· Thank them for allowing us to care for them
· And most important of all asking them, “Is there anything I or a fellow colleague can do for you?”

III. Think of your role at ACH as a cast member in a play that performs three performances every day, 365 days a year. You have been selected because you possess job skills and knowledge to perform in that role. Every day you’re blessed with an audience; many are new and some audience members are returnees. The best actors on Broadway do what they do each and every day … create special moments - they take their daily routine, which they do over and over again, and make it special over and over again for every audience. Each one of us possesses special talents to go with our job knowledge and skills. Your role is to find a way to express this talent either in your job or on a Planetree Caring Committee and to do something extraordinary for at least one patient/customer or guest a day.

Thanks to all who are making a difference each and every day.



Missed meal...
This past fall, one of our patients was very disappointed the afternoon of their discharge. When asked why they responded that "my favorite meal was ordered for dinner and now I will miss it." Speaks pretty highly regarding our nutritional services department. When our supervisor in the department found out, they contacted the husband and wife and arranged to have their favorite meal delivered to their retirement villa several miles out of town a week later. Now that is service the ACH way.

Jan. 19th, 2009...
Mr. Jonas:
This is a belated and remiss thank you and kudos to all your staff that served my wife and me last June. Carol, one of the nurses and Dr. P. our physician, especially. At any rate, we were continually amazed at the service from each and every department. The office and financial staff answered all our questions about costs and (in advance) worked out a pay schedule. Pre-op informed of what was going to happen and answered our questions very patiently. Jennifer met us in the lobby and was very sympathetic and helped ease our anxieties. Nursing and the therapists were attentive and gentle, yet assertive with their expertise and still flexible in working with us. The chapel, outdoor gardens and lobbies were peaceful. Our room was clean and full of amenities. And yes, the cafeteria food was diverse, well prepared and delicious. Of all the services (and perhaps the most surprising) welcome was the Concierge service. The concept of welcoming and orienting the clients could not have been executed more faithfully. Our stay exceeded our expectations in every way and could not have been better. The quality and depth of your facility’s mission was evident in every aspect of the facilities and services. We have raved about our exceptional experience that eased a health crisis into a very good and memorable time of challenge. Please pass this thanks on to all.

Cardiac Team...
I am writing to compliment two members of your Cardiac Rehabilitation Team, Kelly and Dave. My interaction with them has been very positive and I wanted to make sure you knew how important they have been. Kelly’s sincere interest in my personal medical situation put me at ease…She went out of her way to explain details…her medical knowledge was impressive…Dave was awesome when it came to the physical aspect…thanks to his personal attention I was able to stop all pain meds within a month and am now pain free…they genuinely practice “quality patient care” in every aspect of what they do.

Dear. Dr. M:
First of all, I just want to say thank you. I deeply appreciated your expertise and good judgment. Would you also thank your associate Dr. H. for he helped me assuage my fears by his kindness… overall my experience at Alliance Community Hospital was 5-star…a wonderful staff.
From G.M.:
Don’t want to name any one person since everyone has been great! You know, (I had)an experience many years ago was not that favorable but I must say I can’t find one thing to complain about…you can always improve something but this visit and stay has just been great.

From J and M:
My husband was scheduled for a knee replacement in October. We arrived at the hospital at 6am and were met by Jennifer and you thought we were checking into a 5 star hotel not a hospital! J’s room was 373 and the nursing staff was wonderful, Lois, Natalie, Emily, and Debra. All the CT’s were great. You would have thought these ladies were family instead of someone assigned to take care of you. It didn’t matter what you asked they always took time to answer and help. If I ever need another hospital visit I wouldn’t hesitate to come back or recommend your facility.

An anonymous call...
Please thank big time Bob, John, Kristen, Cathy, Tiffany and Gail! (Although the caller didn't identify an area, my guess is this person was referring to therapy services.)

There's a slice of the kind of feedback we've been receiving.
Thanks team,