Published on October 27, 2017

Health Care Foundation Celebrates 25th Anniversary with record-breaking event

October 27, 2017 – A record 214 attendees filled the Elms Grand Ballroom on Thursday, Oct. 19 as the Excelsior Springs Health Care Foundation presented its prestigious Commitment to Caring Awards to three unsuspecting hospital employees. The awards were part of the foundation’s annual dinner and auction event, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

As the new hospital CEO, Kristen DeHart, presented the awards, Tonya Deason, Nanette Houck and Jennifer Pantleo were surprised to learn they were this year’s recipients.

Deason serves as the hospital’s Director of Radiology, a position she obtained in 2015 after serving as a technician.

“Tonya is an incredible advocate for her patients, her staff and for the entire hospital. Having been certified in almost all aspects of Radiology, Tonya is extremely knowledgeable of her department,” DeHart shared. “In addition to her full time position, Tonya led our very successful Ladies Night Out event. This event takes months to plan and Tonya made it her personal mission to seek out donations from not only vendors in Excelsior Springs, but the entire metro area. While holding her staff at a very high level of professionalism, she refuses to ask them to do anything that she is not willing to do herself. Many nights, Tonya will provide on-call coverage when needed and will show up after already putting in eight or nine hours in the day shift, and then after a few hours of sleep, will be up and back to work the next morning. You will be hard to find anyone who will out-work, Tonya.”

Houck serves as the hospital’s Assistant Administrator and CNE/Risk Manager and has been an employee of the hospital since 1983.

“Nanette has held many positions at the hospital and was instrumental in setting up the hospital’s outpatient department. She has been directly involved in many activities that have resulted in positive change for Excelsior Springs Hospital and has dedicated 34 years to this organization,” DeHart said.

“Near the end of 2016, Nanette assumed the role of Interim CEO, in addition to the other hats she wears daily: that of the Chief Nursing Executive, Assistant Administrator and Risk Manager. When other organizations might have thrown in the towel after losing their long-term leader, Nanette lead the team to reach out to the community to strengthen and rebuild the foundation,” DeHart said. “Nanette kicked off the physician recruitment efforts, solidifying employment commitments from Doctors Hoffman, Thornton and Standley to join the Excelsior Springs Hospital physician services. Working countless hours with little time off, Nanette gained the respect of not only hospital staff and physicians, but also the community as the rebuilding process began.”

Houck won this same award in 1997, and the nominations committee unanimously agreed that twenty years later, her solid performance and leadership shown in the past year was certainly award-winning and exceeded all criteria deserving of this second nomination.

Pantleo joined the hospital in 2002. She was hired as the Admitting Supervisor and was promoted in April 2016 to the Business and Admitting Office Director position.

“This is not the first time Jenny has been honored for her outstanding work and dedication,” DeHart said. “She was an Employee of the Quarter in 2005 and was selected as the 2006 Employee of the Year. Jenny also received the prestigious Leadership Award in 2013.”

“Jenny takes her role at ESH very seriously and always goes above and beyond,” DeHart continued. “She has been a big part of some great, new initiatives in the business office since assuming the director role. These include new billing practices and the introduction of CarePayment to our facility. Whenever approaching an issue, Jenny always ensures that our patients’ needs are met. She is a great leader to her staff and is always looking out for their interests as well. When volunteers are needed for various events on and off the hospital campus she is one of the first to offer her assistance.”

In addition to the award ceremony presented in front of the record attendance of 214 individuals, silent and live auctions helped the foundation raise a record breaking $28,000 from items donated by over 110 local businesses and community neighbors.

The Excelsior Springs Health Care Foundation was established to help provide needed financial support for the Excelsior Springs Hospital. Each year the foundation raises money to help purchase new equipment, fund patient care, enhance educational programs, expand existing services and create new ones. The goal remains to help the hospital continue to meet the ever-changing needs of the patients, staff and community.

Foundation Director Jeanne Buckman said, “The foundation relies on charitable support from our community to help maintain a distinguished standard of excellence. It always amazes me how giving and compassionate this community is. To all those who participated, one way or another, thank you for your generosity and continued support.”


The Excelsior Springs Standard Newspaper

By Brian Rice •