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WH and Bloedows: What do they have in common? (05/15/2013)
From: Ken Mogren

It seems every week is National Something Week. While the “something” is ever changing, the purpose is generally the same, to focus public attention on some aspect of our culture. There aren’t enough weeks on the calendar to accommodate every “something” that wants our attention, so most weeks have multiple “somethings.” This week happens to be both National Hospital Week in the U.S. and National Doughnut Week in the U.K. I personally find this a particularly strange coincidence. Let me explain.

During my eight years on the board at Winona Health, several people there have heard me express my wish that Winona Health could somehow enjoy the same level of community pride our wonderful Bloedow’s doughnuts have earned. I’m not kidding. If we could rank all Winona community treasures on a pride scale, I’m sure our locally made doughnuts would be somewhere near the top.

At Winona Health, we think we do as good a job at healthcare as Bloedows does at doughnuts, but we don’t seem to get as much love in return. Maybe it’s an unfair comparison. Doughnuts bring pleasure that medical procedures just can’t compete with. It’s the same when you compare the “fun” of going to the doctor with partaking in any of the great cultural and recreational opportunities our community offers. Most people who come through our doors would rather be doing something else, and that’s just how it is.

But since it’s National Hospital Week, I’ll share some thoughts on Winona Health with the hope you’ll agree it is one of our community treasures. I’ll start by confessing that before I got involved with the organization, I was pretty ignorant and generally unappreciative of just how valuable Winona Health is to our community.

I never realized how many world class medical professionals we have in our community. Such people are in demand everywhere, but we’re blessed so many have chosen Winona. I think I know why. On several occasions, I’ve had the pleasure of giving tours of Winona to prospective new physicians. It’s fun to watch them discover all the quality-of-life elements we locals sometimes take for granted. It’s an ongoing challenge to recruit top medical professionals because the demand far exceeds the supply, but it’s great Winona has enviable advantages that enable us to attract more than our fair share of the best.

Our community also benefits from collaborative relationships Winona Health has with other organizations. In the world of healthcare, Winona Health is classified as a “primary care” provider. That term covers a lot of ground, but some patients need care from specialists who just aren’t found in communities our size. Fortunately, some of the best specialists in the world are less than an hour away. Our Winona Health physicians are able to confidently refer patients to such doctors when specialty care is needed. When you combine the quality and convenience of Winona Health plus its referral partners, there are few places on earth that enjoy the level of healthcare we have here.

Our community also benefits from the economic vitality Winona Health injects. Not only are we one of Winona’s largest employers, we are an importer of dollars into this community. Most medical bills are paid by out of town insurance companies or government payers. This brings fresh dollars into the Winona economy and helps local businesses. Businesses also tell us the availability of good healthcare for their employees and prospective employees is one of the reasons they choose to be here.

The Winona Health Board, leadership team, staff and volunteers are committed to bringing even greater value to the community through a process of continuous improvement. Teams meet regularly to find ways to do our work better. Hardly a day passes without some change that leads to better care or better patient experiences. We know it’s working because we’re listening to feedback and monitoring survey scores that show increasing patient satisfaction.

Perfection may be unattainable (although Bloedows doughnuts seem pretty close), but there are many rungs on the ladder of excellence and that’s a ladder we will continue to climb.

On behalf of Winona Health, during National Hospital Week, I encourage you to take a look at Winona Health with new eyes and consider all that your local healthcare organization has to offer.

Ken Mogren is the Winona Health Board Chair.

 

 

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