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Business & Merchant

Washington Health System(WHS) earned an Achievement Award from The Hospital and Health system Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) for its outstanding effort to improve health care in the communities it serves.

Group photo of the WHS forYOU team holding the 2020 HAP award certificate outside WHS Washington Hospital.

Washington Health System’s entry Caring for our Caregivers was chosen as an Optimal Operations award winner. Twelve projects were selected from 131 submissions. Winners were chosen for their exceptional work and innovation in community health projects, quality improvement efforts, and operational efficiencies.

The WHS entry showcased how we are caring for our team members. In the fall of 2019, we launched a program in our facility call the forYOU program. This program helps staff members cope by offering peer-to-peer support from a trained team of volunteers. Trauma in a hospital can come from any unanticipated situation, from losing a patient to working through a pandemic like COVID-19. When an event such as this occurs, WHS now has the forYOU team ready to respond and support our staff.

“Health care is a profession like no other—it’s challenging, rewarding, stressful and emotionally overwhelming,” says Heather Strope, RN, MSN, Manager of Staffing-Patient Placement and forYOU Team Coordinator at WHS. “Some providers are able to work through their emotions while others may need additional support. Our for YOU Peer Supporters are here to offer the care our caregivers need.”

Members of the forYOU team take the staff member’s lead, and they check in as little or as often as the staff member needs. If the forYOU team member feels like he or she isn’t able to provide the level of care the staff member needs, the referral can be escalated to the employee assistance program.

Brook Ward, President of and CEO or Washington Health System and Heather Strope, RN, MSN, Manager of Staffing-Patient Placement and forYOU Team Coordinator at WHS, hold 2020 HAP award certificate.

“When we experience a difficult situation, we are human and are affected by it and can feel as if we are alone,” says Malay Sheth, MD, OB/GYN with WHS OB/GYN Care who originally suggested the forYOU program and now serves as a physician Peer Supporter. “I think it’s invaluable to have the ability to speak to someone peer-to-peer and have them listen to you and empathize about what you’ve been through.”

“Especially in light of the extraordinary challenges that COVID-19 has presented Pennsylvania’s hospital community, we are pleased to honor the recipients of the 2020 HAP Achievement Awards,” said Andy Carter, HAP’s president and chief executive officer.

“These outstanding projects demonstrate the tireless commitment to excellence that Pennsylvania’s hospital community embodies each and every day. We congratulate the winners for their accomplishments.”

Entries were evaluated by a 16-judge panel. The panelists, drawn from Pennsylvania and across the nation, represented the public and private sectors, business organizations, consumer groups, and renowned health care quality institutes.

Washington Health System’s winning team will be recognized at HAP’s 2020 Patient Safety and Quality Symposium, which will be held virtually September 9–10.

See this video for more information:

HAP’s Achievement Awards program has recognized Pennsylvania hospital excellence since 1978.




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