Thank you to everyone who attended the 51st HCAW Annual Conference at the Hotel 116 in Bellevue, April 30 - May 2, 2019! Another year of thought-provoking presentations and productive networking is behind us. We appreciate all of our speakers, sponsors, exhibitors, and attendees for participating.
This year's Awards Luncheon, emceed by Rob Krause, HCAW Past President, provided the opportunity to recognize our real life heroes of our community.....those who are impacting people's lives on a daily basis in the work they do. These awardees are representatives of the 100's of other silent heroes in the field; their stories remind us of the importance of home healthcare and the importance to continue our efforts to ensure access to this care for the residents of our state. Please join us in honoring this year's award winners!
PHYSICIAN OF THE YEAR Dr. Tom Schaaf
Providence Senior and Community Services
Dr. Schaaf was recently named chief medical officer (CMO) for Providence Senior and Community Services throughout Washington. In this newly-created role, Dr. Schaaf will work with Providence hospitals and medical groups to improve care for patients with complex illnesses and for patients after they are discharged from the hospital. He will focus on simplifying ways for Prov’s health care partners to refer patients to its ministries. This includes problem-solving with those partners on communication and coordination of care and implementing EPIC tools to make the post-acute medical records more easily accessible to primary care providers and specialty groups.
Dr. Schaaf will also work with the various Providence Health & Services Institutes to integrate continuum services into the System’s care pathways. And, he will continue serving as the medical director for PSCS’s Home Health service line as part of his new CMO role.
A Spokane-based family physician, Dr. Schaaf has been on staff at Providence hospitals in Spokane since 1992. He joined Providence Medical Group in 2014 as medical director of Providence Saint Joseph Care Center in Spokane.
As if all this weren’t enough, Dr. Schaaf also serves as the second vice president of the Washington State Medical Association.
In her nomination of him, Rachel Manchester applauds Dr. Schaaf’s boundless energy and his passion for home health and hospice patients. Even in his CMO role, he values direct patient care and continues to take shifts at the Everett inpatient hospice care center. Dr. Schaaf oversees all care continuum doctors and works tirelessly to employ evidence-based practice to assure the best care possible for patients.
The Home Care Association of Washington is proud to recognize Dr. Tom Schaaf for his leadership, skill, and service, and we congratulate him for his new role.
HOME CARE AIDE OF THE YEAR Amanda Grice
Community Home Health & Hospice
Amanda has been with Community Home Health & Hospice for more than five years. During her tenure with that agency, she has been one of the most consistent and dependable caregivers within its Home Care department. According to her nominator, Donna Wirkkala, Amanda is a self-starter; she’s extremely professional and always willing to go above and beyond what is requested of her. She always completes her tasks and never leaves her client’s homes until the job is done.
Amanda is ever willing to jump in and help out when needed. She has volunteered to work extra shifts when other caregivers have had emergencies, and never has she complained about it. Nor does she complain when the hours might be low, or when she has worked a 12-hour shift and has an extra shift assigned to her the following day. She just does her job with a smile.
Amanda has genuine concern for the people she cares for and they know it. This is clearly reflected in the feedback Community receives from her clients and their families. Here’s what one client had to say:
“Mandy takes her work very seriously. She knows what needs to be done and takes good care of me. She knows more about what needs to be done than I do. She is so helpful and can fix anything. She can show me how to fix a computer problem, fix an error on my cell phone, change a light bulb, change the filter on my heater. She gets my mail, cleans the house, does my laundry, and on and on. She is so conscientious, as well. Besides all that, she is very pleasant to talk to. We have good discussions about the Bible, old movies, and about life in general. She has good common sense about everything. I view her almost as a member of the family…I hope I never lose her as my caregiver.”
The feedback received from her coworkers within the company is equally positive. They see her as a joy to work with and a definite asset for the agency.
SUPPORT STAFF OF THE YEAR Karen Major
Sunshine Home Health
Before moving to Spokane, Karen worked in a home health agency in Utah as a home health aide, so she was already familiar with home health when she joined Sunshine a couple of years ago. This time, however, she wanted to work in the office.
Karen was hired as receptionist and while she still carries that title, she has become so much more! She is the “go-to” person in the office for clinicians and administrative staff alike. They recognize her as the “face of Sunshine,” since she is the one who greets visitors and vendors as they come in, takes all incoming phone calls, and greets staff when they arrive. Regardless how Karen’s day may be going, she is pure smiles and sunshine to everyone she encounters.
In her nomination, Administrator Gretchen Anderson notes that Karen does a fantastic job of addressing patient concerns as they call in, recognizing when she can handle things on her own and when she may need assistance to address the caller’s needs. She knows how to calm a worried patient or family member, and to assure them that things will be taken care of. She also knows how and when to diplomatically defer unwanted sales calls that come in for the busy admin team! Karen is always professional on the phone and has acquired great knowledge about the inner workings of her agency. When she is in the office, everyone knows operations are in good hands.
Because she is so competent and displays such an eagerness to help, Karen has taken on many additional duties over the past two years. She faxes and tracks orders, communication notes, and summaries to physicians and facilities. She now manages the vacation schedules of all clinical and office staff. She keeps on top of staff birthdays and even goes the extra mile to hand-make cards for each staff birthday, circulate the card, and then see that it is mailed to the staff person’s home! If that weren’t enough, Karen has also been assisting to process new referrals and check insurance eligibility. She goes above-and-beyond, which sometimes means that she stays later than scheduled to get the job done.
Karen’s colleagues recognize her as an invaluable member of the team at Sunshine Home Health. HCAW agrees and is delighted to recognize Karen Major as Support Staff of the Year.
THERAPIST OF THE YEAR Joanie Howe
EvergreenHealth Home Health
Joanie has 33 years’ experience as a physical therapist and has worked at EvergreenHealth Home Health for the past six years. She brought to Evergreen a level of expertise that not only provides outstanding care to her patients, but also positioned her as a mentor and resource for the Agency.
One unique aspect of Joanie’s time with Evergreen has been her devotion to treating dementia patients. Joanie has a passion for the vulnerable adult – and, specifically, those with dementia. As a result of this interest, in 2017, Joanie requested to attend a Dementia Care Specialist “train the trainer” course in order to become a certified instructor. Her vision was to be able to teach, educate, and train clinicians, using best practice methods, on successful approaches for dementia patients.
Her willingness to teach and share this information not only established a common baseline level of understanding for clinicians, but has also allowed Evergreen staff to all speak the same language when assessing dementia patients and developing appropriate care plans. This collaborative approach has been a benefit to patients and has further strengthened collaboration and teamwork among staff.
This led to Joanie teaching the Dementia Care Specialist class as EvergreenHealth Home Care’s clinical competency for 2018. All clinicians took this course and exam, becoming Certified Dementia Care Specialists – making EvergreenHealth Home Health the only home health agency in Washington to have all 200+ clinicians as Certified Dementia Care Specialists—a proud achievement, indeed, and one that will continue to offer far-reaching benefits for patients and staff.
As Ron Bettencourt noted in his nomination of her, Joanie is an excellent clinician, engaged instructor, mentor, and resource, as well as a tireless advocate for vulnerable adults.
VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR Rick Sievers
Community Home Health and Hospice
Sheryl Reeder, Volunteer Coordinator for Community Home Health and Hospice, got the judges’ attention right away with the opening comment that “Generally I do not consider ‘impatience’ a quality I want in a hospice volunteer. However, when we’re discussing Rick Sievers, it is one of many top-notch qualifications that make him an outstanding volunteer.”
Sheryl goes on to explain that Rick was impressive right from the get-go. His volunteer application indicated he was a massage therapist, ordained minister, YMCA volunteer, journal writing group volunteer, published poet, and former hospice volunteer. He was well-acquainted with hospice care, bereavement, and grief: his partner died in hospice care in 2005.
Sheryl set up an interview with Rick to discuss volunteer opportunities, and was blown away by his exuberance, thoughtful answers, and his clear desire to step in and help in any way he could. Rick wanted to spend his volunteer time in Community’s brand-new care center, since he lived nearby. With a new facility, it sometimes takes a while for the community to know of its existence, so there were days when there simply weren’t any patients for him to see. Before long, he was coming into Sheryl’s office asking: “What else can I do?” Impatient, this guy.
A couple of years ago, Community’s home hospice team expressed the need for a volunteer—preferably a man—to spend time with an ALS patient who painstakingly communicated via eye movements and a computer. The patient was in his mid-50’s, highly educated and intelligent, with a wife and daughters in high school and college. Rick was eager to take on the assignment. For 18 months, he provided ongoing respite support for the patient’s wife and family, including neck and shoulder massage for all. As the patient’s ability to communicate declined, Rick sat with him providing compassionate touch, mindful and purposeful presence, reading scripture or favorite poems, often through tears. There’s no doubt that the length and condition of this patient assignment weighed heavily on Rick. And yet…
…He always wanted to do more. He made it his mission to get the word out about Community’s in-patient facility, its grief support groups, and the need for additional volunteers. He helped promote Community’s Survivors of Suicide class, and went to the local school to talk to school counselors about the agency’s support groups for children and teens.
Rick began volunteering with the agency in March 2017, and, by the time of his nomination, he had already given Community 321 hours (he’s well beyond that now!). Sheryl concludes by noting that in addition to Rick’s welcome impatience, he has an infectious energy and zest for life.
HOME CARE HERO Margaret "Dicki" Franklin
Providence Home Health & Hospice
As Zaneta Billyzone notes in her nomination, "Dicki" Franklin is an extraordinary woman. She has been an RN for more than 40 years, and a home health nurse for more than 30 of those years. She is approaching a well-earned retirement at the end of this year. Even after so many years of serving the poorest and most vulnerable patients, Dicki still has the same love, compassion, and zeal for her work and her patients. She has been an amazing mentor and advocate for the nurses in Providence ministries. She has spearheaded new pilot programs, as well as trained numerous nurses as preceptors. All her fellow caregivers admire her wisdom and work ethic.
As a young manager, Zaneta notes that she is in awe of Dicki. Not only has Dicki taken the time to educate, encourage, mentor, and support her fellow caregivers, she has done the same for her manager, also offering words of support and warm hugs.
Zaneta recalled a time when the agency was making some changes to the existing workflow and quite a few team members were disgruntled. Dicki announced that she had something to say, and reminded everyone of why they were doing this work and the importance of the Providence mission. She said that with Home Health, change is inevitable, and ultimately in the best interest of patients. A hush fell over the room as several of her colleagues nodded in agreement. When she spoke, everyone listened; this is the type of respect Dicki warrants. She is a consistent example of love, hard work, compassion, and expert clinical skills. Her retirement will undoubtedly leave a void in many hearts. It’s as if a Superhero and Legend is leaving her post.
HCAW joins Dicki’s colleagues in saying “Well done, Dicki, well done.”
MANAGER OF THE YEAR Kayla Rojas
Providence Home Health & Hospice
Kayla Rojas came to the Health Connections Program more than 2 years ago. She took a position as a Health Home Care Coordinator, which was a new role for the innovative program. She worked closely with the manager to establish procedures to make the program and its outcomes successful.
After only a year of working together, the manager of the program departed, leaving Kayla to work independently to make sure the fledgling program continued to grow. She boldly took initiative and stepped up as a leader-in-training, supervising new employees as the program continued to expand.
With the manager role vacant, Kayla began mentoring and coaching her Health Connections peers—not always an easy task, as you might imagine. She was able to establish trust and confidence quickly, and the staff knew they could go to her when they needed assistance or had questions. Kayla made home visits with Health Connections staff to coach on how to engage participants who are often resistant to help.
She quickly identified problems with program processes and procedures. The grant funding behind the Health Connections program requires metrics and outcomes to be tracked closely. After changes to the documentation system, Kayla realized that the databases and other systems were not tracking information accurately. She was able to create a fix and coach the staff on both the importance and the skills of tracking these metrics.
In addition to being a great leader for the team, Nominator Carolyn Bonner tells us that Kayla has been a compassionate advocate for the patients and participants enrolled in the Health Connections program. She views her job as eliminating barriers that stand in the way of participants achieving positive health outcomes, and she consistently goes above and beyond to do so. Recently, Kayla enrolled a couple in the program who were living in a hotel and were unable to work or afford medical care. Both individuals had extremely poor vision, but no money or insurance for glasses—this was an obstacle to their getting to doctors’ appointment and applying for work. Kayla diligently worked to find a solution for this couple and was able to secure funding for eyeglasses. With this major barrier removed, the couple continues to work toward overall positive health outcomes.
Health Connections is an innovative and unique program that relies on inventive thinking and problem-solving. Even without a manager in place, Kayla was able to present issues and solutions to the Director and others, thus assuring the program would continue to meet both participants’ needs and grant requirements. Kayla stepped up and demonstrated innovative, creative, and strong leadership.
PATTY MULHERN NURSE OF THE YEAR Juliet Carreon
Since 2010, HCAW’s Nurse of the Year Award has been called the Patty Mulhern Nurse of the Year Award, recognizing the extraordinary contributions Patty Mulhern made to HCAW, to home health, and to the profession of nursing. Her gracious spirit, her infectious laugh, and generous mentorship stay in our hearts and memories. We lost Patty in 2009, yet her spirit lives on in the home health nurses who are passionate about their work and the patients they serve.
Juliet Carreon, RN, has been selected as this year’s recipient of the HCAW Patty Mulhern Nurse of the Year award.
Juliet is a Home Health nurse for EvergreenHealth. She has opted to train in a variety of diverse roles within the Agency. She is an Admission RN, an RN Case Manager, a Float RN and an Intake RN. She is always willing to go where help is needed with a smile on her face. Evergreen receives frequent feedback from her peers, patients and their families praising the quality of care she provides and her kind demeanor.
According to nominator Angie Dawkins, Juliet has had a very challenging year personally, yet she continues fully committed to her work, with a smile and utmost professionalism. She does whatever is needed to make sure patients are getting the care they require in a timely manner.
Patients and families regularly make the effort to call Evergreen’s service line to express their appreciation and gratitude for Juliet’s clinical and professional skills. One example in particular was the wife of a 72-year-old patient who had been in and out of the emergency department and hospital for ongoing abdominal pain and altering mental status. Juliet was the first clinician to see this patient after the Home Health referral. She performed a medication reconciliation and noted many alarming potential interactions. Juliet immediately tried to contact the patient’s physician to address the issue, and was stunningly persistent in her efforts to connect with the doctor. Those efforts resulted in immediate and much-needed medication alterations. As a result, the patient has gone from taking 18 medications to 10 medications and his ongoing issues with abdominal pain and altered mental status have been entirely resolved. The patient’s wife called into Home Health following discharge to express how much Juliet’s care and attention to detail had impacted her and her husband’s life. Quoting the spouse, Juliet “truly saved his life and, in turn, saved mine.”
It is indeed a pleasure to recognize Juliet Carreon as the Patty Mulhern Nurse of the Year for 2019.
WIZARD AWARD Leslie Emerick
Since 1991, it has been a tradition of the Home Care Association of Washington that each year the President recognizes one member for outstanding and remarkable service to the Association and to the home care industry in our State. The award is given to someone who of the word wizard is expert in their field and is extremely skilled in or knowledgeable about the industry. That individual is designated as the “Wizard,” and is given possession of the Wizard “traveling trophy” for the year that follows. At the end of every year this person relinquishes the award to the next winner.
This year the person that I have selected is someone that is known not only to our board but to our members as well and the state’s healthcare industry. It gives me great pleasure to announce that our Wizard Award recipient for 2019 is Leslie Emerick. Leslie if you could make your way here while we talk about you a bit.
Leslie serves as the conductor for the state as it relates to legislation, initiatives, studies and community discussions. This year she has spear headed the creation of Bill SB 5828 which as you are aware proposed to have Medicaid rates mirror Medicare rates. This is a testimony to her tenacity and innovation in looking for the next opportunity to move us forward.
While it is her job to be our lobbyist she continually goes above and beyond looking for places to form alliances and pulls us in sometimes in a moment notice for testimony or phone calls or whatever means she deems necessary to either support or fight against issues that are vital to the ability for us to care for our patients.