Summit Awards [2017]

2018 marks the 18th anniversary of the HealthCare Service Excellence Conference and the prestigious Summit Awards. Over the past 18 years we have presented 265 Summit Awards and 585 Pinnacle Awards (introduced in 2005) to individuals and organizations who represent the very “Best of the Best” in Service Excellence. We would like to thank everyone, past and present, for creating such a rich history of Service Excellence. Without you, this Night of Excellence would not be possible.

The HealthCare Service Excellence Summit Awards and Night of Excellence ceremony is a North American-wide recognition program established by the HealthCare Service Excellence Conference. This unique celebration recognizes exceptional Service Excellence by awarding nominees a Pinnacle Achiever award. Pinnacle Achievers in each of the 15 award categories are also eligible to receive the prestigious Summit Award, which recognizes significant achievement and dedication in improving initiatives in the following areas:

• The quality of service to patients/customers.

• The quality of work life for professionals.

• The performance of organizations.

Summit Award Recipients
   2018     2017     2016     ALL    



Pinnacle and Summit Awards Recipients

Pinnacle statusis awarded to the top 3 (or 4) nominees in each category.
Click on the Grey Bar to see the 2017 Summit Award Recipient.

Service Excellence Advisor

A team leader and role model who encourages and supports others to improve

  • Sharon Rupp, Chippewa County Montevideo Hospital, Montevideo, MN
  • Kyle Lowery, Harrisburg Medical Center, Harrisburg, IL
  • Jim Tompko, Sarah D. Culbertson Memorial Hospital, Rushville, IL
  • Celia Nelson, Tri Valley Health System, Cambridge, NE
The 2017 Service Excellence Advisor Summit Recipient is…
Sharon Rupp

Sharon Rupp from Chippewa County Montevideo Hospital.

Accepting Award is Leah Lehtola


Service Excellence Mentor

A role model with a positive attitude, who assists, motivates and guides SEA’s

  • Mark Bauer, Aspen Valley Hospital, Aspen, CO
  • Shaun Rattin,CHI St. Alexius Health - Dickinson, Dickinson, ND
  • Brittany Schwans, Sioux Falls Specialty Hospital, Sioux Falls, SD
The 2017 Service Excellence Mentor Summit Recipient is…

Shaun Rattin

Shaun Rattin from CHI St. Alexius Health - Dickinson.

Accepting Award is Michael Bayer


Exceptional Nurse

Provides outstanding levels of compassion and quality care. Is supportive, a good listener and is always improving

  • Heather Bussmann, Community Memorial Healthcare, Marysville, KS
  • Amber Davis, Good Shepherd Health Care System, Hermiston, OR
  • Janice Stagg, Grand River Health, Rifle, CO
  • Ginger Nixon, Providence Medical Center, Wayne NE
The 2017 Exceptional Nurse Summit Recipients are…

Ginger Nixon

Ginger Nixon from Providence Medical Center


Exceptional Employee

Provides exceptional service to both patients/customers and fellow employees

  • Rhonda Chavarria, Adams Memorial Hospital, Decatur, IN
  • Barb Hiepler, Chippewa County Montevideo Hospital, Montevideo, MN
  • Duane Splichal, CHI St. Alexius Health - Dickinson, Dickinson, ND
  • Doris Woerner, Community Memorial Healthcare, Marysville, KS
The 2017 Exceptional Employee Summit Recipient is…

Doris Woerner

Doris Woerner from Community Memorial Healthcare


Empowering Manager

A true leader who encourages individuals to achieve great results

  • Leonard Sutton, Community Memorial Healthcare, Marysville, KS
  • Amy Newkirk, Fredonia Regional Hospital, Fredonia, KS
  • Lucas Bradshaw, RN, Good Shepherd Health Care System, Hermiston, OR
  • Annick Pruett, Grand River Health, Rifle, CO
The 2017 Empowering Manager Summit Recipient is…

Annick Pruett

Annick Pruett from Grand River Health

Accepting Award is Caryn Hettler


Customer Focused Physician/Provider

Professional and respectful, with compassion for those they serve

  • Dr. Seeley Feldmeyer, Artesian Valley Health System, Meade, KS
  • Andrea Thayer, CPNP-PC, Minneola Healthcare, Minneola, KS
  • Dr. Melissa Dobbins, Providence Medical Center, Wayne, NE
  • Mardie Long, APRN, Wilson Medical Center, Neodesha, KS
The 2017 Customer Focused Physician/Provider is…

Dr. Seeley Feldmeyer

Dr. Seeley Feldmeyer from Artesian Valley Health

Accepting Award is Steve Stewart


Service Excellence Advisor Team

A team with positive attitude, who combine their frontline enthusiasm and skills for the betterment of all

  • M & M, Adams Memorial Hospital, Decatur, IN
    Carrie Binegar, Tisha Rodriguez, Paige Dixon
  • ABC & T, Minneola Healthcare, Minneola , KS
    Ashley Boyd, Brett Holler, Cassie Pucket, Tessa Thomas
  • Good Vibrations, Sioux Falls Specialty Hospital, Sioux Falls, SD
    Angela Olson, Vickie Riedel, Jacqueline Barrick, Kelsey Moen
The 2017 Service Excellence Advisor Team Summit Recipient is…


ABC & T, from Minneola District Hospital

Accepting Award is Cassie Pucket



An innovative group of leaders, working together, to effect improvement

  • Speak UP, Aspen Valley Hospital, Aspen, CO
    Jo-Dee Russell, Julie Mathias, Louie Carder, Lori Maloy, Dave Ressler, Nettie Kremer, Stacy Curtis, Melody Durham, Mike Kimbel
  • Trophy Wives & Four Guys, Community Hospital, McCook, NE
    Stacey Aguilar, Rachel Berry, Chelsey Hartwell, Sarah Wolford, Pat Tuller, Blake Bethell, Darin Carfield, Candy Crosby, Tammy Kolbet, Jon Reiners, Laci Ingels
  • HOMIES, Tri Valley Health System, Cambridge, NE
    Barb Helberg, Ciprian Galarneau, Deanna Weaver, Diana Swindler, Jamie Shifflet, Marcus Anderson, Mark Harpst, Sydney Holmes
The 2017 OASIS Team Summit Recipient is…

Speak UP

Speak UP from Aspen Valley Hospital


DO IT Improvement

Defining dissatisfiers, taking action, creating improvement

  • Green Up Clean Up, Aspen Valley Hospital, Aspen, CO
    Amy Behrhorst, Karra Sabol
  • Quiet Time, Dundy County Hospital, Benkelman, NE
    June Magnani, Ashley Toft, Sara Wimer, Alicia Aldridge, Laken Vrbas, Rita Jones, Ashley Knapp
  • Responsiveness to Call Lights, Sioux Falls Specialty Hospital, Sioux Falls, SD
    Angela Olson, Tamara Young, Dan Wonnenberg, Addy Russell, Angie Janes
The 2017 DO IT Improvement Team Summit Recipient is…

Responsiveness to Call Lights

Responsiveness to Call Lights from Sioux Falls Specialty Hospital

Accepting Award is Marla Hassler


Super Coach

Provides exceptional leadership, encouragement and guidance

  • Kelly Thornton, Artesian Valley Health System, Meade, KS
  • Paula Winkler, Community Memorial Healthcare, Marysville, KS
  • Phyllis Zilm, Grand River Health, Rifle, CO
  • Ross Ebbers, Tri Valley Health System, Cambridge, NE
The 2017 Super Coach Summit Recipient is…

Ross Ebbers

Ross Ebbers from Tri Valley Health System


Service Excellence Program Director

A pillar in the organization; leads, motivates, listens, communicates and coaches

  • Sandy Noffsinger, Dundy County Hospital, Benkelman, NE
  • Devin Goldman, Good Shepherd Health Care System, Hermiston, OR
  • Caryn Hettler, Grand River Health, Rifle, CO
  • Pamela Greene, Middlesboro ARH Hospital, Middlesboro, KY
The 2017 Assistant Program Director Summit Recipient is…

Sandy Noffsinger

Sandy Noffsinger Dundy County Hospital


Service Excellence Council

Dedicated, committed to the vision, ensuring exceptional teamwork with forward momentum

  • Dundy County Hospital Service Excellence Council, Dundy County Hospital, Benkelman, NE
    Laken Vrbas, Renee Fink, Wendy Elkins, Trista Jesch, Jody Latta, Kortne Schorzman, Cathy Broz, Miranda Marlin, Alicia Aldridge, Jessie Kerchal, Rita Jones, Sandy Noffsinger, Karen Metzger, Sara Wimer, Ashley Toft
  • Middlesboro ARH Service Excellence Council, Middlesboro ARH Hospital, Middlesboro, KY
    Vicki Thompson, Melanie Harris, Michael Slusher, Pam Greene, Rae Hensley, Melissa Ramsey, Chris Thompson, Joe Horton, Andrew Lambdin, Jennifer Owens, Gabrielle Mike, Alice Kraft, Billy Joe Davis
  • SFSH Service Excellence Council, Sioux Falls Specialty Hospital, Sioux Falls, SD
    R. Blake Curd MD, Kelly King, Marty Appelhof, Marla Hassler, JoAnn Hirsch, Kristina Wong, Carmen Schrank, Heather MacDonald, Kathy Brodie, Dustin Rhody, Jaime Northrup, Alana Willis, Theresa Hanten, Brittany Schwans, Krista Boom
The 2017 Service Excellence Program Director Summit Recipients are…

Middlesboro ARH Service Excellence Council

Middlesboro ARH Service Excellence Council from Middlesboro ARH Hospital

Accepting Award is Michael Slusher, Vicki Thompson, Pam Greene, Judy Gulley, Kacy Robbins


Inspiring Administrator

An individual with energy, professionalism, and a commitment to improvement

  • Rita Jones, Dundy County Hospital, Benkelman, NE
  • Dennis Burke, Dennis Burke, Hermiston, OR
  • James (Jim) Frank, Providence Medical Center, Wayne NE
  • Patti Thompson, San Luis Valley Health, Alamosa, CO
The 2017 Inspiring Administrator Recipient is…

Dennis Burke

Dennis Burke from Johnson Regional Medical Center


Medical Clinic of Choice

A medical clinic that embodies Service Excellence in the capacity of compassion and education

  • Quality Healthcare Clinic, Dundy County Hospital, Benkelman, NE
  • Minneola Healthcare Community Clinics, Minneola Healthcare, Minneola, KS
  • WorkFORCE Occupational Health, Sioux Falls Specialty Hospital, Sioux Falls, SD
The 2017 Medical Clinic of Choice Summit Recipient is…

WorkFORCE Occupational Health

WorkFORCE Occupational Health from Sioux Falls Specialty Hospital

Accepting Award is Jon Crow


Hospital Provider of Choice

A market leader for employee retention and patient satisfaction

  • Minneola Healthcare, Minneola, KS
  • San Luis Valley Health, Alamosa, CO
  • Sioux Falls Specialty Hospital, Sioux Falls, SD
The 2017 Hospital Provider of Choice Summit Recipient is…

Midwest Pain Specialists

San Luis Valley Health in Alamosa, CO

Accepting Award is Patti Thompson and team


The 2015 Founder's Award

An individual or organization who best demonstrates and lives the meaning of Service Excellence

The Founder's Award recipient is Marla Hassler, of Sioux Falls Specialty Hospital in Sioux Falls, SD


Legacy Award

An individual who embodied the meaning of Service Excellence and left a legacy that is reflected in all the lives they touched.


This past year has been a challenging year for many hospitals, and for our Custom Learning Systems family, as we had to say goodbye to one of our beloved Implementation Specialists, and dear friend – Greg Efta.

The best way to describe Greg’s remarkable contribution and focus on the patient experience is to share a few comments made by the clients he worked with:

The entire CLS family still grieves, but our lives have been enriched and we are better people, because of the impact he had on us, and for the all too short of a time we were privileged to have him with us.

Accepting the award on behalf of Gerg is his wife, Heidi and his eldest daughter, Maggie.


Sioux Falls Specialty Hospital is a community and regional leader in quality, patient focused care, and service excellence. The hospital has maintained a 5 Star HCAHPS score since the inception of the rating, and their beautiful environment is complimented by their dedicated and enthusiastic staff.

San Luis Valley Health cares about patients, the community, their employees and the entire Valley! They are involved in many community events and volunteer opportunities, and through Senior Rounding and improved communication, employee morale is high and turnover is low.

The compassion and dedication that MDH shows to their community and patients is truly one of a kind. Their efforts to provide the highest standards of care not only benefit the hospital, but the way healthcare is perceived in the community. Their mantra is "We Treat You Like Family."

This clinic strives to provide excellent service to patients as well as client partners. The clinical leaders make an intentional effort to cheer for the staff and help them see the bigger picture of exceptional patient care and experience.

These clinic leaders and providers strive toward excellence through patient satisfaction and employee morale. Their dedication has lead to weekly referrals who have heard about their exceptional care “through the grapevine.”

Despite changes in management, nursing staff, reception and providers, providing great patient care has remained the focus of this clinic. Efforts to improve communication and patient comfort have raised overall satisfaction to 93.5%

Patti is an inspirational champion of “Service Excellence.” Her creativity, leadership, and decisiveness are inspiring models for others. She has the perfect mix of clinical expertise, managerial judgement, and patient perspective.

Jim leads by example and empowers everyone to contribute and participate in Service Excellence. His focus is patient satisfaction, and he has a genuine passion for PMC, its patients and employees - it shows in everything he does.

Dennis understands the impact that genuine employee engagement has on staff and patients. He went all-in, helping reinvigorate the organization to achieve excellence and become the healthcare system of choice for their community.

Rita has been making a positive difference at DCH for 41 years. She consistently portrays the attitude and promotes the culture that she wants to see. She puts patient care first, and expects every employee to do the same.

This Council is based on four cornerstones: People, Performance, Progress, and Service. They have been a driving force for change, and have provided support and clarity to all staff on the Initiative’s purpose and overall goals.

This Council initiated positive changes with complete transparency, limiting the rumor mill and giving staff an opportunity to be heard. They are role models in word and deed, from hosting “Fun Fridays” to empowering staff “Super Powers!”

This Council has the drive and tenacity to face any issue. Through changes and setbacks, the Council has held fast and kept the ship heading in the right direction. They believe in taking “good” service to “great” service, one encounter at a time.

Pamela’s drive, organizational talents, and leadership skills have made a difference in the success of the Service Excellence Initiative. She keeps everyone accountable by modelling the behavior expected from managers and frontline staff.

Caryn is animated, enthusiastic, and always looks on the bright side. Her energy and positive attitude never wavers, and her intelligence and compassion has been the driving force behind the personal and professional growth of the staff.

Devin accepted the role of PD with open arms. She is detail oriented, optimistic, and she understands what it takes to achieve Service Excellence. She has become the face and voice of the organization when it comes to customer experience.

Sandy has been a leader since the minute she was given the PD role. She has the best interest of the hospital and community in mind, and she does everything with a smile. Her mission has always been to EMPOWER the frontline.

Ross’ reassuring nature sets him apart from other mentors. His steady and warm assurances give his SEAs confidence in their roles. He arrives early, leaves late, and never asks his employees to do more than he is willing to do himself.

Phyllis is the epitome of a “coach.” She continuously chips in whenever and wherever needed, and she contributes her valuable insights and humor to the Council. She expects the best and elevates all those around her to be their best.

Paula exemplifies everything a coach should be. She’s a well-respected leader, a positive role model, and she has the best interest of the team at heart. Her support for the SEAs is unwavering, and she has a kind word for everyone she meets.

Kelly is dependable, efficient and unfailingly punctual. She is fully committed to the success of the OASIS teams, and she created an atmosphere of creativity and ownership. She is flexible, mindful of others, and passionate about what she does.

This group was formed to identify problems and discuss solutions to enhance patient satisfaction. Their ingenuity and ‘outside the box’ ideas turned this HCAHPS domain into a positive experience for every patient.

This team made a big impact on patient satisfaction with little cost to the hospital. By restricting paging during Quiet Time, and producing new posters, they have improved patient care, ensured happier customers, and boosted HCAHPS scores.

Green Up Clean Up recognized the need for improved recycling and green product knowledge at AVH. Taking on this initiative demonstrates their commitment to stewardship of our natural resources, and also reduced waste management costs.

This team realized that a major part of increasing retention was finding and hiring a good cultural fit in the first place. As a result, employee turnover is down 10% and new hires have values and standards that match Tri Valley’s expectations.

Recognizing that happy staff lead to happy patients, this team revamped their awards and recognition process. After asking all staff how they would like to be recognized, employees feel validated and the turnover rate has decreased 1.86%.

This team was challenged with creating an environment where staff feel comfortable speaking up. By investing their time, energy, and talent, their efforts exceeded all expectations and helped improve a culture of trust.

Good Vibrations stands for good vibes, good energy, positivity, and fun! Not only did this team excel in teaching service excellence, they were able to build confidence while keeping everyone captivated and engaged.

This group came up with excellent skits that had each attendee laughing one moment and crying the next. Their dedication improved morale by encouraging a better relationship between the patients, residents and employees

This team has shown amazing dedication to Service Excellence and an incredible willingness to go outside their comfort zones. Team Stop It’s energy and enthusiasm has helped improve the morale and culture of their organization.

Mardie is compassionate, caring, and puts the patient first. She is a role-model for her clinic staff and colleagues, and she has a “can do” attitude, and she helps employees develop skills for self-improvement, whether clinical or non-clinical.

Dr. Dobbins treats patients and staff with respect, kindness and a caring heart. Her great smile and quiet manner are very comforting to patients, and she always makes an effort to treat their emotional needs as well as their physical ones.

Andrea is an excellent teacher and treats all staff with the upmost respect. Word of her excellent care has spread like wildfire. She is always smiling, and lights up a room just by walking in. Her love for her job is an inspiration to all of us.

Dr. Feldmeyer is a natural leader. Patients are staff are calmed by his steadfast and dependable presence. A pillar of the community for 37 years, Dr. Feldmeyer doesn’t let anything stand in the way of exceptional patient care.

Annick uses words of encouragement to uplift and compliment all employees. She is motivating in word and action, always brainstorming new improvements, and continually propels everyone with her enthusiasm.

Lucas has encouraged many of the staff to “step up” and participate in Service Excellence; he provides the tools and the time for his staff to engage in meetings, projects and huddles. He leads by example and pushes his employees to be better.

Amy is always looking for ways to encourage staff to get back to basics and remember they are there for the patients. She puts positive quotes on her door to encourage everyone, and she always has a smile and a great attitude.

Leonard empowers his staff and gives them a voice to create and implement change. Staff members take pride in their accomplishments, and they are realizing how their opinions and voices can make a difference to the organization.

Doris is willing to help out whenever and wherever she can. She’s eager to learn, always developing new skills to better assist peers and patients, and holds herself to a higher standard. Her thoughtfulness and compassion truly set her apart.

Duane has demonstrated reverence, integrity, compassion and excellence in his daily work for the past 36 years. He encourages and lifts up his coworkers every day without even knowing it, never asking for recognition in return.

Barb is extremely driven and efficient, and genuinely wants to help those around her. Her positive personality and demeanor make her a joy to work with. She puts others first and always gives 100% of herself into every endeavor.

Rhonda is an exceptional employee because she works quietly, tirelessly, and efficiently without expecting recognition; she jumps right in and starts helping with a smile or kind word. She has a special way of making others feel important.

Ginger adds a shining, positive light to everyone’s day. She has a smile for each person she sees, and her positive personality is infectious. She believes everyone should work together for the benefit of patients and their families.

Janice lives service and clinical excellence in her daily life. She always looks for ways to improve both herself and her department; her smile and compassionate words help patients and peers alike. She is a true care-giver!

Amber’s wonderful personality naturally draws in patients, visitors, and peers. She always comes to work with a can-do attitude, ready to make a difference. Amber provides valuable feedback and ideas to improve the organization.

Heather positively influences patients and peers, and she can take charge in situations that need a leader. She commits to being there for her patients, and doesn't let outside influences affect her performance or patient care.

Brittany is always one of the first staff to volunteer for projects and services. Patient feedback often names Brittany as a kind, warm and caring person, and she is always looking for an opportunity to improve processes.

Shaun really put his heart into the SEI process, and when asked to become a mentor he accepted the challenge with no hesitation. He spoke to the new SEAs and gave them a confidence boost - his positive attitude is contagious!

Mark is an honest, caring, and genuine mentor. His mentorship to new SEAs has been a driving force in many amazing improvements around the hospital, as well as employees’ personal growth. His positive attitude has had a huge impact.

Celia has relentless enthusiasm for the SEI process. Her level of commitment to customers is unparalleled, and took it upon herself to create programs and learning opportunities for Tri Valley, and she is their #1 cheerleader.

Jim is an exceptional person both personally and professionally. He continually goes out of his way to set an example of customer service, and he consistently approaches every situation with a winning attitude.

Kyle serves his community by serving them with compassion and dignity. When others don't have time, he creates time – whether it’s giving patients extra attention, working on LEAD projects or assisting the Program Director.

Sharon has truly taken service excellence to heart. She has become a go-to person for advice, support, and encouragement, and she continually promotes and encourages participation in all aspects of the initiative.