NASHVILLE, Tenn.--()--HCA (NYSE:HCA) today presented the 2015 HCA Awards of Distinction to recipients at a ceremony in Nashville. The HCA Awards of Distinction include the Frist Humanitarian Award, the HCA Innovators Award and the HCA Excellence in Nursing Award, and are the highest honors that HCA bestows on employees, physicians and volunteers. This is the first time the company has recognized all three HCA Awards of Distinction categories in one celebration.

“The people being recognized today, through their exemplary service and selflessness, challenge and inspire us to live and preserve HCA’s mission of caring for and improving human life.”

Each of the HCA Awards of Distinction underscores a different aspect of the company’s culture and mission. The Frist Humanitarian Award recognizes the highest achievements in serving others; the HCA Innovators Award recognizes creative new ideas for enhancing quality of care and efficiency; and the HCA Excellence in Nursing Award recognizes accomplishments in the field of nursing.

“The HCA Awards of Distinction honor exceptional individuals whose work and lives reflect the patient-centered, entrepreneurial and humanitarian values upon which HCA was founded, and when viewed together, they reflect a complete representation of what HCA stands for and whom we aspire to be,” said Milton Johnson, chairman and CEO of HCA. “The people being recognized today, through their exemplary service and selflessness, challenge and inspire us to live and preserve HCA’s mission of caring for and improving human life.”

Frist Humanitarian Award Recipients

Established in 1971, the Frist Humanitarian Award honors outstanding individuals for their humanitarian and volunteer activities. The awards are given annually in recognition of the caring spirit and philanthropic work of the late Dr. Thomas Frist, Sr., a founder of HCA. Employees, volunteers and medical staff members who demonstrate commitment and dedication to providing outstanding care and humanitarianism are selected from around the country, and honorees are recognized at the local level.

The Frist Humanitarian Award includes a $5,000 donation to the charity of the recipient’s choice and $5,000 in cash for the employee and volunteer. The physician honoree receives a $10,000 donation to the charity of his or her choice.

Recipients of the 44th annual Frist Humanitarian Award are: Kimberly Bass, RN, an obstetric care nurse at Palms West Hospital in Loxahatchee, Fla.; John McClenahan, a volunteer at Sunrise Children’s Hospital and Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center in Las Vegas, Nev.; and, for the first time a married couple, Dr. Peter Sarantos, a general surgeon at The Surgical Group of Gainesville and chairman of the board of trustees for North Florida Regional Medical Center, and Dr. Kathy Sarantos, a pediatrician at Alliance Pediatrics, both in Gainesville, Fla.

“The Frist Humanitarian Award recognizes members of the HCA family whose work and lives embody the humanitarian principles upon which our company was founded,” said Johnson. “The year’s winners are making an impact in their communities and around the world, and inspiring all of us to continue the philanthropic work of our company’s founders.”

Kimberly Bass, RN, the employee recipient of the 2015 Frist Humanitarian Award, has worked as a nurse at Palms West Hospital for 25 years and regularly mentors new nurses and nursing students on clinical OB rotations. She also was instrumental in the implementation of an obstetric documentation system which has expanded to other units in the hospital. Within the community, she serves children in need as a foster parent, often caring for extremely traumatized children in their greatest time of need. Bass is well known for her compassion, generosity and contagious positive attitude both within the hospital and her community.

John McClenahan, the volunteer recipient of the 2015 Frist Humanitarian Award, is a pediatric playroom volunteer at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center and Sunrise Children’s Hospital in Las Vegas, where he is better known as “Dr. Magic” by the children who enjoy his magic shows. His consistent encouragement and laughter have made a difference in the lives of sick and injured children in the pediatric ICU for 17 years. An avid volunteer, he also uses his magic skills within the community to teach children about fire safety, bullying, self-esteem and stranger danger, and volunteers with Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation of Nevada, the Safety Magic in Law Enforcement (SMILE) program and the Spanish Citizens’ Police Academy.

Drs. Peter and Kathy Sarantos, the physician recipients of the 2015 Frist Humanitarian Award, are a husband-wife team with more than 40 years of combined service at North Florida Regional Medical Center. They have supported the World Help organization for approximately 10 years, and in 2011, they funded a village transformation project in El Astillero, Guatemala, with World Help, providing the community with a water well, food assistance, a new elementary school and a church. After completion of this project, they led a team to build a medical clinic in the community. This year, they organized a 5k/10k race called “The Good Race” to raise funds to help restore and rebuild the lives of refugees in the Middle East.

HCA Innovators Award Recipients

HCA was created through the vision of founders, Dr. Thomas F. Frist, Sr., Jack Massey and Dr. Thomas “Tommy” Frist, Jr., and more than 45 years later, the company continues to invent and develop systems to advance health and patient care, in large part due to ideas from employees. The HCA Innovators Award, established in 2010, continues the tradition of recognizing innovative thinkers with ideas that improve patient quality, service or the financial impact of operations. The HCA Innovators Award winners receive $10,000 cash.

Recipients of the 2015 HCA Innovators Award are: Tricia Casler, RN, the director of nursing for the telemetry department at St. David’s South Austin Medical Center in Austin, Texas; Megan Gallegos, RN, the administrative director of emergency services for Plaza Medical Center of Fort Worth in Fort Worth, Texas; Shawn Lewis, RN, a traveling nurse for Plaza Medical Center of Fort Worth in Fort Worth, Texas; and Joanne Orlando, RN, the director of research for MountainView Hospital in Las Vegas, Nev.

“Innovation at HCA takes many forms, yet the common denominator is a creative approach that challenges the status quo,” said Sam Hazen, chief operating officer of HCA. “This year’s winners of the HCA Innovators Award demonstrate our founders’ entrepreneurial spirit which is key to our culture of continual improvement.”

Tricia Casler, RN, a nurse at St. David’s South Austin Medical Center for 15 years, received the HCA Innovators Award in the quality and patient safety category. She developed and tested a system called “Mug Shots,” that improves patient education on medication side effects. The innovative “mug shots” are stickers placed on patients’ water mugs that list common side effects and other medication information. The visibility of the stickers increases patients’ awareness of medication information and serves as a visual reminder for nurses to regularly review medication information with patients. Because of Casler’s creativity, nurses at St. David’s are empowered to educate their patients more effectively on new medications, leading to improved quality of care and patient safety.

Megan Gallegos, RN, and Shawn Lewis, RN, received the HCA Innovators Award in the service excellence category. They used their experiences within emergency services to create an ER Concierge position with the goal to improve patient service in the ER. The ER concierge is a member of the staff who welcomes patients and family members at the bedside, and continues to check in with them regularly to provide beverages, blankets or other items necessary for their comfort and care. The use of the ER Concierge has improved patient experiences in the emergency room.

Joanne Orlando, RN, received the HCA Innovators Award in the financial impact category. She improved clinical outcomes and generated significant cost savings for MountainView Hospital by helping physicians become more efficient at administrative tasks. Using physician-specific data, she created dashboards to help physicians monitor their efficiency and coached them on organization skills so they could spend more time caring for patients and less time navigating the hospital’s systems.

HCA Excellence in Nursing Award Recipients

HCA’s knowledgeable and compassionate nurses are on the front line of patient care, every day. The HCA Excellence in Nursing Award, created in 2014, recognizes the intrinsic value of the nursing practice in accomplishing the company mission of providing the highest quality of care to patients and communities. With categories for mentoring and compassionate care, the HCA Excellence in Nursing Award includes a $5,000 donation to the charity of the recipient’s choice and $5,000 in cash.

Recipients of the 2015 HCA Excellence in Nursing Award are: Jim Kruger, RN, the assistant vice president of nursing and emergency services at St. Lucie Medical Center in Port St. Lucie, Fla.; and Alison Jane Marsh, RN, an emergency/trauma nurse at Centerpoint Medical Center in Independence, Mo.

“The passion HCA’s 79,000 nurses bring to their practice each day is the cornerstone of our mission to provide exceptional care to our patients,” said HCA senior vice president and chief nursing officer Dr. Jane Englebright. “This year’s HCA Excellence in Nursing Award recipients are compassionate, caring and professional. We appreciate the way they serve our patients and their colleagues, and we are proud to honor them today.”

Jim Kruger, RN, received the HCA Excellence in Nursing Award in the professional mentoring category. Kruger uses his experience to mentor nurses to help develop their skills and leadership within the hospital. Kruger also mentors newly hired HCA emergency department directors, leading to improved patient experience and safety, and decreased ER wait times. In part due to his contributions, St. Lucie Medical Center was named one of five Destination Nursing Hospitals in the United States by the Healthcare Advisory Board.

Alison Jane Marsh, RN, received the HCA Excellence in Nursing Award in the compassionate care category. Marsh is known for going above and beyond to provide exceptional compassionate care to patients in the emergency room, often taking extra steps to provide reassurance, education and comfort to patients who are scared and vulnerable. For example, Marsh comforted a scared 7-year-old girl who had been in a traumatic car accident and whose parents were being operated on at a different hospital. She downloaded the popular children’s movie Frozen to her phone so the girl could watch and sang along to make her laugh. Because her calm, sincere and compassionate demeanor helps put people at ease, Marsh is often called upon to help comfort patients and families.

For more information about the 2015 Awards of Distinction, please visit

All references to “Company” and “HCA” as used throughout this document refer to HCA Holdings, Inc. and its affiliates.

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