Wrangell Medical Center's Cathy Gross Honored With Quality and Safety Award

WRANGELL, ALASKA – SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Wrangell Medical Center’s (WMC) Cathy Gross, Registered Health Information Technician and WMC Performance Improvement Manager, has been named the 2019 winner of the Front-line Staff Outstanding Performance Award by the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association (ASHNHA).  Gross will be honored during the September 26 ASHNHA Annual Conference for her years of dedication to patient safety improvements at WMC.  She was notified of the award on the first-ever World Patient Safety Day, September 17.

A WMC employee of 31 years, Gross has played an integral role in improving the quality of care delivered to WMC Long-Term Care residents and Acute Care patients.  She is credited with reducing healthcare-acquired conditions; implementing a resident-centered meeting process and a high reliability care planning process; improving nurse-to-nurse communication for emergency department transfers; and creating a reliable process to ensure the timely documentation of critical patient information.  In addition to her performance improvement duties, Gross also assists with utilization review, case management, social work, monthly hospital statistics and emergency management.

“I am deeply humbled and honored by this award recognizing my role in our performance improvement program at WMC,” said Gross.  “I could not do my job at this level without the teams at WMC and SEARHC, whose dedication to our patients and residents is the reason we are successful at implementing positive change at WMC.”

“Patient safety is pivotal in delivering high-quality care,” said SEARHC Vice President and WMC Hospital Administrator Leatha Merculieff.  “Cathy is relentless in her efforts to improve quality and safety within the walls of WMC, not only for our Long-Term Care residents and Acute Care patients, but also our staff.  An organization is only as strong as its employees, and in Cathy, SEARHC has a powerful advocate for performance improvement.”

The Front-Line Outstanding Performance Award is one of five awards coming SEARHC’s way at the ASHNHA conference.  SEARHC was also awarded the ASHNHA Staff Choice Award for the dedication of multiple teams working to enhance workplace safety, suicide prevention, and consortium-wide sterilization procedures.  WMC Long-Term Care is set to receive a pair of 2019 Nursing Home Quality Awards – the Quality Excellence Award and the Most Improved Award from Mountain Pacific Quality Health – while Sitka Long-Term Care tabbed to receive the Quality Achievement Award.