SFHS Launches CICC Project

St. Francis Health Services advocates for Quality of Care and Safety in their Long Term Care Centers under new Infection Control Grant

St. Francis Health Services (SFHS), Morris, MN, is excited to launch their Controlling Infection Challenges Creatively (CICC) Project as a result of being awarded the Minnesota Nursing Facility Performance-based Incentive Payment Program (PIPP) grant by the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS).  Over the next two years, the CICC Project will allow SFHS to develop, revise, and expand their infection prevention and control programs in their thirteen skilled nursing facilities; Aitkin Health Services, Browns Valley Health Center, Chisholm Health Center, Franciscan Health Center (Duluth), Farmington Health Services, Guardian Angels Health & Rehab Center (Hibbing), Koochiching Health Services (Littlefork), Little Falls Health Services, Pennington Health Services (Thief River Falls), Renville Health Services, Viewcrest Health Center (Duluth), West Wind Village (Morris), and Zumbrota Health Services.

Although the care centers within the SFHS network already have policies and procedures in place to prevent infections, this grant will allow them to thoroughly assess and evaluate further what more can be done to reduce the rate of infections.  We will implement evidenced based practice guidelines to provide the safest and most effective care to those residents who make our care center their home. The overall infection prevention and control policy, systems, and environments of the care center will be affected.  This will include enhancing surveillance, accurately identifying infections, performing timely reporting, doing extensive investigations, advocating for proper treatment, reducing the overall rate of infection, and preventing the spread of communicable diseases.

SFHS will develop additional training protocols and resource materials for residents, family, nursing, and all other departments.  The grant will expand the role of the infection control nurse, who will receive specialized training and certification.  Additional training opportunities will be made available to staff working in environmental, housekeeping, and dietary services also.

The timeliness of this grant coincides with a national trend towards reducing infection and transmission rates within the healthcare industry, especially long term care facilities. Antibiotic Stewardship is a key component of the grant and resources, training, and guidance pertinent to antibiotic use will be provided to all its care centers. The plan is to collaborate further with our healthcare partners, medical directors, attending physicians, and consultant pharmacists to assist in setting up standards of practice and guidelines to allow for the best outcomes for our residents needing care for infections.

Marla Miller, Registered Nurse/Public Health Nurse, is the Corporate Grant Coordinator for SFHS.  Miller states, “This is an excellent opportunity for St. Francis Health Services and our thirteen skilled nursing facilities to really make an impact.  In public health nursing, it is the goal to not only focus on the individual, but on the overall population and what contributes to the overall health and wellbeing of that group. Understanding the various types of infections that are common within this population and recognizing the factors that make these individuals susceptible to illness and disease is key in controlling and reducing infection rates.  When we pull the data, assess the information, and look at our numbers, we know that within this population there is an individual person represented.  That person is someone’s spouse, parent, grandparent, sibling, etc.  We know that what we do on this level affects each one of our residents.  That affect not only transcends to those residing in our skilled nursing facilities, but to their loved ones and community.  I look forward to partnering with our entire team to make improvements where necessary and to enhance those areas where we are already excelling.  Each facility has its strengths and it is the goal to build upon those strengths for the benefit of our residents and the staff working there.  It is the hope that SFHS will be a shining example of what can be done as we advocate for further improvement in the quality of care that we provide. ”

The CICC Project began January 1, 2017 and will continue through December 31, 2018.  SFHS is a faith-based, not-for-profit healthcare organization.  In addition to their skilled nursing facilities, they offer a variety of services that include customized/assisted living, a full range of therapies, senior housing, transitional and skilled nursing care, and behavioral and residential programs throughout the state of Minnesota.

Working Group on Elderly Waiver Reform Begins Design Work

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Working Group on Elderly Waiver Reform Begins Design Work

On March 30, 2016 by Kari Thurlow
One of our top policy priorities is to develop a proposal to reform the state’s Elderly Waiver program so that it more adequately covers the cost of care and incentivizes quality improvement. Our goal is to develop a proposal to discuss with legislative candidates during the election cycle later this year and to introduce a reform bill in the 2017 legislative session.
A joint working group has been appointed to take on the task of designing a proposal that can be considered for approval by the LeadingAge Minnesota Board and the Long Term Care Imperative later this year. The group is comprised of representatives from the LeadingAge Minnesota and its partner in the Long Term Care Imperative.
Many thanks to the LeadingAge Minnesota members and business partners who have agreed to serve on this working group:

  • Danielle Lesmeister, Director for Community Services, St. Francis Health Services
  • Dustin Lee, Chief Operating Officer, Prairie Senior Cottages
  • Mary Jo Thorne, Regional Director of Housing, Augustana Care
  • Courtney Blomquist, Housing Manager for Assisted Living, Cerenity Residence on Humboldt
  • Mark Anderson, President and CEO, Knute Nelson
  • Barb Blumer, Barb Blumer Law
  • Annaliese Peterson, Vice President of Operations, Walker Methodist

At this first meeting, the group focused on identifying the key issues that should be addressed by a reform proposal. Potential issue areas to address include the following:

  • Revamp the Customize Living rate setting tool
  • Identify a way to better capture behaviors/mental health needs
  • Better define what constitutes “client change”
  • Provide that a defined level of payment would be set for each case mix classification
  • Define standards for the time allotted and approved for specific services
  • Address MA calculation related to rent/food allowance
  • Allow reimbursement through waivers to go back three months from the date of application if the client was actually eligible at that time

There was also an initial discussion on the overall goals and values that the reform should achieve.
The next meeting of this reform group will be on April 19 and will focus on the assessment process and customized living tool and workbook.
As always, please feel free to contact me at if you have any questions or to share your thoughts on Elderly Waiver reform.

A member of SFHS’ Corporate Compliance Committee is appointed to Judicial District court bench


Amy Doll, attorney and member of the St. Francis Health Services Corporate Compliance Committee, was celebrated for her appointment to the 8th Judicial District Court bench.  We thank her for her commitment to St. Francis Health Services and wish her the best of luck!

Continue reading “A member of SFHS’ Corporate Compliance Committee is appointed to Judicial District court bench”

St. Francis mourns the loss of a member of it’s senior leadership

Scott JacksonScott Patrick Jackson was born on February 20th, 1961, in Duluth, Minnesota. He was the son of John and Helene (Moran) Jackson, the sixth born of eight children. Scott was baptized as an infant and later confirmed in his Catholic faith.   Scott attended college at the University of Minnesota and St. Cloud State University, from where he graduated in 1984 with a bachelor’s degree in health sciences and a masters in gerontology.   Scott excelled in his career as a nursing home administrator – his professional colleagues spoke highly of him as a fair, decisive leader and hardworking team member. Continue reading “St. Francis mourns the loss of a member of it’s senior leadership”