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Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital Recognized by Planetree for Meaningful Progress in Patient-Centered Care

Awards & Recognition

Willits, CA – Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital (HMH) has been awarded Planetree Bronze Recognition for Meaningful Progress in Patient-Centered CareHMH is the second health care organization in California to be awarded Bronze-level recognition since Planetree first introduced the recognition level in 2012.

What distinguishes Planetree Recognition among other health care quality awards is its distinctive focus on a patient-centered care model. In this model, health care professionals partner with patients and families to identify and satisfy the full range of patient needs and preferences. The recognition is awarded based on a variety of factors, including performance on traditional quality indicators, review of policy documents and, most importantly, how patients and staff assess the hospital’s patient-centered culture.  Bronze Recognition was awarded to HMH following a series of focus groups with patients and their loved ones and staff from all disciplines of the hospital. Considered collectively, these discussions with patients and staff attested to a genuine culture of patient-centered care.

“The experience of Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital shows what can be accomplished when a team of deeply committed, supremely innovative and highly-driven caregivers take the courageous leap to redefine priorities and reorganize systems to put patients first,” shared Susan Frampton, Planetree’s President.

As a Planetree affiliate, the achievement of Bronze Recognition by HMH is a significant milestone in the organization’s journey of the patient-centered care model, evidencing that effective policies, practices, tools, and systems are in place to meet a broad range of patient, family, and professional health care giver needs and preferences.

According to Chief Nursing Officer and Vice President of Patient Care at HMH, Karen Scott, MSN, “I think HMH has always been patient centered. As a small community hospital, we’ve always had a culture of accountability because we see the patients we treat in the hospital all over town. Planetree has helped us add structure and milestones for us to achieve. Having “room service” for our meal delivery system is a huge improvement and is very popular with our patients. The other big accomplishment is the formation of our Patient Family Advisory Council (PFAC), which meets quarterly and allows former patients and families to share their experiences with us and share areas where we can make improvements.

The program is an extension of Planetree’s established Patient-/Resident-Centered Hospital Designation Program, the only program to recognize excellence in patient-/resident-centered care across the continuum of care and around the world. Health care organizations awarded Planetree Designation undergo a rigorous process to demonstrate comprehensive implementation and maintenance of patient-/resident-centered care, as captured in more than 50 specific criteria.

“We first set out on this journey in March of 2011,” reflects Diane Moratti, director of health information management at HMH, who has been instrumental in the open medical record policy, “From the beginning our goal was to help foster and enhance the HMH S.P.I.R.I.T (Service is sacred, Patient-centered care, Inspire each other, Respect for all, Improve, and Trust) by incorporating the Planetree principles. For me, I feel the biggest impact has been seeing employee participation on all levels – learning from each other, and meeting other people that work at HMH that I never had an opportunity to engage with prior to our Planetree journey.”

The criteria includes a shared medical record policy, nonrestrictive visiting practices, opportunities for patient/resident and family input into health center operations, healthy and flexible meal options, recognition of the role of spirituality and the arts in healing, and a physical environment that facilitates privacy, promotes open communication between patients/residents and providers, and accommodates family members’ involvement in their loved one’s care. Recognizing that ultimately the patient/resident experience originates with those providing care, several criteria focus on nurturing a work environment that is supportive of staff.

Arpad Peter, director of laboratory services at HMH and co-chair of the Planetree steering committee with Becky Hope, director of auxiliary volunteers, both resonate with the fact that enhancing the patients experience enhances the employee experience as well, “We truly are ‘Neighbors Helping Neighbors’. So many of our employees are willing to contribute in any way they can and make themselves available for any of the projects we’re working on. So many appreciate that their voice is able to be heard and that they can make a visible contribution to patient care. It ultimately is the passion and dedication of our staff that makes HMH such a good place to be when you need to get well. Simply, we do our best, and let God do the rest!”

“Planetree awards Bronze Recognition for Meaningful Progress in Patient-Centered Care to celebrate organizations’ progress along the culture change journey,” said Frampton.  “In this spirit, we look forward to witnessing how the team at Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital builds on this achievement to take its commitment to delivering patient-centered care to even greater heights.”

Photo Cut Line: Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital is one of only eight health care facilities in the world to receive Bronze Recognition for Meaningful Progress in Patient-Centered Care from the Planetree organization.


Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital is part of Adventist Health, a faith-based, not-for-profit integrated health care delivery system serving communities in California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington. Our workforce of 28,900 includes more than 21,200 employees; 4,500 medical staff physicians; and 3,200 volunteers. Founded on Seventh-day Adventist health values, Adventist Health provides compassionate care in 19 hospitals, more than 170 clinics (hospital-based, rural health and physician clinics), 14 home care agencies, six hospice agencies and four joint-venture retirement centers. We invite you to visit for more information.