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Why Choose Us?

Becker's Hospital Review

KishHealth System has been included in the annual list published by Becker's Hospital Review and Becker's ASC Review, “100 Great Places to Work in Healthcare.”

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KishHealth System (KHS) is a values driven and progressive healthcare organization. We also:

  • Are among the Nation’s Most Wired
  • Have high levels of employee and patient satisfaction
  • Provide excellent benefits package
  • Offer a collaborative team environment
  • Enjoy a positive and supportive work environment
  • Have a family atmosphere

We’re proud of our accomplishments, and would like you to meet a few of our outstanding team members:

2013 KishHealth System Spirit Award

Lisa Cummings, RNLisa Cumings, RN, Nurse Educator
Community Wellness

The Karen Sepaniak KHS Spirit Award goes to someone who lives the values of the organization and was presented by Kevin Poorten, KHS president and CEO.  Sepaniak, the award’s namesake, worked at Valley West for nearly 40 years and was the first recipient of the Spirit Award in 2007, shortly before her death from cancer.

Lisa Cumings, RN, a nurse educator, in the Kish Hospital Community Wellness Department, has been recognized locally and nationally for her outstanding leadership, support and commitment to policy and environmental changes that create healthier communities for all Illinois residents.  

“A natural educator, she is at her best when she interacts with children, NIU students, YMCA and school partners as she works to establish sustainable programs to promote health for all community members,” KishHealth System CEO Kevin Poorten said. 

Programs and projects to which she has brought her passion, knowledge and energy, include:

  • CATCH – Coordinated Approach to Child Health  -- an evidence-based school health program for kids;
  • Live Healthy DeKalb County – a program focused on environmental changes to promote health;
  • Community gardens in all eight DeKalb elementary schools.
  • Wrote and received a grant to expand the bike path in the DeKalb area;
  • Formed a healthy food and beverage committee.

2013 People Pillar Award

Susan McFarlandSusan McFarland, Registrar
Cancer Center

Important characteristics of an employee worthy of nomination in the People Pillar are dedication, dependability and skill.    

Because of these strengths, Susan McFarland, is someone others have come to rely on and to respect.

Words used by the nominators to describe this person are:

  • Driven for perfection
  • Accurate
  • Friendly
  • Efficient
  • Professional
  • Positive attitude
  • Helpful
  • Excellent communication with physicians

Our winner is a master at collecting data and writing reports that are submitted to physicians for review and then to regulatory agencies. She will scrub the data herself to assure accuracy.

Susan stays abreast of standards, best practices and recommendations and communicates these to the Cancer Committee. She coordinates meetings and agenda items and regularly reports information on standards to the Commission on Cancer or for a special study. And nominators say her efforts have led to Kish Hospital maintaining Commission on Cancer accreditation every three years. She does all of this with impressive enthusiasm that demonstrates how much she truly loves what she does.

2013 Service Pillar

Emergency DepartmentEmergency Department
Valley West Hospital

This award is about achieving results and sustaining them and the Valley West Emergency Department does just that. 

As we reviewed our winner’s patient satisfaction scores –  we see that they started demonstrating some great results in May of 2011. Patient scores ranked them in the 80th to the 90th percentile. But this team kept working. Their manager observed a combination of quality and service that drove their results. When challenged to be even better, the team identified several behaviors they wanted to make a part of their routine. And, with the system’s focus on physician integration, a look at the patient sat data for the physicians, shows excellent results that contribute to the patients’ overall experiences. 

Over this past fiscal year, when we look at individual questions, this department’s patient sat survey scores have averaged above the 90th percentile, with nearly half the questions receiving scores between the 95th and 99th percentile. That means that this team does better than 99% of the hospitals in the HealthStream database – which is over 400 hospitals across the country. They have been and remain in the top 1%! And that is extraordinary! 

And here is what their patients say:
"There is nothing I know of that they could improve. They were real great and awesome. I was satisfied with everything."

"I was very satisfied -- right when I walked in they were very welcoming and when we were in the room they were very nice and considerate."

"They treated me like a person. They're very caring and you're not just another patient to them. I like that very much."

"So what shows through in this department is the ownership of the staff to provide the very best care. When asked about working in this department, nurses and staff tell us – this is where we live, we take care of our neighbors and their families. We want to be the best. And their patients know that!"

2013 Quality Pillar

Quality PillarLisa Ackland, Deb Scott, Teresa Holliday, David Smith, Vincent Landeros and Dr. Todd Barroclift
KishHealth System

The Quality Pillar encompasses organizational goals that focus on creating a safe, patient centered, outcome-focused environment for our patients and our staff. The Quality Pillar is about achieving excellence in practice. Elements for success involve teamwork, communication and consistency, and the goal is 100% of the time.

This year’s winner stands out for addressing a quality measure that is critical to a patient’s health and satisfaction: surgical site infection. Attention focused on the Joint Center and the fact that total knee replacement surgeries were infection-free for three years, but the same was not true for total hip replacement. A spike in hip surgery infections occurred between 2011 and 2012. A team was determined to find out why and to take steps to reverse it.

As with most quality processes, a multidisciplinary approach was required. Representatives from the Joint Center, Surgical Services, Infection Control, Physician Operations, and Environmental Services met monthly. A gap analysis was completed and root causes were identified that could be addressed or changed.

With the support of the senior leaders, the following changes were made:

  • FTEs were added to Environmental Services to cover cleaning of the OR area on the weekends, including OR, PACU, sterile processing, cath lab, c-section suite and endoscopy.
  • Microfiber mops and towels are now being used in the OR
  • Based on new research, a new concentration of betadine is poured directly in the wound for a three-minute soak.
  • Dings and dents in walls and equipment inconsistencies were resolved.

2013 Growth Pillar

David SmithDavid Smith, Coordinator
KishHealth System Joint Center

Under the Growth Pillar we find goals that keep us moving toward the future, measured by market share, volume, patient admissions, and increased revenue. We know from experience that these growth measures are also driven by quality and patient satisfaction.  And it is not easy to succeed in these multiple areas all at once.

But this year’s winner has, creating a Center of Excellence that other service lines can use as a model for patient-centered care. The patient experience was paramount in the success of this new service. And all those involved in creating the patient experience are to be commended. 

The patient experience began in the doctor’s’ office or a community class and ended with a patient reunion luncheon. In between were numerous patient-centered encounters by surgeons, specially-trained clinical staff and customer service- oriented ancillary staff. In addition, marketing communications spread the story to the public and prospective patients. Because the patient experience and the outcomes were so outstanding, word of mouth also has been a powerful communication tool driving volume.

Here are some of the Joint Center’s accomplishments:

  • 648 total joint replacements have been done over the three years.
  • Length of stay has dropped from 3.4 days to 2.42 days.
  • The year before the program started, only 66% of joint replacement patients were discharged directly home. By the last quarter of 2012, 93% of patients were discharged home.
  • The year before the program started, only 70% of patients were likely to refer other patients. In 2012, 90% of joint replacement patients were likely to refer.
  • The need for blood transfusions decreased from 16.1% of patients in 2010 to only 6.8% of patients in 2012.
  • The complication rate has remained very low: .6% in 2010, 1.5% in 2011, and .7% in 2012
  • In 2010, the furthest distance walked at one length was 273 feet. By the end of 2012, the furthest distance walked was 622 feet.
  • Total range of motion for total knee replacement patients during hospitalization increased from 70 in 2010 to 108 in 2012.

The concept and framework for the Joint Center was brought to Kish Hospital by consultant Marshall Steele & Associates. The Kish program has met or exceeded Marshall Steele’s national goals. Leading this successful effort was a person recognized for his selfless efforts, dedication and ability to work across different departments. 

Kishwaukee Hospital Nurse of the Year

Nicole Marks, RNNicole Marks, RN

The KishHealth System Nurse of the Year Award recognizes someone who goes above and beyond and who demonstrates clinical excellence and patient-centered care. 

Marks works on the second floor Telemetry/Pediatrics unit at Kishwaukee Community Hospital and works as needed in several capacities: charge nurse, bedside nurse, preceptor and educator. She also is working on her master’s degree in nursing.

Her nominator said she is respected for her ability to build strong relationships with staff, physicians, patients and families.  She takes new staff under her wing when asked to perform in the role of preceptor. At the bedside, she provides her patients with the highest degree of care and compassion.

“To illustrate, while caring for a patient with a terminal illness, he mentioned that he was an NHL fan,” Duffy said. “With his permission, this nurse, on her own time, contacted the Chicago Blackhawks and because of her efforts, the Blackhawks honored our patient during one of their games.”

Valley West Nurse of the Year

Sue Clifford, RNSue Clifford, RN
Diabetes Education

Clifford, who has juvenile diabetes, has made it her mission to show people they can live well with diabetes. She uses her personal experiences, immense clinical knowledge, skill and passion to educate patients and families in the hospital, in the schools, on the radio, and anywhere else she is invited.  

“She is a wonderful resource for her peers – willing to teach and share with any member of the health care team, “said Pamela Duffy, vice president, Patient Care Services, who presented the award.

 “It is her motto that the person is in control, not the disease.  She teaches this, she lives this. Her passion and compassion are known in the community and valued by physicians and staff,” Duffy said.

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