Saint Joseph Hospital’s Magnet Journey is About YOU

What Is Magnet?

The Magnet Recognition Program® recognizes health-care organizations for quality patient care, nursing excellence and innovations in professional nursing practice.  Magnet accreditation recognizes the top 6% of hospitals nationwide for outstanding outcomes, a healthy work environment, nursing excellence, and strong mission, vision and values supporting patients, families and community.  Magnet is about you!

Saint Joseph Hospital (SJH) began its Magnet Journey years ago when we decided to raise the bar and be the very best in the nation!  SJH sought continuous improvement in preventing hospital-acquired conditions and associate injuries while increasing associate and patient satisfaction.  It took all of us to impact our report card and we can be proud of the results!  Magnet is an opportunity to tell our story!

What does it mean to me?

Recognition for the great work you do every day!  Magnet supports continuous improvement, evidence-based practice, collaboration, recruitment, retention, business opportunities, and financial outcomes.  Healthcare is competitive.  Magnet draws associates, physicians, and patients!  Magnet is a competitive advantage and empowers us to lead into the future!

Watch for exciting events in the near future as we prepare for our Magnet Site Visit April 3-5, 2017!

Saint Joe’s was Seeing Red on National Wear Red Day

On Friday, Feb. 3, Saint Joe’s was sharing the love and supporting National Wear Red Day.  The American Heart Association and Go Red for Women spearhead this campaign each year to raise awareness about preventing cardiovascular disease, including stroke and heart disease. Thanks to all the Saint Joe’s associates who showed their support of this effort.  Please go to the Saint Joseph Hospital Facebook page to see all the fun photos from National Wear Red Day.

Saint Joseph Hospital Hosts Representative DeGette’s ACA Forum

On January 18, Saint Joseph Hospital was pleased to host Representative Diana DeGette’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) Forum.  The roundtable session and following press conference included Mike Slubowski, President and CEO of SCL HeaACA Press Conference3lth, and Jamie Smith, President of Saint Joseph Hospital, along with representatives from the Colorado Hospital Association and some of its member hospitals and health systems throughout the state.  The meeting focused on how Colorado hospitals and patients might be impacted if the ACA is repealed.

For more information on this discussion, you can read this article published by The Denver Post.

2016 Adopt a Family Program

In 2016, Saint Joseph Hospital participated again in the Adopt a Family program by partnering with Project Worthmore.  Project Worthmore is a nonprofit organization that seeks to improve the quality of life of refugees in Colorado. Many Burmese refugees have been fleeing a brutal regime for decades; living and hiding without food, clean water, shelter, or medicine. Some have lost loved ones needlessly – killed by violence, or killed by preventable illnesses like diarrhea, malaria, or respiratory infections. As they transition into a new life here in Denver many of them require basic items to survive such as jackets, clothing, shoes, and food. Many of the families we adopted this year were hoping for nothing more than beans and rice to feed their kids.

Our generous community of associates here at Saint Joe’s provided enough food and gifts to fill up three pickup trucks and a minivan to make the holidays happy for 40 local families.  Thanks to all who demonstrated their caring spirit. adopt-a-family_giftrecipients

Year End Message of Gratitude

sjh-fb-coverAs we approach the end of 2016, I find myself reflecting on the wonderful year we have had at Saint Joseph Hospital. What an awesome place to work, what a great team to work with and what a great mission to serve! On a personal note, I celebrated my one-year anniversary at Saint Joseph Hospital right before Thanksgiving. It has been an honor and pleasure to work with such talented and committed associates.

I’m thrilled to report that we have moved all of our performance metrics in the right direction, and our ministry is thriving. The organization has experienced strong volume across most of our service lines. Our patient experience overall rating is in the top 10% of the nation! From a quality perspective we continue to raise the bar. We received Healthgrades Top 100 and an A grade from Leapfrog in 2016. Finally, when quality, patient experience and volume move in the right direction, the financial results follow. We had a strong year financially, far surpassing our expected budget target.

We only achieve these kinds of results through your hard work and dedication. Our people make the difference! Each of you contributes to our success by always bringing your best attitude and effort each and every day. At this festive time of year I want to extend my sincere appreciation for your outstanding service to our hospital both individually and collectively.

Strategic partnerships also played an integral part of our success in the past year. Our longstanding partnership with Colorado Permanente Medical Group (CPMG) and Kaiser Permanente continues to be strong. Our Joint Operating Agreement with National Jewish Health has gained traction with several programs moving forward on integration, including Cardiology, Critical Care and Respiratory. Our relationships with private-practice, community physicians continue to strengthen as well. Last but not least, our Graduate Medical Education programs had a great year as well.

I’d like to personally thank you for your commitment to our patients and your support of our fellow associates. Thank you for creating our culture of patient safety, clinical excellence and compassionate care. Let’s celebrate the success of 2016, and the fact that we have such a bright future ahead.

Happy holidays and a joyous New Year to All!

See How Saint Joseph and National Jewish Health Have Been Working Together

Exempla St. Joseph's Hospital in Denver. November 8, 2014. Photo by Ellen JaskolSaint Joseph Hospital and National Jewish Health started working together through a joint operating agreement (JOA) more than two years ago. Since then, caregivers from both institutions have been working hard to provide coordinated, high-quality care to our patients.

What have Saint Joseph Hospital and National Jewish Health been working on for the past two years? Read on to learn about our innovative programs and collaborations.

Adult Cystic Fibrosis Program: The National Jewish Health Cystic Fibrosis (CF) program is the largest in the country and is located on their main campus. It is an outpatient-focused program, so when adult CF patients required a hospital stay, they worked with a variety of hospitals but found coordinating inpatient care more challenging. Now, when hospitalization is needed, all adult CF patients from the program are admitted to a specialized adult CF unit at Saint Joseph Hospital to ensure patients will see a National Jewish Health doctor.

Carrie Horn, MD, section head for National Jewish Health Hospitalists and Internal Medicine, says these patients often stay at the care site for multiple weeks and may need aggressive respiratory therapy or antibiotics. Having National Jewish Health doctors to lead this care ensures patients are receiving the best in respiratory care in a safe and comfortable setting.

“Working together to provide inpatient care has been very good for our patients,” says Dr. Horn. “The providers are all very happy. It has been a great care transition for our patients.”

24/7 ICU Coverage: In 2015, National Jewish Health intensivists began providing around-the-clock coverage in the Saint Joseph Hospital ICU. Critically ill patients now have a board-certified physician from National Jewish Health available at all times.

Dr. Horn says this coverage is particularly important in emergency situations, as the physicians provide the highest level of expertise. This approach should also decrease mortality, improve overall patient care satisfaction and provide better teaching for residents.

Combining Cardiac Cath Labs: For heart care, National Jewish Health specializes in right-heart procedures, which focus on the lung-heart interactions and tend to be complex conditions such as pulmonary hypertension. Saint Joseph Hospital’s expertise lies in left-heart diagnosis and treatment for conditions such as enlargement of the heart, coronary artery disease and heart valve disease.

The natural next step was to combine cath labs at Saint Joseph Hospital. This move became a reality in August and allows us to provide comprehensive heart procedures to more patients in one place. Cardiac-related research studies from National Jewish Health are also available to a larger patient population.

Joint Research: Working together has also enabled Saint Joseph Hospital and National Jewish Health to participate in joint clinical research. The two primary research projects right now are looking at antibiotic treatments for adult CF patients and acute lung injuries in ICU patients. These and future studies will give our patients access to cutting-edge treatments immediately.

Experts from both institutions are busy building a new process for patient care to improve continuity. Other projects and collaborations are ongoing in areas such as surgery, oncology and more, but they are all working toward the same thing: what is best for the patient.

“We’re working in multiple service lines, but with the ultimate goal of helping everyone take the best possible care of patients,” says Dr. Horn.

To read more about the work going on between National Jewish Health and Saint Joseph Hospital, visit Working Together News.

2016 Christmas Meal Thank You

Thank you to everyone who volunteered to serve at this year’s Christmas Meal on Wednesday, December 7, 2016! Associates from across Saint Joe’s campus came together to enjoy the delicious feast prepared by the nutrition services team. We are also grateful to the hospital Activities Committee for planning and coordinating this year’s event. Happy holidays!



Heritage Week: Our Shared History


Mother Xavier Ross, SCL

As we celebrate Heritage Week, did you know about the historical similarities between our Saint Joseph Hospital and National Jewish Health?

By the Saint Joseph Hospital Mission Council of Saint Joseph Hospital.

Saint Joseph Hospital and National Jewish Health, both started as a much needed service to the communities that existed at the time of their openings. Saint Joseph was opened in 1873 by the efforts of Mother Xavier Ross of the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth (SCL) along with four sisters from Leavenworth, Kansas. National Jewish Health was opened in 1899 by Frances Wisebart Jacobs, a 29-year-old native of Harrodsburg, Kentucky. Just like Mother Ross and the sisters who had only $9 in funds to open their hospital, Frances also realized that she needed more help than she alone could give, so she set out to raise funds for the new hospital. Frances’ actions were in response to the great number of impoverished individuals suffering from tuberculosis (then called consumption) who traveled to Denver for the climate’s supposed beneficial effect on respiratory diseases.

Saint Vincent's Hospital 1873

Saint Vincent’s Hospital 1873

Both Saint Joseph Hospital and National Jewish Health opened their doors to all who needed help, even if they could not pay. The Sisters opened their hospital in a cottage at the intersection of 14th Avenue and Arapahoe Street, but soon moved to a brick building at 26th Avenue and Holladay Street (later renamed Market Street). The sisters named their hospital Saint Vincent’s. The name was changed to Saint Joseph in 1876 when the Sisters began construction at 18th Avenue and Humboldt Street on land donated to them by Governor William Gilpin. Later, the Unsinkable Molly Brown herself, would give a grand party to raise funds for the new hospital. It was a non-sectarian hospital, open to all, even the very poor.


The National Jewish Hospital for Consumptives

Frances Jacobs did similarly. The hospital was named The National Jewish Hospital for Consumptives and it was built on East Colfax Avenue and Colorado Boulevard. Frances found support from the Jewish community, to plan, fund and build this nonsectarian hospital for the treatment of respiratory diseases, primarily tuberculosis. Its official motto was: “None may enter who can pay—none can pay who enter.” National Jewish Health began caring for Denver’s critically ill people who were poor and malnourished, living in unsanitary conditions. Many Jewish immigrants had tuberculosis and some lived in the homeless camps near the Platte River called the “bottoms.” Because of crime and the lack of sanitation, that area was a dangerous part of Denver.

Frances Jacobs took the Colorado pioneer tradition of neighborliness to a completely new level by seeking out Denver’s most neglected residents in a rough part of town.  So did the SCL sisters, who moved their hospital near a “red light district”, which was a very rough part of town and some said was a questionable place for a hospital. The sisters responded that they would “take the question out of the neighborhood.”


Frances Wisebart Jacobs

During these early times, many institutions in Denver would not receive penniless patients, nor those with consumption, including poor miners and indigent foreigners. This resulted in many unfortunate victims living and dying on Denver’s city streets.

It was because of such hospitals like Saint Joseph’s and National Jewish that true compassion was extended to all. It was Hospital staff, serving as real neighbors, neighbors that extend true helping hands to each other, that helped neighbors grow and thrive in the city of Denver.

The Mission Statement for Saint Joseph Hospital “We reveal and foster God’s healing love by improving the health of the people and communities we serve, especially those who are poor and vulnerable.” And for National Jewish Health it is “We serve by providing the best integrated and innovative care for patients and their families; by understanding and finding cures for the diseases we research; and by educating and training the next generation of health care professionals to be leaders in medicine and science.” By uniting our deep clinical expertise and unique patient care experience, our charitable missions and our focus on excellence, as well as strengthening our dedication to education and research, our relationship provides truly effective health care to those in need.

Today, Saint Joseph Hospital and our partner, National Jewish Health, continue to carry on the traditions of providing help to neighbors in need.
• The SCL Health system operates nine hospitals, four safety net clinics, one children’s mental health treatment center and more than 190 ambulatory service centers in Colorado, Kansas and Montana. SCL Health is now a $2.3 billion health network, dedicated to “improving the health of the communities and individuals we serve,” especially those who are poor and vulnerable. Each year, SCL Health provides more than $250 million in community benefit, including services for the poor, health screenings, educational programs, community donations and research.
• With fundraising offices in New York, Washington, D.C., Boca Raton, FL., Chicago, Denver and Los Angeles, National Jewish Health philanthropic efforts span the country, helping patients, regardless of their ability to pay. National Jewish Health has the largest pulmonary division in the nation and is the only hospital whose principal focus is pulmonary disease. In 2015, National Jewish Health provided $25.6 million in charity care to Denver area patients with lung diseases alone.

We are most fortunate to be in association with a hospital whose values and activities are so closely in alliance with our own. On August 2014, when the joint operating agreement was announced, Michael A. Slubowski, president and CEO of SCL Health said: “Through this collaboration, we are committed to clinical excellence, improved patient care and access, increased patient satisfaction and more affordable care,”… “This … transformational partnership …will elevate how care is provided by the outstanding physicians and caregivers associated with both hospitals.”
Four months and two years later, we believe it already has.

Thank You: A Reflection


Contributed by Maura Weiler, Performance Improvement Manager, Saint Joseph Hospital

As I was looking around online for a reflection to share at a Safety Huddle, I realized that I didn’t have to look any further than our hospital system.
I’ve had a lot of different jobs and fell into healthcare nine years ago. As a non-clinical person who hadn’t planned a career in hospitals, I remain in shock and awe all these years later at the compassion and courage my fellow SCL Health associates display in their daily work.

I recently had the privilege of doing a project with the associates who work on the fetal demise disposition process, and I am once again in awe and so grateful for the difficult tasks they handle regularly. The lengths they go to in supporting the families and their losses are phenomenal. They provide everything from spiritual and grief support to mementos and photos with empathy and true grace.


One of the options families can choose is a common burial provided free of charge at Mount Olivet cemetery, where volunteers also go above and beyond. One volunteer builds the angel beds by hand, another knits clothes, a third brings flowers for each parent and a group provides hand painted crosses for the mothers. Someone brings a grief therapy dog to the service, where a priest presides and a catering company donates coffee and cookies.
Several faith-based hospitals use this service and not all families choose to attend. The families with the highest attendance come from Saint Joe’s and Lutheran, which is a testament to the support they receive from SCL Health. A Lutheran nurse went to the last service to support a family, one of our Saint Joseph Hospital care managers has attended in the past and our new manager of pastoral care plans to attend every service going forward.
Six years ago, my husband and I lost a baby in a reversed adoption, meaning that we had a newborn for a week only to have the birth parents change their minds and take her back. It’s taken years to process the loss, even though we have since adopted two beautiful daughters and the baby we returned, who we had named Gabrielle, is alive and healthy. We received a lot of support from family and friends because everyone knew about our adoption attempt. What struck me most at the time was how many people told me in confidence that they had recently miscarried.
There is a lot of suffering in silence and isolation around fetal demise and to see SCL Health and Mount Olivet doing such a remarkable job of acknowledging those families in their grief is powerful. It helped me, too. I usually perform some sort of ritual to celebrate Gabrielle’s birthday, and I was grateful when Laura at Mt. Olivet invited me to attend the annual mass they have for children, releasing doves and balloons after the service. I’ll be going every year from now on.

crosses-3With all the political upheaval, gun violence and terrorist attacks happening around the world, it’s easy for me to become frightened and cynical. But when I see the bravery and compassion displayed by our associates every day in every department, I’m encouraged by so many good people doing great work.
I want to thank all of you for the work you do every day. I know many of us are type-A personalities who barely take in compliments before moving on to the next problem we want to fix. But I’d like you to take a moment to really acknowledge and appreciate your own hard work. You are making a profound difference in the lives of your patients and families, and for that, I thank you.

In addition to her role at Saint Joe’s, Maura Weiler is the author of the novel, CONTRITION, winner of the 2016 Catholic Press Association Novel Award and the 2016 Colorado Authors’ League Mainstream Fiction Award. Read more about CONTRITION on Maura’s website and at Simon & Shuster.