Covenant Health celebrated the accomplishments of individual employees and collaborative teams throughout our healthcare system at the 2016 Performance Excellence Awards, held in November at Bridgewater Place in Knoxville. More than 200 people attended the event. 

The awards celebration included two categories: the Everest Awards, recognizing individual peak performers, and the Performance Excellence Awards, for projects supporting the health system’s Journey to Excellence pillars: Quality, People, Service, Finance, and Growth.

The attendees were welcomed by Covenant Health CEO, Jim VanderSteeg. The Performance Excellence awards were narrated by Missy Sanford, director of quality analytics and regulatory compliance, and presented by VanderSteeg and Executive Leadership Team members Mike Belbeck and Luke Johnson. Debi Welch, senior vice president of human resources, introduced the Everest Awards.   Ten finalists were selected for the Everest Awards, which recognize non-management employees who reach the “peak” of performance. Because of the high performance of the finalists, all 10 were named 2016 Everest winners. Amongst the ten was Cathy Jerrolds, job readiness specialist with Peninsula Outpatient.

Jerrolds’ supervisor, Mary Nelle Osborne, EdD, MA, wrote about Cathy in her nomination, “Selfless, supportive, with the ability to build on individual’s strengths are all skills that Cathy demonstrates daily towards her staff, the members of the REC and their families. Cathy builds bridges, reaching out to student’s team i.e., case managers, RN’s, therapists, MD’s and she reaches out to the student’s family or caregivers. She does this to insure that the highest level of care and attention are given to all students who come to the Peninsula Recovery Education Center.”

Twenty-four Performance Excellence Award applications were selected for final judging. The selection process included pre-screening at the facility level, judging by external healthcare and process improvement professionals, and final selection by the Executive Leadership Team. In addition to five Performance Excellence Awards, awards were given for Sustainability, Improvement and Innovation. The President’s Award, Covenant Health’s highest honor, was given to the project that most reflected Covenant’s mission and goals.    Three teams with Parkwest participation were recipients of Performance Excellence Awards.

Improvement Award“Optimizing Sterile Processing Workflow and Accuracy,” was submitted by Parkwest Medical Center. This project focused on reducing the practice of immediate-use sterilization in order to lower the risk of surgical site infections, decreasing instrument/tray error rates and staff turnover, and improving on-time surgical cases. The project demonstrated notable improvements in several sterile processes.  

Innovation Award“LSVT BIG and LOUD Program Expansion,” Covenant Therapy Centers, focused on specialized programs for Parkinson’s patients. The expansion increased the number of LSVT-certified therapists to 17. The programs were expanded from two therapy center locations to nine. These efforts decreased wait times for patients to be enrolled in the programs from several months to 1-3 weeks.

President’s Award“Strategic Alignment and Performance,” Covenant Health Cardiac Service Line. Covenant Health’s cardiology and cardiothoracic surgery programs were challenged to improve strategic and operational alignment; reduce unnecessary clinical variation; develop infrastructure for service line analytics; and create focus around shared priorities. The team achieved goals related to clinical standardization and benchmarking against national norms, and realized cost savings for patients and facilities. The health system continues to lead the way in new technologies and cardiac care.