October 2002

St. Gabriel's Hospital, Little Falls, Minnesota

St. Gabriel’s Hospital, part of Unity Family Healthcare, Little Falls, Minn., is leading the market-based organization’s effort to improve workplace safety. St. Gabriel’s conducted extensive assessments of every department to identify where work redesign could increase employee safety. These improvements are often simple, such as new lifting apparatus to assist the long-term care staff. In addition, St. Gabriel’s developed prevention and education programs to increase safety awareness and an incentive policy that helps the staff achieve yearly safety goals. St. Gabriel’s also believes that its in-house workers’ compensation manager needs to be an advocate for employees, ensuring that injured employees receive the necessary accommodations to return to work quickly. These efforts have paid off: workers’ compensation claims decreased from 98 in 1996 to 41 in 2001; total losses related to workers’ compensation decreased from $250,000 to $61,000; and workers’ compensation premiums have fallen 31 percent. St. Gabriel’s has been was awarded the Governor’s Occupational Safety and Health Award from the state of Minnesota for the past three years.

St. Gabriel’s also has a priority to serve the residents at St. Otto’s Care Center through the hospital’s pharmacy. During the past two years, resident utilization of the pharmacy has nearly doubled. Using St. Gabriel’s pharmacy gives St. Otto’s residents access to new prescriptions or changes in their medication immediately after physician rounds. Often, St. Gabriel’s pharmacists can implement medication changes before retail pharmacies open for the day. Residents can start their new medications or dosages faster, avoiding delays that may prolong the healing process. Because St. Gabriel’s adjoins St. Otto’s, residents do not have to leave the campus to get their medication, and the pharmacists are easily accessible to residents and their physicians.