Welcome to Ballad Health News
It’s your story. We’re listening.

Top Stories

IT & Epic
IT & Epic

Epic Phase 2 Go-Live period is complete; congratulations to all for a successful go-live!

We’ve just completed our two-week Epic Phase 2 Go-Live, and it was a success! There were plenty of issues to solve, but with excellent teamwork among team members and our IT and operations teams — and the Epic team — our go-live has all departments in good shape going forward. At-the-elbow support will end today and the Command Center will close tonight, but IT will continue to field calls and provide support for all departments involved in the go-live. What is Epic Phase 2? We have implemented Epic as our electronic medical record (EMR) system for the following departments: Three long-term care facilities All six of our retail pharmacies Home Health and Hospice Inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation services This will bring everyone within the Ballad Health system onto Epic as our EMR system. Update from Week 2 (Aug. 8-12) Friday saw the conclusion of our official go-live, which began on Aug. 1. “This is an…

IT & Epic
Foundation
Foundation

Our raffle benefiting Ballad Health Niswonger Children’s Network is under way!

Our annual Ballad Health Niswonger Children’s Network raffle, sponsored by Champion Chevrolet Cadillac in Johnson City, is under way! Tickets are $50, and proceeds benefit the children’s network. The grand prize is a new car, with cash prizes for second, third and fourth winners. The drawing will take place on Dec. 2. To purchase tickets, call the Ballad Health Foundation at 423-302-3131, visit raffle.balladhealth.org or scan the QR code below. Team members can choose either payroll deduction or paying by credit card.

Foundation
System Updates
System Updates

Tennessee determines Ballad Health continues to provide a public advantage

Cites Ballad Health’s management during the pandemic, measurably better population health and a compelling decrease in preventable hospitalizations JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – The Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) released its Fiscal Year 2021 Certificate of Public Advantage Department Annual Report, determining “that the Ballad Health COPA continues to provide a Public Advantage” to the citizens of Tennessee.  Each year since the creation of Ballad Health, the State of Tennessee and the Commonwealth of Virginia have independently confirmed the public advantage created by the unification of the hospitals in a rural region.  Prior to the merger, one hospital in the region had closed, and several were facing financial insolvency.  For instance, in Greeneville, Tennessee, one previously independent hospital’s debt was called by the bank, while the other hospital had been “put” by each of its partner owners – meaning, neither party wanted to keep the hospital. Since the merger, and during 2021, Ballad Health opened a…

System Updates
COVID-19
COVID-19

Recommended: Protect yourself by staying up-to-date with your COVID-19 booster shots

Given the increase of COVID-19 in our region, now is a good time to ensure you’re up-to-date on the boosters. Our COVID-19 inpatient census has risen to more than 150, while the region’s positivity rate is higher than 35%. In addition to an initial booster, many people might also be eligible and recommended to receive the second booster and either don’t realize it, or simply haven’t gotten around to it yet. But the vaccine boosters can help protect you, especially as the effectiveness of a previous COVID-19 vaccination wanes over time. People are protected best from severe COVID-19 illness when they stay up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines, which includes getting all recommended boosters when eligible. There are different COVID-19 vaccine recommendations for people who are moderately or severely immunocompromised. It is never too late to get the added protection offered by a COVID-19 booster. Who can get a booster? Everyone ages 5 years and older should…

COVID-19
Acts of Caring
Acts of Caring

Donation drive of baby diapers, wipes to assist Kentucky flood victims

Coming on the heels of the flooding we saw recently in Southwest Virginia, more flooding has devastated parts of Southeastern Kentucky. Our Ballad Health Niswonger Children’s Network is collecting donations of baby diapers and wipes to aid in the relief efforts. Teams members can donate at any of our hospitals in the collection bins in your local HR department until close of business on Wednesday, Aug. 10. Community members can drop off donations at all Ballad Health locations in Virginia, as well as at Holston Valley Medical Center and Bristol Regional Medical Center. NOTE: If you’re on a mobile device, click on the link below to see the informational flyer in PDF format.

Acts of Caring
System Updates
System Updates

Organizational Development offering several standalone classes in August

Ballad Health’s Organizational Development Department is offering some excellent classes for all team members. The following classes are scheduled the next few weeks – three of them virtual: Emotional Intelligence, Aug. 10-11 – Virtual via Microsoft Teams Communicating for Success, Aug. 17-18 – Virtual via Microsoft Teams Civility in the Workplace, Aug. 24-25 – Virtual via Microsoft Teams How to be a Terrible Team Member – Offered in person on Sept. 7 at Norton Community Hospital, and on Sept. 21 at Bristol Regional Medical Center Resources Registration is available by logging into HealthStream. For more information, visit the OD site on the intranet here, or email orgdeveducation@balladhealth.org. To view the Ballad Health Organizational Development class catalog, click here. NOTE: The Organizational Development site and class catalog are located on the Ballad Health intranet, so you must be on a Ballad Health network device to access.

System Updates
Foundation
Foundation

Ballad Health announces launch of mobile health clinic to serve rural communities

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – A new mobile health clinic will soon expand access to primary and preventive healthcare services for rural communities in the Appalachian Highlands.   Beginning in September, Ballad Health’s new Community Mobile Health Clinic, funded by Ballad Health Foundation through a partnership with healthcare consulting firm PYA, will bolster rural healthcare access and services by eliminating barriers to high-quality services and care. The unit will provide general medical care and women’s health services. Patients will be seen regardless of insurance status. “We’re bringing health improvement beyond our hospital and clinic walls, straight into our communities – even in the most rural and remote areas,” said Dr. Paula Masters, vice president of population health at Ballad Health. “This clinic will provide more patients access to the same high-quality healthcare provided in our brick-and-mortar locations.” Healthcare consulting firm PYA funded the purchase of the mobile unit through a donation to Ballad Health Foundation, recognition…

Foundation
Acts of Caring
Acts of Caring

Unified effort between Ballad Health, Southern Appalachian Medical Mgmt. leads to $50,000 donation to Second Harvest Food Bank

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – A successful joint effort between Ballad Health and Southern Appalachian Medical Management has resulted in strong outcomes for local patients – as well as a $50,000 donation to Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee.  The effort began a year ago, when Ballad Health partnered with local orthopedic surgeons to improve patient care for all orthopedic patients in Ballad Health facilities. The surgeons, representing many local practices, had previously joined together as Southern Appalachian Medical Management (SAMM) to leverage their collective wisdom to streamline the care process. The collaboration between leaders from SAMM and Ballad Health now comprises the Orthopedic Executive Committee (OEC), with a unified goal to coordinate community initiatives and improve quality and value of care in the Appalachian Highlands. By aligning the administrative capabilities of Ballad Health with the patient care expertise of the surgeons, significant progress in patient outcomes were realized. Through instituting best care objectives across…

Acts of Caring
From the CEO
From the CEO

Update from Alan Levine on steps to address nursing shortage

NOTE: This message was emailed on Friday, July 29, 2022, to all Ballad Health team members from Alan Levine, CEO and President of Ballad Health. Dear Colleague: Earlier this week, I communicated with you regarding some steps we are taking to help deal with the national nursing shortage, and the staffing concerns we face in many of our hospitals due to the nursing shortage.  I have received incredibly helpful feedback and questions from some of our team members, and I want to be responsive to what I believe are genuine efforts to help us make the best decisions. First, let me reiterate that we have taken several steps which benefit all our team members, and we continue to evaluate where changes in the labor market have made it necessary to change the pay for certain team members, particularly in nursing and other areas where we have faced national labor shortages.  Here’s what we’ve already done…

From the CEO
From the CEO
From the CEO

Update related to the nursing shortage/new initiatives

NOTE: This message was emailed to all Ballad Health team members from Alan Levine, President and CEO of Ballad Health, on Tuesday, July 26. Dear colleagues, The national nursing shortage, and shortages of other clinical and nonclinical healthcare professionals, continues to be a chronic problem for hospitals, nursing homes and other sites of care. Ballad Health and our post-acute facility friends continue to be impacted by these shortages – all of which impact our patients, availability of beds and our ability to discharge patients to post-acute facilities. In fact, just yesterday, I read a national story in U.S. News which cited that 87% of nursing home providers are facing shortages with half citing severe shortages; 98% are struggling to hire staff and 73% are concerned they will have to close their facilities. More than 400 nursing homes could close this year, according to the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living.  Hospitals are not immune. Just…

From the CEO
System Updates
System Updates

Floating the skies as part of Fun Fest’s Hot Air Balloon Rally

KINGSPORT, Tenn. – Every year, Ballad Health is honored to sponsor Kingsport Fun Fest’s long-standing tradition – the Hot Air Balloon Rally. This event takes place on the final day of Fun Fest, when hundreds of community members and visitors gather, as the sun rises, to watch colorful balloons fill the sky. We held a giveaway drawing for team members to win a free balloon ride during the rally, and two winners were able to each take a guest up into the wild blue yonder: Chastina Bennett, certified nursing assistant at Lee County Community Hospital Cathy Galyean, medical technologist at Norton Community Hospital Another neat, yet often overlooked, aspect of this event is that the balloons may end up landing anywhere in the city. The Ballad Health/Marsh balloon, nicknamed Rosie, touched down at Indian Path Community Hospital’s helicopter pad! Congratulations to the winners! And this community-wide event reminds us that, regardless of where the wind…

System Updates
CEOC & COVID-19
CEOC & COVID-19

CEOC: Implementation of contingency staffing

TO: Ballad Health All FROM: Ballad Health Corporate Emergency Operations Center DATE: Tuesday, July 26, 2022 TITLE: Implementation of contingency staffing ACTION: Please post and cascade to all team members. Click here to view this memo as a PDF file. COVID-19 inpatient cases: 132 COVID-19 patients in ICU: 27 COVID-19 patients on ventilators: 10 Pediatric inpatients with COVID-19: 5 Due to an increase in community transmission of COVID-19, and to the ongoing clinical staffing resource limitations, Ballad Health will upgrade to contingency staffing for team members who test positive for COVID-19, effective Tuesday, July 26. Ballad Health continues to remain in contingency staffing for all team members who have a high-risk exposure. Contingency staffing is applied when increased clinical staffing needs are occurring or are expected due to quarantine measures. High-risk areas, such as cancer centers and oncology units will follow conventional guidelines when determining if COVID-exposed team members can return to work. Team members working with the…

CEOC & COVID-19
CEOC & COVID-19
CEOC & COVID-19

CEOC: Masking guidelines reminder and universal eye protection policy

TO: Ballad Health All FROM: Ballad Health Corporate Emergency Operations Center DATE: Monday, July 25, 2022 TITLE: Masking guidelines reminder and universal eye protection policy ACTION: Please cascade and share with team members. COVID-19 inpatient cases: 129 COVID-19 patients in ICU: 20 COVID-19 patients on ventilators: 7 Pediatric inpatients with COVID-19: 4 The memo will review the following items: Reminder of current masking guidelines Implementation of universal eye protection in all clinical roles Virtual meetings continue to be encouraged Click here to view this as a PDF file. With the summer rise in COVID-19 transmission in our region and in our hospitals, it is important for all team members to follow our Ballad Health masking guidelines, which were implemented in early April and remain in effect. While COVID-19 admissions are lower than the critical highs we experienced during last winter’s surge, the current BA.5 variant is a concern. The positivity rate for the region has increased to 25%, up…

CEOC & COVID-19
IT & Epic
IT & Epic

Transition to upgraded Lawson system underway, to take effect by the end of 2022

Ballad Health is in the process of updating its Infor Lawson system. Team members currently use this system for accessing pay history and tax documents, viewing and enrolling in benefits, setting up direct deposit and more. Effective at the end of 2022 and start of 2023, we will transition to Infor CloudSuite, the latest software version, which will modernize, automate and streamline many of the functions we use today. This is an important initiative that will update and improve many of the internal systems our team members rely on every day. Who is affected, and when For now, only certain team members who work in the Infor Lawson system are involved in the transition, and the general team member population will not see any changes until we near the end of the year. Upon launch, the site will look different to all team members, with a more intuitive, easy-to-use interface and more tools at team…

IT & Epic
System Updates
System Updates

Seasoned nurses: Consider becoming a mentor in our Nurse Mentorship Program

As we work to strengthen our nursing workforce, Ballad Health is looking for some of our experienced nurses to join our Nurse Mentorship Program and serve as mentors for our nurse residents. The program promotes professional development for our new nurses, which benefits all our clinical teams by improving nursing skills, satisfaction and retention – and it ultimately helps improve patient outcomes. There is no substitute for experience, but this sharing of wisdom is the best substitute as our new nurses develop. Becoming a Nurse Mentor is a chance to invest in the future of nursing. Serving as a Nurse Mentor is voluntary and not a paid duty, but it does provide an opportunity for financial incentive through the PACE program. What does a Nurse Mentor do? The Nurse Mentor will be assigned a mentee (new nurse) and will set up the agenda for the initial meeting. The mentor will communicate on a consistent basis,…

System Updates
System Updates
System Updates

Ballad Health implementing Nurse Ambassador Program to strengthen our nursing workforce

As part of our effort to strengthen our nursing workforce, Ballad Health is implementing a Nurse Ambassador Program, where some of our current nurses can return to their alma mater and talk about the opportunities and benefits of working at Ballad Health. Nurses who join the program can earn a $1,500 bonus for each new nurse they recruit! Key details about the program The schools we are targeting are just outside Ballad Health’s geographic footprint, between two and four hours’ driving distance from Johnson City, Tennessee. Eligible nurses can apply by emailing Academic Recruitment Liaison Amanda Blevins at Amanda.Blevins@balladhealth.org. The email should include your name, position, work location, phone number, alma mater and direct supervisor’s name and title. Nurses must be licensed and in good standing and have their nurse manager’s verbal recommendation, which will be obtained by the human resources department. Traveling nurses are not eligible for the Nurse Ambassador Program. Participants will be…

System Updates
System Updates
System Updates

A message from Eric Deaton: Ballad Health is launching an internal nursing agency

NOTE: This message was emailed to all Ballad Health team members from Eric Deaton, chief operating officer for Ballad Health, on June 28, 2022. As always, it is important to say thank you to each of you for your relentless dedication to our mission, and to our patients. The unprecedented national labor shortage is affecting the entire health care industry, and we know it is being felt throughout Ballad Health. We continue to make extraordinary efforts to reduce the impact of the shortage, but we are not naïve.  We know you each see the impact of it daily. Over the past year, we have reached out to nurses and leaders throughout Ballad Health, in each of our hospitals, as we have sought new ideas based on your experiences. I’m pleased to share with you that among the many good ideas we have heard, and are implementing, is the creation of a new internal nursing agency to help…

System Updates
System Updates
System Updates

Lee County Community Hospital reaches first anniversary, achieves major milestones

PENNINGTON GAP, Va. – The against-all-odds success story of Lee County Community Hospital – one of the only rural hospitals in the nation to reopen after closing nearly a decade ago – has reached its first anniversary, marking the occasion with several significant milestones. See a photo gallery at the bottom of this article from Thursday’s first-anniversary celebration held at the hospital. Lee County Community Hospital is a 10-bed modern medical facility, specifically designed to meet the needs of its community. Since reopening, it has met those expectations and more, impacting thousands of people’s lives in just its first year of operations. “We listened to what our community really wanted and needed from their local hospital, then we created the new facility in the image of that,” said Mitch Kennedy, administrator of Lee County Community Hospital. “We’re working every day to provide an access point for the people of Southwest Virginia and Southeast Kentucky to…

System Updates
System Updates
System Updates

Everbridge to test emergency alert system with monthly notifications

As you may know, we recently rolled out Everbridge for emergency team member notifications. Everbridge is an international leader in emergency communications and is used in multiple industries, including healthcare, to coordinate notifications during emergent events. This is the system that Ballad Health uses to communicate critical information during events such as a pandemic, natural disasters, manmade disasters, power outages or workplace violence. Starting this month, the Everbridge team will be running monthly tests of communication channels. If you are signed up for alerts, you will receive an announcement by email, as well as by text or by phone call if you have opted in for notifications through those methods. These emails will come from Ballad Health Emergency Alerts, at noreply@everbridge.net. How do I sign up for facility updates? If you are not registered for emergency updates for your facility, you can click the link in the test email to update your account settings. If…

System Updates
Benefits & HR
Benefits & HR

Lincoln Financial retirement advice: Remember you’re in it for the long haul

Lincoln Financial, Ballad Health’s retirement plan administrator, has solid advice for team members who are worried about how the volatility of the market is affecting their retirement accounts. You can view a short animated video or reach out to one of our LFG retirement consultants, Lauren Kirkland and Clay Haselton, for one-on-one advice. And also check out a new feature Lincoln Financial is including on your retirement plan statement — a personalized Lifetime Income Illustration. NOTE: If you’re on desktop, see the flyer displayed below for more information. If you’re viewing on a mobile device, to open the flyer below in separate PDF format, just click on the “Download” link.

Benefits & HR
System Updates
System Updates

New competency process planned for clinical team members

Ballad Health is changing the process for how clinical team members do their competencies, moving away from TEDS and paper and transitioning to HealthStream. This will allow for streamlined completion and recordkeeping. Historically, Ballad Health has used several methods for completing clinical competencies, and leaders have been responsible for knowing the process for their area. This change will move all clinical team members to a single, more standardized approach for competency management. We will make the transition in stages, with the first group – all new nursing team members who work on a med/surg, PCU or ICU – making the change effective Sunday, July 3, for their initial competency validation. These competencies are now validated using a competency checklist assessment in HealthStream. More details will be announced as we prepare other groups of our clinical team members for the transition to the new HealthStream format. Competencies As a refresher, competencies are the ability to integrate…

System Updates
Benefits & HR
Benefits & HR

Market volatility making you nervous about your retirement savings? Lincoln Financial has answers

Are you concerned about the volatility of today’s market and how it is affecting your Lincoln Financial retirement account? Lincoln has answers to your questions and concerns. Join Lincoln Financial’s Dan Weber, an expert on investment strategies, for a Webex discussion on market volatility, set for Wednesday, June 8, from noon-1 p.m. Dan is assistant vice president & senior director – client investment strategies for LFG. See more details and meeting information in the flyer below:

Benefits & HR
Sharecare
Sharecare

Manage your health and wellness through the Ballad Teams app

Ballad Health has partnered with Sharecare, a digital health company, to offer team members more resources to help you manage your overall well-being and health. The Sharecare platform provides personalized health profiles, where you can easily connect to information, programs and professionals to help you live your healthiest and happiest life. To access these programs, enter the B-Well powered by Sharecare portal under the resources tab in the Ballad Teams team member mobile app. You can also click here to visit the registration/login page at: https://balladhealth.sharecare.com/ Benefits of B-Well powered by Sharecare The B-Well powered by Sharecare platform also gives you the ability to access the evolving story of your health, where you can securely store and access your health data and take part in wellness programs and challenges. RealAge Test Your health profile is compiled using the scientifically based RealAge Test, which team members have access to through the B-Well powered by Sharecare platform….

Sharecare
Benefits & HR
Benefits & HR

Discounted Dollywood, Splash Country tickets now available for purchase online

Discounted, one-day tickets to Dollywood and Splash Country are available once again for Ballad Health team members, but the process for getting the tickets has changed – team members will now get their tickets online rather than through Ballad Health human resources. To order tickets, visit the Dollywood website’s page for Ballad Health at: store.dollywood.com/product/multi/promo/BALLADHQ NOTE: The Dollywood link does not work in Internet Explorer. Ticket prices (tax included) for Dollywood are $50.50 for adults (ages 10-up) and $47.15 for children ages 4-9. Tickets for Splash Country (tax included) are $42.65 for adults and $35.90 for children ages 4-9. The website through Dollywood will require the person purchasing the tickets to choose a date. If they are not able to go on the date they selected, they can change their reservation to another date. They simply need to use the ticket number to make a different reservation. Tickets at non-discounted rates are $94.40 per adult,…

Benefits & HR