Tag Archives: kansas

Spotlight on Kansas PCMHI Journey: Meet Debbie Pennington

When I took this position in January of this year, I was concerned that I would have many roadblocks when attempting to assemble a fantastic team that can support each other in the effective delivery of patient-centered care.  And, while there have been a few bumps in the road, a few battles to wage, and hills to climb, the journey has already been rewarding.

So, for the next few weeks I’m going to share some profiles of people that have committed to joining me on this journey.  I am in awe of their dedication to the patients and communities they serve.  I am equally in awe of their willingness to go the extra mile to take on the difficult challenge of health delivery transformation.

So, if you will, please join me as I repeat that famous SNL chant from Wayne and Garth “We’re not worthy!  We’re not worthy!” and appreciate those that lead the way…

Meet Debbie Pennington

Debbie Pennington RN, BSN, Neonatal Medical Home Coordinator-Nurse Navigator with the Department of Pediatrics-Division of Neonatology at University of Kansas Physicians.

Try saying that fast 3 times.

And in reality, if you’re really looking at her credentials, you would also add…Patient Centered Medical Home Champion, Super Woman, and fantastic human being.

Now, try to cram all of that on one business card.

You can’t.  But Debbie can.  And she can manage all of these responsibilities and proficiently perform all of these roles every day.

I’ve been fortunate to recently meet and work with Debbie and Dr. Prahbu Parimi, MD, Professor of Pediatrics, Chief, Division of Pediatric Neonatology with KU Pediatrics at the University of Kansas Medical Center as they have both taken on yet another role as participants in the Kansas PCMHI Health 3.0 Program.  I am excited, and yes in awe, that I have the opportunity to work with them and their teams over the next 2 years.  My hope is that I’ll get to keep them on my personal list of business associates for life – far after our grant has run its course.

Now Debbie, not being one to slack, will also be sharing the story of patient-centered care at the National Perinatal Association (NPA) 2011 conference: Winning the Race in Providing Quality Perinatal Care – Practicing Good Nutrition and Prevention of Infection from October 20-22, 2011 in Louisville, KY.  She’ll be presenting the Neonatal Medical Home as a plenary session on Saturday, October 22, from 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

We are so thrilled that she and her team are part of our broader Kansas PCMHI team.

As some of you know, the Kansas Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics is a founding member of our KPCMHI Coalition aka they got the ball rolling toward PCMH in Kansas.  So, it’s thrilling to witness first-hand the transformation in pediatrics to a higher level of patient-centered care at the KU Neonatal Medical Home.  And to be in “awe” of the people that make it happen.

Thanks Debbie!


Margaret Mead, Rush, and The Other Guys

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead US anthropologist (1901 – 1978)

It’s been awhile since I’ve heard these words of encouragement.  It was refreshing to hear Cyndy Nayer, President and CEO for the Center of Health Value Innovation share these assurances at the Wichita Business Coalition on Health Care meeting this past week.

When pondering change on a global level, I believe that many of us often find ourselves caught somewhere between how much influence we can have on a grand scale and what is completely beyond our scope of influence.  It’s the completely beyond part that seems to paralyze us from the start. 

We have not only lost faith in the system, but more importantly we have lost faith in each other.  Without that faith it’s hard for many of us to find the courage necessary to take the first step forward.  We assume that if we do, even those that believe as we do will keep quiet, stay at the back of the line, and keep their heads down.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that everyone is without this faith.  There are several that still believe.  They are scattered among us.  I am one of the scattered.  But I too often feel trapped in that “Can I really make a difference?” mental argument. 

But I’m not a fan of paralysis.  And, I’m definitely not a fan of doing nothing.  One of my favorite bands, Rush, pointed this out in their powerful song, Free Will: “Even if you choose not to decide you still have made a choice.” I choose free will. Not how do I find, as Margaret Mead so eloquently stated, that “small group of thoughtful, committed citizens” that can indeed impact change for the better?

This is why I have taken the post as the Kansas Coordinator for the Patient Centered Medial Home Initiative.  Not, because I’m excited about the acronyms, or the title, but because in this role, my goal is to find those committed individuals.  I am hoping you as a reader of this blog are one of the committed. 

Health care is a great example of an important dimension of all of our lives that feels so completely beyond our control.  I’m not in this to be the hero or the savior of health care, I am in it to influence health care for the better and find others like me that want to do the same.

I’ll close with a short dialogue between Terry (Mark Wahlberg) and Allen (Will Ferrell) from The Other Guys

Terry: …the city is dying for a hero.

Allen: Really?

Terry: Yeah

Allen: What about 9 million socially conscious and unified citizens all just stepping up and doing their part?

What do you think?


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