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  • Avera Bulletin - June 2012

Published on June 14, 2012

Avera Bulletin - June 2012

Avera Sacred Heart Achieves Recognition

On June 5 representatives from Avera Sacred Heart Hospital were in St. Paul, Minn., to receive an Advancement Award from the Performance Excellence Network (formerly the Minnesota Council on Quality). The recognition was the result of working through the Malcolm Baldrige process through Minnesota’s state-level Baldrige Program. A letter from South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard (who could not be in attendance) was read at the award ceremony congratulating the hospital on its dedication to excellence.

Avera Receives Several Grants

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Utilities Services recently announced that Avera received two Distance Learning and Telemedicine grants totaling $849,689. The grants will provide funding to purchase and install telemedicine equipment utilized to expand and update the existing Avera eCARE™ service lines including eLTC. The grants include participating Avera and non-Avera facilities in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. With the addition of the two grants, Avera has seven active USDA grants totaling more than $2,870,000.

Avera Marshall was awarded $26,780 from the Rural Hospital Capital Improvement Grant Program through the Minnesota Department of Health. The grant will be used to purchase a Philips PureWave C5-1 transducer and software upgrades to enhance two ultrasound systems. Clinical performance will be enhanced for a wide range of patients including obese and technically challenged patients.

In May, the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust granted Avera more than $2 million to centralize and co-locate Avera eCARE service lines. In August, services will begin to make the move to a new building located in northeast Sioux Falls. The building will be outfitted with state-of-the-art technologies that allow for greater collaboration between the service lines. The new hub also will serve as an incubator for new and innovative service lines.

Avera Anticipates Growth in Land Purchase

As South Dakota’s largest health system, Avera has a wide range of services across the five-state region with the benefit of shared services at the system level. As clinical and support programs continue to grow, it is important that Avera has the appropriate space in a convenient location to accommodate that growth. Avera has entered into a contract to purchase 82 acres of land on the corner of 69th Street and Louise Avenue in southern Sioux Falls. Actual use for the property is still in development, however current concepts include facilities for clinical and administrative services. Details, including closing date, are still being negotiated. Avera will seek appropriate zoning classification from the city. More information will be provided in the future as details become finalized.

Avera Facilities Achieve HealthGrades™ Honors

Avera Heart Hospital in Sioux Falls and Avera Sacred Heart Hospital in Yankton recently were named recipients of the 2012 HealthGrades Outstanding Patient Experience Award™. This distinction ranks these two hospitals among the top 5 percent of hospitals nationwide based on an analysis of patient satisfaction data for 3,837 hospitals in the United States by HealthGrades. According to HealthGrades, 80 percent of patients treated at the nation’s best-performing hospitals would definitely recommend the hospital compared to only 53 percent of patients who received care from the poorest-performing hospitals.

To designate its 2012 Outstanding Patient Experience Award recipients, HealthGrades analyzed HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) hospital survey data obtained from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services from April 2010 to March 2011. HealthGrades identified 332 hospitals performing in the top 10 percent in the nation for patient satisfaction, based on survey responses from patients treated at those facilities. Hospitals had to meet bed size, survey-response size and clinical-quality thresholds in order to be eligible for the award. Information on award recipients and the ratings methodology is available at

Speaker to Share Story of Faith, Hope and Forgiveness in Sioux Falls

Rwandan genocide survivor and New York Times Best-Selling Author Immaculée Ilibagiza will be in Sioux Falls Monday, June 18 at 7 p.m. at the O+Gorman Performing Arts Center to share her story of faith, hope and forgiveness. Tickets are available at Crossroads Christian Bookstore in Sioux Falls or online at Participate in an inspirational evening as Immaculée shares  her story of the 1994 genocide and how God taught her how to love and forgive. All proceeds from this event will go to All Day Fore Africa, a charity set up to directly help the Children of Blessed Stanislaus Catholic School in Kibeho, Rwanda. Immaculée spoke at the Avera Leadership Conference last year and was very well received.

Avera Sacred Heart Breaks Ground on ‘Northern Lights’ Addition

This week Avera Sacred Heart Hospital broke ground on a project that will shed new light on health care in the Yankton Region with the three-story “Northern Lights” addition. In addition to a new kitchen, the more than $17 million expansion will include a cafeteria, pharmacy, laboratory, physician amenities, sleep lab, environmental services space and meeting areas, among other things.

Located on the northwest corner of the existing hospital, the facility will have many windows to allow in natural light — thus making the “Northern Lights” name appropriate.

 “Our initial projections are that it will take 24 months to complete, but we’re hoping it will be a shorter timeframe than that,” says Doug Ekeren, vice president of Planning and Development for the hospital. He said the focus during planning was what the institution could do to improve its hospitality services for patients, visitors, physicians and staff.

Other changes include:

  • When Laboratory moves into the Northern Lights addition, the Radiology Department will expand into the former Laboratory space. The expansion of both of these departments will meet the growing regional demand for their services.
  • In-patient physical, speech and occupational therapy services will be offered in the addition.
  • New amenities for physicians will include meeting rooms, dining facilities and more computer work stations.
  • Space will be created for a hospitalist — a physician who specializes in the delivery of comprehensive medical care to hospitalized patients.
  • A support area will be created in anticipation of future internal medicine residents.
  • There will be a new office area for patient care management.

Be a Champion for the American Cancer Society

The South Dakota American Cancer Society is participating in the CPS-3 national research study, and Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center will host a two-day event to enroll participants Aug. 17 – 18. Other enrollment events will take place at various locations with the goal of enrolling 500 persons.

Enrollment sites need champions to help promote the event to staff, family and friends and encourage them to sign up if they meet the criteria. The Avera McKennan enrollment kickoff for champions is June 27 at 4 p.m., to learn more about being a champion and what the study is all about. Champions:

  • Engage 10 or more people to enroll in CPS-3
  • Provide information about CPS-3 to coworkers, friends and family members
  • Attend the Avera McKennan kickoff to learn more about CPS-3 and how Avera McKennan will be promoting this study
  • Visit to schedule an appointment based on eligibility

Contact Julie Ward at (605) 322-4375 or for more information

eScription Update

As Avera continues to build a unified transcription team, one of the milestones is the formation of the leadership team. The positions were posted, and applications were received from several very qualified candidates. The following people have accepted positions on the leadership team:

  • Melissa Roerig, Operations manager; currently Transcription manager at Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center
  • Carol Overby, Operations manager; currently Health Information Management director at Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center
  • Maria Engels, EMR analyst; currently Transcription supervisor at Avera McKennan
  • Carolyn Mund, QA/Training manager; currently Transcription manager at Avera St. Luke’s Hospital

The team will assume the new roles July 1. Contact Terri Claussen or any of these leaders with questions.