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Triumph Among Challenges: A Look Back at 2020

Posted on January 4, 2021 in Awards

The year 2020 was challenging for many reasons, and as 2021 begins, Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center wants to thank our community for your support during these unprecedented times and for practicing healthy measures to keep yourselves and others safe.

Even in the midst of a pandemic, Fort Sanders Regional continues to meet the needs of a growing community, and we reflect now on the accomplishments of 2020.


Expanding Emergency and Critical Care

In 2018 Fort Sanders Regional launched a $115 million expansion project to “Raise the Roof” of the Center for Advanced Medicine and increase the hospital’s emergency and critical care capacity to better serve the community. In March 2020 Fort Sanders Regional began receiving patients in its newly constructed emergency department.

The department features:

  • Nearly double the number of patient rooms and square footage compared to the previous space
  • Dedicated public and ambulance entrances
  • A separate waiting area for test/procedure results
  • Radiology suite with CT scanner and X-ray services within the department
Covenant Health leaders and Knoxville’s City and County mayors help cut the ribbon on Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center’s newly renovated emergency department.
Covenant Health leaders and Knoxville’s City and County mayors help cut the ribbon on Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center’s newly renovated emergency department. From left to right: Jay Fitzsimmons, Covenant Health Board Chair; Dr. Ed Brock, Medical Director of Fort Sanders Regional’s Emergency Department; Jim VanderSteeg, Covenant Health President & CEO, Keith Altshuler, Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center President & Chief Administrative Officer; Indya Kincannon, City of Knoxville Mayor; Glenn Jacobs, Knox County Mayor.

“This emergency department was designed with the patient in mind,” said Keith Altshuler, president and chief administrative officer of Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center. “The efficient design and advanced technology will allow us to continue to care for the region with high quality healthcare.”

The new emergency department is located in the lower level of the hospital’s Center for Advanced Medicine and has a dedicated entrance off Laurel Avenue for patients and visitors. In December, Fort Sanders Regional opened a new ambulance bay off 19th Street, providing direct access for emergency personnel.

In early 2021 Fort Sanders Regional will complete construction of two new critical care floors located atop the Center for Advanced Medicine and 250 new parking spaces in the existing Laurel Garage.

Read more about the new Emergency Department.


The BEST Care for Our Youngest Patients

At Fort Sanders Regional, we consider caring for newborns and their families a special privilege, and in 2019 our labor and delivery staff welcomed 3,158 new babies into the world!

BEST for Babies graphicOur hospital was one of four Covenant Health hospitals to receive the “BEST for Babies” award in 2020. This award, presented each year by the Tennessee Hospital Association and the Tennessee Department of Health, recognizes hospitals for successfully increasing breastfeeding initiation rates, minimizing early elective deliveries and promoting healthy sleep practices for babies.

The award focuses on:

  • B – breastfeeding
  • E – early elective delivery reduction
  • S – safe sleep
  • T – for Tennessee babies

Other Covenant Health hospitals receiving 2020 BEST for Babies awards include Parkwest Medical Center in Knoxville, LeConte Medical Center in Sevierville and Methodist Medical Center in Oak Ridge.

Thanks to our physicians, nurses and staff members who provide excellent care, security and comfort for newborns and their families.

Read more about the BEST for Babies Award.


Celebrating Stroke and Cardiac Excellence in 2020

Every 40 seconds, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke. Stroke is also the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S., according to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA). Knowing where to go in the case of a stroke can mean the difference between life and death.

Stroke Care

Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center received five quality achievement awards in 2020 from AHA/ASA for stroke care. In receiving the achievement awards, Fort Sanders Regional met specific achievement measures with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients.

2020 Get with the guidelines award

The AHA/ASA Get With The Guidelines-Stroke® Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award recognizes Fort Sanders Regional’s commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment based on the latest scientific evidence and guidelines. To qualify for this recognition, hospitals must meet stringent quality measures developed to reduce the time between the patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with the clot-buster drug known as tissue plasminogen activator (tPA).

Receiving the association’s Target: Stroke Elite Plus Honor Roll award places the hospital in the top ranks of stroke centers in the United States. Additionally, Fort Sanders Regional received the association’s Target: Type 2 Diabetes Honor Roll award. To qualify for this recognition, hospitals must meet specific quality measures with more than 90 percent compliance for 12 consecutive months for the “Overall Diabetes Cardiovascular Initiative Composite Score.”

Heart Care

Mission: Lifeline Gold Plus receiving 2020

Fort Sanders Regional was also recognized by The American Heart Association for demonstrating a commitment to following evidence-based guidelines for timely heart attack treatments.

For excellent cardiac care, Fort Sanders Regional received the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline® Gold Plus Receiving Quality Achievement Award for timely treatment of heart attack patients through emergency procedures to re-establish blood flow to blocked arteries in heart attack patients when needed.

Mission Lifeline- NSEMI 2020

In addition, the hospital received the Mission: Lifeline® NSTEMI Silver Quality Achievement Award for implementing specific quality improvement measures for the treatment of patients who suffer heart attacks.

First and Best Choice

These achievements reinforce Fort Sanders Regional’s standing as a Stroke Center of Excellence and the only facility in the region to hold both a Comprehensive Stroke Center certification from The Joint Commission and two separate stroke accreditations from the Commission on the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. The designations also support Fort Sanders Regional’s Heart Center’s reputation for comprehensive cardiovascular services and treating patients with some of the most complex cardiac issues in the region.


Recognizing Nurses Who Make a Difference

Fort Sanders Regional congratulates two outstanding nurses who earned special recognition this year. The Trinity Health Foundation presents clinical staff in East Tennessee with the Silver Lamp Award each year, providing honorees with continued education opportunities. To increase knowledge and proficiency in their field, recipients of the Silver Lamp Award receive funding for tuition, certifications and trainings that result in additional expertise and skill for serving our patients.

Jamie Chambers and Kelly SmithJamie Chambers, RN, and Kelly Smith, RN, were Fort Sanders Regional’s 2020 recipients of the Silver Lamp Award. Each received a scholarship from Trinity Health Foundation to assist them with continued education.

Chambers is an enterostomal nurse working toward a secondary degree. Her nominator recognized Chambers’ proactive approach in treating her patients and her constant willingness to educate other nurses in her area of expertise.

Smith is the nurse manager of Fort Sanders Regional’s pulmonary unit, and also is pursuing a secondary nursing degree. She is instrumental in training others on the job, and her leadership inspires her team to provide the best care possible, leading to improved patient outcomes.