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New Book Tells Story of MCMC's Planetree Transformation


Published on 6/11/2009
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Since the early 90s, numerous media reports have told the story of Mid-Columbia Medical Center's efforts to change for the better the way patients experience hospitals.

Now the hospital that many say has written the book on how to create a true patient-centered healing environment has had an entire book written about it. "Courage to be First:  The Journey of Mid-Columbia Medical Center Becoming the First Planetree Hospital in America" was recently published by Second River Healthcare Press.

MCMC has planned a special book-signing party on Thursday, June 17 at 5pm at the MCMC Experience Center, located at 1709 East 19th Street. "Courage to be First" tells the story of MCMC's dramatic transformation over the last two decades, beginning with the hospital's implementation of the Planetree model of care in the early 90s.  MCMC's story was written by Dick Baltus, as told by former CEO Mark Scott, current CEO Duane Francis and many hospital employees, with Leland Kaiser, Ph.D., offering commentary after each chapter.

Baltus is a consultant and writer, who served as the MCMC's part-time public relations director during the Planetree implementation and continues to work with the hospital today. Kaiser is a renowned healthcare futurist, motivational speaker and authority on America's healthcare system.

Scott, who now lives in Redmond and is a partner in a healthcare-experience consulting firm based in Colorado, will be attending the book-signing party.

"Courage to be First" is targeted at readers in the healthcare management industry, as well as any business committed to improving customer service.  Like the hospital itself, the book has received enthusiastic reviews.

B. Joseph Pine, co-author of "The Experience Economy" (named one of The Best 100 Business Books of All Time) wrote:  "There is not a hospital in the world - or any company in the healthcare field, for that matter - that could not benefit from this enlightening book."

And from John Nance, the author of "Why Hospitals Should Fly":  "The very concept of a true patient-centered hospital - the vision of patients actually being partners in their own care - should have never been a radical idea.  But somehow along the evolution of healthcare, it became just that.  'Courage to be First' is the story of how a visionary hospital CEO made it live again in the form of a Planetree Hospital.  What the concepts of St. Michael's (Hospital) do for patient safety and quality, 'Courage to be First' does for the long-dormant soul of American Healthcare."


President/CEO Francis says the book will serve as a lasting tribute to Scott, the hospital board and management team, and all the physicians, nurses and employees who over the years have remained committed to a vision that began as a bold experiment and has turned into a way of life at MCMC.

"It took a lot of vision, and frankly a lot of guts, to attempt something that was considered so revolutionary at the time," Francis says.  "This was an industry that was not very comfortable with change in the early 90s, and to attempt to change the status quo, at least in this small corner of the world, really required a leap of faith."

"I think it's very appropriate that the story of how that happened successfully at MCMC be chronicled. Courage to be First will serve as a lasting tribute to all the people who ensured this hospital became a true place of healing that was worth writing, and reading, about."

Courage to be First is available for purchase on-line at www.couragetobefirst.com and at www.amazon.com.


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