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New Care Coordination Team Impresses Grateful Patient

A recent positive experience between an employee and a patient speaks well to all three of the pillars of Renown’s Back to Basics portion of the strategic plan: clinical quality, process efficiency and service excellence. It also shows how teamwork helps strengthen the patient experience at Renown.​

It started when Courtney, an Outpatient Clinical Pharmacist with Renown’s Care Coordination team, received a referral to review a home health patient’s medication. This is part of her regular work, as Renown is the only health network in the region with pharmacy review for patient medication reconciliation.

While looking through the patient’s record, Courtney didn’t notice any medication errors but did see that the patient was using Tylenol PM, which has Benadryl (diphenhydramine), for pain relief. The patient was over age 65, and Courtney knew that Benadryl may contribute to falls and confusion. Courtney then notified the patient directly that they should use regular Tylenol instead for pain relief.

When the patient was informed of this attention to detail, she contacted Renown to praise Courtney for giving her that extra layer of support.

Courtney works with the Care Coordination team at Renown’s location on Locust Street. When a patient of Renown is referred to the team, they receive key details. The team – which includes nurses, pharmacists and social workers – compares medications with the discharge summary to make sure there are no care gaps.

This process began in September, and Courtney said it’s been going very well, with many patients showing appreciation for the calls and interventions as needed.

“I think it’s great because we can provide a wrap-around service for the patient,” Courtney said. “If they need education on a certain disease, a nurse on the team can follow up. And, if the patient can’t afford medication, the social workers can see if they qualify for a program to help with the cost.”

The team can also speak directly with members of a patient’s care team, including physicians or care providers, to make sure that quality and process is being followed at every step.

“It feels good to know that what we are doing is making a difference in people’s lives,” Courtney said.

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Labor and Delivery Nurses Jump Into Action Outside the Delivery Room

Debbie (left) and Krystie have a combined 35 years of experience working on the Labor and Delivery unit.

It was almost the end of shift for registered nurses Krystie and Debbie. They were giving a report out to the night shift nurse supervisor, Melissa on the Labor and Delivery unit, when she received a phone call on her work phone.

“We watched her face as she took this phone call,” Debbie recalls. “Melissa was like, ‘What? What do you mean a patient is delivering? Where?’ and then she hung up the phone and said, ‘There was a patient coming into a doorway somewhere and she’s delivering.'”

There was no information as to which doorway at Renown Regional the patient was delivering at, and with dozens of doorways and entrances on the campus, Krystie and Debbie went down to the ground floor to see if they could possibly find the woman who was in labor.

Then, a code blue was called for the Roseview Tower elevators, ground floor.

A late September rain drizzled outside while the mother was lying on the floor mat of the entryway – the automatic doors were opening and closing with all the code blue team members around her setting off the door’s sensor. Krystie checked the mother and the baby was already crowning, so there was no time to move her to the Labor and Delivery unit.

“I was mainly focused on talking to the mom and ignoring everyone else around me,” Krystie said. “I wanted to make sure that she stayed really calm and coached her through it.”

Being in such a public area, the code blue team worked together to divert visitors and put up screens around the mother to make it as private as possible.

Both Krystie and Debbie have delivered babies off the Labor and Delivery floor, in cars and in the Emergency Department, but in their combined 35 years of experience, neither had delivered a baby in a doorway.

“We’ve been trained to deliver babies, so it’s nothing really scary,” Krystie said. “It’s fun to do deliveries outside of the norm.”

Both mother and baby were healthy and once they could safely move them, they transported them to Labor and Delivery.

“It was almost a surreal moment,” Debbie said. “We got her up on a gurney and I carried the baby all the way up while Krystie, Beth and Melissa wheeled the mom up, and we felt such a sense of accomplishment that we got it done and things were great.”

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Dr. Tony Slonim Named to Becker’s List, Also Featured on ‘Eye on Washington’ TV Series

Dr. Tony Slonim, President and CEO at Renown Health, has received two more honors for his leadership and work in guiding the healthcare conversation. Here’s what has taken place:

Becker’s Hospital Review: Physician Leaders to Know for 2017

Dr. Slonim has been placed on this list by the respected health business magazine and website. All members featured on the list have demonstrated outstanding leadership and clinical expertise throughout their careers.

These physicians also have accomplished clinical careers, giving them unique insight into the healthcare industry. Many CEOs featured on this list have led their institutions through significant growth projects and technology installations, and continue to keep an eye on future development.

“Eye on Washington”

Dr. Slonim continues to have a significant presence when it comes to his views on healthcare’s present and future. Now, he will be featured on a television program called “Eye on Washington,” which provides news about what is happening in the U.S. Congress that affects Nevadans.

The show is broadcast on the following local stations:

  • KRNV-TV, Channel 4, 12:30 p.m. Thursdays
  • KAME-TV, Channel 21, 5:30 a.m. Sundays
  • KRXI-FV, Fox 11, 6:30 a.m. Sundays

In addition, the show is also broadcast on KKOH Radio, News Talk 780, at 12:30 p.m. Sundays. The show is also featured on TV stations around the state, including the Vegas area and in rural communities.

Here is when Dr. Slonim will be featured, along with the topics he will discuss:

“Health Rankings” – Dec. 3 and 31

“Treatment for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Problems” – Nov. 12, Dec. 10 and Jan. 7

Programs are also archived on the “Eye on Washington” YouTube channel.

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LEAD Rounds Spotlight: Melodie Osborn Gets To Know Employees at Renown South Meadows

Remember your first day at a new school? Walking into the lunchroom when you don’t know anyone yet is scary, and you’re thinking, “Where do I sit?” But after rounding at the Renown South Meadows Emergency Department, Melodie Osborn knows quite a few people in the hospital’s cafeteria and has no problem walking right up to a table full of nurses and managers to chat.

As the Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer of Transitional Care Services, Osborn has just finished her LEAD Rounds experience with Jennifer, Manager of Nursing, South Meadows Emergency Department guiding her in getting to know front-line employees and their work.

“I think the most interesting thing for me, no matter which area I round in, is that I always find an opportunity for us in transitional care to collaborate better,” Osborn said. “We have the ability to collaborate differently and be able to enhance the care for our patients.”

The LEAD Rounds program pairs one senior management leader with a different team from across the Renown network to help open the lines of communication and make connections across departments and employees. Senior leaders address employee concerns and questions while they’re rounding in their front line areas. Leaders round for 12 weeks in the selected departments, and new leaders are rotated in quarterly.

“On an individual level, what I really appreciated is that when Melodie came she developed relationships and friendships with the staff,” Jennifer said. “My team now feels comfortable reaching out to Melodie about their ideas or concerns – they want to know that the higher level leaders hear them too.”

Osborn brought lots of experience and strong community contacts to the Emergency Department to help them solve problems and make improvements.

After the team voiced their frustrations about patient readmissions related to feeding tubes, Osborn helped remove communication barriers to educate caregivers at community skilled nursing facilities. She helped coordinate an educational class at Renown’s Simulation Lab open to all skilled nursing facilities on how to care for patients with these feeding tubes, which will help prevent readmissions.

“It was nice to finally have progress on this problem,” Jennifer said. “I had been reaching out to individual facilities and I wasn’t getting a lot of response, so it was super beneficial to have Melodie’s support.”

“LEAD Rounds across the board have been so beneficial on so many different levels,” Osborn said. “I’ve gotten to visit so many different areas that I’ve never been in.”

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Seeking a New Clinical Role? New Apprenticeship Project Offers Opportunities


Interested in becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant, or CNA? Even better, do you want your tuition and lab fees paid for while earning money at the same time? If so, you can be a part of the Apprenticeship Project through Truckee Meadows Community College and Renown Health.

Carmela, a participant in the first class, said being a part of this project was a “heaven-sent opportunity.”

“I promised myself as soon as my youngest daughter started college, I would rediscover myself and take some classes,” Carmela said. “I wanted a career change at the age of 54. I caught a glimpse of patient care challenges when I was working as a cashier and occasional back-up dietary aide at Renown South Meadows Medical Center. It was like an answer to my prayers when I got into the program – a full time job and a new career path with Renown in an all-in-one package.”

As part of this grant program, TMCC pays for the participants’ tuition, lab fee and workbook in addition to the required Basic Life Support Provider CPR course. Renown provides each student with a uniform.

“My favorite part was pursuing my goals with eight others as a team and as a family,” Carmela said. “It is a lot more fun and effective than doing it alone. As we move forward together gaining practical experience at the different medical floors of the hospital, we found ourselves learning valuable lessons in real life situations.”​

More details on the program

This is a grant program through TMCC that allows participants to complete a six-credit course over the duration of a semester to be trained as a CNA. Upon completion of the course, they have to take and pass the CNA certification test.

Participants have class two days per week where they learn theory and have lab time. About six weeks into the class, students start clinical work and will be a part of Skilled Nursing and Medical/Surgical units. They work in various capacities until they gain enough CNA skills to start working with the CNAs. Until they have the necessary experience, participants start helping in support rules such as a Personal Service Assistant or Unit Clerk.

Participants are paid for classroom hours, clinical and work time.

Carmela said that the apprenticeship helped her and her fellow students “realize our dreams and bridge that gap between where we were before and where we wanted to be in the future. Some of us wanted to be unit clerks, LPNs, RNs or physicians someday.  There are many great possibilities that are open to us after our life as CNA apprentices.”

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Renown Health Introduces Medical Weight Management Program

Health Improvement Programs is introducing a new, multi-disciplinary Medical Weight Management Program to its list of services. This program provides patients with an opportunity to receive a comprehensive evaluation and treatment plan that will help medically manage their overweight issues.

​Kirsten Frederiksen, MD, FACP, ABOM, and a team of registered dietitians will assist in managing each patient’s unique diagnosis and individualized plan of care. While working with existing medical and surgical providers, the team will create a customized plan to help patients lose weight in a healthy and sustainable way.

Who benefits from this program?

  • Those with a BMI of 25 and higher and one or more of the following co-morbidities: hypertension, Type 2 diabetes mellitus, steatosis/steatohepatitis (fatty liver), obstructive sleep apenea, certain forms of cancer, cardiovascular disease and stroke, osteoarthritis, gout, infertility and polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • Those with a BMI of 30 and higher
  • Those with a significant metabolic derangement such as Type 2 diabetes mellitus or hypertension that does not respond to regular medical care

Medical treatment plans may include:

  • Evaluation of current medical status and treatment of obesity-related co-morbidities
  • Evaluation of designated labs and EKG
  • Review of treatment options, including nutrition changes, possible meal replacements, medications, exercises and/or behavioral therapy
  • Evaluation and plan of action from a dietitian
  • Regular follow-up visits

Patients will be required to review some pre-visit information and schedule basic labs and EKG prior to their initial visit. For more information on this program and how to refer someone to it, call 982-5073.

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First Renown Rose Award

Michelle was named as the first Renown Rose Award winner for being an outstanding role model who provides safe and compassionate care to patients and families. Michelle is a Senior Medical Assistant with the Medical Oncology office at Renown Medical Group.

Michelle earned the award at a ceremony during the National Medical Assistant Week education event on Oct. 20, where she was presented the award by Dr. Tony Slonim, President and CEO of Renown Health. See the MA Week Flickr site for photos from this event and others during MA Week.

She received 14 total nominations for the award, which was chosen by a committee of Renown Medical Group leaders. A total of 116 nominations were received for the award. Here are just a few of the comments from the nomination forms:

“Michelle knows everything about her work and still manages to keep a fun yet professional working attitude. She is respected and liked around the office. All-around rock star!”

“She is always willing to help me when I am in need. She ensures tasks are completed when it may be difficult to complete during a busy clinic. She shows compassion for our patients.”

“She is an amazing teacher, very nice and reassuring. All of her patients absolutely love her and she makes every patient comfortable. She follows all protocols and keeps composed.”

“She will go out of her way to help train and explain processes to new employees. She is always going out of her way to make sure Dr. Ambika’s patients that need to be presented at Tumor Board are presented in a timely manner.”

“Recently we had a mutual patient between research and Medical Oncology. This patient required multiple appointments. Rather than duplicate efforts, Michelle contacted us and we were able to assist the patient in a timely manner.”

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Senior Care Plus is Now the Highest-Rated Medicare Advantage Plan in Nevada

Senior Care Plus, a Medicare Advantage Plan from Hometown Health, has received a 4.5 Star Rating from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), making it the highest-rated Medicare Advantage Plan in Nevada for 2018.

CMS created the Part C & D Star Ratings to provide quality and performance ratings of Medicare Advantage plans to Medicare beneficiaries. These ratings – ranging from one to five stars – help Medicare beneficiaries choose the best plan to cover their health and prescription drug needs during the annual open enrollment period which runs from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7.

Medicare Advantage Plans are rated on up to 44 unique quality and performance measures. The results earned Senior Care Plus a 4.5 Star Rating for its HMO Medicare Advantage Plans in Washoe County. 

Ty Windfeldt, Hometown Health CEO, said Senior Care Plus members are the ones who benefit from having the highest rated plan in the state.  “Senior Care Plus is committed to delivering a high-quality program and ensuring our members get access to the appropriate care they deserve. This 4.5 Star Rating is another example of how we are delivering on our commitment,” said Windfeldt.

According to the Medicare Plan Finder tool on the Medicare website, Senior Care Plus also offers Medicare beneficiaries in Washoe County the lowest estimated health and prescription drug costs, saving members $3,960 per year compared to using Original Medicare.

Senior Care Plus is also available to Medicare eligible seniors in Carson City, Churchill, Douglas, Lyon, and Storey counties.  For more details, visit SeniorCarePlus.com or call 982-3191.

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Renown Rehabilitation Hospital Unveils Quiet Room for Employees

A newly designated Quiet Room greets you with “This is My Happy Place” art, a lounge chair and a variety of relaxation tools. Outside, it’s another busy day of patient care and therapy at the hospital, but inside the Quiet Room, the focus is on the employee.

“This is a space where employees can go off-stage and rejuvenate,” said Sarah Porter, a Physical Therapist who developed the idea with former Renown Rehab patient Carolyn Bernard during a walk. Bernard wanted to make a donation to the hospital that would enhance the day-to-day experience for employees.

“What these people are doing is amazing, day in and day out” said Bernard, who funded the room through the Robert Z. Hawkins Foundation. “And they’re smiling while they do it.”

Porter and Bernard discussed how a Quiet Room would benefit employees and what items could be available to aid in relaxation, reflection or mindfulness practices. Porter also reviewed some studies that showed how these spaces improve job satisfaction, employee retention and employees’ ability to provide patient care. When she presented the idea to Rehabilitation Hospital Administrator Chris Nicholas, he was all in.

“The purpose of this room is to take care of our staff,” he said. “It’s a pretty innovative thing that we are doing.”

The team identified a storage room at the hospital that could be repurposed. With a few months’ work on some paint, carpeting and lighting, the space was ready to be stocked. Items available for employees include yoga mats, stretching tools, a weighted blanket, coloring books, journals, a CD player with mindfulness CD, stress balls and a Theracane massager.

While in the room, employees are asked to refrain from talking, eating, texting and using a phone or computer for purposes aside from listening to music.

The room was unveiled during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Aug. 30. Employees at the hospital took a break from their work to drop by and look at the new space.

“I feel both proud and blessed to work for an organization that demonstrates in tangible ways how much it cares about its employees,” said Porter. “I hope this project encourages people to continue to ask themselves: ‘What can I do to make this thing I care about just a little better?'”

Here are some more photos from the opening of the Quiet Room.

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Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve to Host Public Conversation on Mental Health and Addiction

As many of us know personally, mental health and addiction are all around us. Friends, family and coworkers may be silently battling these problems alone because of the stigma surrounding a mental health or addiction diagnosis.

Renown Health is co-sponsoring an event hosted by Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve that hopes to change that. The Mayor of Reno’s Conversation on Mental Health and Addiction will bring Nevada residents together with a panel of local behavioral health experts, as well as a panel of business and community leaders, for a two-day summit with a goal of changing the tide when it comes to mental health and addiction in our region. 

The public event during the takes place on Thursday, Oct. 19, at 6 p.m. at Washoe County Commission Chambers, 1001 E. Ninth Street, Building A, Reno.  This event will feature an open and honest conversation about our residents’ needs and the resources available in the Truckee Meadows.

In formal presentations and a panel discussion, behavioral care providers will walk through frequently asked questions such as when to seek help for yourself or a loved one as well as the resources available in Reno-Sparks. Among the panelists and key speakers is Kristen Davis-Coelho, PhD, Administrator for the Behavioral Health and Addiction Institute at Renown. She will give a presentation called “Mental Illness and Addiction: What They Are and Why They Matter.”

Attendees are encouraged to RSVP online. The public event will also be streamed live online at WashoeCounty.us for people to watch from home.

On the second day of the event, which is Friday, Oct. 20, local businesses and community leaders will attend to learn how they can connect their employees and constituents with community resources in the future.

Mental health and addiction are two struggles well known in the Silver State. According to Mental Health America’s most recent State of Mental Health report released in late 2016, Nevada ranked last in the nation. The reason? There are 67.5 percent of adults and 71.6 percent of youth with mental illness did not receive treatment. There is also a shortage of care providers, with one mental health worker per 570 Nevadans.