Northwest Hospital Alliance
News and Updates

November 2015

In This Issue
Kootenai Health Receives Top 100 Ranking for Community Value
Each year, the Ohio-based group Cleverly and Associates evaluates 3,000 hospitals nationwide and awards each a Community Value Index score. 
The score is composed of ten measures that assess a hospital's performance in four key areas: financial viability and plant reinvestment, hospital cost structure, hospital charge structure, and hospital quality performance. Kootenai's score placed it in the top 100 surveyed hospitals nationwide, which qualified it to receive Top 100 Ranking for community value. The award is positive confirmation that Kootenai Health is providing exceptional, affordable care to the patients it serves.

New CNO at Bonner General Health

Misty Robertson comes to Bonner General Health from Sierra Vista, Arizona and holds a BSN and Master of Science degree in Administration from the University of South Dakota. She has more than 10 years of health care leadership experience, in a variety of settings including rural hospitals and CAH's.
"I was looking for a rural hospital that lived among the mountains and the lakes and Bonner General Health was the perfect fit," Misty said. "The region offers many opportunities whether it's work or play. I appreciate the small town atmosphere as I'm from southern Idaho originally. I believe it's important to serve the community you work and live in. We make a living by what we get and we make a life by what we give. I hear this over and again, and every time I drive across the Long Bridge it just speaks to my heart."

Northern Idaho Crisis Center Set to Open in December
Idaho's second mental health crisis center is scheduled to open early this December. The Northern Idaho Crisis Center will be located in an existing building on the Kootenai Health campus. Renovations and planning to convert the space are underway.
Former FBI agent Don Robinson has been hired to fill the position of crisis and intervention services manager.
"Don Robinson has a long history of crisis intervention and management that make him uniquely skilled at working with the population the crisis center will serve," said Claudia Miewald, Kootenai Health's director of behavioral health services. "From 2005 to 2012 he worked as the supervisory special agent of the Coeur d'Alene resident agency of the Federal Bureau of Investigations. We are very fortunate to have our first staff member of the crisis center be such a well-qualified individual."
The Northern Idaho Crisis Center is the second crisis center funded through the Idaho State Legislature. A one-time $200,000 allocation of state funds will be used to open the center. This will not fully cover all the needed renovations in the space so organizers are working with others in the community to donate services, labor and funding to make up the deficit.

The center will serve men and women from Idaho's 10 northern counties, ages 18 and older who need help with mental health or substance abuse issues. Other crisis centers have found that although many referrals come from law enforcement, most people using the center come by themselves or are brought to the center by a friend or family member.

The crisis center's purpose is to assess patients and connect them to resources that best fit their needs. Staff will be trained to assess patients' needs and refer them to the appropriate resources in their community. If additional care is needed, whether it is inpatient care such as being admitted to the hospital, or outpatient care like a counseling service, patients will receive an appropriate referral before they leave the center.

Many community organizations have come together to make the crisis center a possibility, but the newly-formed Idaho Health Partners, comprised of Kootenai Health, Panhandle Health District and Heritage Health, will be doing much of the initial planning and development. Kootenai Health is the contracting organization with the state. Local law enforcement, the local behavioral health community and those offering assistance to people in crisis will be other active participants as the center prepares to open. 

The success of the center will depend heavily on the support and involvement of many community resources.


Caryl Johnston, Director
Northwest Hospital Alliance

:: 208-625-4138
Message from the Director

It is definitely fall with the trees of northern Idaho showing off their beautiful colors and leaves falling and covering the ground.  Rain is finally coming our way, and we will soon see snow. I hope you are finding our newsletter and website informative and helpful as we highlight some of the things going on in our Region with the Hospital Alliance, and our healthcare partners.

In the last several weeks:
  • The Idaho Hospital Association has hosted its 83rd Annual Convention and welcomed Brian Whitlock to the helm as the new President and CEO. 
  • The Idaho Telehealth Alliance hosted its Annual Conference where health professionals from throughout the state came together to listen, learn and discuss how moving forward with Telehealth in Idaho can be a strong component to providing access to healthcare, especially in rural areas. 
  • Here in northern Idaho we will see our nurse leaders and NIC nursing faculty hold their first Nursing Grand Rounds being broadcast throughout the Alliance member hospitals and to nursing students. 
  • In mere weeks, we will see the opening of the long needed Northern Idaho Crisis Center.
One thing is for sure - healthcare is ever dynamic, exciting and challenging. Through the Hospital Alliance - Together we are stronger and together we will continue to meet the needs of the people living in our communities, as well as keeping our hospitals strong and healthcare professionals at the top of their skill sets.

Northwest Hospital Alliance Grants $100,000 to NIC Nursing Program

The Northwest Hospital Alliance presented the North Idaho College nursing program with a $100,000 grant to help support nursing education in our region. 
"North Idaho College is grateful for the longstanding partnership with the Northwest Hospital Alliance. The relationship truly is symbiotic," said NIC Vice President for Instruction, Dr. Lita A. Burns (previously dean of Health Professions and Nursing). "North Idaho College Nursing Programs achieve outstanding student success because of the excellent clinical education the students receive at Kootenai Health and the other Alliance partner hospitals. The nurses are willing to teach and mentor students knowing that one day the students will be their peers."
Pictured (from left): (front row) Nancy Murren, NIC; Dr. Lita Burns, NIC; Marian Underdahl, NIC; Joan Simon, Kootenai Health; Tari Yourzek, Boundary Community Hospital (back row) Eilene Pickett, NIC; Brittany Heidenreich, NIC; Kim Mitchell, NIC; Shannon Badgett, NIC; Misty Robertson, Bonner General Health; Beth Bates, Shoshone Medical Center; and Claudia Miewald, Kootenai Health 
The Hospital Alliance has a history of supporting the program, gifting $1.2 million over the past decade.

"The Northwest Hospital Alliance is delighted to be able to extend this grant funding to the nursing program at North Idaho College," Joan Simon, Kootenai Health Chief Nursing Officer, said. "We see as part of our mission that we have a responsibility to ensure a knowledgeable, skilled and stable nursing workforce. These dollars will serve to strengthen the collaboration between the hospital and our academic partner, NIC; allowing us to work together on initiatives that strengthen and advance are professional nursing workforce in our region."

The funds will not only help to educate future area nurses, but will also help those currently in the field maintain competencies and further develop their skill sets.

"The Northwest Hospital Alliance has enjoyed a long-standing relationship with North Idaho College, specifically when it comes to nursing education," Tari Yourzek, Chief Nursing Officer at Boundary Community Hospital, said. "Funds given will assist in keeping the quality of nursing education at the level our region has grown to expect. In addition, the collaborative efforts of the college and the nursing leadership in our region have fostered a great relationship between our local hospitals and NIC. The future of nursing depends on these relationships in order to provide our community with the highest quality patient care and outcomes."

Nursing Grand Rounds 
Acute Traumatic Brain Injury 
Across the Continuum

Monday, November 9, 2015
10:30 am to Noon

Kootenai Health Resource Center- Cedar Room
With Broadcast via IVC
  1. Identify and recall signs and symptoms from three types of head traumas discussed.
  2. Build awareness of evidence based care for traumatic brain injuries.
  3. Recall and link the reviewed safety tools utilized within the case study.
  4. Identify the ethical issues within the case presented. 
Presenters include staff from Boundary Community Hospital, Life Flight, and Kootenai Health. 

RSVP by emailing [email protected]. Include your name, position and if you will be attending at the Cedar Room or at what hospital location via broadcast.

For More information contact: Erlene Pickett at (208) 769-3278 or [email protected].

* 1.25 CEUs and Door Prizes.

Two Laboratory Science Students 
Begin Clinical Rotations in 
Northern Idaho Hospitals

Laboratory Science students, Mickinzie Johnson and Caleb Cox are beginning their clinical rotations in the laboratories of Hospital Alliance members. The students receive an excellent education through their experiences with knowledgeable staff.

In 2008, the five hospital labs of the Northwest Hospital Alliance became clinical affiliates of the Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center School of Medical Laboratory Science. This relationship was developed at the request of the lab managers of the north Idaho labs and in collaboration with the University of Idaho. At that time, the Medical Laboratory Science program increased the number of students from 12 to 14 to allow 2 students to complete half of their clinical rotations at the northern Idaho hospital labs, and the remaining specialty rotations at PSHMC and PAML.

The Laboratory Science program director attends the quarterly meetings of the Hospital Alliance lab managers, and together they carefully plan coordinated clinical rotations for the students. 
The benefits to the Alliance member labs are the potential to recruit students to become employees, and for lab staff to become involved in teaching which helps them stay up-to-date with laboratory testing theory and best practices, and the subsequent sharing of ideas regarding lab operation. The students enjoy the opportunity to experience a smaller rural laboratory environment with the Critical Access Hospitals and share with their classmates the nuances of practicing in rural communities.

"In dealing with a shortage of laboratory scientists we are able to work collaboratively with the hospitals to increase the number of students being trained," said Kathy Gemar, Kootenai Health Laboratory Services Director. "This provides a greater pool of potential candidates to work in the various hospital labs."

The five year program requires a Bachelor's Degree in a hard science and a 12 month internship. The lab students spend time in the following departments: Hematology, Chemistry, Microbiology, Transfusion Services, Coagulation, and Urine Analysis. The program includes both clinical and theoretical work. 

"This program is important to all of our labs," said Connie Malone, Bonner General Hospital Laboratory Manager. "It produces quality students who then become quality employees. It is so important to introduce these bright young people into the profession."
The Northwest Hospital Alliance
The Northwest Hospital Alliance serves as a collaborative network to assist our members in offering high quality, cost effective health care in our communities.