Alegent Health and Good Samaritan Hospital To Commemorate Patient-Centered Care Awareness Month
Release Date: 10/23/2007

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KEARNEY and OMAHA, Neb. — Alegent Health and Good Samaritan Hospital are joining other hospitals and health systems nationwide in commemorating the first annual Patient-Centered Care Awareness Month this October. The awareness building campaign will pay tribute to hospitals that are complementing their clinical capabilities with a patient-centered approach to care that prioritizes patient comfort, dignity, empowerment and well-being. Recognizing statewide efforts to foster a more patient-centered health care experience, Governor David Heineman today has signed a proclamation commemorating Patient-Centered Care Awareness Month in Nebraska and acknowledging Alegent Health and Good Samaritan Hospital’s commitment to practicing patient-centered care.

“Putting patients at the center of their health care experience is what we strive to do everyday at Alegent Health, ultimately fulfilling their health care needs, wants and desires. It incorporates our Mission, which calls us to provide high-quality care for the body, mind and spirit of every person in our care and respects the dignity of each person. We are delighted to join with Good Samaritan Hospital and Gov. Heineman in celebration of the awareness campaign and hope other hospitals join in this commitment to the people we all serve” said Beth Llewellyn, vice president of Mission Services at Alegent Health.

“While we are delighted to participate in Patient-Centered Care Awareness Month this October, in reality, at Good Samaritan Hospital, every month is patient-centered care month,” said Carol Wahl, vice president of Patient Services at Good Samaritan Hospital. “We are routinely considering ways to enhance everyday interactions with patients, clinical processes, and our physical environment to ensure that our patients feel well cared for, informed, and empowered to take charge of their own health and wellness.”

The theme for the month — “A Patient-Centered Revolution in Health Care” — was chosen to spotlight growing interest in patient-centered care, both among health care professionals and among patients themselves, who are increasingly knowledgeable and discerning consumers of health care services. This revolution comes on the heels of a 2001 report issued by the Institute of Medicine that named patient-centeredness as one of six elements integral to ensuring high quality health care.

“For years health care providers have known, intrinsically, that providing patient-centered care is the ‘right’ thing to do,” said Susan Frampton, President of Planetree, a not-for-profit organization that partners with hospitals and other health care providers to advance patient-centered approaches to care. “Now, though, we know that not only does it feel good and right to provide patient-centered care, but that this approach to care is also at the core of a high-quality health system. This month-long celebration is an opportunity for us to collectively shine a light on what providing patient-centered care can mean for patients and their loved ones.”

Alegent Health Bergan Mercy originally implemented the Planetree model of patient-centered in 1996, followed by the other Alegent Health facilities including Immanuel Medical Center, Lakeside Hospital, Midlands Hospital and Alegent Health Memorial Hospital in Schuyler, Neb. In Iowa, Alegent Health Mercy Hospital, Council Bluffs; Community Memorial, Missouri Valley; and Mercy Hospital, Corning are also celebrating patient-centered care efforts.

Good Samaritan Hospital has also been actively engaged in implementing the Planetree model of patient-centered care for the past six years, focusing on service excellence and providing meaningful opportunities for patients to be actively involved in their care. As part of Patient-Centered Care Awareness Month, both organizations will display an official declaration of its commitment to the values that define patient-centered care, among them:

  • “A patient is an individual to be cared for, not a medical condition to be treated.”
  • “Our patients’ family and friends are also partners and we welcome their involvement.”
  • “It is our responsibility to maximize patients’ opportunities for choices and to respect those choices;” and
  • “Our patients are our partners and have knowledge and expertise that is essential to their care.”
  • Both Alegent Health and Good Samaritan Hospital were recognized for their commitment to practicing patient-centered care earlier this month at the 2007 Planetree Annual Conference. Alegent Health was recognized with the Move the Model Award for the Ethnography Program in the Oncology Program; Matthew Rivard, M.D. received the Caregiver Award; and Robert Bossert, M.D. was honored with the Physician Champion Award.

    Good Samaritan Hospital received two Planetree Program awards, one for the Nutritional and Nurturing Aspects of Food - Participation Kitchen and another for the Healthy Living Center's Healing Touch massage program; Lissa Woodruff, M.D. was named the Spirit of Planetree Physician; Heather Hascall was named Spirit of Planetree Caregiver; and Marla Boulton and Gordon received the Award for Therapy Animal and Handler.

    About Alegent Health Alegent Health is the largest not-for-profit, faith-based health care system in Nebraska and southwestern Iowa with nine acute care hospitals, more than 100 sites of service, over 1,300 physicians on its medical staff and roughly 8,600 employees. Alegent Health is making health care better with an exceptional commitment to quality and by providing patient focused care for the body, mind and spirit of every person consistent with its faith-based mission. Alegent Health continues the health ministry begun by its sponsors, Catholic Health Initiatives and Immanuel Health Systems, more than a hundred years ago. At Alegent Health, patients and their families find a continuum of care, from women's and children's services, primary care, wellness counseling, and senior care to cardiovascular services, orthopaedics, oncology, physical rehabilitation, home care and behavioral health.

    About Good Samaritan Hospital Established by the Sisters of Saint Francis in 1924, Good Samaritan Hospital is a 287-bed regional referral center in Kearney, Nebraska. Now a member of Catholic Health Initiatives, Good Samaritan provides specialty care to over 350,000 residents of central Nebraska and northern Kansas. Good Samaritan boasts Nebraska’s first accredited Chest Pain Center, a Level II trauma center featuring AirCare emergency helicopter transport, advanced orthopedic care, comprehensive neurosurgery and a nationally accredited cancer center among its many unique tertiary care services. In the spirit of its founders, Good Samaritan serves not only as a medical facility, but also as a community partner. Good Samaritan is called by its core values of reverence, integrity, compassion and excellence to devote funding and resources to programs and services that benefit the health of the greater community.

    About Planetree Based in Derby, CT, Planetree ( has been at the forefront of the effort to personalize, humanize, and demystify the health care system for nearly three decades. Today, a global community of more than 125 acute care hospitals, continuing care facilities, outpatient clinics, and consumer health libraries is putting into practice the Planetree model of patient-centered care whose components include empowerment of patients through access to information and education, involvement of loved ones and a healing environment.