Skip to Content

Published on June 01, 2007

KishHealth System Recognizes Staff for Excellence

June 1, 2007

The Hauser-Ross Eye Institute Surgicenter team, Val Heintz of DeKalb County Hospice, the Surgical Infection Prevention teams for Kishwaukee and ValleyWest Community hospitals, and Chris Laurent of Unlimited Performance, received KishHealth System awards of excellence at its recent Employee Recognition Banquet.

This is the first year for these “Pillar” awards, which recognized individuals and teams who demonstrated significant achievement toward the health system’s organizational goals in the areas of Service, People, Quality, Finance and Growth.


The Hauser-Ross surgicenter team, led by Karen Rouse, RN, and Dr. Gary Fanning received the Service Pillar Award for its exceptional customer service and patient satisfaction results.

This team has consistently ranked at the 98th or 99th percentile in the health system’s patient satisfaction survey, which benchmarks against a national database.


Heintz, as Hospice volunteer coordinator, received the People Pillar Award for working with the Kishwaukee Community Hospital pharmacy to provide hospice patients with their medications. She was instrumental in developing a corps of 70 volunteer to deliver these medications to Hospice patients.

In 2002, she initiated the Transitions program to provide volunteer support and case management to clients and their families dealing with end of life care issues, but who were not ready for hospice services.

This program continues to grow because of its appeal to clients, families and physicians, and due to its success, for the past 3 years, has received a grant through DeKalb County’s Senior Tax Levy.

Most recently Heintz initiated 11th Hour volunteer training, where direct care volunteers are given additional training to be at the bedside of dying patients to support the patient and their family.


The Surgical Infection Prevention teams received the Quality Pillar Award for their work on the national healthcare initiative of infusing pre-operative antibiotics to patients within 60 minutes prior to incision.

Nationally, in 25 to 50 percent of operations, overuse, under use, improper timing, and inappropriate use of antibiotics can increase the risk of surgical site infection, antibiotic resistance, antibiotic shortage, and increased healthcare costs.

Working with physicians and nurses, the KCH team reached a 95 percent compliance rate; and the VWCH team reached an 86 percent compliance rate, both exceeding the 80 percent goal.

Team members are Teresa Holliday, Infection control coordinator for both KCH and Valley; Lisa Ackland, Tami Johnson, Deb Paulin, Janis Schnurr, Stacey Knutson and Deb Schiller, from KCH; and Sue Hohenberger, Barb Dobson, Lynn Olson, Diane Fuchs, Carrie Collins, and Jaime Kramer from Valley West.


Laurent, certified athletic trainer for Unlimited Performance Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine, a department of KCH, received the Growth Pillar Award for developing new programs that attracted more than 400 people and generated additional revenue. The new programs, which increased public exposure and awareness of the Unlimited Performance facility and services, included the Next Level sports performance classes for kids and teens, Personal Training/Conditioning, ACL Prevention, Boot Camp for DeKalb High School athletes, and Gait Analysis. Laurent also was responsible for Unlimited Performance’s sponsorship and participation in the Kishwaukee Sunrise Rotary 8K, Corn Fest 10K, Neighborhood 5K, Pumpkin Fest 10K and other community events.


The Valley West Diagnostic Imaging Department, under the direction of Janey Ciontea, received the Finance Pillar Award for significant increases in the number of procedures performed by the department, increasing revenue while at the same time maintaining efficiency in staffing.

Also recognized at the banquet were Renae Anderson, a nurse on the KCH Medical Unit; and Karen Sepaniak, manager of VWCH Marketing and Public Relations. Anderson was recognized for receiving the most “Can Do Attitude” recognitions from her peers during the past year, including several commendations for going above and beyond on behalf of patients and many thank yous for picking up extra shifts. Sepaniak, who also is patient representative and a radiology technician, received the Standards of Behavior Award, recognizing above and beyond performance in professionalism, responsibility, attitude, communication and customer service. She has worked at Valley West for 38 years.

Footer Curve