Champion Nominees - 2012

Vickie Cline:
Vickie Cline is Northwest Medical Center’s Human Resource Director, a mother of two, and lives in Albany, MO. She recognizes the importance of healthy lifestyle choices, yet admits it can be challenging living in a rural community. “I had a baby in 2007, and started running to get back in shape. I really enjoyed it, yet was disappointed that there were not any options of fun runs, races or any activities of that nature, locally, to participate in,” states Vickie. She continues, “I brought the idea to Northwest Medical Center to host a 5K run in 2009. They embraced it and we had over 100 participants the first year. Northwest Medical Center continues to put on the race and it grows each year. I feel fortunate to work for an organization that supports healthy initiatives and puts them into action.“

Northwest Medical Center is a non-profit, critical access hospital with four satellite clinics and a home healthcare office that serves a coverage area of more than 10,000 residents. Northwest Medical Center values the importance of health and wellness and demonstrates this by hosting a plethora of services and events. These yearly events include: the annual walk/run, monthly diabetic education programs, multiple health fairs/screenings, dietary education programs, relaxation/stress reduction programs, psychiatric health programs, and most recently, working toward a region-wide community fitness challenge initiative that will encourage area businesses and groups to compete in designated health-related events.

Vickie Cline says the run has brought the community together, so much so, that the Albany Community Center chose to host an annual fun run. “Community participation in Northwest Medical Center’s runs has been so successful, that our local community center now puts on a fun run,” states Vickie. “It is awesome to see positive results from an event like our run trickle to other businesses. Once they get the itch, people can’t get enough of the fun activities.”

Vickie Cline’s suggestion to host a race is just one example of the many that Northwest Medical Center has put into action. Northwest Medical Center’s employees buy-into the company philosophy to support and encourage healthy life-style choices and continue to implement fun, new activities and educational programs. Northwest Medical Center is a Rural Health Champion.

Dr. Cheryl Dalton:
Or. Cheryl Dalton serves as Health Home Director overseeing a staff of six including five RN Care Managers. She implements the Patient Centered Health Home Initiative, and is taking the organization through the process of National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) recognition. Most importantly, she is removing barriers and implementing processes to achieve excellent care for all our patients. From the onset of employment, Dr. Dalton became a de facto Rural Health Champion by immediately implementing a robust tracking system for chronic care patients in our rural Cassville clinic. From that time forward, that clinic functions as a pilot site for all our initiatives that she champions.

Dr. Dalton works mainly out of our rural Cassville clinic near where she and her husband live in Golden, Missouri.

Cheryl Dalton began employment as a Family Nurse Practitioner in our rural Cassville Clinic September 15, 2009. August 20, 20 II she became Home Health Director for the entire organization, yet continues to serve from the Cassville Clinic and uses it to improve pilot models. Immediately upon employment with ACCESS Family Care she worked to increase wellness in our chronic health population.

Cheryl is uniquely qualified for this award because she has spent a lifetime preparing and serving in rural and under-served areas. She completed her Doctorate of Nursing Practice degree in 2006 and along the way she served as a nurse practitioner, an assistant and adjunct professor, and a public health nurse. Her career choices demonstrate her heart to serve in rural and public health arenas.

I believe Dr. Cheryl Dalton is the best choice for the Rural Health Champion Award. She's dedicated her life to achieve the best skills possible to serve the least served with the best possible care she can provide. She is an exemplary role model for anyone to follow. She has prepared her whole life to serve in this needy area and she has the heart of a teacher to take patients into a more engaged self-management program of care. She uses her vacation time for mission trips to extend her compassion in caring for underserved and vulnerable populations.

She attempted to retire twice to devote more time to volunteering, and even stepped down to a volunteer position serving chronic care patients with the clinic. She saw an opportunity to positively impact the rural community with the health home initiative and embraced it with passion.

Dr. Dalton exemplifies the servant leader. She deflects glory in favor of others in order to build successful teamwork not just within the organization, but the whole community as well with the focus on successful health outcomes for patients. She works long hours studying best methods and practices and works up models to follow and implement. She exudes enthusiasm that inspires her team and community to support and make successful the efforts and goals of achieving well ness in patients and staff. She is a teacher at heart who inspires us to go further in our mission.

Angela Davison:
Angela is passionate about providing education to staff to allow them the opportunity to provide EXCEPTIONAL Healthcare to all generations of patients in the rural communities, where many times staff do not receive continued educational opportunities to be able to excel at a high level.

Angela provided advanced training to medical staff in our clinic system in rural southwest Missouri to improve the care provided.  Also, led the team to implement a Medical Home system within our clinic system - leading the way to improved and patient centered patient care close to home for the patients

Angela works tirelessly to see that not only staff is well trained but that patients receive the right care at the right time at the right place!  She is committed to exceptional Healthcare in a Rural environment and has worked tirelessly to introduce new services in those 11 RHC's. She is always thinking of her staff and the many patients we serve regardless of her needs!  She is a TRUE RURAL HEALTH CHAMPION!

Linda J. DeClue:
Linda J. DeClue is the Department Manager for all 6 of the Rural Health Clinics of Washington County Memorial Hospital. Linda is a very meticulous, hardworking, energetic, and informative supervisor that ensures every penny is accounted for on each claim. She works well with the providers to ensure they are informed of any trends of mistakes they may have made and coordinates meetings with clinic department managers to not only praise them of the wonderful job they do by providing optimal customer service and patient care but to also work with them to correct any problems or trends of mistakes. Linda strives for perfection, enjoyment, fulfillment, and excellence in all areas of customer service, patient care, and professionalism. At department meetings, she allows suggestions to increase our customer service excellence. In my two years of working alongside her, I have noticed many changes that not only improve our patient interaction but increase our work performance to allow that spark of better service to our customers. Linda has directed staff to send payment reminder letters to patients who are on payment arrangements. This does take time, but the patients react well this courtesy letter and are more willing to pay on their account. Linda has incorporated incentives for patients and hospital/clinic staff that pay on their account within 30 days of the date of their initial statement. This too has been a great tool for increased up front collections, lower A/R Days, and above all - a better service to our patients. Linda always works hard to ensure the staff in her department, the providers who render services to our patients, the patients as a whole feel that they have knowledgeable, hardworking, professional, and compassionate staff that she supervises. Linda is always up to take on a challenge and accomplish what needs to be done not matter the size of the job. She has assisted in gaining new providers and clinics at a very fast rate. She went from managing billing for 4 clinics to 6 clinics in a matter of 6 months. During this period she has also helped with an organization software change that led to be ineffective due to her demands to ensure the claims are billed correctly, patients are billed for the correct amounts, and claims to be legal in terms of formatting. Linda is very knowledgeable in regards to all aspects of managing a Rural Health Clinic or Clinics. I strongly feel she should be recognized for her efforts and compassion to have a successful, professional, and customer service friendly unit of providers, managers, and support staff.

Dr. Kenneth Dugan:
Dr. Kenneth Dugan is extremely dedicated to improving healthcare in rural Missouri.  Dr. Dugan moved to Missouri in 1997 (I think!!) from the east coast to escape the grasp of managed care.  He worked for Mercy (then St. John's) as a hospitalist then took a job in the small town of Ava, MO in 1998 as a clinic physician for a rural health clinic.  Dr. Dugan made that clinic thrive!  He was always willing to see however many people walked through the door as long as they were willing to wait on him...he wouldn't turn a patient away!  In 1999,  Dr. Dugan was given a unique opportunity to open a private practice in Mansfield, where there was not a physician.  The community pulled together and renovated a building and offered to Dr. Dugan for $1/yr lease in exchange for his commitment to that community.  Dr. Dugan still owns a practice there today!  Since 1999, Dr. Dugan has added 2 additional clinics: one in Mtn. Grove and one in Ava.  All 3 primary care clinics offer something that most don't, the ability to walk in without an appointment!  One clinic currently has a pediatrician on staff, something that Dr. Dugan has always felt very strongly about.  We also have a retired orthopedist on staff at another office and have had a gynecologist in the past also.  Even though certain things might not make the most financial sense for a business to do, Dr. Dugan has many times put that aside to offer services to our rural communities that are not otherwise available!

Dr. Galvez:
Dr. Galvez is the medical director for one of our rural health clinics located in Brookfield, MO.  Dr. Galvez has served the rural population of Linn, Chariton & Macon counties since the early 1970's...coming to this area out of a residency in internal medicine in New England.

Dr. Galvez has worked for more than 40 years to provide excellent medical care to the citizen's of north central Missouri.  He loves to teach and has been assigned externs from both the University of Missouri/Columbia and A.T. Still University in Kirksville.  He works very closely with the local medical community and has served numerous terms as the chief of staff for Pershing Memorial Hospital...and is presently serving in that capacity.

Dr. Galvez has developed an outstanding communication network with specialists in every field as he seeks to access the best care for his patients.  He is a constant advocate for quality care at the earliest point of contact for the patient and has been instrumental as a member of the board of directors of our health system in seeing that Pershing has the latest diagnostics to support the quality of care.

Dr. Galvez has been an essential part of building our health system into (3) rural health clinics as well as developing and enhancing services ranging from an acute care mental facility to a critical access hospital.  He has led the way in the new construction for our out-patient, clinic, emergency dept., radiology, lab and surgery.  The driving force behind his commitment has been his belief that all patients should have the best health care that the community can afford to make available...and that these services should be available to any and all in the rural setting.

Not only is Dr. Galvez a leader, he is a diplomat and teacher. His time is devoted to medical students, nurses and most especially his patients in an effort to educate and support.  He has given the very best of himself...and has the respect and trust of all those who have the advantage and privilege of knowing him.

Carol Hyatt:
Carol currently serves as the Director of our Rural Health Clinic.  Carol continuously puts the patient first in every task that she does.  She is always willing to help out any department with a challenge that they are facing.  While working full time, donating hours to community service projects, and raising a family, she made the time to continue her education by becoming a certified coder.

Carol currently works at Madison Medical Center in Fredericktown, MO.  Carol started her career at our hospital in 1997 and has served in several positions but has been a Rural Health Champion in each and every one.

Carol is always energized in her work and handles multiple tasks each and every day.  She is friendly and outgoing.  She is one of the most caring people I know and this shows with every patient and employee interaction that she has each day.  Carol oversees 8 provider offices and manages over 25 employees.

The difficulties that can be encountered as a medical office manager can sometimes be overwhelming.  I think everyone who has dealt with Carol would nominate her for this award in a heartbeat!  She is a wonderful organizer and leader for our facility and community.  Carol puts her heart into every task and is a wonderful asset.

Tom Keim:
Tom Keim has improved access to care in our county and service area by recruiting more primary care physicians and nurse practitioners to our organization.  He has seen to it that our clinics have expanded their hours to evenings and weekends which not only improves access, but helps ensure individuals have an alternative to the Emergency Department when their illness is not of an emergent nature. In addition, he has collaborated with our St. Louis affiliated hospital to bring specialists into our clinics on a weekly, biweekly or monthly basis.  He has strengthened relationships with our providers and has instilled in them the same mission and value as he has our employees.  He has supported development of Behavior Standards for physicians, nurse practitioners and our general staff.

Tom Keim lives in Ste. Genevieve and serves as our CEO.

Mr. Keim has been with the organization just over five years and began his mission to make us “the provider of choice by becoming the employer of choice”.  This has been his mantra since he came to the organization.  He continues to work to strengthen staff and providers.

Tom is highly qualified for this award as he brought the vision of improving access to care to our community and to improving the culture in which we practice.  Improvement of the culture has resulted in a more serious approach to customer service and caring, competent care.  Mr. Keim is a very patient individual, seeing the good in people.  He is appreciative of the staff who work within our organization.  He rounds daily to ensure staff has the resources to perform to their highest potential. He models the behaviors he expects.

I believe Mr. Keim is the best person for the Rural Health Champion because of his vision for improved healthcare in our rural community and his commitment and drive to improve the services to our rural community.  His manner of presentation is such that it is respectful of other views.  He diplomatically presents his views and perseveres when these views are in the best interest to improve care to our service area.

Dr. Tom Papreck:
We often hear praises about the small town boy “making it” in the big city.  Dr. Tom Papreck turns the tables on that expression as an outstanding example of the “city boy” making a big difference in a small town. Dr. Papreck, who grew up in Kansas City north, chose to set down roots in Marshall, Mo., in the 1970’s, after graduating from the University of Missouri. He has spent more than 30 years devoted to the people and lifestyle of the small community. Marshall is a town of about 13,000 people and is in a federally-designated Health Professional Shortage Area, meaning it’s tough to attract doctors to this rural area.

But Dr. Papreck never looked back.

In addition to his very busy family practice, Dr. Papreck, a father of six, has made time to give back to his community. He was founding medical director of the Saline County Ambulance District No.2, served on the Marshall Public Library Board of Directors, the Marshall Philharmonic Orchestra board, the local YMCA board and worked tirelessly on a capital campaign which brought a cancer treatment center to the community - so his patients didn’t have to make the more-than-an-hour drive to get chemo or radiation therapy. He is an active member of St. Peter Catholic Church where he sings in the choir. For the last two years he has spent one weekend a month in Diocesan classes 90 minutes away from home, in preparation for ordination as a church Deacon.

His wife, Tammy, attributes his deep faith as one of the reasons he has a keen interest in end-of-life care and a respect for his elderly patients’ wishes. He even makes house calls so that some of his patients can stay – and die, if they so choose – in their own homes, surrounded by people they love.

In addition to making those occasional house calls, Dr. Papreck is one of the few doctors to visit nursing homes in the two-county area, sometimes traveling more than 60 miles round trip. His care and concern is so meaningful to patients that he has been asked to sing at several of his former patients’ funerals. ….And he does, schedule permitting.

Colleague and fellow family practitioner Dr. Bedford Knipschild, now retired, said this of Dr. Papreck:  “Tom came to Marshall as a young doctor who, over the years, matured into a dedicated physician with a passion for caring for the people of this community.”

With the sometimes tumultuous healthcare environment full of regulatory and financial concerns, Dr. Papreck has always stayed “above the fray.” Fitzgibbon Hospital CEO Ron Ott said, “I cannot think of a doctor more worthy of an award as Rural Champion. He has given so much to this community and always puts caring for patients first.”

Dr. Papreck is planning to retire at the end of 2013, about the time he will be ordained as Deacon in the Catholic Church.

Nancy Ridgley:
Nancy Ridgley is the Director of Community Wellness and Diabetes Education at Cox Monett Hospital, Monett,
Missouri since July 2002. Nancy exercises five days per week and is definitely a role model! Nancy spends
tireless hours to encourage and support employees and the community about leading healthy lifestyles. She
recently developed a healthy living blog with many followers. She and her staff have cardiac exercises classes
and spin classes open to the public. Coworkers make statements about Nancy such as:

“Thank you for your endless hours of work to keep our community healthy!”

“Nancy, you have been an inspiration to me since I first met you and you educated me on many aspects of
healthy living.”

“Kids learn their eating habits from their parents and these are simple ways to start them on the right path. I
love how simple this is!”

Nancy is a certified diabetes educator and has positively impacted the huge need in our community. She has
coordinated an annual event called ‘Dining for Diabetes’ that raises funds to support the outpatient diabetes
self-management education program. Last March this event was attended by almost 400 people and has
raised more than $74,000 to date.

Nancy developed a 20-week weight management program called Journeys. Journeys focuses on mental,
physical and emotional health and is a lifestyle, not a diet. It incorporates three components for successful
weight loss and weight maintenance - behavior strategies, nutrition education and fitness programs.
Participants keep track of steps taken each day, food eaten and daily activity and learn how to avoid

Missouri ranks number 13 out of 50 states for prevalence of obesity. A recent study of school-age children in
Missouri determined that 24.5 percent are overweight, up from 19.3 percent in 2000. Overweight kids endure
mental and physical struggles that become more difficult with time and follow them into their teenage years
and adulthood. One in three children in this country is unhealthily overweight, and the physical and emotional
costs will shorten his or her life.

Nancy coordinates a program to educate area fifth graders and their families about early risk factors for
cardiovascular disease and diabetes called CARDIAC Kids which introduces students to the importance of a
healthy heart through a school assembly and a Web-based instruction module. Students may also have their
blood cholesterol and blood pressures screened, and get a pre-diabetes check. The student and their parents
are invited to an evening program called CARDIAC Fun, focusing on healthy food preparation and physical
activity. With a grant from Kohl’s this program recently expanded to Springfield, Missouri.

During the summer months Nancy offers a weight management program to adolescents with a BMI greater
than the 85th percentile called Committed to Kids. In the program, each member of the family weigh in, turns
in food logs, wears a pedometer and participates during class exercise. The goal is the improvement of the
child's physical and emotional well-being with weight loss and management as an added benefit.