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Memorial Hospital wins ICAHN's 'Innovation of the Year' Award


Memorial Hospital, Carthage, was awarded top honors in the Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network’s hospital ‘Innovation of the Year’ competition for its Outdoor Fitness Park. Participants were encouraged to submit innovations implemented at their respective hospitals which initiated a new approach to improve patient relationships, implemented a new process flow or life-safety improvement, found a creative way to motivate and inspire staff, or fostered a successful community project.

Greta Wetzel, Memorial Hospital Foundation Executive Director, accepted the honor for Memorial Hospital during a ceremony held November 9th at The Crowne Plaza, Springfield, and attended by critical access hospital leadership from throughout the state. Memorial Hospital was also represented by Cynthia Huffman, Marketing Director; Rena Willey, Revenue Cycle Director; and Florine Dixon, Chief Operating Officer.

The Outdoor Fitness Park project, dedicated towards improving the fitness opportunities of Hancock County and its surrounding areas, was completed in May 2016. The park is located on the Memorial Hospital campus, off Hartzell Lake and Evans Fitness Path, creating a beautiful outdoor area for working out. The fitness component of the park includes nine different pieces of equipment, allowing visitors to do a variety of upper body, lower body, and core exercises.

Three of the nine pieces of equipment are accessible by wheelchair. All the equipment is housed under a shelter that shades the equipment on hot days and serves as protection from inclement weather, which in turn, allows people to comfortably use the equipment on virtually any day of the year. In addition to the fitness classes, Memorial Hospital also hosted a fitness challenge that 1,200 people now follow on Facebook. The challenge included weekly workouts from local fitness instructors and local gyms that could be completed at the Outdoor Fitness Park. Each week offered new workouts and a new prize incentive for participating.

The hospital ‘Innovation of the Year’ Award is given annually to the critical access hospital project that ICAHN’s Education Committee and other esteemed judges deem the most innovative or inspiring for the hospital, its employees, patients, and community.

“With this beautiful outdoor fitness park, Memorial Hospital has created the perfect catalyst to jump-start a physical fitness regimen or to re-energize those already exercising with the beautifully landscaped pathway and the serene lake setting,” said Pat Schou, ICAHN Executive Director. “Memorial Hospital has managed to help its patients, its employees and staff, and its entire community by creating this fitness park. They should be exceptionally proud of their accomplishments, and we applaud them for this innovation.”

‘Innovation of the Year’ Honorable Mention honors were given to OSF Holy Family Medical Center for its ‘Healthy Weight…Healthy You’ obesity program and to Kirby Medical Center for its Patient Satisfaction – PIEC Committee work.

Pictured are Rena Willey, Florine Dixon, Greta Wetzel, and Cynthia Huffman.