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401 Meeker St Delta CO 81416 970.874.4421

Melissa Palmer charged with hospital quality

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Photo submitted Jeanine Finnell, RN (left) retired recently as quality director at Delta County Memorial Hospital. Melissa Palmer, RN (right) was promoted to take her place.

Melissa Palmer, RN is taking over the duties and responsibilities of quality director at Delta County Memorial Hospital, as Jeanine Finnell, RN retired recently.

"Melissa has the personality and dedication to provide leadership in defining, implementing and integrating quality, safety and efficiency strategies into the organizational processes," said chief clinical officer Jody Roeber. "Our goal of continual process improvement will be overseen by Melissa and the team of quality professionals at Delta hospital. It is our goal to see every department in the hospital demonstrating strategies for continual improvement to offer the highest level of care to our community."

Palmer grew up in Paonia, and after 20 years in Texas returned home to the North Fork Valley. She obtained her RN in 2002 from McClennen College in Waco, Texas. For six years she worked as a nurse on a telemetry unit at Central Texas Medical Center in San Marcus, Texas. Since 2008, Palmer has worked the hospital's ICU for three years, at HopeWest Hospice for two years and in the DCMH case management department before accepting the promotion to quality director.

She will manage risk management, infection control/employee health, meaningful use, quality assurance, the information technology nurse, wound care, HCAHPs, compliance, patient advocate and case managers.

"I am thrilled to have this new opportunity at DCMH. We are striving to provide the highest quality of care for those that we serve. We are continually looking for process improvement to better meet the needs of our patients," Palmer said.

There have been some recent changes in the quality department, with Elaine Sakala, RN taking over risk management, infection control/employee health and continuing her duties as a clinical documentation specialist. She has been a registered nurse for 30 years and has worked for the Delta hospital for 15 of those years.

Jessica Bates, RN is now in charge of the patient portal, working on accreditation for the hospital with DNV, and is the clinical resource RN for information technology.

Ramona Frazier, RN is the core measures coordinator and documents meaningful use. Jackie Robirds, with a master's in social work, is the part-time patient advocate who also works hourly with DCMH's home health department. Carol Rustebakke, RN, another longtime hospital nurse, is now in charge of wound care, along with CNA Joyce Smith.

Case managers are resource nurses, educators and coordinators of care. They serve as a liaison between patients in the hospital and outside agencies to ensure that patients leaving the hospital have appropriate care and services after discharge. DCMH case managers include Michelle Dean, RN, Hilary Showalter, RN, Julie Barton, RN, and Cynthia Pace, RN.

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