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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.

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LEAD Rounds Spotlight: Jen Richards Rounds with Infusion Services Nurses

With more than 18 years of experience working at Renown Health, Jen Richards, Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer of Acute Care Services, has taken on multiple roles throughout the health network, but her LEAD Rounds experience was her first close-up look into Infusion Services.

Richards rounded at Infusion Services once a week from April through June a​s part of the LEAD Rounds program with Brandi Griggs, Manager of Infusion Services, guiding her in getting to know front-line employees and their work.

“I think that the ability to connect with what the team is doing at the front lines is really important,” Richards said. “Being able to see them in action was amazing.”

The LEAD Rounds program pairs a 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.

“When you’re in one department for a long time, you begin to develop tunnel vision and you get used to tackling the same problems over and over. You almost become immune to them,” Griggs said. “Having Jen here really highlighted the recurring problems and validated our patient safety concerns. And at the senior management level, Jen can take those ‘rocks’ out of our shoes.”

Richards brought a listening ear and lots of experience to the Infusion Services team to help them solve problems and make improvements.

Richards helped to brainstorm the formation of the Infusion Quality Committee. This inter-disciplinary committee brings together employees from pharmacy, IT, quality, risk management and physicians to help identify problems within Midas reports that could be solved or improved to help employees and patients.

The inter-disciplinary structure of the committee has been implemented in several other areas in the organization, and it helps identify possible solutions that can help move processes forward.

“The infusion team was so appreciative of her attentiveness, willingness to listen and consistent presence,” Griggs said of Richards.

“Recognizing the staff is a huge component of LEAD Rounds,” Richards said. “Working collaboratively with leaders in the areas to break down barriers is also another goal of the program.”

For more information about LEAD Rounds, read more here.

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High Fives Now Has Dedicated Space at Renown Rehabilitation Hospital

Renown Rehabilitation Hospital is proud to continue its support of and partnership with the High Fives Foundation by providing a dedicated office space to the Truckee-based nonprofit. Five High Fives Athletes will work with Renown staff to connect with and mentor those who are on a journey to rebuild their life after a serious injury.

Roy Tuscany, Founder and Executive Director of the High Fives Foundation, said that opening the office space literally opens the door to many recovering athletes in the region.

“Little did I know that Renown would have me walking back in to come full circle,” said Roy, after explaining that he spent 41 days at Renown Health in 2006 for therapy to regain movement in his legs. He had suffered a spinal cord injury at Mammoth Mountain that left him paralyzed from the waist down.

Here are some photos​ from the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new High Fives space at Renown Rehab.

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Renown South Meadows Earns HealthInsight Quality Award for 6th Year

For the sixth straight year, Renown South Meadows Medical Center has been awarded HealthInsight’s Quality Award. Renown South Meadows was one of just two hospitals in Nevada to receive the honor.

This annual award from nonprofit HealthInsight recognizes hospitals that provide high quality care and highly rated patient experiences. HealthInsight bases its award on hospital performance on healthcare-associated infections, 30-day hospital-wide readmissions, patient experience survey and mortality measures.  Hospitals at or above the 75th percentile nationally receive the Quality Award.

HealthInsight, a nonprofit, community-based health care collaborative working to improve health and health care for patients and providers, presented its 2017 HealthInsight Quality Awards to the recipients at the recent 57th Annual Nevada Hospital Association Meeting at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe.​

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Jessica Thompson, Essie Dufur Honored as Nevada Healthcare Heroes

Jessica Thompson, Essie Dufur Honored as Nevada Healthcare Heroes

October 13, 2017

Care Provider
Jessica Thompson, RN, Renown Medical Group-Tonopah
Jessica’s passion for her community is clear. For 28 years, she has committed herself to taking care of friends, family and neighbors in both her everyday job as well as going above and beyond when she’s not on duty. After her previous employer, Nye Regional Medical Center, closed in Tonopah, Jessica was key when Renown and the Nye County Commission collaborated to open Renown’s medical group office there. And today, she is the registered nurse patients see when they come in for an appointment. A familiar face who is committed to Tonopah patients whenever and wherever they need care. Jessica’s concern for patients and love of nursing are evident in everything she does.

Esperanza Dufur, Renown Health 
As the longest-serving volunteer at the health network, Essie has given much of her own valuable time to service, and she’s happy to do it. She currently volunteers three days a week at Renown — one day at Renown Regional Medical Center, and two days at Renown South Meadows Medical Center. She serves in many ways, including wayfinding help for visitors and delivering flowers, newspapers and mail. Her kind manner and ability to relate and talk to anyone has made her a longtime volunteer favorite at Renown. Essie has given the community an incredible 32,774 hours through her work with Renown, which translates to almost 16 years of 40-hour work weeks.

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Local News Outlets and Readers Honor Renown Employees

It’s a deeply rooted passion of Renown employees to provide the best care to the people and communities we serve. Now, it has been recognized by members of the community. Here are the details:

Reno Magazine and reno.com’s Best of Reno
As announced on Sept. 10, Renown Health was voted as Best Hospital by readers of reno.com and Reno Magazine in their inaugural “Best of Reno” contest. Thousands of votes were cast by readers of reno.com and rgj.com.

Reno News and Review’s Best of Northern Nevada
Earlier this summer, Renown Health earned another honor from northern Nevadans, as we were named Best Hospital by the readers of the Reno News and Review, a weekly newspaper that has its own Best of Northern Nevada list.

Thank you to everyone at Renown for your commitment to quality care, day in and day out. 

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Congratulations to our Latest DAISY winners, Jennifer and Amanda!

We are proud to recognize Registered Nurses Jennifer, Sierra ICU, Renown Regional Medical Center and Amanda, Infusion Services, Renown Regional Medical Center, as the latest winners of the DAISY award, which recognizes nurses for making a genuine difference for patients.

Jennifer’s Nomination
“We had a patient who was admitted to the ICU and also recently became homeless. He got word that his dog was sick and needed to be put down while he was stuck in the hospital and was torn up about it. Jenny offered to go pick up his dog from animal control and take the dog to be put down and cremated. She got funding together from various people to pay for the cremation and was able to get a discount from the cremation company after telling them the story. She then came in on her day off and brought the patient the cremation remains as the patient requested. I took care of him that day and he was so touched by Jenny – even to the point of tears. It was such a selfless act – above and beyond – that she took the time to do this for that patient.” Read more about Jennifer’s act of kindness here.

Amanda’s Nomination
“This nurse rocks it with each and every patient every visit. Amanda had a patient come in for ‘just a lab draw’ and possibly some cryo. The patient had just gotten out of the acute care facility and looked to be failing and needed to return. Well, needless to say, this was depressing for the patient as he had a granddaughter graduating. Amanda called and arranged through multiple care providers and his MD the ability to return to the acute care facility AFTER he attended graduation. She set up multiple entities so he could be there for a special moment. This is not unusual for Amanda, she does this all the time. Looking at each patient and assessing what is important to them and how she can help them with their journey. Amanda, YOU ROCK!”

Nominate a Colleague for the DAISY Award
Do you have a colleague who has made a difference when it comes to patient care or service? Then nominate your colleague for a DAISY Award. Nominating a deserving coworker is easy —complete the online nomination form with your leader, which is forwarded to a nurse committee for review.

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RN Scholarship Highlights Tuition Reimbursement/Loan Repayment Perks

Sam, RN, Float Pool, earned a scholarship from Western Governors University (WGU) as part of WGUs Renown Healthcare Partners Fund Scholarship. WGU came to Renown Regional Medical Center to present the scholarship to Sam as she was joined by her fellow RNs at the presentation.

Sam’s recent scholarship honor is a reminder to RNs of Renown Health’s tuition and certification reimbursement and loan repayment programs to help further and pay for continuing education. Below are some stats on the number of RNs who are currently taking advantage of either or both programs.

From January until August 2017, nearly 150 RNs have taken advantage of the tuition and certification reimbursement program.

  • 129 participants (including two nurse apprentices)
  • 20 have graduated who were enrolled in the reimbursement program

Renown’s student loan repayment program went live in July. Through August, the number of Renown RNs who graduated with a nursing degree who are participating in the loan repayment program include:

  • 254 participants
    • 99 have been approved/paid
    • 155 have started but not completed the process of applying/requesting a payment

Currently, 60 percent of Renown Health RNs hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. According to Erin, MSN, RN, Director of Nursing Education, based on research and best practices, Renown Health has a goal of 80 percent of its nursing workforce holding a BSN degree or higher by 2020.