to receive national award
The American Hospital Association will award Casey Meza, CEO, St. Mary’s and Clearwater Valley Hospitals and Clinics, the Shirley Ann Munroe Award this January at their national convention in Phoenix, Arizona. According to the AHA, “the award recognizes the accomplishments of small or rural hospital leaders who have improved health care delivery in their communities through innovative and progressive efforts.”
The AHA, founded in 1898, represents more than 4800 hospitals, health care systems, networks and other providers of care, as well as 37,000 individuals. Shirley Ann Munroe was instrumental in the creation of the AHA’s Section for Small or Rural Hospitals, a forum that supports rural facilities to improve their community’s health. Meza was selected for the 20th annual award from three other finalists representing hospitals in Memphis, Missouri; Shattuck, Oklahoma; and Bisbee, Arizona.
Facilitating the partnership between CVHC and SMHC in 1998 and initiating their recent telehealth services were cited in the award announcement. Both facilities use their Remote Presence robots to provide telepsychiatry, telehospitalist, telemergency, and telecardiology services. In March, a Minnesota dermatologist will begin providing teledermatology care using a specialized camera in conjunction with the RP-7 robots. According to Meza, other telehealth opportunities are being investigated to expand the availability of specialized services. The technology is also being used for staff training and patient education.
“I am deeply honored by this award, but the credit really goes to our health care providers for their willingness to always look for new opportunities to better serve our patients. We appreciate the enthusiasm of our remote specialists for providing services in our rural area. A thank you also goes to our patients for being open to the use of telehealth services,” said Meza. “The cost savings because patients can remain local and still receive specialist care is significant, but the real savings are from the extra confidence we gain knowing we can call on specialists, whenever needed, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
Earlier this year, Meza received the Idaho Hospital Association’s Excellence in Patient Care Award. In May she will be honored at the Family Medicine Residency of Idaho’s Annual Gala for her role in providing settings for rural rotations for family practice residents and “…to recognize the development of quality health care services in Idaho’s rural communities.”