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Pediatricians rise to the occasion at Renown Children’s Hospital

“We have the right culture here.” 

In the two years that Dr. Max Coppes has worked as Physician-in-Chief at Renown Children’s Hospital (and simultaneously at the Nell J. Redfield Chair of Pediatrics at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine), he’s been a catalyst for change and new opportunities. He has a vision for Renown Children’s Hospital to be the leading force in pediatric care. Dr. Coppes and Larry Duncan, Administrator of Renown Children’s Hospital, see what is possible in terms of meeting the needs of a community where many of the children are currently underserved. 

“Reno needs a multifaceted hospital and it really is possible to achieve this. In addition to pediatric subspecialists, general pediatrics is an integral part of a successful children’s hospital, given the needs for teaching and research. We are therefore growing our general pediatrics division as part of our bigger vision. I want to have at least 15 general pediatric providers (pediatricians or NPs), in addition to an expanding cadre of pediatric specialists. I want the input, thoughts, and active involvement of general pediatrics as we establish a vibrant children’s hospital in Reno,” says Dr. Coppes. 

“We are a dynamic, progressive group that strives to make a mark on our community and Children’s Hospital. When you join Renown, you’re coming into a Children’s Hospital that has exploded in subspecialty providers. Many of the new providers come from out of town and bring new ideas with them. Our employees are excited to help build the pediatric care experience for the families of northern Nevada.” 

In recent years, Renown Children’s Hospital has built a collaborative relationship with the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine. “Together, we are capable of coming up with creative solutions to what may have been challenging in the past,” explains Dr. Coppes. “We are now in the position to look at developing a residency program in Pediatrics, which is a vision strongly supported by Renown Health’s CEO Dr. Tony Slonim (himself a pediatrician) and Dr. Thomas Schwenk, Dean of the School of Medicine.” 

“We have now established Renown Children’s Hospital version “2.0”. There has been an incredible growth and evolution in what we can offer to children in the past 2 years to the extent that we can now provide more complex Children’s Hospital care to the community.” 

General pediatricians will have every opportunity to develop their careers at Renown Children’s Hospital. Dr. Coppes believes that the larger the staff grows, the more likely it is for new hires to be able to chart their path whether that means participating in research, pursuing an MBA or PhD, or supporting the academic work of others. “As you interview with us,” Dr. Coppes continues, “we would like to know how you define success. We want to be a part of making sure you obtain that success.” 

Part of achieving success at Renown Children’s Hospital has to do with the chance to balance life and work. General pediatricians work Monday-Friday, with a rotating on-call schedule. That leaves plenty of time to enjoy the Reno-Tahoe area’s healthy outdoor lifestyle. 

“Wherever you drive in Reno, you see the mountains,” describes Dr. Coppes. “I love that we have four seasons for skiing, hiking and golf. Plus, every weekend there is something going on. So many cool things to do and people are extremely nice. I also love that you can drive anywhere you need in Reno within 20 minutes.” 

“Most of all, however, I love an environment where there is a vision for the future and the tools to execute that vision. And that is what we have at Renown Children’s Hospital.”

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Classes Through Trauma Services Can Train You to Help in Community Emergencies

When a mass casualty incident takes place, many of those affected want to help out in any way they can. A new class being offered by employees of Trauma Services can teach anyone the techniques to stop severe bleeding until professional help arrives.

George McCraven, RN, and Jeanne Rehmann, RN, are leading the Renown effort to bring the Stop the Bleed course to fellow employees and the community. They are both nurse educators with Trauma Services and have been on the road teaching the course to groups who want to learn these important live-saving measures.

The free-of-charge class was brought to the Trauma Services team by Col. Martin Bain, MD, a trauma surgeon and surgical intensivist on Renown’s medical staff. The course was developed by the American College of Surgeons and the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians to teach the correct way to apply direct pressure or tourniquets to severely bleeding wounds. The two educators use a fully-stocked mobile kit – complete with simulated wounds – to show how to stop the bleeding if someone is injured in an emergency.

The two-hour class is being offered by McCraven and Rehmann by appointment to groups both in and outside of Renown. “We want to teach more employees, community groups, really anyone that would want to learn about this and help others in the community,” McCraven said. “We are available to schedule classes according to need.”

So far, the team has taught these techniques to nursing students at the University of Nevada, Reno; the Storey County Fire Department and members of various agencies in Susanville, Calif.  There are also plans to teach Washoe County School District nurses and community organizations in Lovelock as part of a joint effort with REMSA.

For more information on Stop the Bleed and how to bring it to your team or group, call George McCraven, RN, at 982-4342.

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Listen to Dr. Tony Slonim Jan. 3 on National Podcast

Dr. Tony Slonim, President and CEO of Renown Health, was a guest on the News and Insights podcast from the national CMR Institute.

Dr. Slonim will describe the challenges that many Accountable Care Organizations face today and will also give his take on what that means for sales professionals and the opportunities these challenges provide. Dr. Slonim is the guest of CMR Institute, a healthcare training business based in Virginia.

Check out the podcast.

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Healthy Nevada Project Opening to 40,000 More Volunteers


Fifteen months after launching our community-based population health study with the Desert Research Institute (DRI), we are taking steps toward significantly expanding public enrollment. Today, Renown Institute for Health Innovation (Renown IHI) – jointly formed by Renown Health and DRI – announced a new project partner, personal genomics company Helix.

Using Helix’s proprietary Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technology and uniquely personalized suite of DNA-powered products, research teams at Renown Health and the Desert Research Institute (DRI) plan to offer an additional 40,000 Nevadans the opportunity to have their DNA sequenced and participate in phase two of the study. Enrollment is expected to open this spring.

The Healthy Nevada Project will offer study participants a DNA kit from Helix that provides information on personal traits or ancestry, and a Helix.com account which will enable them to explore additional DNA-powered products through the Helix App store if they choose.

As we finalize the details of phase two, we will update all employees for a chance to take part in this study that delivers on our mission of making a genuine difference in the health and well-being of the people and communities we serve. ​To learn more about this next phase of the Healthy Nevada Project, read Dr. Tony Slonim’s blog on the BestMedicine site.

More on the Healthy Nevada Project

In September 2016, the pilot phase of the Healthy Nevada Project enrolled 10,000 participants in less than 48 hours and completed DNA sample collection in just 60 working days. Research teams are currently working on the first peer-reviewed scientific results from the study after gaining valuable community and population health insights from the data.

“From the beginning, our focus with the Healthy Nevada Project has been on delivering personalized health data to our communities that will ultimately drive positive change for our state,” said Dr. Tony Slonim, President and CEO of Renown Health. “We are very excited about the opportunities the next phase of this groundbreaking study will offer. Community participants will be able to gain deeper, actionable insights into their DNA data, while our research teams gain unprecedented access to the largest clinical DNA sequencing facility in the world.”

Northern Nevada’s healthcare catchment spans 100,000 square miles and serves almost 1 million people. The diverse population, generational healthcare data and innovative combination of leading-edge research tools and detailed environmental databases make the region an ideal location for advanced health science.

“Our pilot phase used genotyping, which was a great start, but moving to NGS sequencing and inviting an additional 40,000 people to participate will dramatically accelerate what we can learn about the human genome and has the potential to greatly improve preventative health,” said Joseph Grzymski, an Associate Research Professor at DRI, Co-director of Renown IHI, and Principal Investigator of the Healthy Nevada Project.

Employees are encouraged to stay tuned to Inside Renown or HealthyNV.org as Renown IHI finalizes the details of phase two enrollment for the Healthy Nevada Project.

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Dawn Ahner Earns Third Award from Becker’s as a Woman Health Leader to Know

For the third consecutive year, a national healthcare publication has given recognition to Dawn Ahner, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer of Renown Health. Dawn was named to Becker’s Hospital Review’s annual publication’s “130 Women Hospital and Health System Leaders to Know” List. She joins honorees from Johns Hopkins, Kaiser Permanente and Cleveland Clinic, among others.

Dawn joined Renown Health in 1993. She is responsible for shared non-clinical service areas across the Renown Health network including Human Resources, Marketing and Communications, Information Technology, Environmental Services, Security, Real Estate Services, Strategic Planning and Business Development, Financial Services, Revenue Cycle, Supply Chain and the Population Health Management Organization. In addition, Dawn oversees Renown’s transitional services division which covers the range of Renown’s post-acute continuum of care with hospice, palliative care, home care and Renown Rehabilitation hospital.

Among her many accomplishments, Dawn was responsible for launching Transformational Health Care at Renown — a model for continuous improvement based on the lean methodology. She trained in Japan and at Virginia Mason Health Care System before introducing the program to the organization in 2010.

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Data Center Reduces the Potential of Downtimes at Renown

​Last year, Renown Health moved its data to a redu​ndant system at both Switch locations, Reno and Las Vegas, and there have already been benefits as the new system continues to be implemented. One of those benefits is the reduction of potential downtime across our data environment, which includes applications like Epic and Kronos.

While there’s already been a reduction of impact on ongoing operations due to downtimes, it’s important to know that it will never be completely eliminated. There will be planned downtimes as needed to work on data and equipment. Plus, unplanned downtimes due to application or component failure are still possible.

Renown’s Information Technology employees are implementing best practices to minimize the change of unplanned downtimes. IT has prepared some frequently asked questions about downtimes and what to expect in the future for data at Renown:

What is the potential for system failure at this time?

While we are right now in the upper 5 percent of hospitals based on technology and redundancy,  the chance of a break-down is still there, however slight. But, the impact has been greatly reduced. A good example of this was an event earlier this year that would have normally brought down 90% of our systems for hours. Instead, the organization did not experience a large outage, and that is due to the data center project.

What are some other causes for downtime that could still take place at Renown?

While the connection points between Switch and Renown have​ a large amount of redundancy, it’s possible that the wires and connections that transmit the data to your desktop – which have no redundancy – could have failures or downtime. Also, applications themselves are prone to downtime, either planned or unplanned.

Why does IT need to have planned downtimes that are planned?

Planned downtimes are usually service oriented, like taking your car to the shop. They are also easier to accommodate as we notify users ahead of time. It’s also so the IT department can ensure that any changes that are introduced to systems are well-tested and put in on a controlled basis. While these best practices never eliminate the chance for unplanned downtime, they minimize the risk for it.

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Housekeeping, with a very different perspective.

“Serving patients is so rewarding.

When you think about critically significant jobs in healthcare, housekeeping might not be the first thing that comes to mind. 

However, once you consider the importance of cleanliness, sanitation and infection control, you get an entirely different perspective about the work. It’s unlike any other housekeeping job you might imagine, and it comes with many rewards. 

Lily Carlblom, who has been with Renown Health since 2011, describes what it’s like to work here. “This business is different from the casinos, for example. Here, you deal with a patient. Not a customer who is spending money for entertainment. This is someone who is sick and these could be their last days. Serving patients feels more rewarding. It’s a very different perspective on housekeeping.” 

Lily’s coworker, Jose Salazar, who has recently been promoted to team leader after four years at Renown, wholeheartedly agrees. “The cleaning is the same but how you treat patients is very different than customers. People are sick and on medication. You have to be patient and compassionate.” 

Lily chimes in with similar thoughts. “We are a community. We all engage each other and are on the same page. If you are new here, you don’t have to worry. The team will help you out and make sure you feel welcome. I think Renown is the greatest place in northern Nevada.” 

The housekeeping team at Renown is truly like a family. Especially for Lily, Jose and Karen Rodriguez all of whom work – or have worked – in the Emergency Room. “In the ER, we’re all on the same page,” Lily explains. “We all know what everyone is doing and work like a team – nurses, doctors and everyone. The day goes fast.” 

Something else that is unique about working at Renown is the ability to achieve work-life balance. “Other employers, like the casinos, aren’t flexible about time off. Here, that is never an issue,” says Karen, who is a team lead. “I like to spend time with my kids. This job is great for a single mother like me.” 

“It’s a good job with opportunities and good benefits. My brother pushed me to apply and I’m so happy to work here. He works here too. Renown values that we have a life outside of work. We have respect here.Lilly and Jose definitely agree with Karen, as they also have time to balance their busy lives, with children and outside interests. “I love the flexible schedule. I have two teenagers and I am able to work my schedule around my family,” Lily says. “I also appreciate my insurance and salary. I couldn’t be here if they didn’t have these wonderful benefits.” 

If you’ve never thought about a housekeeping career in healthcare, now is the time to join Lily, Jose and Karen here at Renown. We’re always looking for good people who want a great opportunity to learn, grow and serve their community.

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You Can Help Renown Children’s Hospital Patients by Voting for Miracles Now Through Dec. 19

With the simple click of a mouse, employees can make a difference in the lives of sick and injured children in our community. The second annual Credit Unions for Kids Vote for Miracles runs now through Dec. 19, as the public is invited to cast their votes to support their favorite Children’s Miracle Network Hospital, including Renown Children’s Hospital.

You can vote daily at VoteforMiracles.org. You can sign up with your email so you are reminded to vote every day.

At the conclusion of the promotion, the top five hospitals will receive a share of a $100,000 donation on behalf of America’s credit unions, compliments of CO-OP Financial Services and CU Direct. The hospital with the most votes will win $50,000. Second through fifth place will receive $20,000, $15,000, $10,000 and $ 5,000, respectively.

When a vote is cast, voters have the option to choose their credit union. The credit union responsible for the most votes in each of the winning markets will be invited to participate in the check presentation for the top hospital. Be sure to type in the name of your favorite Nevada credit union when you vote.

Please vote as well as share on social media, and ask your fellow employees, friends and family to vote while sharing the hashtag #VoteForMiracles.

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Foundation Unveils Donor Wall at Renown Regional

Renown Health Foundation unveiled its donor recognition wall at Renown Regional Medical Center on Nov. 30 for an audience of donors to the health network.

Depicting the beauty of the northern Nevada landscape, the donor wall is on constant display in the 1st Floor hallway overlooking Fianna’s Healing Garden. There are 258 names on the wall and they include those who have given at least $1000 annually, including 37 employees. There are also members from all four Renown Health boards and Renown Health Auxiliary on the recognition wall, as well as a special Luminary category, for donors who have given more than $1 million in their lifetime.

For a look at the wall and the donor recognition event on Nov. 30, go to Renown’s Flickr page.

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Welcome Thomas (Tom) Sanchez, Vice President and CEO of Renown Network Services

A leader with decades of experience in many aspects of healthcare joins Renown today. Thomas (Tom) Sanchez is the Vice President and CEO of Renown Network Services.

Tom is responsible for the broad development of Renown outpatient primary and specialty care services including those related to lab and imaging. “Healthcare is in the midst of radical change with significant opportunities for transformation,” Tom said. “Renown Health is so well positioned for this transformation and I’m excited to join this incredibly talented team to improve the health and well-being of our community.”

Tom’s background includes 20-plus years in health facets such as medical group leadership, strategic planning and forecasting, service and facility expansion and market share growth. He also is well versed in lean methodology and working with multidisciplinary teams.

As Chief Operating Officer for The Vancouver Clinic in Vancouver, Wash., he oversaw more than 30 primary care and specialty care departments in 60 clinics. His achievements included opening new departments for orthopedics, ambulatory surgery and mental health.

Tom earned his master’s degree in business administration from Colorado State University, Fort Collins. He also has a bachelor’s degree in medical imaging technology from Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls. He is a certified medical practice executive through the American College of Medical Practice Executives and is a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt program graduate through Purdue University.