2019 ARH CARES award winners honored

Published 9:46 am Tuesday, February 25, 2020

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LEXINGTON – Appalachian Regional Healthcare honored employees from across its Kentucky and West Virginia system who have been named their respective hospital’s 2019 ARH CARES award winners recently in Lexington.

These 14 CARES award recipients were honored because of their proven dedication and commitment to exceeding the ARH CARES standards (Communication, Attentive, Respectful, Environment and Special) in their local communities.

“These employees have been recognized as going above and beyond to care for our patients, the communities we serve and their coworkers,” said ARH President and CEO Joe Grossman. “We are very proud of each of our CARES winners and sincerely appreciate their dedication to a health system that means so much to our communities.”

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Those honored as the 2019 Annual ARH CARES winners, include:

• ARH Our Lady of the Way Hospital’s winner is Jennifer Ison, an admissions clerk. Jennifer has been employed at ARH Our Lady of the Way for five years. Jennifer is described as the poster child for the CARES award. She is a reflection of all the components. She will wheel patients into the ED or will pick them up in the parking lot and bring them to the department. By watching the monitors, she will alert us if there are issues in the parking lot or lobby. Jennifer’s compassion for the patients goes above and beyond. She will bring ice pops and place them in our freezer and give to the kids along with coloring books and colors, and she will get something to drink for patients after asking the nurse if it is OK. She is very observant of the patients’ needs and is always going above and beyond her job which makes her a very special person and deserving of the CARES award.

• Barbourville ARH Hospital’s winner is Amanda Carnes, an administrative assistant and medical staff coordinator. Amanda has been employed at Barbourville ARH for three years and is described as a very caring person who helps make the administrative area function efficiently and even helps others outside of the department.

• Beckley ARH Hospital’s winner is Susan Benoventi, a clinical nurse manager. Susan has been employed at Beckley ARH for the past 21 years and is known as approaching every problem with determination and a smile. Co-workers believe her biggest asset is education, not only educating her patients and their family members regarding health care management at home after discharge, but also educating her fellow co-workers to ensure they are at their best in every aspect.

• Harlan ARH Hospital winner is Shawn Humfleet, a maintenance department worker. Shawn has 21 years of service with ARH. He has been described as a genuine person who exhibits all the qualities and character that one would possess when one thinks about caring. He is very humble and will perform any task that is given to him. Nothing is too small or large for him to conquer. He gives 110 percent each day. Shawn often looks for additional tasks to be performed in the Maintenance Department, will assist others with their job when called upon and never says no. If we had more Shawn’s in the ARH world, what an awesome place it would be. I truly respect and look up to him each day as I make my rounds and actually look forward to our encounters each day. His genuineness is what sets him apart from everyone else.

• Hazard ARH Regional Medical Center’s winner is Tracy Barnett, director of nursing. Tracy has been with ARH for 28 years. Tracy is an example of leadership. She is trusted by staff and peers. It is nothing for Tracy to arrive early in the morning and still be at the hospital late at night. She leads by example to her employees and they can depend on her to roll up her sleeves to help with patients. Tracy has been described as a nurse’s nurse—meaning that if one of her fellow nurses were in the hospital, they would want Tracy to take care of them. For all nurses this is the highest compliment. For Tracy, making sure all patients are well taken care of is personal. She puts all of her heart and soul into her work and by having been a nurse aide, she understands the role of all the care givers involved in the patient’s care.

• ARH Hazard System Center’s winner is Paula Lewis, a human resources coordinator. Paula has been with ARH for two years. Paula is the first person to greet all visitors and employees at the System Center in Hazard. Her beautiful smile and friendly and outgoing personality present such a warm welcome to everyone she meets. Paula arrives early to work every day with a “let’s do it” attitude. She is always willing to help with whatever needs doing, whether it be in her department or other departments in the building. She is a team player who willingly fills in for others at any time. Paula is conscience in regards to others, and always willing to coordinate efforts for fundraising for employees in need! She has a true regard for people, and will go above and beyond when needed. She is a great mother, and you can also find her after work coaching volleyball, decorating for prom, or simply enjoying her only daughter and ensuring that she has what she needs. For Paula – simply doing her job – is not enough for her.

• ARH Lexington System Center’s winner is Gary “Lee” Gibson, a support analyst for the ARH system. Lee has been employed for the past 14 years in the IT Department. Lee is described as the most helpful responder at the corporate Help Desk. He is courteous, helpful, calm and takes time to explain what he is doing and why he is doing it. His attitude and helpfulness goes a long way toward easing the frustration that often occurs with such tech problems! Lee has always shown dedication to ARH, being fully committed to resolving issues for all of our employees to permit them to do their jobs better. Recently, Lee accepted more responsibility in the department and has performed admirably with these additional duties. “He is an example to others in the department on delivering the best customer service and demonstrates our commitment to this for everyone to see,” says Mike Roberts, ARH CTO.

• Mary Breckinridge ARH Hospital’s winner is James Pennington, a plant operating engineer who has worked for ARH for the past five years. James is described as being very helpful and goes above and beyond to help all departments that are in need. He is an exceptional worker and stands out for his personality and his willingness to always help others know matter what the situation is or you may need.

• McDowell ARH Hospital’s winner is Patricia Williams, an administrative assistant in administration who has worked for ARH for the past 18 years. Patricia is known as always being willing to help her co-workers, assist with projects, community events or system initiatives. Described as being the glue that holds the hospital together, Patricia is always professional and greets everyone with a smile. She is very dedicated to our patients and hospital and spends countless hours in the community representing McDowell ARH. Patricia is a kind and caring person who exemplifies the meaning of CARES. She truly deserves this recognition.

• Middlesboro ARH Hospital’s winner is Melissa Ramsey Barnes, a business manager in nursing who has worked for Middlesboro ARH for nine years. Melissa is described as one of the most compassionate team members at Middlesboro ARH. She works to further ARH’s mission both inside and outside the hospital walls. While Melissa works in nursing as the business manager, any director or manager can come to her for assistance. During the last year, several employees needed financial assistance due to serious health/life threatening conditions, and Melissa was the first to volunteer to organize and lead a fundraiser for those employees. Outside of ARH, Melissa volunteers every Tuesday at Community Care Outreach, a local civic organization that prepares and delivers around 200 meals to feed the hungry.

• Morgan County ARH Hospital’s winner is Jami Elam, an occupational therapist. Jami has worked for ARH for two years. Jami is described as a kind and thoughtful caregiver to all her patients. She had one elderly patient who was admitted to the acute wing. Jami knows that healing is about the relationship as much as the care. She always engaged this patient in conversation to make the exercises easier. She discovered that her patient was newly widowed after 67 years of marriage. The patient’s medical stay fell on her first anniversary alone. All alone, and in hospital on a day that meant the world to her, the patient was understandably very sad. Jami decided to show the patient that her special days were important to ARH too, so she gave her flowers to note her anniversary. Jami did this while maintaining a very active patient load with other patients to whom she gives the same compassionate care and understanding.

• Summers County ARH Hospital’s winner is Kevin Darnell, an ultrasound tech who has served ARH for the past 22 years. Kevin has in the past two weeks stayed late to do ultrasounds for emergency patients from the ED and from our provider clinics. When Kevin is asked the question: can you squeeze in this patient? The answer is always “send them on and we will work them in ASAP.” There have been several instances when Kevin has sacrificed personal commitments to care for our patients. He also gets superstar patient satisfaction comments from his patients. Kevin embodies all the letters represented in the CARES acronym.

• Tug Valley ARH Regional Medical Center’s winner is Jessica Blankenship, a clinical nurse manager in the OB Department and Newborn Nursery. Jessica has worked for the hospital for 11 years. Jessica is described as a kind and caring nurse. She not only goes above and beyond for her patients, she does the same for her coworkers. There have been many nights when she was the hero that swooped in to save her coworkers. She shows everyone compassion and has shed tears with her patients which is something you don’t see every day. Jessica is a phenomenal nurse. She is a dedicated, caring and thoughtful nurse and co-worker always there to offer a helping hand. Jessica is just an incredible person all around and ARH is lucky to have her on their team.

• Whitesburg ARH Hospital’s winner is Rachel Breeding, an education coordinator who has worked at ARH for the past 37 years. At Whitesburg ARH, no one has a larger scope of impact than Rachel. She serves as community liaison/event planner, education coordinator and social worker. As such, it is Rachel who sets the perception of ARH within our community through her tireless outreach efforts. She interacts daily with the staff, patients and students, providing encouragement and service delivered with a positive and inspiring attitude. She is the one called in at all hours when patients, family or staff are suffering emotionally. As our social worker, Rachel provides counseling services to attempt to alleviate anxieties or fears concerning disabilities, life changing illnesses or an uncertain future and assists patients in returning to community life. She is a strong patient advocate and supports them and our staff both emotionally and spiritually. Rachel has been serving her ARH family in these ways for 37 years and is still going strong!