Hospital’s Johnson selected as one of state’s top healthcare executives

June 27, 2018

Helen Johnson

Hospital’s Johnson selected as one of state’s top healthcare executives

MACKINAC ISLAND — The Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA) announced today its selection of Helen Johnson, chief nursing officer at Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital, as one of two healthcare executives in Michigan to receive its Healthcare Leadership Award. The award is being presented on Thursday, June 28 during the MHA Annual Membership Meeting on Mackinac Island.

  Each year, the MHA recognizes outstanding individuals who have provided exceptional leadership to healthcare organizations and to the health and well-being of the community. Sharing the honor with Johnson is Melany Gavulic, president and CEO of Hurley Medical Center in Flint.

  In its media statement about Johnson’s selection for the award, the MHA cited her work on safety and quality with improved patient experiences and outcomes, her influence and key decision-making in a major facility redesign undertaken by the hospital in 2013 that significantly changed the hospital’s emergency department design that resulted in improved care for behavioral health patients in crisis, her leadership as she was selected by the hospital board and medical staff to serve in a site lead  position while a new president was being recruited in 2016, her recent work developing practice councils for nursing self-governance, and development of a hospitalist service and a telemedicine service at the Ludington Hospital.

  “I’m incredibly honored and grateful for being selected by the MHA for its Healthcare Leadership Award,” Johnson said. “It’s one of the highlights of my professional career to receive this recognition, but I definitely share it with my team of nurses, nursing leaders and other clinical associates at Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital who work in tandem to lift each other up every day in order to make safe, effective patient care the focus of everything we do. I couldn’t have achieved this without all of them standing alongside me.”

  “Helen Johnson is a nurse’s nurse,” said Randy Kelley, president of the Ludington Hospital and the person who nominated Johnson for the award. “She works hard every day to ensure that nurses get the credit they deserve in their profession and opportunities for recognition. She’s also a strong advocate for patients, always keeping the focus on their best interests. In my tenure thus far at Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital, I’ve been continually amazed at what Helen accomplishes. She’s a credit to our organization and the Spectrum Health system, and we are all grateful for her leadership. This is an award that is well-deserved.”

  The Healthcare Leadership Award comes with a $1,000 donation to the charity of the awardee’s choice. Johnson has selected the Cancer Patient Assistance Fund of the Spectrum Health Foundation Ludington Hospital, which provides assistance to cancer patients for expenses they incur.



The MHA citation of Johnson’s body of work that won her the award included:

Johnson became chief nursing officer at Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital (SHLH) in 2008 and immediately impacted the hospital’s delivery of safe, high-quality care that focuses on the patient experience.

  Through Johnson’s work with the SHLH Board Quality Committee, the committee has a new focus on key quality metrics. Johnson established the clinical quality department, which concentrates on improving patient outcomes. She initiated safety rounding and daily huddles to communicate safety concerns and solutions throughout the organization. Her contributions have been recognized in organizational quality awards from Healthgrades, the Economic Alliance of Michigan and The Leapfrog Group.

  In 2013, Johnson was instrumental in creating a more accessible facility layout that includes a new main entrance, lobby, patient registration and emergency department (ED). Her thoughtfulness regarding the emergency department design resulted in a family bereavement room and improved care for behavioral health patients.

  When the position of hospital president opened in 2016, Johnson was named site lead and worked with an interim president from Spectrum Health Gerber Memoria Hospital, who was on-site part-time. Selected for her strong relationships with the board of directors and medical staff, Johnson served in this capacity until the new hospital president, Randall Kelley, was named six months later.

  Recently, Johnson established practice councils to allow for nursing self-governance, while also serving as a role model for staff rounding. Among her many contributions, she initiated a hospitalist service to improve care for newly admitted patients and developed a telemedicine service.

  Spectrum Health is a not-for-profit health system, based in West Michigan, offering a full continuum of care through the Spectrum Health Hospital Group, which is comprised of 12 hospitals, including Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital; 180 ambulatory and service sites; 3,600 physicians and advanced practice providers, including 1,500 members of the Spectrum Health Medical Group; and Priority Health, a health plan that served 996,000 members in fiscal year 2017. Spectrum Health is West Michigan’s largest employer, with 26,000 employees. The organization provided $372 million in community benefit during its 2017 fiscal year. Spectrum Health was named one of the nation’s 15 Top Health Systems—and in the top five among the largest health systems—in 2017 by Truven Health Analytics®, part of IBM Watson HealthTM. This was the sixth time the organization received this recognition.


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