WellSpan Health has received a national patient safety award in recognition of its Central Alert Team, a group of nurses remotely saving lives in Lebanon and elsewhere.

The 2019 John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Award is an annual award made by the National Quality Forum and the Joint Commission that recognizes “the best examples of individual, local, and national efforts to improve patient safety and health care quality.”

WellSpan was announced as the “Innovation in Patient Safety and Quality at the Local Level” recipient earlier in May and is the first Pennsylvania health system to receive the honor in 15 years, since the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in McKeesport received it in 2004.

The Central Alert Team is a remote group of nurses who monitor patients’ vital signs around the clock and alert bedside teams when signs of sepsis or other dangerous changes in the data appear. WellSpan estimates that the group has saved the lives of over 350 patients and has “achieved Top 10 percentiles in sepsis mortality performance at every hospital compared to peers nationally, as well as Top 1 percentile for the largest WellSpan Health hospital,” according to the award listing.

Tammy Sullivan, who lived to celebrate her 49th birthday with family after recovering from sepsis discovered by the Central Alert Team. (WellSpan)

One of the patients thankful for the Central Alert Team workers is Tammy Sullivan, who almost lost her life when she developed a case of sepsis while staying at WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital in Lebanon. Sullivan, who is herself a case management manager at the hospital and a nurse with nearly three decades of experience, spoke about how “grateful I am to all of those people who saved my life. It’s a surreal feeling.”

Sullivan was losing consciousness in her hospital bed before her bedside team rushed in following an alert sent out by the Central Alert Team. It was discovered that she had developed a serious abdominal infection. “If I wasn’t being monitored, no one would have found me,” Sullivan stated.

A Central Alert System nurse, Angela Mays, stated that the infection could have been lethal. She and the rest of the team on watch that night had to follow a gut feeling: “this one is sick, something is not right here and I’m going to intervene on their behalf.”

The Eisenberg Awards were begun in 2002. In the 2019 award listing, WellSpan was selected for recognition in part due to its “system-wide approach demonstrating an innovative combination of technology and trained medical staff to save lives and engage in early sepsis intervention.”

President and CEO of WellSpan Health Roxanna Gapstur, Ph.D., R.N., stated in the release that “this prestigious honor is a testament to [their teams’] innovation while finding a better way to improve the health of our communities.”

Do you know a Lebanon County business with an interesting story to share? Give us advice on what to feature next!

Give the gift of local journalism.
If you are thankful for what LebTown brings to the community, consider joining our cause as a member. Members get an inside look at our publishing schedule each week, plus invites to our members-only Facebook group and happy hours.

Sign up for an annual membership using the link below, and we’ll give you a free LebTown mug at the next happy hour.

Learn more and join now here.

Full Disclosure: WellSpan Health is an advertiser on LebTown. LebTown does not make editorial decisions based on advertising relationships and advertisers do not receive special editorial treatment. Learn more about advertising with LebTown here.

Josh Groh is a Cornwall native and writer who began reporting for LebTown in 2019. He continued to regularly contribute to LebTown while earning a degree in environmental science at Lebanon Valley College, graduating in 2021. Since then, he has lead conservation crews in Colorado and taken on additional...


LebTown membership required to comment.

Already a member? Login here

Leave a comment

Your email address will be kept private.