Clinic receives People’s Choice Award for Innovations in Quality Improvement
The Lac Courte Oreilles Community Health Center received the Bernard A. Kershner People’s Choice Award for Innovations in Quality Improvement at the Achieving Accreditation conference held March 15-16, 2019 in Tampa Florida. The award was unveiled to the community at a luncheon presentation held Tuesday, June 18, 2019 in the Peter Larson Room at the LCO Tribal Offices Building.
During the presentation, Dawn Joyner, Continuous Quality Improvement Manager at the LCO Health Center, outlined the award selection process. Six finalists were selected from thousands of entrants from across the country who submitted applications. These finalists were chosen by an expert panel based on 10 criteria established by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC). Dawn stated “We were up against some very large health care organizations and our clinic was awarded the “People’s Choice” award which is an award chosen by our peers. This is a tremendous honor for our clinic and is an example of the wonderful teamwork we have here. This is a huge success for our Quality Improvement Department as it is an example of the steps we are taking to improve patient care.”
Krista Strunk, Registered Nurse at the LCO Health Center, summarized the study and the reasons for initiating it by saying “Diabetic retinopathy is one of the leading causes of blindness and an annual retinopathy screening can help prevent problems down the road. When we initiated this study we looked at the rate of retinopathy screening for our health center compared to other Indian Health Service Clinics and we were performing well below the targeted benchmark goal. With assistance from Community Health Department’s Carolyn Debrot and Tina Schmock, changes to the program were implemented and by December 31, 2017 the percentage of patients with diabetes who received a retinopathy exam had risen to 85%, far above the other IHS facilities!”
The retinopathy screening done at the health center is quick, painless and requires no dilating eye drops. Images are taken using a high tech camera and then submitted electronically to a specialist in Arizona. If problems are detected, individuals are then referred to a local optometrist or ophthalmologist for diagnosis and treatment.
“Getting yearly Retinopathy Screening is one of the many ways people with diabetes take care of themselves” according to Kay Searfoss, Registered Dietitian and Diabetes Educator at the LCO Community Health Center. “Healthy eating, physical activity, annual dental exams, daily foot checks by the person with diabetes and yearly foot checks by the health care provider are some of the other tools people with diabetes use to stay healthy.” For additional information about diabetes or to schedule an individual appointment for diabetes education or enroll in the Healthy Living With Diabetes workshops, contact 715-638-5153.
Dawn concluded the presentation by thanking Carolyn Debrot, Jenna Rainville, Krista Strunk, and Tina Schmock for making this study so successful. Chi Miigwech to Barb Lacapa for her talented work on the poster which was presented in Florida. Krista, Dawn and Tina will also be presenting the Retinopathy Study at a Poster Session to be held at the National Diabetes in Indian Country conference to be held in Oklahoma City on August 6-9, 2019.