Banner Health - All You Need To Know To Navigate COVID -19 And More

Things Are Moving Fast! Here is the Latest From Banner From a New CEO To Tree of Hope & COVID -19

By KELLY WAKEFIELD Account Manager WildRock Public Relations & Marketing® April 6, 2020

Banner Health offers ways to help health care workers: community can provide aid during COVID-19 pandemic

As one of the largest health systems in the western U.S., with locations in Colorado, Banner Health is well prepared to respond to the spread of COVID-19. However, as the virus spreads, needs are evolving every day, placing significant new demands on our health care system and our valued workforce.

To help Banner Health respond to the COVID-19 outbreak and support our health care professionals, the Banner Health Foundation is accepting donations to two charitable funds.

The COVID-19 Response Fund is supporting a variety of needs across Banner related to the outbreak, including community testing and drive-through sites, medical supplies and equipment, and community outreach. The Supporting Our Staff (SOS) Fund helps members of our health care workforce facing financial hardship. Tax-deductible donations can be made to either or both funds online.

Additionally, Banner greatly appreciates people and companies who want to volunteer in a safe capacity when appropriate, or have medical supplies or services to donate. Banner Health currently has enough important equipment, including respirators, but leaders acknowledge they are experiencing some challenges given the global demand during the COVID-19 pandemic. Masks, in particular, are in high demand. Specifically needed are N-95 respirator masks, surgical masks and procedural masks. Hand sanitizer appropriate for use in a clinical setting, with greater than 60% ethanol alcohol or 70% isopropanol, is also needed. All donations must be received in an unopened, sealed box or container.

Banner Health also welcomes the donation of homemade masks for use by health care workers for their personal comfort outside of procedure rooms and isolation areas. Due to rigorous infection prevention standards in the hospital environment, only approved, medical-grade masks can be worn by our health care workers directly caring for patients in isolation for COVID-19. While they are not appropriate for preventing disease transmission, homemade masks make some health care workers feel more comfortable at work, and they preserve our inventory of personal protective equipment for those who need it most.

To take part, please complete a brief online form . A member of the Banner Health team will follow up with you to gather additional information and coordinate logistics. Considering social distancing is a priority, careful coordination and a process for dropping off supplies is necessary. We ask that supplies be delivered only after discussions with staff. Please do not bring donations directly to Banner hospitals.

“Amid this unprecedented time in our history, it has been incredible to witness the generosity of our community members who want to give back,” said Andy Kramer Petersen, President & CEO of the Banner Health Foundation. “We continue to be inspired by the many people, groups and companies offering to help, even while caring for their own families in these rapidly shifting times. We hope to make it as easy as possible for them.”

Announcement March 19, 2020 Influx of Citizens for Back To Work Clearance

Banner Health emergency departments are experiencing an influx of citizens arriving for a “back-to-work clearance,” at the directive of their employers. Emergency rooms are not equipped for, nor the appropriate venue for, such clearances.

Banner is asking all employers to find alternative ways to evaluate their employees’ fitness to return to work following an illness, such as contacting their primary care provider or being symptom free for a period of time. The emergency room is for those with serious health concerns that require immediate medical attention.

Banner will not provide “fit-for-work clearances” or test for COVID-19 at the request of an employer. Only those who meet CDC criteria for testing will be tested. You can visit the Banner Health COVID-19 webpage for more detailed information and recommendations.

Helpful Links: 

Patient Resources for COVID-19 and for Visitor Restrictions. Also, here are a couple Facebook posts:

Banner Health implementing new visitor restrictions

Restrictions to go into effect 7 a.m. on Thursday, March 19, at all Banner hospitals

PHOENIX (March 18, 2020) – To create a safe and secure environment for our patients and our health care

workers during the COVID-19 outbreak, visitors will no longer be allowed in Banner hospitals starting at 7 a.m. on

Thursday, March 19. We understand this will be challenging, but we’re committed to take the necessary

precautions to protect our patients, health care workers and the community.

There are two exceptions to the visitor restriction:

  • Pediatric patients (under the age of 18) may have one adult visitor with them.
  •  Laboring mothers may have one support person with them.

Because we understand the importance of engaging with loved ones, we highly encourage phone calls, FaceTime

or video chats to stay in touch during this time.

Additional information and resources:

  • Visit Banner Health’s COVID-19 webpage for the more information about COVID-19 and changes at Banner Health due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Banner Health also has an online symptom checker for those who are concerned about their symptoms.

Headquartered in Arizona, Banner Health is one of the largest nonprofit health care systems in the country. The

system owns and operates 28 acute-care hospitals, Banner Health Network, Banner – University Medicine,

academic and employed physician groups, long-term care centers, outpatient surgery centers and an array of

other services; including Banner Urgent Care, family clinics, home care and hospice services, pharmacies and a

nursing registry. Banner Health is in six states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming.

For more information, visit

Simulation system moves to new location Banner Health’s new facility provides realistic training space
No one wants to be the test patient for new nurses or physicians to practice
high-risk, infrequent events, and thanks to a new location for the Banner Health Simulation System that provides
a realistic training space, Banner team members will be experienced and prepared when they see patients.
The Western Division Simulation System, formerly located in McKee Medical Center, is moving to new space at
1825 E. 18th St., just south of McKee. The new location, complete with realistic patient rooms, life-like
mannequins, classrooms and office space, is twice the size of the prior location and serves as the training ground
for staff from nine Banner hospitals in six states including those in Northern Colorado. The realistic training
opportunities in the new facility will help improve patient safety and increase caregiver confidence.
Director of Simulation Systems for the Western Division Carrie Brandon said the aim is to create a space so
realistic the trainees suspend their disbelief and create a muscle memory from practice that carries into the
clinical practice.
“The best adult learning is when it is emotionally tied,” Brandon said. “We really can mimic the hospital with this
new space and allow for realistic practice opportunities.”
The four rooms include a one-way mirror where simulation staff can control and observe scenarios in real-time
from behind the glass in the “driver’s room.”
“The goal is to improve clinical and patient outcomes,” said Ginny Coates, clinical education specialist for
Banner’s Western Division. “It boils down to improved patient outcomes.”
The McKee Wellness Foundation helped fund the newly converted state-of-the-art 2,900 square-foot space. They
open the new space on March 2 with an open house from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
About Banner Health
Headquartered in Arizona, Banner Health is one of the largest nonprofit health care systems in the country. The
system owns and operates 28 acute-care hospitals, Banner Health Network, Banner – University Medicine.

Tree of Hope grows at Banner MD Anderson  Cancer Center hospitals Loveland artist inspires those who are impacted by cancer
To honor and celebrate all those who face cancer, Banner MD Anderson
Cancer Center at McKee Medical Center and North Colorado Medical Center have "planted" two Tree of Hope
The sculptures, created by Loveland artist Joe Norman, represent a small grove of aspen trees. Patients being
treated for cancer, survivors and family members and loved ones are invited to tie colored ribbons to the
aluminum trees creating a living art piece that serves as inspiration for anyone who sees them. The trees will be
at the cancer centers at North Colorado Medical Center in Greeley and McKee Medical Center in Loveland.
“Hopefully it gives some mental support and context and that this is a journey that you are not going on alone,”
Norman said. “The thought going through my head (as I created this) is there are people I know who are going to
be tying ribbons on them, that’s a pretty heavy feeling to have... It could be me even one day.”
Norman was inspired by Colorado’s abundance of aspen trees and the fact that they share a root system. He felt
that represented the shared caring of family, friends and doctors needed to fight cancer.
Julianne Fritz, regional director of oncology services with Banner, said the idea originated in Gilbert, Ariz., and
that she wanted to bring it here and add a Colorado flair to it.
“The aspen groves are tied together by a strong root system,” said Fritz. “Similarly, there is a strong root system
with community and family support.”

Banner Health taps new CEO for Northern Colorado
Banner Health announced the appointment of a new chief executive
officer for its Northern Colorado hospitals. Hoyt Skabelund assumed this new post on Feb. 23.
Skabelund, former CEO for Banner Health’s rural division, is now CEO for North Colorado Medical Center, McKee
Medical Center and Banner Fort Collins Medical Center. Skabelund replaces Margo Karsten, who has held a
combined role as Banner’s Northern Colorado CEO and as president for the organization’s Western Region.
Karsten is continuing to serve as president of the region and will focus on strategic initiatives, growth and
engaging in legislative developments. Banner’s rural hospitals will now report to Karsten.
“The new structure will help us make the most of growth opportunities and address the rapid pace of change in
the Western Region,” said Becky Kuhn, chief operating officer for Banner Health. “With these changes, we can
bring additional leadership support to the Northern Colorado market and allow Margo to focus on growing the
Western Region.”
The Western Region includes Banner’s three Northern Colorado entities plus Banner Churchill Community
Hospital (Fallon, Nevada), Banner Lassen Medical Center (Susanville, California), Banner Payson Medical Center
(Payson, Arizona), Community Hospital (Torrington, Wyoming), East Morgan County Hospital (Brush, Colorado),
Ogallala Community Hospital (Ogallala, Nebraska), Page Hospital (Page, Arizona), Platte County Memorial
Hospital (Wheatland, Wyoming), Sterling Regional MedCenter (Sterling, Colorado) and Washakie Medical Center
(Worland, Wyoming).
Skabelund joined Banner in in 2014 as the CEO for Banner Churchill Community Hospital. In 2017, he became
CEO at Sterling Regional MedCenter and also had executive leadership responsibilities for the 10 rural markets.
Karsten joined Banner in 2016 coming from Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, in Cheyenne, Wyoming, where
she was CEO. Previously, she held executive leadership roles in healthcare in Fort Collins and Denver and taught
at Regis University and the University of Colorado-Denver.