Mike Slubowski: “No Regret” Strategies Hold Key to Our Success


Healthcare is changing at a frenetic pace, so how does SCL Health survive and thrive during such challenging times? By holding on to “no regret” strategies, according to SCL Health President and CEO Mike Slubowski. These are tried and true strategies, rooted in our core values, that are built to weather storms. As associates, we must work to:

  • Respond to the requirements of the patient
  • Develop trusting relationships through consistent, predictable action
  • Support partnerships
  • Deliver value (low cost and high quality)
  • Innovate, pilot and experiment with new processes and technology to respond to patient needs
  • Engage everyone as One SCL Health
  • Keep the long view in mind
  • Remain curious and try to work from the perspective of a “beginner’s mind.”

Mike outlined this plan in his State of the System update during recent quarterly Town Hall meetings for system services. Here’s a roundup of other items he covered in this month’s Town Hall meetings:

Support for Our Communities: Increase in Community Benefit

SCL Health increased its spending on community benefit from $208 million in 2014 to $222 million in 2015. This money helps those who are poor and vulnerable through financial aid and charity care programs, covering shortfalls for those covered by Medicaid as well as programs, services and direct care for patients.

We don’t just track this money as part of regulatory requirements, although that is important. As Mike put it: “Charity is who we are and what we do.” Tracking community benefit data allows SCL Health to enhance these benefits for all we serve year after year.

SCL Health Structure and Governance

Two new board members — Paul Hughes-Cromwick, a health economist, and Sr. Constance Phelps, a consultant for women religious and health system governance — will join SCL Health shortly. Three additional board members are currently being approved by the governance committee and will be announced soon.

St. Francis

Topeka has been on all of our minds since the end of May when the board voted to seek and transfer operations of St. Francis to another healthcare organization who will be able to strengthen the ministry. “St. Francis is still a part of our family,” Mike said, and it is business as usual until we learn otherwise. As a system we will continue to support them throughout the transition, which is expected to be a lengthy process.

Community Hospitals

SCL Health’s new community hospitals now open in Westminster and Littleton. Community hospitals in Aurora and Thornton will open towards the end of 2016.

These community hospitals are 40,000-square-foot facilities with full emergency departments, imaging, limited laboratory, surgery and eight licensed in-patient beds, all in a convenient location for these communities.

Population Health

SCL Health remains committed to pursuing population health, or accountable health strategies, as healthcare continues to shift to more holistic business models focused on health improvement.

Population health means taking responsibility for both costs and outcomes of care for a defined population. While fee-for-service care is episodic, population health is more holistic with the ultimate goal being health improvement. A number of population health initiatives are already underway within the system, including Medicare Shared Savings Programs in Montana and Kansas, Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement in Colorado and Kansas, self-insurance of SCL Health associates and their families and commercial products.

“As the old phrase goes, ‘You can manage the old way; you can manage the new way. It’s the transition that will befuddle you.’ We are in the middle of the transition,” Mike says, “but we are on the right path and we will all have to work together to make it successful.”

Financial Stewardship

We are financially strong, but there are things we can all do to keep our budget on track. Each of us has a role to play in stewardship, for instance cutting back on external consulting and contracted services. If you have ideas for ways SCL Health can improve efficiency and reduce waste, speak up!

Associate Engagement

As we shared previously, associates achieved an impressive 78 percent response rate in the recent “View From You” associate engagement survey, one of the highest response rates among Press Ganey’s clients! Overall associate engagement improved significantly, with complete results expected later this summer. Overall, great news and improvement for our system!


Kick Your Tobacco Habit Before the Surcharge Kicks In

Girl kicking a cigarette butt isolated against white backgroundIf you and/or your covered dependent(s) are on an SCL Health medical plan and use tobacco, you may want to quit before the $50 per month tobacco surcharge begins in 2017. SCL Health associates and their covered dependents must be tobacco-free for six months before they are no longer considered to be a tobacco user, so that means right about now is a great time to overpower the addiction.

But, we know kicking addiction is easier said than done, so SCL Health is providing support and resources to help associates.

Find help to quit smoking

Start with the SCL Health QuitLine through National Jewish Health. This program can help you and your family members permanently overcome the physical, psychological and behavioral addictions to tobacco through expert coaching and support. You may also qualify for free nicotine replacement therapy (e.g., nicotine patches, gum and lozenges) at no cost to you. Below are three out of hundreds of success stories. (Note that the names have been changed to protect identities, but the stories are real.)

  • Carmen’s story: Breathing better now, at 65, she is managing her new lifestyle using a plan developed with her quit coach. She is walking, cleaning, riding her stationary bike and keeping her hands busy. For occasional cravings Carmen just grabs a piece of nicotine gum when needed. Carmen tells other people to call 1-800-QUIT-NOW because they do great things. Way to go!
  • Tony’s story: Tony achieved his goal of quitting smoking and now has over six weeks behind him. He is finding that the patches work well for him. One trigger to smoke that he has to fight is being around other smokers. Thanks to his coach, he keeps himself smoke-free by using techniques such as gum, hard candy, or chewing on toothpicks to overcome cravings.
  • Geri’s story: After 30 years of smoking, Geri is setting a new example for her family. And she wants them to follow suit and quit smoking too. Geri says, “I do not want them to struggle with COPD [lung disease] as I do, or any other smoking-related illness for that matter!” With help from 1-800-QUIT-NOW, she is enjoying her sixth month as a non-smoker. Geri realized that her addiction was psychological as well as physical. She knew she needed to overcome her old behaviors. Geri’s coach helped her develop a plan to deal with encountering another smoker. Now whenever Geri meets another smoker, she turns in the opposite direction and pops a mint in her mouth to overcome the urge.

The program is confidential, and it works! For more information or to enroll, contact QuitLine at 1-888-543-1506 or visit partnersinhealth.quitlogix.org.

Additional cessation resources and programs are available through the SCL Health medical plans, EAP, and at select care sites. For additional details on the surcharge and the Wise & Well Incentive Program for 2016, refer to the SCL Health benefits website at sclhealth.org/careers/benefits/healthy-living/. You may also contact the HR Service Center at 1-855-412-3701 or email SO-HRSupport@sclhs.net.

Why all the fuss about smoking? Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death, and is responsible for many health issues that drive up healthcare costs for the tobacco user, and everyone else in his or her health plan. The primary goal of SCL Health’s health and well-being programs is to help associates and their family members reach and maintain good health; and the use of tobacco is inconsistent with our mission of improving the health of the people and communities we serve. By implementing a surcharge for tobacco users, we hope to provide an added incentive to the better health, quality of life, and financial savings that quitting tobacco provides.

*Note: The tobacco surcharge does not apply to St. James Healthcare union associates at this time due to timing of their next scheduled union negotiation. However, all St. James Healthcare union associates and their families are encouraged to take steps towards living tobacco-free lives right away and access the free cessation programs and resources available.

VIDEO: 2 Minutes With Our CMO: What Are Our Blue Chips?

SCL Health’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Shawn Dufford, recently sat down with us to explain a number of initiatives and priorities for our system related to quality and safety.

This is the second in a series of quick videos with Dr. Dufford. In this two-minute short, learn about our blue chips, how they’ve been pared down further into “Royal Blue Chips,” and why every associate is responsible for achieving ministry excellence.

IKEA Redesign Completed at Mount Saint Vincent

The IKEA redesign at Mount Saint Vincent is complete! Thank you to all who voted for Mount Saint Vincent in the 2016 IKEA Life Improvement Challenge in Colorado earlier this summer. The resident cottages are now redesigned and the children and staff love the fresh, new environment.

Mount Saint Vincent was one of three nonprofits in the Denver region considered for the $10,000 grant. IKEA conducted a vote to determine the winner, and SCL Health associates and friends rose to the challenge. After winning the grant, the money was allocated to redesigning the 16-year old resident cottages, which were furnished through community donations.

The makeover not only refreshed the cottages, but turned them into an environment that is functional and inviting. On behalf of SCL Health and Mount Saint Vincent, thank you for everything, IKEA USA!


Mount Saint Vincent staff and members of the IKEA remodel team pose in front of the newly remodeled cottages.







Hospital Week: GJ Rockies Game Ticket Order Information

gjbaseball_330x220Celebrating Hospital Week & The Year of You

It’s coming … We will celebrate Hospital Week July 18-22. Activities are planned daily, watch for additional info out soon!

Let’s Go Out to the Ball Park!
Grand Junction Rockies vs. Billings Mustangs
Friday July 22 , 6:30 p.m.

Click the link below to reserve your tickets:

GJ Rockies Tickets 2016

GJHospitalWeek_1Each associate, physician and volunteer of SMMC may request up to 4 free tickets to this game. Additional tickets can be purchased directly from GJ Rockies at a discounted rate. Rate code: St. Mary’s.

Each ticket includes a $7 food & beverage voucher for this night only.

TO ORDER:  You must click on the “GJ Rockies Tickets 2016” link above to order up to 4 free tickets! For those who need assistance ordering tickets, please contact Brenda Wiseman. Additional instructions and information is provided on the link. A firm deadline for ticket orders is July 15 at noon.

GJHospitalWeek_2Gates open at 5:30 p.m. and the game starts at 6:30 p.m. FIREWORKS following the game. St. Mary’s will have designated sections for seating. Also:

  • The first 500 associates/physicians/volunteers through the gates receive a limited edition ball cap
  • Each ticket includes a food & beverage voucher ($7 value, valid this night only)
  • Kidz Zone: bump & jump, play area and kids can run the bases after the game

Questions? Contact Gretchen Gore (8-7054) or Brenda Wiseman (8-7742)

OB-GYN Physicians Talk About Why They Practice at Lutheran

Women select an obstetrician or gynecologist by evaluating factors such as clinical expertise, comfort level and convenience. Similarly, OB-GYN physicians choose to partner with a hospital based on the expertise of the nursing and support staff, availability of advanced technology and (most importantly) quality of patient care.

We spoke with three OB-GYNs about the comprehensive women’s services at Lutheran Medical Center and why they choose to practice here.

Jennifer Grube, MD, Chair of OB-GYN

Gruber“Lutheran was the first hospital in this region that had a vision for a comprehensive women’s services department and made it a priority. They’ve demonstrated their commitment by designing a state-of-the-art, spa-like Women and Family Center for expectant mothers and a Level IIIA neonatal intensive care unit for ill or premature babies.

“The hospital also has been very forward thinking in adopting measures to decrease the number of C-sections and giving mothers and babies private time to bond in the ‘golden hour’ after birth. They also offer a robust educational program that includes childbirth and parenting classes. And all patients can benefit from the Bridges Health and Wellness program, which offers holistic therapies for a variety of health conditions, including postpartum massages for new mothers.”

Gayle Crawford, MD, Medical Director of Robotic Surgery

“Surgeons at Lutheran are performing many gynecological procedures using minimally invasive robotic technology, Crawfordresizedincluding hysterectomies, surgeries to correct pelvic floor disorders (which occur when the muscles that hold the pelvic organs in place weaken as a result of childbirth or age) and removal of benign ovarian masses. The benefits of robotic surgery include less bleeding, smaller scars and a faster recovery time.

“The hospital is also planning to expand the robotic surgery program by offering urogynecological and gynecological cancer surgeries and moving to single-site surgery for certain procedures, which will be performed through just one small incision instead of the typical four or five.

“Lutheran emphasizes a team approach to patient care, whether a woman is being treated for breast cancer, having surgery or delivering a baby. It’s a very collaborative environment in which to practice.”

Johanne Python, MD, Vice-chair of OB-GYN

Pythonresized“Lutheran’s nurses are absolutely phenomenal. They include an OB nurse navigator who can answer any questions about the birth experience at Lutheran and provide tours of the Women and Family Center. The labor and delivery nurses are very attentive and provide fantastic coaching to help women through childbirth. Lutheran also offers lactation consultants who help mothers start breast-feeding in the hospital and provide support after they leave.

“The nurses who staff the operating rooms and postsurgical floors are wonderful, as well. There’s a specialized team of nurses and surgical staff for gynecological procedures that helps ensure that the surgeries run smoothly and patients recover quickly.”


Patients Share Kudos on the GetWellNetwork!

Casey & Team - Oncology

During Nurses’ Week, Saint Joseph Hospital had a special comment field on the GetWellNetwork so that patients and families could send a special message or quick thanks to a nurse. We received lots of great appreciation from our patients all over the hospital recognizing our amazing staff and wanted to send a big thank you to all our nurses for the awesome compassion they show to our patients and families.

One patient commented: “I honestly cannot sing your praise loud enough. This is the first time I’ve been treated the way that I believe a patient ought to be treated by a hospital. I don’t feel like a prisoner, the staff seems dedicated to working toward achieving my health goals, without being too over-bearing or judgmental. I will never choose another hospital in the future. Many thanks to all the staff.”

Thank you to all our nurses. We also wanted to highlight the four nurses who all tied for the most patient comments! Each winner received a GetWell Network mug and a card of thanks from our leaders. Read all the comments here.

From Medicine North, Eric Rose and Team.

From Medicine North, Eric Rose and Team.

From Medicine North, Lashon (Shon) Lloyd and Team

From Medicine North, Lashon (Shon) Lloyd and Team

Casey Neill

Casey Neill

Shon Lloyd, Medicine North

Shon Lloyd, Medicine North



From the Baby Place, Jennifer Irwin (not pictured)


Contributed by Sarah Montanari, Service Excellence

A Big Stadium Stampede Thank You!

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Sunday, June 26 marked the 32nd Annual Stadium Stampede out at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Over 1,000 participants raced around and through the stadium, all to benefit Saint Joseph Hospital’s Mobile Mammography program.

We’d like to give a special shout-out to the numerous Associates and Physicians who supported this year’s efforts – either by running, walking, volunteering or fundraising. Saint Joe’s was well represented…and man, we’ve got some speedy athletes on staff!

On behalf of the entire staff of the Saint Joseph Hospital Foundation, THANK YOU! We loved seeing so many smiling faces that day and hope you’ll consider joining us in 2017 too! (Save the date: 33rd Annual Stadium Stampede – Sunday, June 25, 2017!)

Did you participate in this year’s event? Official race results and photos can be


StadiumStampede11found at www.StadiumStampede.org

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Enhancing the Patient Experience, Holy Rosary’s MedSurg Project

On Friday, June 24, Holy Rosary Healthcare celebrated the completion of a construction project that began a year ago with collaborative conversations among patients, physicians, nurses, and leadership to create an ideal care environment for hospitalized patients and culminated in the opening of the new Medical-Surgical (MedSurg) Department.

“Our primary goal was to enhance patient experience,” says Jackie Muri, the project leader from Holy Rosary. “We had a wonderful team involved with this very collaborative project. We recognized the value of the insights from those who receive care and use the space daily, so we engaged a representative panel of people to share their insights about their experiences and their ideas of how the space would be ideal.”

Pauline Flotkoetter, MSN, RN and MedSurg Staff pose in the new MedSurg Bariatric Suite with the new bed, lift, and other equipment to help move patients and receive care safely.

Pauline Flotkoetter, MSN, RN and MedSurg Staff pose in the new MedSurg Bariatric Suite with the new bed, lift, and other equipment to help move patients and receive care safely.

Eliciting feedback from all key stakeholders, she notes, was a critical part of the process. It began with a series of meetings with Holy Rosary medical staff, nurses, physical therapists, lab and radiology technicians, associates, and leaders who provide patient care in the MedSurg area.

“It was about seeking the voice of the customer, and it helped us to identify all of the high-value opportunities available to us,” Muri explains. “We asked them to tell us what a great patient experience would look and feel like; we also asked for their help in prioritizing the opportunities that fit within our project budget and aligned with our overall project goals.”

“It was a great process,” agrees Holy Rosary Healthcare President and CEO Paul Lewis. “By having the opportunity to bring a lot of our staff together in the early phases we developed a pattern for optimal care. It is a huge success in terms of being able to take an existing space, remodel and it and create something that is better for patients. Our staff made that possible.”

That included evaluating not only looking at “big picture” items such as making the area more modern and welcoming, but also minute details, such as making all flooring seamless to eliminate noise. Bedside charting, which allows nurses and other health care providers to document patient interactions, was also instituted as part of the project.

“This allows increases accessibility and the time nurses and other caregivers spend directly with the patient and to openly dialogue with patients while entering the information directly into the medical chart immediately” says Muri. “They can ask clarifying questions right then, which supports more thorough and accurate documentation and further enhances care.”

According to Pauline Flotkoetter, MSN, RN, MedSurg, OB and Swing Bed Nurse Manager, the department is generally staffed by two nurses, a certified nursing assistant and a ward clerk at any given time.

“They love it,” she says. “It’s an easy area to work in. Because the staff was so involved in the design and planning phases, it has allowed us to focus on patient-centered care.”

That includes, Flotkoetter notes, Transitioning the unit to primarily private patient rooms, which is a significant patient and family satisfier.

“We now have eleven rooms; nine of them are private patient rooms and two are doubles,” she says. “That has made a big difference in how we care for patients. Orthopedic patients, for example, have so much equipment and if family members were visiting there was limited available space to comfortably accommodate everything. Now it’s very spacious, and an overall more comfortable experience for patients.”

Another significant update in terms of patient care was the inclusion of a bariatric room, designed exclusively for patients with limited mobility constraints and/or patients.

“We want to help all patients receive the care they need and to be comfortable in the process,” explains Vice President of Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer Carol Enderle, DNP, APRN-BC. “The bariatric room allows us to manage patients weighing up to 500 pounds, with a bed, lift, and other equipment that allows us to help them move and receive care safely.”

Enderle says, “Just as we want to ensure our patients are safe, we also want our staff to be safe in the way they’re caring for patients.”

“We hadn’t been able to deliver care at this level for bariatric patients previously,” says Muri. “Now we have a dedicated suite, equipped with excellent equipment, and our 100% of our MedSurg nursing staff is fully trained on how to provide the best care to bariatric patients.”

Pauline Flotkoetter, MSN, RN, MedSurg, OB and Swing Bed Nurse Manager demonstrates the new lift in the bariatric suite to guests during the open house.

Pauline Flotkoetter, MSN, RN, MedSurg, OB and Swing Bed Nurse Manager demonstrates the new lift in the bariatric suite to guests during the open house.

Paul Lewis calls the inclusion of the bariatric room—and the project as a whole—a great investment for patients and the staff who care for them.

“We are the central location for the majority of patient care for Miles City and the surrounding area,” he says. “This is an extension of that care, one that allows us to better care for our community.”

Additional project enhancements include a redesigned nurse and physician work station to support patient interaction, a nutrition center for patients and guests, and a private bath suite for utilization by any patient in the unit.

He and Muri not only credit the many staff members involved with the project, but also the community for their support. Lewis says he and the staff at Holy Rosary Healthcare were pleased to have the opportunity to extend our thanks.

“It was wonderful to see the support of our community,” he notes. “We recognize it is key to our success and our viability.”

“This project was made possible in large part thanks to hospital capital and reinvestment,” Muri says. “But it is also an example of the power of philanthropy and the support of our community, which allowed us to take make this project truly exceptional now and in the future. We have an amazing team of providers, nurses and caregivers who love their work and are committed to great patient care. Collectively, this results in a truly differentiated patient experience.”

Message From Grant June 27

Lutheran in the Community

Lutheran has been a part of the West Metro community for more than 100 years. In addition to our mission to care for the people in the community and especially the poor and vulnerable, we are proud to participate in local events.

There are several events and organizations that we partner with or support each year, including the Senior Resource Center, Wheat Ridge High School and several others. Summertime brings some of our biggest events, such as the Highlands Street Fair. We had a big presence there over this past weekend, with a lot of fun activities for the people who came.HighlandsStreetFairresized

This summer we have partnered with a social printing company for this particular event to provide a print out to everyone who posts a photo to our Instagram using #highlandsstreetfair. We also brought in some characters for the kids and got some great photos. Check out Lutheran’s Instagram – Lutheranmedctr – for the photos.

The Lutheran Birth Center was there too, promoting our delivery services.

Another summertime special is our title sponsorship of the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities. We have such great visibility there, with a booth for most outdoor events, banners and graphics throughout the amphitheater and more. This year, our marketing expert, Justin Fales, has developed yet another fun activity to get people more engaged with Lutheran.

Concert goers this summer will be able to enter a photo contest at each show by tagging @lutheranmedctr on Instagram or Facebook. Winners will get some great Lutheran gear! And don’t forget that as an SCL Health associate, you can get discounted tickets to many of the summer shows at the Arvada Center. Click here for the schedule, and use the code 3751.

It seems like summer just started, and next weekend is already the Fourth of July! Enjoy the holiday with family and friends, and be safe!

Have a great week,


P.S. Congratulations to Annette Villalva, who won the Rockies tickets by answering our trivia questions from last week.

The correct answers were:

  1. On average, how many people are seen in the Lutheran ED every month?
    • About 6,000
  2. What is behind the big plaque near the main entrance to Lutheran? (Door #2)
    • A time capsule (two actually!)