Hospital leaders recognized for working to improve patient safety

Thirteen Kansas hospital leaders are being recognized for their completion of a national fellowship program aimed at improving patient safety.

The Quality Improvement Fellowship was offered to leaders at hospitals participating in a Hospital Improvement Innovation Network (HIIN), which is a national patient safety initiative of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Hospitals participating in the HIIN are working to reduce patient harm, such as adverse drug events, hospital-acquired infections, falls, and preventable readmissions.

Leaders participating in the fellowship learned skills to lead improvements and accelerate patient safety efforts within their hospitals. During the seven-month fellowship, participants—which included hospital administrators, mid-level managers, clinicians and front-line staff—worked on a project specific to their hospital’s goals.

The 13 Kansas graduates of the 2018 Quality Improvement Fellowship are:

2018 Fellows



Michelle Toogood

Memorial Health System


Jamie Waggoner

Ashland Health Center


Ester Knobloch

Newman Regional Health


Tina Capeder

Anderson County Hospital


Tiffany Trapp

Rush County Memorial Hospital

La Crosse

Verla Friesen

Mercy Hospital, Inc.


Tammy Cunningham

Olathe Medical Center


Katherine Rucker

Olathe Medical Center


Kristen Hadley

Osborne County Memorial Hospital


Dorothy Rice

Ransom Memorial Hospital


Courtney Huhn

VA Eastern Kansas Healthcare System     


Sarah Lueger

VA Eastern Kansas Healthcare System


Lee Vannier

VA Eastern Kansas Healthcare System


This year’s 13 Kansas graduates join 171 graduates of the fellowship nationwide this year. Over the past six years, more than 150 Kansas leaders at 60 hospitals across the state have participated in at least one fellowship program, which has been offered annually to HIIN hospitals by the Health Research and Educational Trust (HRET) based in Chicago.

“The Kansas health care professionals who made the commitment to complete the 2018 Quality Improvement Fellowship are making a real impact within their hospitals, their communities, and on individual patients’ lives,” said Kendra Tinsley, executive director of the Kansas Healthcare Collaborative (KHC), which leads and coordinates collaborative efforts in quality improvement in the state, including the HIIN. “We commend them for their leadership and dedication to improving the quality and value of health care in Kansas.”

In Kansas, more than 120 hospitals are participating in the KHC HIIN, which is part of a multi-state HIIN administered by HRET. The HRET HIIN is the largest in the U.S. and includes 1,600 hospitals across 34 states.

Nationwide between 2010 and 2015, an estimated 125,000 fewer patients died in the hospital and approximately $22.8 billion in health care costs were saved as a result of reductions in Hospital Acquired Conditions, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Although the precise causes of the decline in patient harm are not fully understood, the increase in safety occurred during a period of concerted attention by hospitals throughout the country to reduce adverse events, including the work of hospitals that participated.


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Communications Director Phil Cauthon
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