Mercy Health - Fairfield Hospital Employee Wins 2015 Heart of Healthcare Award for Enhancing and Protecting Patient Health

(CINCINNATI; October 12, 2015) - Mercy Health, which provides advanced, compassionate, quality care in your neighborhood through its care network announces that Dorothy Huffman, one of the hospital’s long-serving environmental services leaders has won an award in recognition of her efforts around patient safety and patient experience.

The Association for the Healthcare Environment (AHE), a personal membership group of the American Hospital Association (AHA), and Kimberly-Clark Professional presented Dorothy Huffman, a lead environmental services tech who has worked for 36 years at Fairfield Hospital, with the 2015 Heart of Healthcare Award. Now in its fourth year, the awards honor outstanding environmental services professionals who make a difference in the lives of patients and long-term care residents.

"Dorothy epitomizes perfection when it comes to representing the environmental services profession," said Marci Butts, Mercy Health director of support services. "She holds herself and her peers accountable for preventing hospital-acquired infections, ensuring that the hospital has among the lowest C-diff rates in the region. We can attribute this success no only to our hardwired processes and engaged staff but also to Dorothy's watchful eye and high level of accountability."

"Through proper care and maintenance of the healthcare environment, healthcare environmental services professionals like Dorothy Huffman play a crucial role in patient care, as well as ensuring patient safety and satisfaction," said Patti Costello, AHE executive director. "Dorothy is admired and appreciated by every member of her facility's healthcare team as well as the patients she cares for. She exemplifies how today's healthcare environmental services teams strive to go beyond cleaning and disinfecting to creating a healing atmosphere that leads to better patient outcomes."

Developed by AHE and Kimberly-Clark Professional, the Heart of Healthcare program recognizes the critical contributions that environmental services professionals play in enhancing patient safety in the healthcare environment. It is focused on continuing education and recognition for environmental services professionals and enhancing the patient experience. Tools include:
• education and training guides
• employee recognition certificates
• patient discharge and room calling cards

Nominations for the Heart of Healthcare Awards are submitted each year by managers, supervisors, co-workers and members of departments in hospitals and long-term care facilities. The AHE Recognition Committee reviews all submissions and selects the winning applicants.

Huffman, who lives in Hamilton, Ohio, joined Fairfield Hospital in 1978.
"Throughout the years, she has stayed true to what is most important to her - the patients," Butts said.

"Dorothy connects with everyone in our hospital," said Thomas S. Urban, Mercy Health North Market President and CEO. "She unquestionably is a caregiver. She truly cares about other people and their loved ones. She is an integral part of our healthcare team and models this behavior to others within environmental services and throughout the hospital."

Her unit is consistently ranked highest for patient experience scores, which reflect both cleanliness and courtesy, making hers the best in a facility that is ranked in the top 88th percentile in the Press Ganey database of healthcare providers and she’s the one hospital leadership calls on to train staff members and troubleshoot solutions.

Huffman educates her peers, patients and their families on the importance of frequent hand washing, using the appropriate protective apparel and paying particular attention to detail cleaning of high touch points throughout the room.

Huffman was the first environmental services employee to receive the hospital's Partnership in Nursing award. But what stands out more than anything is her dedication to the hospital's patients and their families.

"Barely a day goes by where I don't get a call from a patient telling me how wonderful Dorothy is," Butts said. "When I round on her unit, patients call me into their rooms to sing Dorothy's praises. We even have patients from other units who request Dorothy because they remember her from previous visits."