CHOC Chief Nursing Officer Honored for Excellence in Leadership

Melanie Patterson, vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer (CNO) at CHOC Hospital, was recently honored with the Excellence in Leadership award by the Association of California Nurse Leaders.  Given to an inspirational leader committed to providing expert, compassionate care for children and their families, the honor is awarded for making a significant contribution to nursing leadership.

In Patterson’s three years as CNO— within a total of 24 years at CHOC—she has focused on building leadership skills for nurse managers and ensuring the highest level of patient care quality. She supported the Nursing Research Fellowship and Evidence-Based Scholars programs to empower nurses to develop competency in the research process. She helped launch Innovation Beach Day, an off-site summit of registered nurses and other health care professionals, facilitated by innovators including representatives from Google. Melanie is also a strong proponent of CHOC’s nurse residency program, dedicated to training the next generation of pediatric nurses.

“This award is a testament to CHOC’s overall commitment to support our world-class patient care staff as we work to nurture, advance and protect the health and well-being of children in our community,” Patterson says. “I feel honored to have seen CHOC through so much growth, and to be part of caring for the hundreds of thousands of children entrusted to us.”

Patterson originally joined CHOC in a volunteer capacity and has served in various roles through the years: bedside nurse, charge nurse, clinical coordinator, nurse manager, and executive director of neonatology, Heart Institute and the Hyundai Cancer Institute. She also served as executive director of south tower activation when CHOC opened a new state-of-the-art patient care tower in 2013.

CHOC Named One of the Safest Hospitals in the Nation

CHOC Hospital has once again been named a “Top Hospital” by The Leapfrog Group for providing the safest and highest quality health care services to patients.  CHOC is one of only nine children’s hospitals in the nation—and the only one on the West Coast— to earn the prestigious distinction.

“CHOC is committed to becoming the world’s safest children’s hospital. While this is a never-ending journey, being named as a Top Children’s Hospital for the eighth time by the Leapfrog Group suggests we are on the right track. Leapfrog has always emphasized patient safety as the top priority, one with which our patients, families and partners would no doubt agree. It’s a humbling honor, and serves as both encouragement and motivation to continue our efforts to provide the safest, highest quality care possible,” said Dr. James Cappon, chief quality officer, CHOC.

The selection of Top Hospitals is based on the results of the 2016 Leapfrog Hospital Survey. Performance across many areas of hospital care is considered in establishing the qualifications for the award, including infection rates and a hospital’s ability to prevent medication errors. The rigorous standards are defined in each year’s Top Hospital Methodology.

“Being acknowledged as a Top Hospital is an incredible feat achieved by less than three percent of hospitals nationwide,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “With this honor, CHOC has established its commitment to safer and higher quality care. Providing this level of care to patients requires motivation and drive from every team member. I congratulate CHOC’s board, staff and clinicians, whose efforts made this honor possible.”

Dr. Sudeep Kukreja Recognized by California Medical Association for Increasing Local Members

Dr. Sudeep Kukreja, associate medical director of the neonatal intensive care unit at CHOC Hospital and medical director of the hospital’s newborn hearing screening program, has received the Dev. A. GnanaDev Membership Award from the California Medical Association (CMA). The award is given to the CMA physician member residing and practicing in California who during the past year significantly increased members in his area.

Through Dr. Kukreja’s advocacy, Orange County Medical Association’s (OCMA) membership has grown by close to 300 members.

CHOC Children's

“I feel good that more physicians are learning about the great work that OCMA does and are becoming members,” Dr. Kukreja said. “That really means a lot to me.”

As past president of OCMA and member of CMA’s Legislative Committee, Dr. Kukreja goes to Sacramento a few times a year to provide education and seek reform on current issues affecting the medical profession and health care delivery. He is also a CMA delegate.

Among his efforts, Dr. Kukreja is lobbying in support of proposition 56, which would increase taxes on cigarettes and in turn, fund health care and dental disease prevention programs for underinsured patients, including Medi-Cal.  Funds would also support research for smoking-related diseases, among other initiatives.

Dr. Kukreja has been recognized by the CMA in the past for his extensive volunteer work. Through his nonprofit volunteer medical organization, Arpan Global Charities, Dr. Kukreja and other medical professionals have provided free health care and supplies to countless underserved areas around the world. He and his team of volunteers plan to go on their next medical mission to Colombia, in February. Locally, he participates in many charitable clinics and health fairs.

Dedicated to clinical excellence, Dr. Kukreja is the director of quality improvement in the NICU at CHOC, and is board certified in neonatal-perinatal medicine.  He served his fellowship and residency at UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange and at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, respectively. He completed his internship and medical training at King George’s Medical College in Lucknow, India.

Dr. Kukreja will be formally recognized on October 16 at the 145th CMA Annual House of Delegates in Sacramento.

CHOC Specialist Appointed to CalOptima Board

A CHOC specialist has been appointed to CalOptima’s board of directors.

Dr. Paul Yost, chair of CHOC’s anesthesiology division, was sworn in Aug. 4.

Paul Yost, M.D.

He was appointed by the Orange County Board of Supervisors as one of six new members to guide the agency that administers health insurance programs for low-income children, adults, seniors and people with disabilities in Orange County.

“I am honored to join the CalOptima Board of Directors,” Dr. Yost said. “This role presents an exciting opportunity to serve our community’s children and families in a new way.”

He attended medical school at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Dr. Yost performed his anesthesiology residency at UCLA and his pediatrics residency at the University of Miami.

Dr. Yost’s CalOptima seat is reserved for a physician who is affiliated with a contracted health network. His term ends in August 2020.

U.S. News Ranks CHOC Among Nation’s Best Children’s Hospitals

U.S. News & World Report has named CHOC one of the nation’s best children’s hospitals in the 2016-17 Best Children’s Hospitals rankings. CHOC ranked in eight specialties: cancer, neonatology, neurology/neurosurgery, pulmonology, orthopedics, gastroenterology and GI surgery, diabetes and endocrinology, and urology, which earned a “top 25” spot on the coveted list.

According to U.S. News, the Best Children’s Hospitals rankings are intended to help parents determine where to get the best medical care for their children. The rankings highlight the top 50 U.S. pediatric facilities in 10 specialties, from cancer to urology. Of the 183 pediatric medical centers participating in the survey, only 78 hospitals ranked in at least one specialty.

“The Best Children’s Hospitals highlight pediatric centers that offer exceptional care for the kids who need the most help,” said U.S. News Health Rankings Editor Avery Comarow. “Day in and day out, they deliver state-of-the-art medical care.”

For its annual list, U.S. News relies on extensive clinical and operational data, and on an annual survey of pediatric specialists. Survival rates, adequacy of nurse staffing, procedure volume and much more can be viewed on .

In addition to being honored by U.S. News, CHOC has been distinguished, multiple times, as a Leapfrog Top Hospital for demonstrating excellence in hospital safety and quality.

Additional accolades highlighting CHOC’s commitment to the highest standards of care and performance include the gold-level CAPE Award from the California Council of Excellence, a honor for which CHOC was the only children’s hospital recognized in the state; Magnet distinction for nursing excellence; gold-level Beacon Award for Excellence, a distinction earned twice by CHOC’s pediatric intensive care unit team; a 2015 “Most Wired Hospital”; and The Advisory Board Company’s 2016 Workplace Transformation Award and the Workplace of the Year Award. Inspiring the best in her team, CHOC’s President and CEO Kimberly Chavalas Cripe was named a winner of the EY Entrepreneur of The Year® 2015 Award in the “Community Contributions” category for Orange County and Inland Empire.

CHOC PICU Honored for Exceptional Patient Care

The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) recently conferred a gold-level Beacon Award for Excellence on the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) at CHOC Hospital. This is the second time CHOC has earned the gold-level distinction.b logo-edit yr 09-10 1fThe Beacon Award for Excellence— honoring exceptional patient care and healthy work environments—recognizes PICU caregivers who successfully improve patient outcomes and align practices with AACN’s six Healthy Work Environment Standards. Units that achieve this three-year, three-level award with gold, silver or bronze designations meet national criteria consistent with Magnet Recognition, the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and the National Quality Healthcare Award.

Beacon Award logo

Beacon logo“The Beacon Award for Excellence recognizes caregivers in stellar units whose consistent and systematic approach to evidence-based care optimizes patient outcomes. Units that receive this national recognition serve as role models to others on their journey to excellent patient and family care,” explains AACN President Karen McQuillan, RN, MS, CNS-BC, CCRN, CNRN, FAAN.

CHOC’s PICU earned a gold award by meeting the following evidence-based Beacon Award for Excellence criteria:

  • Leadership structures and systems
  • Appropriate staffing and staff engagement
  • Effective communication, knowledge management, learning and development
  • Evidence-based practice and processes
  • Outcome measurement

About the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses: Founded in 1969, the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) is the largest specialty nursing organization in the world. AACN joins together the interests of more than 500,000 acute and critical care nurses, and claims more than 235 chapters worldwide. The organization’s vision is to create a healthcare system driven by the needs of patients and their families in which acute and critical care nurses make their optimal contribution.

CHOC Honored as a National Leader in Driving Employee Engagement

CHOC was recently awarded The Advisory Board Company’s 2016 Workplace Transformation Award and the Workplace of the Year Award for its commitment to fostering and maintaining high levels of employee engagement. CHOC is the only organization to receive both awards.

“CHOC’s mission to nurture, advance and protect the health and well-being of children is accomplished through ongoing feedback from our employees. Engaged employees are more innovative, enthusiastic, productive and committed to provide the very best patient and family care. This critical feedback that CHOC leaders receive each year, drives our commitment to our employees to be the best place to work,” said Tom Capizzi, CHOC’s vice president, human resources.

Engaged employees, as defined by The Advisory Board Company – a leading health care, research and education performance improvement firm – are those who exhibit both loyalty and commitment to the organization. The award recognizes CHOC’s commitment to creating a best-in-class work environment for its employees.

“Our award winners have demonstrated an impressive ability to inspire an increasing level of engagement in their staff – among the largest transformations across the country,” said Steven Berkow, executive director, Survey Solutions at The Advisory Board Company.

CHOC was among five award recipients to receive the Workplace Transformation Award, and among 20 award recipients to receive the Workplace of the Year Award.

CHOC Hospital Earns National Distinction for Safe, Quality Care

The Leapfrog Group has once again named CHOC Hospital to its annual list of Top Hospitals, distinguishing CHOC’s commitment to providing the safest, highest quality health care.  CHOC is one of only 12 children’s hospitals in the nation and only two in the state to earn the respected award.

The selection is based on results of The Leapfrog Group’s annual hospital survey, which measures hospitals’ performance on patient safety and quality, focusing on three critical areas:

  • How patients fare
  • Resource utilization
  • Management structures established to prevent errors

Performance across many facets of hospital care, including survival rates for high-risk procedures and ability to prevent medication errors, is considered in establishing the qualifications for the award.

“Leapfrog’s Top Hospital award is widely acknowledged as one of the most prestigious distinctions any hospital can achieve in the United States,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group.  “Top Hospitals have lower infection rates, better outcomes, decreased length of stay and fewer readmissions.  By achieving Top Hospital status, CHOC has proven it prioritizes the safety of its patients, is committed to transparency, and provides exemplary care for children and families in Orange County.  I congratulate the hospital’s board, staff and clinicians whose efforts achieved these results.”

See the full list of 2015 Top Hospital honorees.