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Good Day Ascension For Associates of Our One Integrated Ministry


Summer 2018

INSIDE: Precision medicine leads to innovations in cancer treatment / Improving senior living through technology / Welcome Presence Health




Embarking on a Dual Transformation


We’re committed “to Healthcare That Works, Healthcare That Is Safe and Healthcare That Leaves No One Behind, for Life, while acknowledging that a healthcare-centered focus is insufficient in today’s complex and rapidly environment.”

efore you set out on a journey, you make an itinerary. Before you build a home, you develop a blueprint. Before you care for a patient, you get to know him or her as a person. Likewise, as Ascension considers the unprecedented changes and challenges in healthcare today, thousands of leaders, physicians, caregivers, associates and board members have worked together to shape our strategy going forward. Led by our Strategy Ministry-wide Function, we have advanced Ascension’s Strategic Direction to 2025 in a way that optimizes and transforms our core healthcare operations while at the same time creating new models that extend the reach of our ministry and provide the engine for growing the organization and its impact — our Dual Transformation. The Advanced Strategic Direction affirms our commitment to Healthcare That Works, Healthcare That is Safe and Healthcare That Leaves No One Behind, for Life, while acknowledging that a healthcare-centered focus is insufficient in today’s complex and rapidly evolving environment. Achieving our goals will mean expanding and enhancing our presence, stabilizing and optimizing performance, improving the health of individuals and communities, helping other organizations improve their performance, and empowering people to navigate their own health journey. In this edition’s cover story, you’ll learn more about our Advanced Strategic Direction and our commitment to Dual Transformation. You’ll also read about Presence Health, which joined Ascension earlier this year; our clinical interventions in precision medicine and diabetes management; and many more initiatives that help us live our Mission. Thank you for all you do each and every day to make Ascension all it can be. As always, we welcome your feedback at Nick Ragone, Esq. Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Ascension

4 Mailbox Feedback from associates, and patients and families share letters of thanks to caregivers.

FEATURES 12 Our Advanced Strategic Direction ASCENSION EMBARKS ON A JOURNEY OF DUAL TRANSFORMATION Leaders across Ascension have worked together to extend our Strategic Direction to the year 2025, creating a path to transform core healthcare operations and establish new models that together will allow the Mission to thrive into the future. The accompanying stories tell how Ascension is already beginning to meet our 2025 Aspiration through five goal categories.

16 Health of communities TAKING ON DIABETES



22 Superior experience

Good Day Ascension is published by Ascension Marketing and Communications for associates and family members across our integrated national health ministry. Stories in Good Day Ascension support our One Ascension journey and reflect the commitment of associates, providers and volunteers across the health ministry to provide compassionate, personalized care to all, with special attention to persons living in poverty and those most vulnerable. Executive Editor: Nick Ragone, Esq., Editor: Ted Siegel,

Our Mission: Rooted in the loving ministry of Jesus as healer, we commit ourselves to serving all persons with special attention to those who are poor and vulnerable. Our Catholic health ministry is dedicated to spiritually centered, holistic care which sustains and improves the health of individuals and communities. We are advocates for a compassionate and just society through our actions and our words.


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6 Up front Ascension Information Services tests the use of digital assistants to improve senior living. … Ascension welcomes Presence Health. … Ascension partners with Ramsay Health Care on a new global supply chain venture. … Analysts help clinicians and administrators get their arms around big data.

10 Getting to know you Meet Kristi Henderson, DNP, NP-BC, FAAN, FAEN, Vice President, Patient Access and Care Delivery Transformation, Ascension.

11 Wellness now A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can have a big impact on your overall wellness. Plus, a wellness challenge.

28 News from the ministries

24 Reach and impact

Catch up on what’s happening at Ascension’s health ministries, community health centers and subsidiaries.

26 Customized care Ascension’s Precision Medicine Task Force is working on innovative personalized treatments for cancer patients.

Good Day Ascension For Associates of Our One Integrated Ministry

On the cover: Summer 2018

Ascension’s Saint Agnes Healthcare’s Health Institute in Baltimore partners with the organization Hungry Harvest in a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, pairing access to healthy foods with patient education, which furthers the goals of Ascension’s Advanced Strategic Direction.

Design and Production: To share comments, ask questions or suggest articles for Good Day Ascension, please email, or send a note to Editor, Good Day Ascension, Ascension Marketing and Communications, 101 S. Hanley Road, Suite 1100, St. Louis, MO 63105. All content copyright 2018 Ascension. Republication or any other use of the contents of Good Day Ascension without the express written consent of Ascension is prohibited. Any reference to or depiction of a product or service does not constitute or imply an endorsement by Ascension. Online version available at

Each of us is called to live out the Ascension Values in new ways each and every day. How will you respond?


NEW CARE MODELS PAVING THE WAY Good Day Ascension / Summer 2018 - Issue 7

5 Inspiration


35 The last word Read a few stories you might have missed from

Back cover Saramma George, RN, CCRN, is proud to be a nurse in the cardiovascular intensive care unit at Nashville’s Saint Thomas West Hospital, part of Ascension Tennessee. For her, nursing is more than a job; it’s a calling.

INSIDE: Precision medicine leads to innovations in cancer treatment / Improving senior living through technology / Welcome Presence Health






Thanks for the magazine

Feedback on “After bus crash, Ascension hospital becomes temporary home for students”: I appreciate your being good stewards of Ascension resources to tell the good stories that make us all feel proud of our amazing ministry. It gives us hope in this world that God’s love is alive and well, and the good news/bad news is we just have an overwhelming number of opportunities to share that with deserving recipients. Even as we are … trying to respond to the economy, Ascension never loses focus on the real reason and purpose for our ministry. It is to share the love of Jesus, no matter what. And for that reason it makes the resulting changes easier to accept because we understand it is for the survival of our ministry that these things must be done. Randy Patterson, CISSP, ISSMP Information Security Technical Specialist Ascension Information Services

Letters from those we serve I was so very excited about the [St. Vincent] Avon Indiana [hospital] opening! Due to an unfortunate incident, I found myself being a patient soon after the opening. I found the staff and facility provided a wonderful experience. Jason Duigou Chief Information Officer Medxcel

… I just want to sing the praises of Sarah. ... Not only was her compassion a strengthening aid to my mom, it was a blessing to me as well. When you have a


family member in the hospital, you feel lost. When someone like Sarah comes along you feel like you are no longer a part of a machine … but part of team effort to see your family member get well. Letter from grateful daughter to Sarah Parowski, LPN, St. John Macomb Oakland Hospital, part of Ascension Michigan

I don’t know where to begin or that we could say thank you enough for everything you did for my husband in the ER. … It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever endured, watching my husband lie there in a coma fighting for his life. But by God’s grace, he’s here with us today! Working, talking and laughing. We will always be forever grateful to you for your God-fearing heart and awesome abilities! … We have two little girls who are more than excited to have their daddy home. Letter from family member to Luke Matloff, MD St. John Health System, Ascension Kansas/Oklahoma

… From the moment we were blessed to be introduced to the remarkable group of people on the seventh floor, we, and our mother, were treated with compassion, honesty, diligence and the feeling that we were part of your family. … Every person I encountered understood that they were doing more than a job, they were caring for human beings that required dignity and compassion as much as they required treatment. … I can assure you that our entire family was touched on the heart by everyone on the seventh floor. I know my mother would say the same.

Blown away by the amazing treatment our daughter received from Dr. [Clifford] Schwartz and Rachel [Bouteiller, RN,] at St. [Vincent’s]. Just received a courtesy call checking up on our daughter who needed stitches this past Saturday from him. If you know our daughter, you know how she feels about needles and hospitals. We have a few friends here on Facebook who work at St. Vincent’s hospital. If you work closely with either [doctor or nurse], please share our gratitude and appreciation for all they have done for our little girl. I’m sure they don’t get told enough. Family member Facebook post St. Vincent’s Medical Center Bridgeport, Connecticut

Every nurse who came into his room was so very kind. He and Mom were so impressed that they remembered their names and knew about them. He had the same nurse for both visits, which meant a great deal to him and me. I had many hours to observe staff interactions with other patients and families at a time when the unit was extremely full. I witnessed countless examples of kindness, compassion, empathy and respect for patients — many of whom are very ill — and their families. Long into the night and early in the morning when “leadership” is not there, the nurses kept right on demonstrating our Mission in every situation. Note from Tess Levin, BSN, RN, CNOR Director of Surgery, Via Christi Hospital St. Francis, Ascension Kansas/Oklahoma, to Carla Yost, MHA, BSN, CPHQ, FACHE, Chief Nursing Officer



ransformation is at the heart of who we are as a Catholic health ministry. Our historical founders understood this as they adapted to the needs of their times by building hospitals, forming healthcare systems and eventually founding Ascension. With each step of the journey, they transformed their work and themselves as they carried out the healing ministry of Jesus. All of us in Ascension carry on this legacy as we follow our Ascension Vision to develop a health ministry that

responds dynamically to the needs of the persons and communities we serve. As we follow this journey, we can look to our past for strength. In the midst of change and transformation, our Ascension Values take on renewed importance. The Values do not change, but we may be called to live them in a different way. As we follow this road of transformation and seek to respond to the needs of our own time, what does it mean to practice these Values in our

current situation? Which Values most inspire you for the work ahead? Perhaps you are called to a renewed sense of Dedication as you once again find the hope and joy in the work you do. Or perhaps you are called to practice Creativity to respond with courageous innovation to contribute to the transformation of our health ministry. Each of us is called to live out the same Values in new ways each and every day. How will you respond?

Our Values SERVICE OF THE POOR: Generosity of spirit, especially for persons most in need REVERENCE: Respect and compassion for the dignity and diversity of life INTEGRITY: Inspiring trust through personal leadership WISDOM: Integrating excellence and stewardship CREATIVITY: Courageous innovation DEDICATION: Affirming the hope and joy of our ministry

Letter from son of a patient at Ascension Crittenton Hospital, Ascension Michigan

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Senior tech

A new Presence




ooking to bring innovation to the care of seniors, Ascension Information Services (AIS) is teaming up with Ascension Living to see how some of the latest technologies — digital assistants such as the Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple HomePod — might help seniors improve their quality of life. First, AIS conducted a small pilot to test the use of the Amazon Echo Show among Ascension Living skilled nursing and assisted living residents. Over the span of 30 days, four pilot participants interacted with the devices in their rooms a total of 1,045 times — an average of 10 times a day. All elected to continue using the devices at the end of the test period. “We wanted to explore ways to give Ascension Living residents new tools for communicating with staff and family and requesting assistance,” said Sneha Patel, Chief Information Officer, Ascension Living. “This technology also helped

engage our residents in the activities they enjoy.” “The device usage by these four residents far exceeded any expectations we had,” said Christine Way, Senior Director, Experience Product, AIS. “We learned quite a bit about what they want, so we then launched an expanded 100-user pilot more confidently.” The initial pilot began within 30 days of first discussing the concept. The goal was to move quickly to learn if the idea was a viable product worthy of further testing and development. “We were only able to complete this test on such a rapid time frame because we started so small. As we think about how AIS needs to respond to opportunities in the future, this is an example,” Christine said. “Start small and have clear goals to measure. If it yields the expected results, then expand. And if it doesn’t, learn from it, readjust and try again.”

In this proof-of-concept pilot, AIS chose four participants from the Sherbrooke Village facility in St. Louis — two from skilled nursing and two in assisted living. The AIS team built customized functionality to provide residents with information about the dining menu, activity calendar and Mass schedule at Sherbrooke; 13 percent of all requests were for this specific information. The remainder of the time the residents used the devices for entertainment and convenience features. After using the device for 30 days, the pilot participants were interviewed and assigned a score assessing their support for and likelihood of recommending the technology to others. The two skilled nursing residents scored the devices 10 out of 10. The larger rollout of 100 devices at two Ascension Living senior living communities in St. Louis started in mid-April. “Ascension Living is committed to providing services, amenities, opportunities and support so seniors can enjoy living healthier and happier, at every age and at every stage,” said Gayle Trupiano, President and CEO, Ascension Living. “Offering our residents access to the Amazon Echo to improve their experience and care is just one way we are trying to improve our residents’ quality of life through innovation.” ‘What’s the weather for today?’ Eula Goff asks the Echo device in her room at Sherbrooke Village in St. Louis. A pilot participant, Eula continues to use her device to ask about the menu and for the variety of music Echo offers.


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n March 2018, Presence Health became part of Ascension, making compassionate, personalized patient care even more accessible for Illinois residents. With 150 sites of care, including 10 hospitals, more than 14,000 associates and some 4,000 medical professionals, Presence Health joined the integrated health system of AMITA Health, a joint operating company formed in 2015 by Adventist Midwest Health, part of Adventist Health System, and Alexian Brothers Health System, a subsidiary of St. Louis-based Ascension. AMITA Health now is one of the largest healthcare networks in Illinois. While the acute care and related operations of Presence Health joined AMITA Health, the skilled nursing and assisted and independent living facilities of Presence Life Connections are now part of Ascension Living. “We look forward to combining our strengths and learning from one another in order to strengthen Catholic healthcare and our ability to provide compassionate, personalized care in Illinois and in every community across the country where we are privileged to serve,” said Patricia A. Maryland, Dr.PH, Executive Vice President, Ascension, and President and Chief Executive Officer, Ascension Healthcare. “Leaders of Presence Health, AMITA Health and Ascension Living are excited to begin the hard work of thoughtful integration, a process that will take months of discernment and planning.”

Presence Life Connections Presence Life Connections has added its 20 locations throughout Illinois and Indiana to Ascension Living, Ascension‘s senior living division. Ascension Living now serves 10,000 residents in 11 states and the District of Columbia in over 50 facilities with more than 8,000 compassionate associates. Ascension Living communities offer many types of senior living and care, from independent living to assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing and short-stay rehabilitation. Presence Life Connections offers affordable housing, independent living, adult day services, assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing and short-term rehabilitation.

“As Presence Life Connections joins Ascension Living, we have the opportunity to identify best practices in order to elevate the experiences for our patients, residents and associates,” said Gayle Trupiano, President and Chief Executive Officer, Ascension Living. “Together, we will work to enhance care both locally and throughout our nation in the communities served by the combined organizations, especially to those who are poor and underserved. I am confident that as we bring together our collective strengths, we will continue to build the leading senior care organization in the country.”







scension, the largest private, tax-exempt, nongovernmental health system in the U.S., and Ramsay Health Care Limited, one of the top six private hospital operators in the world, are partnering in a new global supply chain joint venture. The new organization will combine the purchasing power of Ascension, the world’s largest Catholic health system, and Sydney-based Ramsay Health Care, which operates more than 230 healthcare facilities in six countries on four continents. The venture will be owned equally by Ascension and Ramsay. Two Ascension subsidiaries — Ascension Holdings International and The Resource Group, Ascension’s group purchasing organization (GPO) and strategic sourcing subsidiary — will work with Ramsay’s International Procurement Office to develop and operationalize the new global healthcare buying group. “Ascension is continually exploring potential opportunities to extend our reach internationally and make


healthcare more affordable for those we serve,” said Anthony R. Tersigni, EdD, FACHE, President and Chief Executive Officer, Ascension. “As we looked for partners to help us improve the quality and reduce the costs of the millions of items our caregivers use to provide compassionate, personalized care, we were tremendously impressed by Ramsay Health Care, whose values and mission align closely with our own.” Ramsay’s Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Craig McNally said both organizations had a long history of providing quality healthcare services. “This new global healthcare buying group between Ascension and Ramsay will seek products internationally that are able to deliver the high level of service and clinical outcomes that our patients have come to expect,” he said. “Globally, funders are looking for better outcomes at a reduced cost and it is important that all players in the healthcare system work to meet these expectations. At the same time, technology is advancing rapidly and we owe it to our patients to stay abreast of new developments. This partnership between Ramsay and Ascension will allow us to share learnings, best practice and industry knowledge to seek improved quality and outcomes whilst also reducing costs.” “We believe that over the next few years, we will create opportunities to both improve financial and operating performance within our respective

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organizations, as well as providing an alternative supply chain source for independent providers in North America, Asia, Oceania and Europe,” said John D. Doyle, Executive Vice President, Ascension, and President and CEO, Ascension Holdings International. “The new venture is designed by providers, for providers, with the belief that we can bring greater efficiency, discipline and innovation to the system, and form more productive relationships with the vendor community, so that all can benefit by making healthcare more affordable.” The organization already has begun exploring alternatives to traditional approaches to create a more efficient technology platform for ordering, tracking, logistics and fulfillment.



ata experts across Ascension are working to help clinicians and operational leaders make better decisions for those Ascension serves and to improve the sustainability of the national health ministry. The Ascension Clinical Research Institute (ACRI), in collaboration with local clinical and administrative leaders, has created several tools that enable greater visibility into clinical quality and operations and make that information available more quickly and easily. These efforts include Executive Information System dashboards — balanced analytics tools designed to identify variability in care (cost, quality, efficiency) for specific

diagnosis-related groups, across different service lines, down to the individual provider level. An operational dashboard has been designed for use by Ascension Medical Group leaders, while an Antimicrobial Use and Resistance dashboard helps improve the management of infectious diseases and the use of antibiotics across Ascension. “These dashboards take huge amounts of data and make them accessible, which means we have a greater window into what’s happening within our areas of responsibility so we can take quicker action on improvement,” said John Pirolo, MD, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Information Officer, Ascension.

On the horizon, ACRI plans a dashboard focused on the frequency of lab, pharmacy and imaging services that will allow clinical leaders to deliver care more consistently and nimbly. In addition, value-based purchasing data and dashboards reflecting data supplied to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will be available to help leaders track their performance in these programs. “Each of these efforts is aimed at using a state-of-the-art ‘big data’ computing environment that allows, for the first time, handling vast amounts of data on demand for multiple end users simultaneously,” said Thomas Erlinger, MD, Vice President, Clinical Informatics & Analytics, ACRI.

“We believe that over the next few years, we will create opportunities to both improve financial and operating performance within our respective organizations, as well as providing an alternative supply chain source for independent providers in North America, Asia, Oceania and Europe.” — JOHN D. DOYLE, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, ASCENSION, AND PRESIDENT AND CEO, ASCENSION HOLDINGS INTERNATIONAL





Getting to know you

A fresh start



Q: You’ve focused on telemedicine/virtual care throughout your career. What drew you to that area of healthcare? A: Previously, I worked in a rural state that lacked healthcare resources. We had no other option except to think about creative new ways to provide access to care. It was out of that necessity that we launched a statewide telehealth program in 2003. I witnessed incredible outcomes and improvements in health that resulted from this new model. That is when I started my journey to leverage technology to deliver care evenly across areas where resources are not evenly distributed. Q: What attracted you to join Seton Healthcare Family and Ascension Texas as Vice President of Innovation and Virtual Care in December 2015? A: The excitement of coming into a large system like Ascension whose Mission I aligned with and where I could bring the new models of care that I had tested to improve the health of more people. I wanted to be a part of redefining the nation’s healthcare system and


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I knew that was feasible through Ascension. People all across Ascension share that same passion.

When you make your grocery list, does it include a wide variety of vegetables and fruits? Making sure that your family’s diet is rich in plants can have a big impact on your overall wellness.

Q: How did healthcare arrive at this pivotal point in the development of telemedicine? A: The U.S. healthcare system, as it operates today, is not financially sustainable nor is it meeting the health needs of our country. Virtual care services are part of the solution that allow us to distribute health services to those in need regardless of where they live. Advances in technology, reduction in the cost of technology and consumers’ demand for more convenient care led us to the point of adoption of this new method of care delivery.

Did you know: • Vegetables are a great source of potassium, which helps maintain healthy blood pressure, prevent kidney stones and decrease bone loss. •D  ietary fiber from vegetables can help reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower the risk of heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes. •V  egetables are an important source of many vitamins, including vitamin A, which helps protect eyes and skin and fights infections.

Q: What makes the GoodHealth Solutions Center you helped create in Texas a good model for virtual care? A: The GoodHealth Solutions Center is one of a kind. It serves as the hub for all patient access services, care coordination/navigation, virtual care and hospital support services. When a customer calls to make an appointment, we have visibility into all the appointment options at all our facilities including virtual care appointments, which allows us to better meet the needs of those we serve. We focus on getting the right care to people, when and where they need it. This model allows us to be better stewards of our resources with a more streamlined and efficient process and to continue to expand our offerings to those who are poor and vulnerable.

If you are what you eat, then try these fruits and vegetables to give yourself a healthy boost of these nutrients: • Potassium: sweet potatoes, white potatoes, white beans, tomato products (paste, sauce and juice), beet greens, soybeans, lima beans, spinach, lentils and kidney beans • Dietary fiber: black beans, squash, lentils, flaxseeds, raspberries, pomegranates and pears • Vitamin A: carrots, sweet potatoes, kale, spinach, Swiss chard, red bell pepper, berries and mangos

Q: How does your position as Vice President, Patient Access and Care Delivery Transformation, build on your successes and experience in Texas? A: What we have created in Texas can benefit all the other ministries within Ascension. The model can be scaled and replicated to serve all our Ascension markets. My initial focus is to visit every ministry and learn more about their resources and their needs. I’m looking for opportunities where this model and center can support them.

Fruits and vegetables are also lower in calories per serving than many other foods, so eating more of them can help you reduce you calorie intake. An example serving size is one-half cup of raw or cooked fruits or vegetables, or a full cup of leafy greens. So next time you make your grocery list, check it twice for fruits and vegetables.

NEW WELLNESS CHALLENGE If you enrolled in an Ascension SmartHealth medical plan during your benefits enrollment, you can participate in the Color Your Plate Challenge. Registration begins Aug. 13. The Color Your Plate Challenge can help give you a better understanding of how eating a more plant-based diet can help your overall health. The challenge goal is to eat four to five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, for a total of 120 servings over a month, and to participate in a webinar. Challenge information will be available on Aug. 13 on The challenge ends Sept. 23.



Transforming healthcare as we know it


Our Advanced Strategic Direction


hat do you do when your strategy has stood the test of time, but the world around you continues to evolve at a rapid pace? You review your Strategic Direction to ensure its focus is still right in both the current and projected future environment. That’s the work the Strategy Ministry-wide Function has led this past year, partnering with leaders from across Ascension. “As we look to the future, we see new competitors, regulatory changes, advances in science and medicine, and new expectations for how those we serve will access and receive care,” said Eric Engler, Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, Ascension. “Our Advanced Strategic Direction must address this changing landscape while continuing to deliver on our Mission.”

Healthcare is being reinvented in many ways, and Ascension is both adapting to meet changing needs and continuing to lead transformation as a Catholic ministry.” — REV. DENNIS HOLTSCHNEIDER, CM, EDD, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT AND CHIEF OPERATIONS OFFICER, ASCENSION


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From left: Alicia Davies, Coordinator, Diabetes Education and Outreach, Saint Agnes Healthcare; Will McCabe, Food Access Manager, Hungry Harvest; and Rosemary Slack, PCT, Saint Agnes, partner to distribute bags of fresh produce through the ‘Produce in a SNAP’ program.



Our Advanced Strategic Direction


he changes that are reshaping all of healthcare are more challenging and more dynamic than any time in memory,” said the Rev. Dennis Holtschneider, CM, EdD, Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer, Ascension. “Healthcare is being reinvented in many ways, and Ascension is both adapting to meet changing needs and continuing to lead transformation as a Catholic ministry.” The Strategic Dialogue Team, co-chaired by Eric Engler, Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, and Anthony R. Tersigni, EdD, FACHE, President and Chief Executive Officer, Ascension, came together last year to begin the process of advancing our Strategic Direction and evolving to lead the changes needed. First, the team sought to understand the factors that had been critical to Ascension’s success over the years. The “historical success formula” consisted of our Mission; our strong financial and operational management; our national scale; our consistent focus on quality and cost; and our leadership and associates. Next, they evaluated assumptions for the state of healthcare in 2025. Their answers helped shape “Our View of the World in 2025,” a description of the way the expectations of the people we serve, science and technology, care models, economics, and competition will change over the next seven years and beyond.

OUR VIEW OF THE WORLD IN 2025 Looking ahead to the year 2025, based on current trends and anticipated changes to the healthcare landscape, Ascension’s leaders envision a world defined by the following characteristics:


• Consumerism People will take a more active role in making health-related decisions and improving their health; expectations for convenience, accessibility and affordability will continue to grow.

• Science & technology Technology will support models that enable providers to expand capacity and improve efficiency. Scientific advancements will enable more effective and personalized care.

• Care models Clinical integration will be the norm, and coordination will increase. Care will be organized around the person by an interdisciplinary team, integrated with community resources to impact determinants of health.

• Economics Healthcare costs will continue to rise and regulatory complexity will increase. Health systems and payers will become more integrated, although the pace of change will vary by region and line of business.

with individuals and communities to improve their health and well-being — to advance from our historical strategic focus on healthcare to an expanded focus on both healthcare and health. Progress toward the 2025 Aspiration will be monitored through five goal categories:

• Health of communities • Quality and safety • Access and affordability • Superior experience • Reach and impact

Health of communities Improve the health of the people and communities we serve

Quality and safety Provide industry-leading quality and safety through the Ascension way

• Competition Competition for consumers, providers and associates will be fierce globally across traditional players as well as new, disruptive entrants. Consolidation will continue across all industry segments. The work affirmed Ascension’s historical Strategic Direction promise to provide Healthcare That Works, Healthcare That Is Safe, and Healthcare That Leaves No One Behind, for Life, while recognizing that this healthcare-centric focus is not sufficient to address future changes and challenges or to fully deliver on our Mission commitments and Vision. The group articulated a 2025 Aspiration to extend our ministry in partnership

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Access and affordability Provide access to affordable care in all the communities we serve

Superior experience Achieve a superior experience for the people and organizations we serve, as well as our caregivers and associates

Reach and impact Expand our reach and the impact of our Mission

Foundational to the work has been the recognition that Ascension must pursue a “Dual Transformation” — optimizing and transforming our core healthcare operations while at the same time creating new transformational models that extend the reach of our ministry and allow our Mission to thrive into the future. Using the Dual Transformation lens, the Strategic Dialogue Team identified five strategic objectives for Ascension: Geographic reach: focused on expanding and enhancing Ascension’s presence by (1) reaching more individuals through growth in existing markets; (2) exploring the potential to enter new geographies and supporting the further consolidation of Catholic healthcare; and (3) reconfiguring our presence in certain markets to best serve community needs. Ascension impact : designed to stabilize and optimize performance across Ascension by (1) driving service line growth; (2) expanding our clinical enterprise; (3) implementing the Ascension way; (4) reducing operational variation; (5) implementing the Ascension brand; (6) extending our reach across the continuum of care; and (7) optimizing our information technology ecosystem. Holistic health models: designed to improve the health of individuals and communities throughout their lifetime by creating new business and care models that catalyze resources to impact the determinants of health. Solutions expansion: focused on helping other organizations improve their performance by continuing to develop and commercialize solutions for domestic and international markets.

“Our Advanced Strategic Direction is deeply rooted in an unwavering commitment to our Mission,

Vision and Values and offers a path for Ascension to more fully leverage our scope, scale and solutions to truly transform healthcare as we know it today — to extend the reach and impact of our ministry, especially to serve those who are poor and vulnerable here and around the world.” — ANTHONY R. TERSIGNI, EDD, FACHE, PRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, ASCENSION

Personalized services: designed to empower people to navigate their health journey by developing, testing and scaling products and services for people and their families that support them as they work to solve health and healthcare challenges. Linking the Dual Transformation objectives are shared resources and capabilities that will support our current work and the development of future solutions. “Our Advanced Strategic Direction is deeply rooted in an unwavering commitment to our Mission, Vision and Values and offers a path for Ascension to more fully leverage our scope, scale and solutions to truly transform healthcare as we know it today — to extend the reach and impact of our ministry,” Tony said, “especially to serve those who are poor and vulnerable here and around the world.”

PURSUING OUR DUAL TRANSFORMATION The accompanying stories highlight some of the work already underway that aligns with our Advanced Strategic Direction goals. As we bring our Dual Transformation to life, innovative new solutions will continue to be developed and shared as we both enhance and improve the ways we traditionally deliver care today and design new, transformational models that meet the needs of those we serve. “As we pursue our Advanced Strategic Direction, the contributions and commitment of our associates, caregivers, board members and physicians will be vital to our success in continuing the legacy of those who came before us and achieving our Mission to provide care for all persons, with special attention to people living in poverty and those most vulnerable,” Tony said.



Improve the health of the people and communities we serve

Health of communities

“It became clear the issue wasn’t one of dietary habits, but of outreach,” said Cindy Gaines, President of Administration for Ascension Medical Group, West Michigan Market. “Of the 29 percent of patients categorized with uncontrolled diabetes, around two-thirds hadn’t visited the doctor in over a year.” Practitioners used five approaches for contacting patients to schedule a screening. The combined efforts resulted in patients re-engaging with their care providers and in A1C >9 percentages dropping from 29 percent to 19.8 percent in one quarter. “Don’t make assumptions based on your professional bias about what the issue is,” Cindy said. “Let your data tell you a story, and listen to it.”

TAKING ON DIABETES A critical component of Ascension’s Advanced Strategic Direction is to improve the health of communities. A great example of this is how ministries across Ascension are leveraging their resources and partnerships to both prevent type 2 diabetes and improve diabetes outreach and care.


Diabetes remains one of the most urgent ongoing health issues for the country — and for Ascension. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2017 Diabetes Statistics Report, 30.3 million Americans have diabetes, and 84.1 million have prediabetes. “Ascension developed a System-wide goal to prevent type 2 diabetes and reduce the risks and complications for those with type 2 diabetes, especially in vulnerable and marginalized communities,” said Amy Freeman, Vice President, Ascension Community Health. While they are separated geographically and serve distinctly different populations, five Ascension ministries have found common ground in launching successful diabetes programs.

By partnering with trusted community institutions, several Ascension ministries have leveraged their combined strengths to improve diabetic outreach and treatment. Ascension St. John Health System in Tulsa, part of Ascension Kansas/ Oklahoma, has been a steadfast partner of the medical clinic at the Tulsa Dream Center, a nonprofit community center serving thousands of impoverished residents. St. John’s Medical Access Program (MAP) pays the four clinic staff members’ salaries. It provides free diagnostic services and certain medications. Should a patient need a specialist or surgery, St. John offers the services for free. “The clinic staff are the ones who build the relationships with these patients,” said Macy Tooke, MAP Clinical Coordinator. “We want to make sure they have everything they need to continue their care.” Instead of reinventing the wheel, Ascension’s AMITA Health St. Alexius Medical Center Hoffman Estates in northwest suburban Chicago partnered with the nearby Campanelli YMCA branch to offer the Y’s lauded Diabetes Prevention Program. AMITA Health promoted the program and provided the seed funding that reduced the cost of participation from $429 to $100 per person. “We didn’t want cost to be a barrier to good health for anyone,” said Sendy Soto, Director of Community Benefit and Advocacy. “It is a way for us to carry out our Mission of caring for the poor and most vulnerable.”



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Top: Through the Ascension Providence Asian Diabetes Program, nurse Lorrie Dovin, RN, CDE, monitors the health of Sothone Phoeuk, left, and Mony Keo, monks at the Wat Vulavana Buddhist temple in Bayou La Batre, Alabama. They and fellow monk Mut Kheav also serve as translators for the program with the local Cambodian community. Bottom: Isela De Baca, a certified health education specialist at Centro San Vicente Health Center in El Paso, Texas, uses visual aids to help drive home lessons about diabetes self-care as part of its Diabetes Empowerment Education Program.

“They’re not compliant.” That’s the message the team at the South Mobile County CARE Center — an outreach program developed by Ascension Providence in Mobile, part of Ascension Alabama — heard repeatedly about diabetes self-management among the Southeast Asian community in Alabama’s poverty-stricken Bayou La Batre. Instead of accepting the consensus, the team asked, “Why?” It launched the Asian Diabetes Program to tackle the barriers to care head on. “We just kept whittling away at the problem,” said Kim Weems, the team’s Outreach and Advocacy Manager. By the end of the program’s first year, 88 percent of participants were testing their blood sugar daily or as recommended by their treatment plan — a full 28 percentage points higher than the program’s target. At Borgess Medical Group in Kalamazoo, part of Ascension Michigan, 29 percent of patients had uncontrolled diabetes, with an A1C level greater than 9. After accepting an Ascension-wide challenge to improve a quality metric by 20 percent in one quarter, the Borgess team scrutinized its A1C data.

members, which makes empowerment a group effort rather than a solo one. Also, in Bayou La Batre, the South Mobile County CARE Center team used part of a $50,000 Ascension Partnership in Ministry grant to hire three translators: one each for the local Laotian, Vietnamese and Cambodian communities. They created diabetes pamphlets and translate at monthly diabetes management classes. “This program helps my people a lot,” said Bounrath Bousanavong, the Laotian translator. “They feel better than before. They’re not sick like they used to be.”

Rodney Craig, left, lost 30 pounds thanks to the Diabetes Prevention Program of AMITA Health and the nearby YMCA, as well as program instructor Dave Borland, right.

The Diabetes Empowerment Education Program offered by Centro San Vicente Family Health Center in El Paso, Texas, reflects and respects its participants’ Hispanic heritage. Two of the three weekly classes are taught in Spanish. Lessons on nutrition focus on tortillas, beans and rice — daily staples for most patients. The program welcomes not just patients but also their close family



Provide industry-leading quality and safety through the Ascension way

Quality and safety

While this is no small feat, Ascension has a tradition and a successful history of being a pioneer in transforming healthcare. In 2002, Ascension set our first big, System-wide quality goal, the Journey to Zero, in which we aimed to eliminate all preventable injuries and deaths by 2008. This drove dramatic decreases in eight priority action areas, including significant decreases in preventable deaths. The work not only improved quality at Ascension sites of care but also significantly influenced national directions such as the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s “100,000 Lives” and “5 Million Lives” campaigns and the Partnership for Patients initiatives of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Our approaches also defined new spread and dissemination models for improvement that have been adopted by others. In 2009, through Healing Without Harm, Ascension committed to becoming the first large high-reliability healthcare organization by 2014. The initial goal, a 40 percent decrease in serious safety events, was dramatically exceeded, with serious safety event reductions of 70 percent. More than 120,000 individuals were trained in high-reliability principles, and Ascension adopted a single event reporting process. “Ascension leaders are confident and committed to our next big chapter: the elimination of preventable outcomes disparity and the elimination of unnecessary clinical variation,” Dr. Haydar said.

THE CASE FOR REDUCING CARE VARIATION Ascension’s Advanced Strategic Direction goals around quality and safety are exemplified by the effort to reduce variations in care. All across the country, healthcare as we know it is changing. Economic pressures, transitions in payment models and industry consolidation are some of the market forces continuing to put pressure on health systems. Regardless of the challenges the healthcare industry faces, Ascension is maintaining an unwavering focus on quality and safety and is concentrating on reducing clinical variation as part of “the Ascension way.” As we reflect on our own personal experiences with healthcare, or those of our family members, many of us have dealt with unnecessary variation of care, such as needless medications, avoidable procedures or redundant tests, creating a less-than-exceptional outcome, both in higher costs and, in some cases, a negative care experience. According to Ziad Haydar, MD, MBA, Senior Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer, Ascension Healthcare, care variation is sometimes warranted and, in fact, required and appropriate for the clinical situation. However, unwarranted variation is wasteful, can represent a barrier to learning and improvement, and results in less than high-quality, consistent care. Often, patients with the same diagnosis, demographic and overall risk factors receive different testing and even different treatments, with no resulting changes in clinical outcomes. In fact, a consequence of this unnecessary variation is financial waste and a higher cost of care. Many national studies have documented that higher costs of care are often associated with poorer quality and clinical outcomes, Dr. Haydar said. This situation is most dramatic in the treatment of those who are uninsured and among racial and ethnic minorities. “Our ministry is called to provide the best care possible, especially to the poor, across all ethnicities and socioeconomic strata,” he said. “The elimination of preventable disparities in health outcomes, the provision of best possible care, as well as making healthcare affordable and accessible for all, require a committed and dedicated effort to eliminate unnecessary variation in clinical care.”


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Leading With Quality: The Ascension Way

Leading With Quality: The Ascension Way

4824-3974-7908. V.3 • © Ascension • Fall 2017

Leading With Quality: The Ascension Way (a guidebook) was developed by Ascension providers and leaders — for Ascension providers and leaders — to provide a road map of the Ascension way to lead with quality. It presents interrelated approaches, based on ministry best practices as well as evidence-based practices, to support and accelerate the next stage of Ascension’s quality and safety journey. This content begins to identify our desired future state and offers practical guidance for how to get there. Leading With Quality: The Ascension Way is accessible to all Ascension associates on the Care Excellence myCommunities page (for internal use only). Visit for a link.

“Reducing care variation is not only achievable, but will strengthen our ministry from both a quality and financial perspective.” — ZIAD HAYDAR, MD, MBA, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT AND CHIEF CLINICAL OFFICER, ASCENSION HEALTHCARE

“Reducing care variation is not only achievable, but will strengthen our ministry from both a quality and financial perspective.” Ascension has developed a standard methodology for approaching the work of reducing care variation. As detailed in Leading With Quality: The Ascension Way, five core components are necessary for reducing care variation: establishing governance and leadership; empowering leadership of physicians and clinicians; designing best practice care guidelines; implementing and driving adoption of guidelines; and measuring quality and cost outcomes. It is well established that adoption of and adherence to evidence-based guidelines improves the quality and safety of care, and several examples of care variation reduction already have been demonstrated by Ascension health ministries. “The goal of caregivers across Ascension is to provide compassionate, personalized care to each person served. To support safety, quality and equity in the care we provide, clinical decisions, processes and workflows must be led by clinical experts and must be grounded in the scientific evidence,” Dr. Haydar said. “By consistently following best practices every time and for every person we serve, we reduce unwarranted variation in care and deliver high-quality outcomes and superior experiences.”



Provide access to affordable care in all the communities we serve ASCENSION MEDICAL GROUP CONTINUES TO ADVANCE ACCESS AND CONTINUITY OF CARE Ascension Medical Group’s efforts to make care more convenient and improve the continuity of care directly support our Advanced Strategic Direction goals related to access and affordability. Today’s healthcare landscape has created an environment poised for transformation, and Ascension and Ascension Medical Group (AMG) are turning it into an opportunity to improve access and continuity of care. As one of the nation’s largest healthcare systems, Ascension is called to deliver care that sustains and improves the health of individuals and communities across their life cycle. Patients have always expected high-quality, more affordable care. However, the difference now is their desire to access care more conveniently. Delivering on this must-have and well-defined consumer need starts with equipping our clinicians with the tools and resources that support better access and will enable continuity of care across the Ascension healthcare system. As leaders in healthcare, Ascension and AMG are offering innovative approaches to meeting consumer demands today and into the future. One way has been through the development and adoption of new access guiding principles. This work was led by a group of physicians from across a variety of ministries and has resulted in new standard procedures for AMG physician practices. “Our physician and local dyad partners are working together to leverage best practices, standardize clinical and operational processes, and develop consistent governing policies and procedures,” said Joseph Cacchione, MD, FACC, President of Ascension Medical Group. “This includes building an infrastructure that allows us to advance our primary care strategy with an emphasis on growing the number of people we serve.” To help further support our access strategy, Ascension is implementing a solution for online scheduling across our health ministries. We have prioritized primary care, urgent care, emergency departments, specialty care, imaging and diagnostics. The first wave of implementation


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Access and affordability

encompassed primary care and relevant urgent care and emergency department sites during fiscal year 2018, which ended June 30, 2018. Nearly all Ministry Markets participated in the first wave, with a few to follow in early fiscal year 2019. Continuity of care is also a key element in improving patient satisfaction. Our System-wide continuity of care effort includes a comprehensive set of solutions that will equip our physicians, advanced practice providers and associates with the information, tools and resources to deliver a highly reliable, quality outcome, at an optimal cost, which results in very satisfied patients. Our focus on care continuity includes addressing patient flow into our system, access to primary care and specialists, wait times for procedures and admissions, and post-discharge follow-up. These tools and resources will become part of a playbook that will serve as a guide for ministries to enhance care continuity in their markets. All of these efforts enable progress toward transforming healthcare. “Ascension recognized the need for uniting our medical groups from across the country to enhance clinical outcomes and better serve the needs of patients and communities,” Dr. Cacchione said. “Now, through collaboration, we’re beginning to put some of these learnings into practice, which is really exciting. It is how we’re going to realize healthcare transformation across the United States.”

“We’re beginning to put some of these learnings into practice, which is really exciting. It is how we’re going to realize healthcare transformation across the United States.” — JOSEPH CACCHIONE, MD, FACC, PRESIDENT OF ASCENSION MEDICAL GROUP



Achieve a superior experience for the people and organizations we serve, as well as our caregivers and associates ASCENSION ST. VINCENT’S IN JACKSONVILLE IS NO. 1 IN ER PATIENT SATISFACTION SCORES Ascension St. Vincent’s in Jacksonville, Florida, is an example of the Advanced Strategic Direction focus on providing a superior experience.

The emergency departments of Ascension St. Vincent’s in Jacksonville, part of Ascension Florida, have achieved the highest ranking across Ascension in quality of care and patient experience following changes in processes and listening to patients — including reviewing comment cards like this one.


Tom VanOsdol, Senior Vice President, Ascension Healthcare, and Ministry Market Executive, Ascension Florida, is extraordinarily proud of his team. “Our patients deserve the best care and a consistently exceptional experience, and we’re working hard to deliver on that promise,” he said. Ensuring that those we serve have a superior experience is one of the goals that drive our Advanced Strategic Direction. For Tom, the success of Ascension St. Vincent’s emergency departments is an example of that hard work paying off. Collectively, the emergency departments are ranked first across Ascension in overall quality of care and patients’ likelihood to recommend, based on patient satisfaction scores from Professional Research Consultants, Inc. (PRC). To help improve patient experience, the health system instituted several changes to streamline processes and ensure providers and key decision makers were receiving patient feedback. It began offering patient comment cards at discharge, which better enabled caregivers to begin immediate service recovery as needed. They were also better positioned to recognize staff successes more quickly at safety huddles and monthly meetings. “Process improvement led by our physicians and nurses was certainly critical to our success, but we also needed to ensure we were getting complete and honest feedback from our patients and their loved ones,” said Tom. “Asking for more patient feedback in more ways — from our Patient & Family Advisory Council or through comment cards — ensures we are seeing the whole picture through the eyes of the patients themselves.” The emergency departments also developed a more formal leader rounding plan. During each shift, leaders already walk through their unit and speak with associates about everything from their families to whether they need anything to be more successful at work. The formalized one-on-one rounding covers many of the same questions, but in a private setting.

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Superior experience

Each unit has a daily management system as well, which captures information from both leaders and associates. All relevant unit information is posted, including departmental goals. Associates are encouraged to actively contribute, sharing ideas for improvement. “Frontline associates are the drivers of change,” said Christi Smith, BSN, RN, Manager, Emergency Department, Ascension St. Vincent’s Riverside. “Encouraging their involvement and listening to their feedback, which helps build staff engagement, is critical to providing the best patient care possible while also creating a vibrant work environment.” To broaden engagement, leaders began to recognize associate achievements more often. When patient comment cards referenced associates, the associates’ leaders made sure to address concerns, and also celebrate successes. The encouragement was infectious: Associates began offering each other compliments more often via myVoice’s “Cheers for Peers” feature. Now, emergency department associates are more engaged than ever before. “Engaged associates are more likely to be engaged caregivers,” said Lorraine Keith, DNP, ARNP, FACHE, Ascension St. Vincent’s System Chief Nursing Officer. “In addition to identifying learning opportunities, we want to be intentional in celebrating the successes of our many wonderful physicians and associates as often and in as many ways as possible.” “Taking the time to listen to our associates and providers along with the persons entrusted to our care, learning what matters most to them, and then taking meaningful action together based on what we learn to deliver personalized, compassionate care — these are the hallmarks of Ascension’s approach to person and family engagement and experience,” said Marie Judd, MBA, SPHR, FACHE, Senior Director of Person and Family Engagement, Ascension. Ascension St. Vincent’s process improvement work also decreased total outpatient length-of-stay in the emergency departments by an average of 20 minutes. “Patients expect to receive high-quality, compassionate care. To exceed expectations, we must address everything else as well — from making access to care as convenient as possible to reducing wait times and maintaining clear communication between physicians and patients,” said Ascension St. Vincent’s System Chief Clinical Officer Huson Gilberstadt, MD, who is also a trained emergency room physician. “Patient satisfaction is not just about clinical outcomes; it’s about the overall experience.” As a result of Ascension St. Vincent’s work and increased patient satisfaction ratings in overall quality of care, patients are more likely to recommend the health system’s emergency departments to friends or family. “We must ensure we are treating our patients as we would like to be treated and creating the experience for them that we would like to have if we were in need of care,” said Deborah Goodwin, BSN, RN,

“Patient satisfaction is not just about clinical outcomes; it’s about the overall experience.” — HUSON GILBERSTADT, MD, SYSTEM CHIEF CLINICAL OFFICER, ASCENSION ST. VINCENT’S

System Director of Ascension St. Vincent’s emergency departments. “Emergency situations are particularly stressful and we want to make each clinical experience the best it possibly can be by providing compassionate, personalized care in a convenient setting.” “This is no lucky result that has somehow just happened for us,” said Tom. “Our teams have focused diligently on service excellence, wait times, throughput and turnaround times with fellow departments.” Still, leaders at Ascension St. Vincent’s know there is always more work to do. Multiple clinical and operational stakeholders have come together within Ascension over the past year to design a System-level strategy for engaging persons and family members who come to us for care. This strategy is fully integrated with the quadruple aim and grounded in Ascension’s Mission, and is informed by the voices of those we serve. Ascension’s national strategy is designed to support both national alignment and local action. It presents Ascension with an opportunity to better align resources, partnerships and best practices as a learning organization, in order to maximize knowledge sharing, innovation, cost savings and efficiency — all in fulfillment of our Advanced Strategic Direction. Key focus areas in the coming months include experience, person and family relations, language services and cultural competency, and person and family education.



Expand our reach and the impact of our Mission MINISTRIES ARE FINDING NEW WAYS TO SERVE OUR COMMUNITIES From Wisconsin to Washington, D.C., and beyond, our Ministry Markets are designing or reconfiguring the way care is delivered to expand and enhance Ascension’s presence in the communities we serve. These innovative models are key to our Advanced Strategic Direction commitment to expand our reach and impact. Here are a few examples.

ASCENSION WISCONSIN Ascension Wisconsin’s Be of Good Heart community wellness program strives to identify people who have, or are at risk for, diabetes and hypertension in order to provide education, health coaching and connections to primary care. The program partners with 90 Milwaukee-area Urban Church Wellness congregations to screen 2,000 people living in poverty during fiscal year 2018. “Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of men and women in this country,” said Joshua Liberman, MD, FACC, preventive cardiologist, Columbia St. Mary’s Foundation Red Letter Gala Co-chair, and the primary person behind the program. “Out of the 72 counties in Wisconsin, Milwaukee consistently ranks the worst in heart health. Our ZIP codes matter more than our genetic codes.” Top: Julia Means, BSN, RN, Ascension Columbia St. Mary’s Parish Nurse, screens patient Jose Torres at the Ebenezer Health Resource Center, one of two Ascension screening sites for the Be of Good Heart program. Bottom: Located next to Gleaners Food Bank in Indianapolis, St. Vincent’s walk-in clinic offers children and adults an accessible, economical healthcare option for minor injuries and illnesses that do not require a visit to a hospital emergency room.


ASCENSION INDIANA St. Vincent Neighborhood Hospital at Noblesville was the first of eight micro-hospitals designed to offer shorter wait times and close proximity to patients’ homes in Indiana. The 17,000-square-foot hospital specializes in round-the-clock emergency services and inpatient care, featuring seven emergency beds and eight inpatient rooms, as well as imaging, pharmacy and lab services. St. Vincent plans a total of eight neighborhood hospitals. “Ascension recognizes the need to meet consumers where they are — to make healthcare more convenient, accessible and affordable,” said Jonathon Nalli, Senior Vice President, Ascension Healthcare, and Ministry Market Executive, Ascension Indiana. St. Vincent also partnered with Gleaners Food Bank to open Indiana’s first food bank–based health clinic. The clinic is located next to the food

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Reach and impact

pantry, so when clients with a health issue come in for food, they can see a provider during the same visit.

ASCENSION BALTIMORE/ WASHINGTON Ascension’s Saint Agnes Healthcare in Baltimore creates unique approaches to improving overall community well-being through its new Health Institute. Partnerships with local and national organizations, such as Hungry Harvest’s “Produce in a SNAP,” a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that pairs access to healthy foods with patient education, aim to address community health needs. By approaching all aspects of life that impact well-being, Saint Agnes expects to reduce unnecessary medical expenses and to be a community health resource. Providence in Washington, D.C., plans to enhance its campus by designing and developing a health village concept, to encompass more than just traditional healthcare services. Providence has served local residents for more than 150 years, adapting to the changing needs of the community. This new concept is a continuation of that legacy.

ASCENSION TEX AS Late last year, Ascension Texas opened a premier command center called the GoodHealth Solutions Center, which provides a centralized location to help coordinate care that is focused on patient needs and provider support. It facilitates continuity of care, patient access and customer service, and optimized system capacity and efficiency, ensuring the patient is at the center for greater consumer engagement and a consistent experience.

ASCENSION K ANSAS/OKL AHOMA Ascension Via Christi, Wichita, Kansas, partnered with Sedgwick County EMS to help patients better manage their home care, reducing the risk of future emergency visits and readmissions. The program targets patients who did not have a primary care provider at the time of their hospital discharge. Patients are contacted by a Ascension Via Christi paramedic about a home visit within 72 hours of discharge, and the Via Christi Heart Failure Disease Management team then follows up for 30 days to ensure they have the resources they need to follow discharge instructions and manage their disease. Since the program’s launch last August, the team has helped more than 100 patients, and it continues to receive new patients daily.

ASCENSION FLORIDA Ascension St. Vincent’s HealthCare in Jacksonville has developed new health centers throughout northeast Florida to provide essential services including urgent care, primary care, imaging, lab services and specialty care in one convenient location.

“Our goal is to optimize access, quality, convenience and value while responsibly reducing healthcare costs for those we serve,” said David Meyer, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer, Ascension St. Vincent’s. “Our health centers will allow us to provide the same high-quality, compassionate, personalized healthcare we are known for in the most convenient setting at the right price to even more people.” In addition, Ascension St. Vincent’s soon will open a primary care office at St. Pius V Catholic Church. The project is a partnership between Ascension St. Vincent’s and the Diocese of St. Augustine. What once housed a school is transforming into a facility to address neighborhood-specific health needs and provide primary care services. “This new primary care location is an example of our desire to innovate as we work to offer our community the right care at the right time and the right place. We hope it will set an example for other communities,” said Estrellita Redmon, MD, President, St. Vincent’s Medical Group. As we continue to put our Advanced Strategic Direction into action, transformational solutions will continue to extend our reach and our ability to serve individuals and communities in new ways.





cross Ascension, clinical and nonclinical associates are working together in exciting new ways to bring the benefits of precision medicine to more of the people we serve. Health is a product of both nature and nurture, with genes, environment, experiences and behaviors all playing a role in illness and wellness. Precision medicine is an approach that aims to understand this complex interplay in order to personalize care, with a focus on how genes factor into the health equation. To date, precision medicine has had the greatest impact on cancer care. The first “map” of the human genome was published in 2001, and a wave of research in the years since has transformed our understanding of the genetics of cancer. At its root, cancer is a disease caused by mutations, or changes, in genes. Some of these mutations are inherited and run in families. For example, people who inherit mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes have a much greater than average risk of developing breast and ovarian cancers. Genetic tests for inherited mutations, which play a role in 5 to 10 percent of all cancers, can be empowering for people whose family history suggests that they may be at risk, giving them more control over health decisions. “Genetic testing can provide information that may feel overwhelming at first,” said Stephanie Cohen, MS, LCGC, a genetic counselor at St. Vincent in Ascension Indiana. “I help people work through the information so that they understand the risks and benefits of all of the options available for prevention and treatment. People with positive results need to understand how important this information is for their family, too, as it can potentially be used to prevent cancer in their at-risk relatives.”


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A new frontier in cancer genetics is the development of therapies that target the specific genetic changes in cancer cells that cause a patient’s tumor to grow and spread. These changes to the DNA of the cancer cell, called somatic mutations, are not part of the person’s inherited DNA but are acquired later and account for the majority of all cancers. The precision medicine approach is to produce a genetic profile of an individual patient’s tumor in order to select therapy matched to the specific genetic change that is driving the cancer. Treatment is guided by the genetics of the tumor rather than by its physical location in the body, such as the lung or the colon. “A paradox of precision cancer care is that you can make a better treatment decision, tailored to the specific characteristics of a person and the tumor profile, if you have a thousand cases to compare it to,” said Douglas Reding, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Ascension Wisconsin, who chairs the Precision Medicine Task Force of Ascension’s oncology clinical service line. That’s why a high priority of Ascension’s Precision Medicine Task Force is to procure and implement an information technology platform to support the work across the System. One function of this platform will be to enable physicians to access aggregated clinical and genomic data to inform treatment decisions. But the platform will enable the day-to-day work of precision medicine in a multitude of ways — integrating clinical workflow with the electronic health record at the point of care; coordinating laboratory and other diagnostic data with precision medicine analytics to select tailored therapies; monitoring care responses and patient outcomes; and identifying patients who are eligible for clinical trials.

One of the greatest values of the platform will be the capacity to create a “virtual tumor board.” Currently, cancer centers regularly bring together physicians and other providers and specialists in a “tumor board” to discuss individual patient cases and share knowledge. The Precision Medicine Task Force envisions a virtual space where a physician can display all of the information for a patient case and have specialists from across Ascension discuss the case and provide input, all within a 24-hour period. By mobilizing and connecting expertise across the System, Ascension can position itself as a leader in delivering precision medicine in a community healthcare setting. “We can equip our providers with the resources and support they need to provide state-of the-art cancer care wherever they practice,” said Dr. Reding. Pilots are also underway in Indiana and Wisconsin to study alternative ways

to deliver genetic counseling services, such as telegenetics, so that counselors can expand their reach to people in rural communities and other areas where these services are currently not readily available. “Ascension has an exciting opportunity to define what precision medicine means,” said Tamarah Duperval-Brownlee, MD, MPH, MBA, FAAFP, Vice President, Care Excellence, Ascension Healthcare. “If we are Mission driven and intentional, we can create a model of precision medicine that is inclusive, leaving no one behind, so that all people in all of the communities we serve have access to care that is most effective for producing outstanding outcomes and experiences, advancing our quadruple aim.”





St. Mary’s Healthcare associates enjoy the Color Fun Run in Amsterdam, New York. From left: Jerri Cortese, Marketing and Communications; Carla Pasquarelli, Physical Rehab/Athletic Training; Rick Hyde, Marketing and Administration; Lizzie Brodie, Student Volunteer; Margaret Brodie, Cancer Services Program; Mary Alice Hastings (behind), Quality Control; Heather Lopez, Physician Liaison and VA Navigator; Sue Poulin, Health Information Management; and Amy Courtoies, Palliative Care.


Job training program grows Ascension St. Vincent’s in Birmingham will open a second Jeremiah’s Hope Academy (JHA) location on the St. Vincent’s East campus. JHA is a job skills training program that readies students for entry-level healthcare careers. The training received at JHA qualifies individuals to sit for national certification examinations. Courses offered include trainings for mental health technicians, patient care assistants and medical office assistants. Business Journal honor The Birmingham Business Journal named Suzannah Campbell, Ascension St. Vincent’s Chilton Administrator, to its Top 40 Under 40 for 2018. Suzannah was recognized for her instrumental role in the opening of Ascension St. Vincent’s Chilton in October 2016 and her partnership with the Chilton County Healthcare Authority and other groups to bring healthcare to a county that had been without a hospital for several years. Construction projects expand ministry A new medical office building that is under construction on the Ascension Providence Hospital campus in Mobile is expected to open this summer. Plans call for offices for primary care, pediatrics and a walk-in care clinic. AMSTERDAM, NEW YORK

Teaching students about nutrition St. Mary’s Institute (grades K-8) began a new schoolwide 5-2-1-0 Let’s Go Wellness initiative with help from St. Mary’s Healthcare. The mnemonic 5-2-1-0 represents four daily recommendations for healthy eating and physical activity:



eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables; limit recreational screen time to two hours or less; engage in one hour or more of physical activity; and limit sugary drinks. St. Mary’s Healthcare provided a nutritionist to teach students how to make healthy food and drink choices and offer wellness tips for parents each week through the school’s newsletter. To celebrate National Nutrition Awareness Day, students sampled fresh fruit and vegetable smoothies donated by the hospital. At the end of the school season, St. Mary’s Healthcare coordinated a Color Fun Run. The more laps students ran, the more blue they became. BALTIMORE/WASHINGTON

Kits promote drug disposal Saint Agnes Healthcare in Baltimore held an educational event on the importance of disposing of unused prescription drugs and provided free kits for safe disposal. Kits will be available through the emergency department, operating room, and Labor & Delivery. This is one of several new programs addressing drug use disorders and deaths. Substance abuse program begins Saint Agnes Healthcare launched a new program to help individuals reduce

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or eliminate alcohol or other drug use. The SBIRT program (Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral to Treatment) is an evidence-based, cost-effective tool that is also effective for identifying and treating at-risk and dependent substance users. First DAISY awardee recognized Providence Hospital in Washington, D.C., presented its first DAISY Award for extraordinary nursing. The winner, Maria Angelica Ysabel Salonga, RN, was followed the next month by Judian Watson, RN. The DAISY Award recognizes nurses who consistently demonstrate excellence through their clinical expertise and extraordinary compassionate care.


Hospital celebrates Magnet® recertification St. Vincent’s Medical Center has achieved Magnet® redesignation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Magnet is considered the gold standard for nursing excellence and quality patient care in healthcare organizations nationally and internationally. Only a small percentage of organizations meet the 88 Sources of Evidence, or standards, for nursing excellence required for Magnet status. St. Vincent’s is one of only six hospitals in Connecticut to achieve this prestigious designation. CHICAGO

ERs change painkiller protocol Seeking to counter opioid abuse, AMITA Health has taken steps to tighten emergency-room use of opioid painkillers. The steps include a move away from Dilaudid as a first-line painkiller because of its high abuse potential. The effort has reduced Dilaudid use by more than half in some AMITA Health ERs. FLORIDA

Opioid programs expand Ascension St. Vincent’s in Jacksonville

is enlarging a successful pilot program that reduced opioid use by joint replacement patients by 76 percent while also improving patient pain scores. The program was based in part on a pain management initiative from the Ascension Pain Management Team and also a 2016 orthopedic pain management order set pilot developed by Ascension Texas, led by board-certified anesthesiologist Chad Dieterichs, MD. The Ascension Texas pilot spread across that ministry in 2017 and has been championed by Dr. Dieterichs at several other locations since. Ascension St. Vincent’s built upon this work by expanding a citywide, collaborative opioid pilot program to include both of its Jacksonville-based emergency departments. Participants are identified as they overdose and guided through treatment by recovery peer specialists, individuals who have battled addiction themselves. The ED pilot is the first of its kind in Florida. New facilities meet needs Construction of the new Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Ascension Sacred Heart in Pensacola is now more than halfway complete. In March, Ascension Sacred Heart held a “topping-off” ceremony celebrating the installation of


Community programs receive funds Ascension Lourdes will receive more than $336,000 in funding for community health support programs and an expansion of its outpatient nutrition services from the Care Compass Network, founded in 2015 to improve the infrastructure and quality of healthcare as part of the state’s Medicaid restructuring plan. The Care Compass Network will award $2.2 million in total to local healthcare providers, organizations, nonprofits and hospital systems.

Ivy Tech nursing student Ebonee Hawkins helps kindergartner Ellie Guy listen to the heartbeat of one of her classmates during St. Vincent Kokomo’s annual Let’s Pretend Hospital program.

the highest piece of steel on the four-story building. Completion of the hospital is expected in spring 2019. Ascension Sacred Heart began construction in March on a 28,000-square-foot outpatient medical park in a growing community in the northern part of the city. Expected to open in 2019, the $7 million outpatient facility will include family medicine physicians, physician specialists, adult outpatient rehabilitation, as well as lab and advanced diagnostic-imaging services. INDIANA

Governor signs care bill Indiana Gov. Eric J. Holcomb signed Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 360 at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St. Vincent in front of cheering physicians and staff. The bill requires the Indiana State Department of Health to certify levels of care for mothers and babies. It is an important step in helping reduce Indiana’s infant mortality rate, ensuring that hospitals and birthing centers are equipped with the proper equipment to facilitate a healthy birth and provide consistent levels of care throughout the state. Also at the signing were State Health Commissioner Kristina Box, MD, and Jonathan Nalli, Senior Vice President, Ascension Healthcare, and Ministry Market Executive, Ascension Indiana, as well as the bill’s author, state Sen. Ed Charbonneau. Pretend Hospital celebrates 39 years St. Vincent Kokomo hosted its 39th annual Let’s Pretend Hospital, an educational experience designed to help alleviate a child’s fear of being in a hospital, as a patient or as a visitor. More than 1,200 kindergartners from three area counties learned about X-rays, germs, hand hygiene and how




to stay healthy. The approximately 200 volunteers needed to make the four-day program a success included hospital staff and students from Ivy Tech and Indiana University Kokomo, as well as radiography students. KANSAS/OKLAHOMA

Becker’s recognizes specialty program Ascension Via Christi Hospital St. Francis in Wichita recently was named to Becker’s Healthcare’s latest list of 100 hospitals and health systems with great neurosurgery and spine programs. To make Becker’s list, providers must have extensive neuroscience and spine programs, providing treatment and cutting-edge research into neurosurgical disorders. Becker’s editorial team examined national rankings and awards for neurosurgery, neurological care and spine surgery. Primary care clinics open Ascension St. John Health System celebrated the opening of two new St. John Clinic/Ascension Medical Group facilities in May. Community guests and civic leaders got a look at the 24,900-square-foot facilities offering primary care, urgent care and lab services to residents in Bixby and Jenks, two of Oklahoma’s fastest-growing communities. David A. Konderla, Bishop of the Diocese of Tulsa, provided a blessing ceremony at the Bixby grand opening. Hospitals receive top honor Jane Phillips Medical Center, Bartlesville, Oklahoma, was named to this year’s list of Top 100 Rural and Community Hospitals in the U.S. by iVantage Health Analytic and the Chartis Center for Rural Health. For the second consecutive year, St. John Owasso in Oklahoma was named one of the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals by IBM Watson Health, formerly Truven Health Analytics® 100 Top Hospitals.



with board-certified physicians and advanced practice providers who are able to provide care to both adults and children. To better meet the needs of the community, Oakland Urgent Care is open seven days a week, 10 a.m.–10 p.m. While numerous urgent care centers exist in the community, Oakland Urgent Care is the first center for St. John Providence in the southern Macomb County market that is aligned with SJP primary care physicians.

Chaplain Jewel Martin began the Comfort Cart program at Genesys Health System in Michigan with chaplains, Mission Integration, nursing leadership, Palliative Care and a local deli.


Walk-in clinic opens Expanding access to primary medical care is a top strategic priority for St. Mary’s of Michigan as well as Ascension Michigan. The St. Mary’s Walk-in Clinic in Saginaw Township is open seven days a week to offer same-day care, with convenient hours designed to complement care from a person’s primary care provider. The walk-in clinic will serve as a high-quality, lower-cost care option. Hospitality carts provide comfort Genesys Health System in Grand Blanc began a new hospitality cart program to provide comfort for those with a family member nearing the end of life. Comfort Carts are stocked with fresh baked goods, coffee and beverages as a source of hospitality for visitors or those keeping vigil. Carts also provide prayer shawls, tissues and a packet of grief resources that includes an olive-wood holding cross and other sensory items for spiritual support and comfort. While a blessing for families, the program has also renewed a greater spirit of charity, compassion and love among bedside caregivers.

G O O D DAY A S C E N S I O N / A S C E N S I O N .O R G

Expansion project makes progress St. John Macomb-Oakland Hospital, Warren campus, is undergoing the largest expansion in the hospital’s history. The $50 million East Tower expansion will triple the number of private rooms, improving privacy, throughput and satisfaction. When completed in May 2019, it is expected that 85 percent of inpatients will have a private room. The expansion will house inpatient rehabilitation services; a cardiac care unit; spine and neurosurgical services; and the hospital’s Joint Commission-approved and Blue Distinction award-winning Hip & Knee Replacement Center, complete with private rooms and a dedicated gym. Hospital receives top ranking For the 10th time, Providence-Providence Park Hospital (PPPH) is ranked as one of the nation’s top hospitals. PPPH Southfield is the only hospital in Michigan ranked in the top 15 major teaching category of the Watson Health 100 Top Hospitals study. Urgent care opens In early February, St. John Providence (SJP) officially opened Oakland Urgent Care. Oakland Urgent Care is staffed

Trauma center verified St. John Hospital & Medical Center (SJH&MC) was verified as an Adult Level I Trauma Center by the American College of Surgeons (ACS), the national organization responsible for evaluating and verifying hospitals as designated trauma centers. SJH&MC is the only verified Level I Trauma Center on Detroit’s east side, as well as the only Ascension Michigan hospital with Level I verification. Nationally, SJH&MC joins four other Ascension hospitals verified as Level I Trauma Centers. Additionally, St. John Providence Children’s Hospital, located within SJH&MC, maintained the rigorous requirements to be reverified as a Level II Pediatric Trauma Center by the ACS

and remains the only verified Pediatric Trauma Center on the east side of Detroit. Cardiologist honored for inventions Tim A. Fischell, MD, interventional cardiologist and Director of Cardiovascular Research at the Borgess Heart Institute, Kalamazoo, was inducted as a fellow in the National Academy of Inventors. While most honorees have registered 15 to 20 patents, Dr. Fischell has more than 100 patents, including one for the first radioactive stent to prevent restenosis. His newest invention is a catheter intended to denervate or cut off the nerve supply around the artery to the kidney in order to lower blood pressure in patients with hypertension. TENNESSEE

Cancer center construction underway Saint Thomas Cancer Care in Nashville, which treats more than 4,000 patients each year, has begun construction of a comprehensive cancer care center. The facility will create a convenient and comfortable space for patients, with services in one integrated destination. The facility is designed so physicians and associates will be able to collaborate more closely on patient satisfaction, efficiency and multidisciplinary relationship building. New NICView cameras at Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital in Nashville allow families to see their infants any time through a secure, online portal.

Midtown installs NICView cameras Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital in Nashville is the first hospital in Middle Tennessee to offer a round-the-clock webcam streaming service in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), allowing families to view their infant through a secure, online portal. Each family is given an individual login, which allows them to view their infant online through any web-enabled device. MDsave offers online purchases Saint Thomas Health has partnered with MDsave to allow patients to conveniently buy healthcare services online before visiting its facilities. This collaboration offers both price transparency and scheduling convenience to patients who need all sorts of care, from walk-in ExpressCare visits to general surgeries. TEXAS

Pediatric specialists join staff World-renowned pediatric heart surgeon Charles Fraser Jr., MD, will lead pediatric and congenital cardiothoracic surgery at Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas. He will play a leading role in building the Texas Center for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Disease at Dell Children’s and teach surgery and perioperative care and pediatrics at Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin. Additionally, acclaimed pediatric neurologist E. Steve Roach, MD, joined Dell Children’s on May 1 as Section Chief of Pediatric Neurosciences, with a focus on neurological disorders such as epilepsy, spina bifida, movement disorders, autism, stroke and brain tumors. He will also serve as Associate Chair for Clinical Integration and Operations of the Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin neurology department.





Active shooter training held Ascension St. Mary’s Hospital in Rhinelander held a large-scale active shooter training event at the Ascension Koller Behavioral Health Clinic. Along with partners from the Rhinelander police and fire departments and Oneida County EMS, the scenario played out with an active shooter incident that tested preparedness at the clinic and the capabilities of responders to send victims to Ascension St. Mary’s as well as public safety response to an active shooter in the facility. Stork’s Nest supports perinatal care A program at the Women’s Outpatient Center at Milwaukee’s Ascension St. Joseph-Ascension SE Wisconsin Hospital provides incentives for expectant mothers to keep prenatal appointments, attend classes, watch educational videos and get ultrasounds. Classes and videos cover such topics as healthy eating, labor and childbirth, postpartum depression, breastfeeding, safe sleep for infants, shaken baby syndrome and sudden infant death syndrome. Expectant moms in the program earn points for learning how to take care of themselves and their babies. ASCENSION CARE MANAGEMENT

Anticipated savings reported Ascension Care Management continues to provide the foundation for Ascension’s move to value-based care with success in Wisconsin. In collaboration with Ascension Medical Group, Ascension Wisconsin leadership and Ascension Information Services, Ascension Care Management is projecting more than $6 million in savings for calendar year 2017,


which will directly improve the bottom line for Ascension Wisconsin and Ascension Care Management through increased care quality and cost reduction. ASCENSION GLOBAL MISSION

Work in Guatemala leading to change Several years ago, four of Ascension’s historical sponsors — Alexian Brothers; Congregation of St. Joseph; Daughters of Charity, Province of St. Louise; and Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet — and Ascension Global Mission contributed funds to develop a creative approach to international work that could foster systemic change. For the past four years, work in Guatemala has been focused on convening and catalyzing a collaborative effort among Guatemalan faith-based organizations known as Alianza (“alliance”). Currently, the Model for Collaborative Governance is active in nearly 40 percent of the municipality (similar to a county in the U.S.) of San Martin Sacatepéquez (San Martin), which has 24 separate communities. The experience to date has been fully systematized and documented. Initial results demonstrate that community leaders have the interest and capability, as Pope Francis advocates, to be the “agents of their own destiny,” and with the right kind of support, they can do so. Alianza continues to deepen its experience in San Martin, including realizing its first “exit” from communities that no longer need the direct accompaniment of Alianza facilitators. Plans are underway to start the process of replicating (adopting and adapting) this approach in three new areas of the country through the organizations that make up Alianza.

G O O D DAY A S C E N S I O N / A S C E N S I O N .O R G




Testing begins to protect medical devices The Innovations team is working on a promising, technology-based opportunity to protect connected medical devices from malicious attacks. Project Defender is in test mode with Ascension Information Services to provide security first to Ascension, with an eye toward serving others later. Estimates report the market for protecting medical devices may reach $3.5 billion by 2025.

Community 2018 holds first meeting On Feb. 26, 18 new members of the Ascension Leadership Academy Community 2018 began their holistic, formative development journey. The Leadership Academy was established in 2012 as a venue for promising senior leaders to collectively develop strategic capabilities required to lead Ascension into the future. Through participation in innovative experiential learning methods delivered by thought leaders both inside and outside of healthcare, this three-year program offers a diverse learning platform for members. In addition to the seven one-week residential sessions, the program includes in-field assignments, pilot innovation


Associates support bus accident victims When 20 young people were taken to Ascension’s Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola, Florida, after a bus accident, Ascension Information Services associates set up laptops to help connect the children to their support networks back home and streamed music to ease the wait for their parents to arrive.

projects and immersion experiences. The integrated approach is designed to enable members to lead transformational change within Ascension as a community of virtuous servant leaders. ASCENSION MEDICAL GROUP

Doctors develop standard procedures In an effort to grow the number of people we serve, Ascension Medical Group (AMG) has developed and adopted new access guiding principles. This work was led by a group of physicians from across a variety of ministries and has resulted in new standard appointment types for AMG physician practices, including pediatrics and urgent care. Standardizing appointment types allows for easier implementation


Financial success and recognition Two portfolio companies of Ascension Ventures recently announced successful acquisitions, bringing the total return to Ascension to more than $400 million (2.5 times its investment cost) in the 17 years since Ascension Ventures was founded. The organization also has gained visibility recently, with Senior Managing Director Matt Hermann invited to speak at numerous healthcare events and Investment Director John Kuelper publishing an online article for STAT about community providers and precision medicine. COMMUNITY HEALTH MINISTRIES


Investor conference presented Ascension Investment Management hosted its sixth annual Investor Conference in June. Ascension was honored to have James Bullard, President, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, as keynote speaker. About 100 people attended, including Ascension senior leadership, current and potential clients, and healthcare peers. The conference highlighted Ascension Investment Management’s thoughts on the markets and investment themes it is pursuing to generate returns.

of online scheduling, letting patients schedule appointments any time, day or night, via their mobile device.

Ascension Leadership Academy Community 2018 members are, from left, Lisa Medina, Ascension Kansas/Oklahoma; Tamarah Duperval-Brownlee, MD, Care Excellence; Mark Whalen, Ascension Medical Group; Amber Sims, Ascension Tennessee; Peter Leibold, Advocacy; Liz Foshage, Finance; Brad Partridge, Strategy; Don King, Ascension Alabama; Mike Argir, Medxcel Facilities Management; Huson Gilberstadt, MD, Ascension Florida (front); Scott Caldwell, The Resource Group (back); Chris Moore, Ascension Alabama; Rich Fogel, MD, Ascension Indiana; Sarah Herzog, Ascension Wisconsin; Cindy Adams, Ascension Indiana; Lisa Davis, Ascension Tennessee; Nick Ragone, Marketing and Communications; and Ruth Pollard, Ascension Baltimore/Washington.

Updates from the clinics Daughters of Charity Services of Arkansas CEO Brenda Jacobs and CFO Lisa Goodgame were certified as rural health center professionals by the National Association of Rural Health Centers. … Through its affiliate Marillac Community Health Center, Daughters of Charity Services of New Orleans received a $1.5 million donation from United Healthcare to establish community health workers/case workers to address social determinants of health with an emphasis on best practices, outcomes and replication. … Daughters of Charity Services of San Antonio has entered into an agreement with the Texas Pregnancy Care Network to provide counseling and care throughout a broad area in southern San Antonio. … Centro San Vicente continues its strategic initiatives for AIDS education and HIV care through a partnership




with Parkland Hospital and Health System in Dallas to provide quality, comprehensive HIV care and treatment along the HIV care continuum to people it serves in El Paso. … Seton Center in Kansas City, Missouri, continues to operate a thriving dental program offering a broad range of services including screenings, fillings, root canals, crowns, extractions, oral cancer screenings, and full and partial dentures for children and adults. Seton Center provided free and discounted dental services through 9,600 client visits last year. MEDXCEL

Ascension teams join Medxcel The Ascension Planning, Design and Construction and Energy teams were incorporated into the Medxcel family of services in January. This partnership made Medxcel the largest integrated facilities management company in the


nation. Currently, Medxcel is responsible for more than 55 million square feet of facilities including 2,500 sites of care and 2,000 associates. MINISTRY SERVICE CENTER

Web chat now available The Ministry Service Center, in partnership with Ascension Information Services, is launching web chat capability. When it is deployed at a ministry, associates can “chat” with the Ministry Service Center at Chat Now allows associates to ask questions and receive immediate answers from a real person, in real time. Chat Now is part of a larger strategic initiative to provide associates with an “omni-channel” experience, one in which the associate is provided with options to interact with Ascension.


Patient assistance pilots underway In collaboration with local health ministry leadership and with support from Ascension Holdings and the Ascension Healthcare Division, The Resource Group and local pharmacy teams are piloting patient assistance programs in the Michigan and Wisconsin Ministry Markets. These programs assist eligible patients in accessing manufacturer drug discounts, allowing Ascension to deliver care to those who are poor and vulnerable while achieving savings. Over the first three months, the two pilots achieved $118,061 in savings.

As seen on the daily Good Day Ascension TO READ MORE ABOUT THESE STORIES AND OTHER NEWS FROM ACROSS OUR ONE INTEGRATED MINISTRY, VISIT GOODDAY.ASCENSION.ORG FROM WITHIN THE ASCENSION NETWORK. INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO DOWNLOAD THE GOOD DAY MOBILE APP ARE ALSO AVAILABLE. ✙ Superheroes visit St. John in Tulsa The pediatric unit and pediatric intensive care unit at St. John Medical Center, part of Ascension Kansas/Oklahoma, received a visit from some super guests. Superheroes from Tulsa’s DC Marvel League brought smiles to patients and their families as they visited rooms and posed for photos. Alyce Phelan, MS, Certified Child Life Specialist, organized the event as part of Child Life Month, an awareness month by the Association of Child Life Professionals. Child Life Specialists are dedicated to helping children and families cope with acute or chronic illness, injury, trauma, disability, loss and bereavement. When a child is hospitalized, daily routines and normal activities are interrupted, which may result in fear, confusion, loss of control and isolation. Read more at

✙ Wisconsin associate creates tactile blankets to calm dementia patients Marianne Bogumill, a registered nurse in the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit at Howard Young Medical Center in Woodruff, part of Ascension Wisconsin, realized the importance of providing diversional activities for patients experiencing the effects of dementia. After researching tactile stimulation and the effect it has on decreasing agitation in dementia

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✙ Ascension Providence nurse is the answer to woman’s prayer It started out as a regular day for Wayne and Shirley Colburn of Lucedale, Mississippi, but by the end of that Tuesday last summer, Wayne’s life had been saved thanks to the skills and

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morning to pick up their new car before heading to Providence for a doctor’s appointment for

The couple, who had been married 48 years, had driven from Lucedale to Pascagoula that a problem Wayne was having with his legs. They stopped at Burger King for lunch, and that’s when their day went from routine to terrifying. Read more at


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Saramma George, RN, CCRN Saint Thomas Health, Nashville, Ascension Tennessee

Saramma George, RN, CCRN, is the heart of the cardiovascular intensive

it before. She was struck by the technological advances since her first

care unit at Saint Thomas West Hospital in Nashville, part of Ascension

transplant experience. “I can’t even describe the technology we have


now in words,” she said. “It’s mind-blowing.”

For 43 years, Saramma has cared for more patients and mentored

She has experienced many other changes — the implementation of

more associates than she can count. And two things have remained

electronic health records, an expanding Saint Thomas and becoming

constant — change and her faith.

a clinical leader — before returning to the bedside, where she feels

Growing up in India, Saramma said, nursing was not perceived as an acceptable profession. Once Saramma moved to the United States, she

most called to serve. She shares insight with newer nurses — reminding them that it’s

attended the nursing program at Louisville’s Kentucky Baptist Hospital.

a privilege to be intimately involved in others’ lives during pivotal

In 1975, she accepted a cardiac nursing position.

moments. “Some of our younger nurses think I’m strict, but I tell them,

“Becoming a nurse was the miraculous work of the Lord,” she said.

‘Be patient and really open-minded. This will make you a better nurse,’”

Saramma has been instrumental in many firsts on her unit — most

Saramma said.

notably, the first heart transplant at Saint Thomas Health, in 1985. Later, the transplant program was suspended. In 2016, her manager asked her to care for another first heart transplant patient. Saramma jumped at the opportunity. While many of her colleagues were experiencing something new, she had been through

Ascension is a place not only where she’s gained experience and earned respect but also where she can share her faith. “I pray with my patients, sometimes at the end of life when no one else is there, seeing them unto heaven,” she said.

Good Day Ascension - Summer 2018  
Good Day Ascension - Summer 2018