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Media Room

News Releases / 2008

Volunteer Health Group Honors CMHS for its Patient Care

Ventura, California, 12/18/2008

The West Coast Region of the Volunteer Health Association has honored Community Memorial Health System in three award categories for it continuing efforts to find new ways to improve the quality of care for its patients.

CMHS earned the Community Benefit Certificate of Recognition for its childhood immunization program at its Centers of Family Health offices as well as an Award Trophy for its HealthAware: Heart program. In addition, Meg Larramendy, R.N., earned the Passion Award trophy for her dedication as CMHS's Director of Nursing Resources. All were honored at VHA's 2008 Member Spotlight Awards celebration on Nov. 13 in Newport Beach.
The VHA recognized CMHS's nine Centers for Family Health offices for its work in immunizing children. In 2005, CMHS received a three-year grant to train over 90 staff members - medical assistants, licensed nurses and center managers - to enter and track immunization data in the newly-formed Central Coast Immunization Registry.

An initial high-risk group of children - infants to 2-year-olds - was identified, and during the past three years the centers have immunized over 21,000 children in the targeted age group with over 54,000 vaccinations. Additionally, CCIR records show that 93 percent of children in the targeted aged group that come through the centers' doors are appropriately and fully immunized.

Kimberly Bridges, R.N. and B.S.N., Interim Site Director for CMHS's Centers for Family Health, said the Centers remain committed to exceeding their 90 percent goal for successful immunizations. She added the Centers have recently been approved for a new CCIR grant, beginning in 2009, to increase immunization rates for a new target group: children ages 9 to 18.

"Our organization is committed to providing access to care for at-risk children and adolescents by facilitating timely immunization services while providing a medical home for these children," Bridges said. "Our staff understands the importance of collaboration, and has welcomed the training and technical assistance of the CCIR.  We know that using this computerized registry will continue to improve the immunization rates for children in our region while decreasing duplicate services that increase costs."

CMHS's HealthAware: Heart program, launched in March 2007, is an online screening service for early detection of heart disease. Individuals can participate by visiting and click on the "HealthAware: Heart" icon to take an interactive 7-minute online personal health risk questionnaire. Each participant is given an immediate personalized and confidential report that indicates their overall risk of developing cardiovascular disease, as well as ways to reduce it.

If participants meet certain clinical criteria, they are given the opportunity to meet with a Community Memorial Hospital cardiac clinician for a free, no-cost, no-obligation consultation.

A hard-copy version of the health risk questionnaire is also available to individuals who do not have access to a computer, "and there are still a lot of people who don't," Andrea Ricketts, M.S.N., N.P., HealthAware: Heart Coordinator, pointed out. "We make sure that everyone has the opportunity to take advantage of the program."

 "I'm very happy we won the award," Ricketts added. "We're a free resource helping the community, and it's important that people know their risk factors because heart disease is the No. 1 killer of both men and women."

Meg Larramendy, who has been with CMHS for 15 years, was honored for the infectious enthusiasm she on the job, whether she's treating patients, supervising the nursing staff or serving as CMHS's liaison with the California State University Channel Islands and Ventura College nursing programs.

"I make it a point to have fun in a line of work that is serious most of the time," Larramendy said. "I'm honored that they were thinking of me."

VHA serves 1,400 not-for-profit hospitals and more than 21,000 non-acute care health care organizations in 16 regions nationwide. The West Coast Region encompasses California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Nevada, Alaska and Hawaii.