Avera Bulletin - April 2012
Avera Financial Ratings Updated
Avera recently received updated financial ratings from Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s. Financial ratings help investors determine whether an organization will be able to meet its debt obligations. Ratings companies provide independent, objective assessments of the credit worthiness of companies and countries, and help investors decide how risky it is to invest money in them.
A company’s financial rating is much like an individual’s credit score. Ratings can be assigned to short-term and long-term debt obligations.
Avera continues to hold a solid position in the region’s health care market and maintained our previous good ratings. Standard & Poor’s revised the rating outlook from A+ stable to A+ positive while affirming our rating. Avera maintained our A1 rating by Moody’s. Our consistently high ratings for financial management are the result of a diligent financial planning process and adherence to financial guidelines. During the difficult economy, Avera has engaged colleagues and stayed ahead of the situation. By managing debt well and reigning in expenses, the health system has stayed on solid financial ground.
McHale Institute to Join Avera Medical Group
Effective June 1, 2012, the McHale Institute, led by Dr. Michael S. McHale, will join Avera Medical Group.
Dr. McHale provides care to those with solid and hematological cancers in Sioux Falls and at outreach sites in South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota.
Avera Medical Group McHale Institute will remain at its current location at 3720 W. 69th St. in Sioux Falls.
Dr. McHale, fellowship-trained in hematology and oncology, has more than 25 years of medical experience. He will continue his appointed academic position as clinical associate professor of internal medicine and division chief of hematology at the Sanford School of Medicine at The University of South Dakota, Vermillion.
Sr. Colman Coakley, 84, died March 30, 2012, at Presentation Convent in Aberdeen, S.D. Brigid Nodlaig Coakley was born Dec. 28, 1927, in Cork, Ireland, to Hannah (Cotter) and Cornelius Coakley. As a young woman, she decided to enter Presentation Convent in Aberdeen and left Cork on May 7, 1949, on the Cunard Liner Brittanic. She arrived in Aberdeen by train from New York on May 17, 1949. She received the habit May 22, 1950, and professed perpetual vows Aug. 11, 1955.
Sr. Colman began working at the McKennan Hospital in 1952 as a bookkeeper, then business manager until 1968. She served as chair of the McKennan Board of Trustees from 1970 to 1989. She attended Augustana College, Sioux Falls, where she obtained a degree in business administration in 1971. When the Presentation Health System formed in 1978, Sr. Colman became its first president. The system grew under her influence and leadership from four owned hospitals to a regional network with 18 hospitals; 14 long-term-care, assisted-living and independent-living facilities; a home-care organization; and other associated services and programs.
In 1997, Sr. Colman was inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame because of her contributions to health care in the state of South Dakota.
In 1998, following a sabbatical year, she volunteered at Avera St. Luke’s Hospital for three years. She returned to Sioux Falls working as a volunteer with the Sister’s Hispanic Ministry until 2007.
Pipestone Hospital Superior in Labor and Delivery
Pipestone County Medical Center Avera recently earned a Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA) Patient Safety Excellence Award for outstanding performance in the Safe Count initiative. MHA created this new award to acknowledge the hard work and resources being devoted by hospitals to tackle the top-reported adverse health events. The hospital reached a superior level of performance in patient safety in labor and delivery.
Avera Sacred Heart Receives Grant to Expand eLTC
On Friday, April 6, U.S. Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) announced that Avera Sacred Heart Hospital was the recipient of a federal grant from the Department of Health and Human Services. The total grant award will be around $375,000 over three years and will expand eLTC beyond the current four pilot sites to another 16 long-term-care centers.
eLTC is a relatively new service line in the Avera eCARE™ family of telehealth services. Residents of long-term care often suffer discomfort and disorientation when transferred out of their home setting, making healing and wellness more difficult to achieve. eLTC allows residents to stay in a familiar, homelike environment and still receive needed health care services.
eLTC connects long-term-care residents to physicians at remote locations using two-way audio-visual telehealth technology to:
- Improve access to high-quality care in a convenient, low-cost manner
- Provide around-the-clock urgent care to residents exhibiting acute symptoms not readily addressed during regular clinic hours
- Accurately assess residents’ conditions from hundreds of miles away
- Eliminate costly and exhausting transport to and from the clinic or hospital setting
- Reduce unnecessary transfers, allowing residents to be cared for in their homes by staff who know their unique needs
The project is a partnership between Avera Sacred Heart, Avera eCARE™ Services and The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society®. The project also will broaden the scope of the pilot by bringing additional resources such as wound care to the long-term-care setting.
Avera and SDSU Announce Research Funding Opportunity
Avera and South Dakota State University (SDSU) recently published a request for proposals soliciting research projects that demonstrate a collaborative effort between Avera and SDSU’s colleges of Arts and Sciences, Education and Human Sciences, Nursing and Pharmacy. The grant opportunity is for projects that have the potential to improve health care.
Up to $80,000 is available. Requests may not exceed $20,000. Projects, which will be funded for a one-year period, will be evaluated for:
- Strength of inter-organizational collaboration
- Relevance to health care and potential for advancing health care
- Quality of the proposal and proposed project
- Dissemination plans and potential for future extramural funding
Project proposals, due June 1, are to have co-principal investigators (one investigator is an Avera employee and one is an instructor-or-above-ranked SDSU faculty member). For additional information about submitting a proposal, contact Kevin Kephart, PhD, at (605) 688-5642 or firstname.lastname@example.org.