Category Archives: News

Recap: Our discussion with Emily Bazelon on bullying

Emily Bazelon takes on the topic of bullying.

We read and hear about bullying in the news daily. But, what is bullying, exactly? Is it conflict? Picking on someone?

Emily Bazelon, a New York Times best-selling author of “Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy” and Slate contributor, defines it as verbal or physical aggression that is repeated over time and involves a power imbalance.

Bazelon addressed approximately 130 health professionals, lawmakers, researchers and educators at the Minnesota Children’s Museum on Sept. 11. The event built upon work Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota has done around bullying, including a report released earlier this summer: “Understanding the threat of bullying.”

Here are some noteworthy messages from the evening:

  • Social media is a vehicle for bullying. But if it’s happening online, it’s probably happening offline, too.
  • For the target of an online bully: The Internet makes it feel like bullying is happening 24/7. It’s permanent and visible, and it can potentially reach a bigger audience.
  • For the online bully: He or she doesn’t have to look the target in the eye, there’s no face-to-face feedback and it can be anonymous.
  • We spend little time talking about whether social media companies need to play a role. That needs to change.
  • We need to send the message to kids that bullying isn’t normal behavior, and it’s not something everyone does.
  • Bystanders who watch bullying often have the most power to stop it. Bystander kids intervene about 20 percent of time.
  • A message for kid bystanders: You don’t have to be a hero. A thoughtful or empathetic message like “Are you OK?” can be helpful.
  • What do we do about bullying? Bazelon emphasizes prevention and intervention, which can’t be done in a day. We need to help shape who kids are.

Read more about bullying and how one local family overcame it.


New payment model values quality over quantity

At Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, we pride ourselves in getting the best outcomes for our patients. That includes keeping patients healthy so they don’t require extra visits and expensive procedures.

We have a long-standing commitment to innovative care delivery, which triggered our willingness to partner with the Minnesota Department of Human Services to test a new delivery and payment model aimed at better health outcomes and lower costs for our state’s Medicaid program. The shift in approach is to tie payment to delivering higher quality outcomes rather than relying on the historic model of publicly-funded health care programs in Minnesota where health care providers were paid for the procedure.

By participating in this new payment model, our job at Children’s will be to manage the care of 14,000 patients. Rather than a system that creates an incentive for more visits and procedures, the total cost of the care model creates an incentive for us to advance methods that keep people healthy so they don’t have to use expensive services.

The cool news is that we’ve already been doing this for nearly a decade. Children’s established the state’s first Medical Home in 2004 and this care coordination model has resulted in reduced hospitalization and fewer readmissions, among other outcomes.

“With nearly a decade of experience to draw on, Children’s is pleased to partner with the state on an approach that financially rewards better health outcomes,” said Maria Christu, General Counsel and Vice President of Advoacy and Policy at Children’s. “We are confident we’ll deliver on the quality outcomes the state and, more importantly, our patients expect.”

Children’s joins five other major health care providers. They include Essentia Health, CentraCare Health System, North Memorial Health Care, Federally Qualified Health Center Urban Health Network (FUHN) and Northwest Metro Alliance (a partnership between Allina Health System and HealthPartners). In all, we’ll be responsible for 100,000 Minnesotans enrolled in publicly-funded programs.

Minnesota is the first state in the country to implement this new payment model. “This new payment system will deliver better health care at a better price. By changing the way we pay health care providers we can incentivize reform, help Minnesotans live healthier lives, and slow the rising cost of health care in our state,” Gov. Mark Dayton said in a statement.

This model is being implemented at the same time as Minnesota’s Medicaid population is expected to increase. Gov. Dayton’s budget proposal, which we wrote about last week, includes expanding Medical Assistance to 145,000 more Minnesotans, including 47,000 kids.


After rescue, Children’s nurse encourages water safety education

Leah Mickschl

At Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, we encounter life-and-death situations every day.

Earlier this summer, Leah Mickschl, a Children’s RN, experienced a crisis outside our walls. She was at a private neighborhood pool in Lakeville when a 4-year-old boy was discovered at the bottom of the pool.

She was in the right place at the right time.

Mickschl, who works at Midwest Children’s Resource Center, called upon her training and performed CPR on the boy. He had been under water for approximately two minutes, she said. But within seconds of having CPR performed on him, he sputtered water and regained consciousness. The boy recovered, and today, he’s active and healthy.

In July, the Lakeville City Council honored Mickschl for her life-saving efforts. She appreciates the honor and wants to use it as an opportunity to remind people of aquatic safety.

On the day of the boy’s near-drowning, the pool was filled with people – children and adults, she said. No one saw him go under; Mickschl’s own children were only a few feet away.

Leah Mickschl with her family

“Drowning is silent. It’s not like in the movies where you’re thrashing about and calling for help,” Mickschl said.

Unfortunately, drowning is the leading cause of accidental death among children ages 1 to 4, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It remains the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death behind motor vehicle crashes among children 1 to 14.

Mickschl encourages people to check out these water-safety tips from Children’s Dr. Manu Madhok before they head to the pool or lake. She also suggests getting CPR-certified.

“Prevention should always be the goal, but you never know when those skills might be needed,” she said.

Children’s earns high marks in U.S. News & World Report

Once again, Children’s has been recognized as one of the best pediatric hospitals in the country in U.S. News & World Report’s 2012-2013 Best Children’s Hospitals rankings.

For the sixth consecutive year, Children’s was ranked in neonatology, for the care that it provides to the youngest and most fragile patients. Children’s has been ranked in this category since U.S. News began ranking pediatric hospitals in 2007. For the second consecutive year, Children’s was ranked in cardiology and heart surgery, a program that is one of the largest in the region by patient volume.

“Children’s is honored to be recognized again by U.S. News. The listing is a tribute to our skilled and dedicated staff, who are deeply committed to providing children with the best possible care,” said Alan L. Goldbloom, MD, president and CEO of Children’s.

The rankings feature 50 hospitals in each of 10 pediatric specialties: cancer, cardiology and heart surgery, diabetes and endocrinology, gastroenterology, neonatology, nephrology, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopedics, pulmonology, and urology. Eighty hospitals across the country ranked in one or more specialties.

For the full rankings and methodology, visit

Sweet Dreams for Kids brings pajamas, smiles to Children’s

Wendy Berezovsky, founder of Sweet Dreams for Kids, and her family threw a pajama party at Star Studio on May 31.

Kids don’t always understand that sometimes it hurts to feel better. At Children’s, we believe that the small things can make a big difference to our patients and families.

Wendy Berezovsky knows firsthand from the time she spent at Children’s with her daughter, Dalya, who was born with cancer and spent much of her first year here, that a cozy pair of pajamas can bring a smile to the face of a young patient.

Wendy started Sweet Dreams for Kids, an organization that has donated more than 3,000 pajamas to patients in Minnesota hospitals and beyond and brought new pajamas to our patients for a super fun PJ Party-themed show in the Star Studio on Thursday, May 31. Kids tuned in from their hospital beds or came to the first-floor studio to join the slumber party games, stories and songs!

Thank you Sweet Dreams for Kids!

Check out the news coverage from WCCO and KSTP.

Theresa Pesch recognized as a Women in Business honoree

We are thrilled to announce the recognition of Theresa Pesch, RN, Children’s vice president of development and executive director of the Foundation, as a Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal Women in Business honoree. The annual program honors the region’s top female executives for their contributions to their organizations, industries and community.

Since joining Children’s five years ago, Theresa has built an accomplished development team at Children’s who, in turn, have truly captured the passion of what the organization stands for. In fact, in just a few short years, Theresa and her team have helped elevate our fundraising efforts from $4-5 million a year to more than $25 million a year.

Grounded in an ongoing commitment to help Children’s provide innovative programs and world class pediatric health care, Theresa has also spearheaded many of the largest philanthropic sponsorships, community partnerships and fundraising efforts in Children’s 80-plus year history. Her outstanding record of success is very worthy of accolades and recognition.

Congratulations to Theresa! We are so proud to have you as part of the Children’s family. Thank you for your passion, leadership and dedication to helping ensure we can continue to deliver the high-quality care that the families and kids in our community depend on.

Volunteer Ray Barton Wins Trustee of the Year Award for Commitment to Children’s

We know it takes the extraordinary contributions of so many people, day in and day out, to treat a sick or injured child at Children’s. We strive to deliver the highest quality of care that families can depend upon for their kids. It takes leadership and commitment, from the operating room to the board room, to make this happen.

Naturally, we have genuine pride when the industry stops and takes note of the many standout leaders inside Children’s. Our own Patsy Stinchfield recently received the pediatric nurse practitioner of the year award from the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, and now Ray Barton, previous chairman of Children’s board of directors and current chairman of Great Clips, Inc., has been recognized by the Minnesota Hospital Association as Trustee of the Year. The award honors a board member of a hospital or health system who has contributed significantly to the health of the community by providing leadership and guidance to the hospital and board.

However, Ray’s experience with Children’s runs far deeper than a board position. It’s personal. He first came through our doors as a parent when his daughter was treated here several years ago. Along with his wife, Mary Lou, he’s been on a mission ever since to support other families whose children are dealing with a serious illness. Ray is incredibly committed to helping families stay together during times of crisis and ensure that pediatric patients and their families are provided services when they need them most.

For Ray, what started as a concerned father caring for his daughter has grown into a resolve to support Children’s through key programs and services. He started the Great Clips Charity Golf Classic in 1997. It helps fund, among other things, hotel stays for families with sick children so they can spend more time participating in their child’s treatment and less time traveling between home and hospital. There’s the annual Great Clips Cut-A-Thon where proceeds help kids with cancer and other serious illnesses make the transition back to school – a process not covered by insurance. And recently, Ray and Mary Lou supported the creation of the Family Resource Center which provides information and a play area for siblings.

The list goes on.

Ray has been a member of Children’s board of directors for seven years, and has been an extraordinarily generous benefactor. But his contributions go well beyond personal donations of time and money – he is also a great ambassador for Children’s. Ray has rallied Great Clips staff and franchise owners to support the hospital, and has helped Children’s recruit new advocates.

Congratulations on the award, Ray, and thank you for turning your family’s experience into a mission to help other families care for their kids at Children’s.

Patsy Stinchfield Awarded Prestigious Pediatric Nurse Practitioner of the Year Award

Patsy Stinchfield is a pediatric nurse practitioner and director of Infectious Disease and Immunology at Children’s

The following was written by Dr. Phil Kibort, Vice President of Medical Affairs and Chief Medical Officer at Children’s.

I’m continually humbled by my fellow employees and clinical colleagues who tirelessly support Children’s mission to champion the special health needs of children and their families. It is in this mindset that I am honored to announce that Patsy Stinchfield, a pediatric nurse practitioner and director of Infectious Disease and Immunology at Children’s, was recently bestowed the prestigious Loretta C. Ford Distinguished Fellow Award.

Patsy was honored in front of more than 1,800 of her colleagues at the recent National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) 33rd Annual Conference in late March. Often referred to as “the pediatric nurse practitioner of the year award,” the award is named in honor of Dr. Loretta C. Ford who pioneered and co-founded the pediatric nurse practitioner role in 1965.

NAPNAP bills the recognition as its most prestigious award, and annually presents it to the individual who has made significant contributions to children’s health and has helped advance the pediatric nurse practitioner profession. Patsy accepted the award from Dr. Ford herself.

Here at Children’s, we know better than anyone that Patsy is an invaluable resource when it comes to advancing the care and health of our young patients. Whether rounding in our hospitals and clinics or guiding quality and safety policy development at the State Capitol, Patsy’s passion shines through.

Her work to educate the greater public on the importance of immunizations and to dispel myths surrounding H1N1 vaccination during its peak have gained her local and national recognition. It is also much in part due to Patsy’s leadership, hard work and commitment to kids, that she, as well as Children’s, is recognized by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as a national model for vaccination and disease treatment.

Patsy is truly an authentic champion for improving vaccination rates and infection prevention. Quite simply, there are few individuals who deserve the Loretta C. Ford Distinguished Fellow Award more than her. On behalf of Children’s, I want to offer congratulations on this remarkable lifetime achievement.

Preventing infections in pediatric intensive care units

Consumer Reports, is generally known for reviewing shiny new things we all want, like cell phones, TVs and cars. But in their most recent edition, they featured a story about things we cannot see and do not want – blood stream infections in children.

The report reviewed the central line bloodstream infection data from 2010 in pediatric intensive care units (PICU’s) of 92 children’s hospitals around the country and then ranked these hospitals based on their infection rate.

In the report, the PICU at Children’s – St. Paul was one of just five PICU’s reporting zero bloodstream infections in 2010, earning them the highest possible rating. The PICU at Children’s – Minneapolis was one of 29 hospitals who earned the second highest rating because they reported less than half as many blood stream infections as the national average.

Children’s has a track record for this kind of success. From 2006 to 2010, our PICUs combined had a 91 percent reduction in hospital acquired central line bloodstream infections.

Children’s is proud of our PICU staff for being able to accomplish this significant feat. In fact, at this writing, the PICU at Children’s –St. Paul has accomplished 891 days without a central line blood stream infection – that’s over two and a half years! What is fantastic about this is not where we land in the rankings, statistics, or even the accolades that go with this report, but the fact that patients – babies, children and teens – came to us for care and got that without acquiring a devastating, even life-threatening, infection.

We are the first to admit we are not perfect.  Blood stream infections continue to be an issue that demands vigilance.  We strive to replicate the St. Paul PICU success in all of our departments because our patients deserve a safe, healing environment. We know that every statistic on a report represents a child, and a family.  It requires constant attention to provide safe care, especially when it comes to the invisible pathogens that can take a life.

So how are we doing this? Children’s has a culture of patient safety that believes even one hospital acquired infection is unacceptable. Our ultimate goal is to get to zero bloodstream infections and then to stay there. It’s a lofty goal because we live in a world of germs; ICU patients are particularly vulnerable. But, we have already shown we know how to prevent blood stream infections through leadership commitment, bedside staff expertise, constant vigilance, measuring, reporting and by transparently sharing our results.

Our staff who insert central lines go through an insertion checklist based on best practices much like an airline pilot goes through a pre-flight checklist. Our nursing staff maintain the cleanliness of the patient and the central lines 24/7 and continue to expertly manage the care of each child, so not one leaves our hospitals sicker than when they came.

Our rounding teams ask themselves daily if central lines are still needed because, as each day passes, the lines become a greater infection risk. Parents and visitors are taught to properly wash their hands when entering a patient’s room, before and after touching the child, and family members are encouraged to speak up when they have concerns.

To ensure that we continue our transparency, departments such as infection prevention and control, quality, lab, pharmacy and many others work tirelessly behind the scenes to monitor, measure and report our progress – sharing what we know, learning from it and constantly improving.

I’m proud to be part of the team effort at Children’s that allowed us to achieve this remarkable recognition. Together we will continue to work on behalf of our little ones who count on us for only the best care.

Patsy Stinchfield, MS, CPNP
Infection Prevention and Control

Children’s earns two Leapfrog awards for quality and efficiency

We’re thrilled to share that we have once again been named one of the top hospitals in the country by the Leapfrog Group!

The annual award recognizes hospitals for quality and efficiency.  Only 10 pediatric hospital awards were given out this year, and we received two of them. This is the fifth time Children’s has received the Leapfrog Award.  We are the only children’s hospital in the five-state area to receive this honor.

It’s more important than ever for hospitals to make the most of their resources while still delivering the best possible care.  We’ve been a leader in developing new ways to increase efficiency, whether it’s in the design of new buildings and spaces or helping find ways for care teams to collaborate more easily.

The Leapfrog Awards are based on a national survey that measures hospitals’ performance in crucial areas of patient safety and quality.  You can see all of the results at