With the Addition of Westmoreland Family Practice Medical Clinic, Community HealthCare System Earns Its 14th OSHA SHARP Award

Company: Community Healthcare System - Westmoreland Family Practice Medical Clinic

Location: Onaga, Kansas

Employees: 8 on-site (490 corporate-wide)

NAICS Code: 621111, Offices of physicians (except mental health specialists)
Presentation of Westmoreland Clinic's SHARP Award
Presentation of Westmoreland Clinic's SHARP Award

Left to Right:
Ryan Hodge, Area Director,
OSHA Wichita
Secretary Lana Gordon,
Kansas Secretary of Labor
Peter Brady, Director, KDOL
Industrial Safety and Health
Roz Lewis, Director
of Ancillary Services
Lorraine Meyer,
Chief Operating Officer
Todd Willert,
Chief Executive Officer
Nancy Willert, RN,
Education Coordinator
Karen Elliot, RN,
Infection Control Officer
Cindy Flentie, Director,
Human Resources
Christina Hasencamp, RN,
Employee Health Nurse
RN, Chief Practice
Management Officer
Mindy Olberding, RN,
Chief Nursing Officer
Annie Crumbaker, PA-C
Allen Vinyard,
KDOL - Consultation
Project Manager
Mary Budenbender
Jessica Hipp, RN
Eric Bjelland,
Director Support Services
Peter Polizzi,
KDOL Safety Consultant
Michael Bomberger, Director,
Business Development
and Special Projects
John Fisher,
Maintenance Manager

On March 31, 1957, Community HealthCare System (CHCS) – one of the most modern, small hospitals in the state – opened at the corner of 8th and Leonard Streets in Onaga, Kansas. Community HealthCare System has always focused on serving rural citizens. The CHCS network includes one hospital licensure with campuses in Onaga and Saint Marys and family practice clinics serving the Kansas communities of Corning, Centralia, Frankfort, Onaga, Holton, Saint Marys, and Westmoreland; nursing home, assisted living, and home health care, and fitness facilities. The Westmoreland Clinic joined CHCS in 2011, and it employs eight people.

Community HealthCare System is committed to providing a safe and healthful workplace for patients, residents, and workers. "Our associates are the key to providing the best and safest care possible to our patients and residents," said CHCS Chief Executive Officer, Todd Willert. "We take our commitment to employees', patients', and residents' safety seriously and strive continuously to improve."

In 2001, CHSC reached out to the Kansas Department of Labor (KDOL), Safety Assistance and Consultation Program, for help accessing and improving its workplace safety policies and procedures. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), On-Site Consultation Program, offers no-cost and confidential occupational safety and health services to small and medium-sized businesses in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and several U.S. territories, with priority given to high-hazard worksites. This program offers no-cost and confidential occupational safety and health services to small and medium-sized businesses in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and several U.S. territories, with priority given to high-hazard worksites. On-Site Consultation services are separate from enforcement and do not result in penalties or citations. Consultants from state agencies, such as the KDOL Safety Assistance and Consultation Program, or universities work with employers to identify workplace hazards, provide advice for compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing and improving safety and health programs.

As the CHSC network grew, KDOL consultants helped ensure the increasing number of locations and ever-changing technologies did not erode the employees' level of workplace safety. Community HealthCare System first consultation visit was conducted at the St. Marys Clinic in 2001. All of the hazards that the consultant identified during this visit were corrected, but CHSC did not stop there. The company moved forward to participate in the OSHA Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP). SHARP acknowledges small and medium-sized businesses that have used OSHA On-Site Consultation Program services and operate exemplary workplace safety and health programs. Acceptance into SHARP by OSHA is an achievement that identifies CHCS as a model for occupational safety and health among its business peers.

Community HealthCare System's Onaga/St. Marys facility is the only hospital in the state of Kansas recognized by OSHA as a SHARP participant. Only four hospitals in America have earned this distinction. Onaga Hospital has consistently maintained this status since 2002.

In 2002, the Centralia, Onaga, and St. Marys Clinics were the first in the network to earn the OSHA SHARP award. The number of CHCS facilities to earn this distinction has grown steadily over time. With the June 6, 2018, addition of the Westmoreland Clinic, CHCS now has 14 SHARP sites.

"When it comes to safety, CHCS is always quick to go the extra mile," said Christina Hasencamp, RN, Employee Health Nurse. For example, during the first Westmoreland Clinic walkthrough, CHCS staff posed a question about a heater in the entryway to the clinic. This heater exposed staff to spinning fan blades because the on/off switch was behind the protective outer cover. The KDOL and CHCS staff brainstormed possible abatements, resulting in the addition of an interior fan guard to protect staff. These guards were installed, not only on the Westmoreland Clinic heater, but also on heaters like it throughout all CHCS facilities.

In preparation for submitting a SHARP application, significant improvements were made to the Westmoreland Clinic. The CHCS and KDOL staffs worked together to address the leading causes of reportable injuries and illnesses in the healthcare industry. Programs and procedures, addressing everything from trips and falls, to needle sticks, to the national prevalence of workplace violence in the healthcare setting, were developed and implemented. Fall prevention, bloodborne pathogen, and ergonomic hazard abatements were also integrated into the CHCS's growing health and safety program.

"Emphasizing workplace safety led to a number of positive changes and enhanced the safety culture. It is really an adoption of a 'Safety First' mentality that permeates everything we do," said Chief Operating Officer, Lorraine Meyer, "including Lean Huddles, which feature a safety cross as a core component, allowing associates to develop situational awareness – a collective understanding of the state of operations – and report and anticipate safety events."

"There are real, tangible benefits to participating in the OSHA On-Site Consultation Program," said Willert. "We at CHCS have experienced these benefits." The economic benefits to staff are realized through prevented injuries and illnesses and include such factors as reduced pain and suffering, decreased lost income (above and beyond that compensated by workers' compensation), and avoided dislocating effects of permanent partial disabilities.

Economic benefits to CHCS have also included avoiding various indirect costs associated with workplace injuries, illnesses, and deaths, such as loss of productivity; cost of hiring and training replacement workers; property damage; and technical, managerial, and administrative time spent conducting accident investigations, documenting incidents, and filing claims. Fewer injuries also means less money paid out by the workers' compensation system, so these reduced payments are considered a benefit as well. These reduced payments are not savings directly realized by employers, but reduced workplace injuries and reduced payments from the workers' compensation system will eventually lead to reduced premiums for employers.

In 2011, CHCS's Workers' Compensation premium was $192,389. This number reflects claims from 2007, 2008, and 2009. During that timeframe, CHCS incurred $406,650.61 in lost wages (time away from work) and $50,262.49 in medical claims. "We knew we had to be more proactive in controlling the claims," said Meyer. "Therefore, we initiated a 'Great Catch Program' by rewarding staff for informing us of a near miss, so we could correct the problem before an injury occurred. In addition, we implemented safe lifting programs and provided a lot of education to employees on how to work safe."

In 2016, CHCS had an all-time low workers' compensation insurance premium of $88,430. This reflects claims in 2012, 2013, and 2014. Community HealthCare System only paid $21,108.72 in medical claims, and no lost time claims were paid. On August 21, 2015, CHCS also hit a peak of 1,566,157 person hours worked without a lost time incident. This is quite an achievement in a 24-hour, 7-day-a-week healthcare setting with a number of facilities.

Community HealthCare System's workers' compensation premium in 2018 (claims from 2014, 2015, 2016) was $101,718. This increase in premiums resulted from an increase in employee salaries. Medical claims stayed level, and CHCS still did not pay out any lost wages. (NOTE: From 2014 through 2017, the CHCS Total Recordable Case Rate (TRC) was zero, and the Days Away, Restricted, and/ or Transfer Rate (DART) was also zero. In comparison, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the national average TRC was 5.4 for NAICS Code 621111, and the national average DART rate was 1.4 for this period. Note also that 2016 is the most recent year these BLS data are available.)

"Working with KDOL consultants has deepened our appreciation for continuous learning and fulfilling the imperative that when failures do occur, lessons are learned, and action is taken to prevent the same issues reoccurring," said Cindy Flentie, Director, Human Resources. "Alongside of this is the appreciation that we must put just as much effort into looking forward and anticipating risks. In other words, attention spent understanding what has already happened should not blind us to the future. To do otherwise would be like driving our car while constantly looking into the rearview mirror."

To locate the OSHA On-Site Consultation program nearest you, call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742) or visit www.osha.gov/consultation.

Source: Mr. Michael Bomberger, CHCS Director, Business Development and Special Projects
Peter Brady, Director, KDOL Industrial Safety and Health
Allen Vinyard, KDOL Consultation Project Manager