MHA Announces Winners of 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award, Best Places to Work and more

HELENA, MONT. (October 4, 2021) – The Montana Hospital Association is pleased to announced recipients of its top honors for 2021 by highlighting healthcare heroes, innovative hospitals and a host of individuals and organizations dedicated to excellence in care. The awards include best places to work and the annual lifetime achievement award. The winners of the Montana Healthcare Awards for 2021 are:

  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Kelley Evans, Red Lodge. Ms. Evans began her role as CEO in the early nineties when Lutheran Health Systems announced its decision to close Carbon County Memorial Hospital. She led the charge to help save the hospital from closure and over the past 30 years, has led the organization through building the new hospital during the 2008 financial crisis and numerous strategic decisions to position the current Beartooth Billings Clinic as a strong and community rooted organization. Not only has she been a strong leader, Kelley has never lost the passion for quality patient care and safety that she began her nursing career with in 1978. Her work has always been founded in a core belief that rural communities deserve the same access and quality of care as those in urban communities.
  • Trustee of the Year Award: William Bekemeyer, Missoula. Dr. Bekemeyer serves on the Providence Montana Community Mission Board of Directors.
  • Innovation in Healthcare Award: Logan Health – Whitefish, for its Shared Leadership Model. The Shared Leadership model is a nurse-driven project that empowers nursing staff to manage and express their practice with the highest level of professional autonomy. The project is credited with increased job satisfaction that resulted in the hospital’s retention rate of 99.8% for 2020.
  • Caregiver of the Year Award: Marion Cooper, Director, Providence St. Joseph Assisted Living. As Director of Providence St. Joseph Assisted Living, Marion Cooper’s pre-emptive actions resulted in not only zero COVID-19 deaths but zero COVID-19 infections within the Assisted Living facility for 18 months. In addition, Marion spent the year finding creative ways to ensure residents remained busy, safe and stimulated.
  • Community Partnership Award: Beartooth Billings Clinic, Red Lodge for its Carbon County COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics. Beartooth Billings Clinic partnered with a total of 25 public, private and governmental organizations to deliver 20 vaccine clinics throughout the county from January 2021 to May 2021.
  • Leadership in Quality and Patient Safety: Providence St. Joseph Medical Center, Polson. Providence St. Joseph Medical Center committed to a multi-disciplinary infection prevention plan which resulted in five years and 5 months without a case of hospital onset C. difficile infection, the single most common pathogen responsible for healthcare-associated infections in the United States.
  • Excellence in Behavioral Health Service Award: SCL Health Montana, for the combined initiatives of its three facilities, St. James Healthcare (Butte), St. Vincent Healthcare (Billings) and Holy Rosary Healthcare (Miles City).
  • Best Place to Work:
    • Large Hospital: Billings Clinic, Billings.
    • Small Hospital: St. Luke Community Healthcare, Ronan.
  • Quality Program of the Year (awarded by the Montana Flex/Performance Improvement Program): St. Luke Community Healthcare, Ronan. This award recognizes excellence in performance and quality improvement among Montana’s smallest rural hospitals, also known as Critical Access Hospitals.

“Every day, healthcare heroes give their time, talents and hard work to help heal their neighbors. At the same time, Montana hospitals are working around the clock to keep the lights on for our communities. It’s our honor to take a moment to showcase the individuals and organizations who are leading the way to make Montana stronger and healthier,” said Rich Rasmussen, Montana Hospital Association CEO. “We encourage you to learn more about these well-deserving award recipients and join us in saluting their amazing efforts to go above and beyond in their service to others.”

The Montana Hospital Association (MHA) is the principal advocate for the interests of members in their efforts to improve the health status of the communities they serve. MHA, in partnership with our communities, will make Montana a “Top 10 Healthy State.” Learn more here.


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