On a Mission to Revitalize
Angeli Mancuso is a vital cog in the management team at the three hospital, one laboratory Cottage Health system based in Santa Barbara, Calif.
As manager of the eight-member employee health and safety department, Mancuso has been involved in many major initiatives for the hospital system, but none more important than being a key member of a group that rode to the rescue of a safe patient handling initiative that had begun to stagnate.
Launched with much fanfare in 2009 to reduce serious injuries to employees — especially nurses — involved in the manual lifting, transferring and handling of acutely ill patients, the hospital system was coming off 41 such injuries in 2008.
In the $6 million program’s first year alone, the 41 injuries were reduced to 28 injuries, and then to 17 in 2010. “In 2010, 2011 and 2012, we were in the teens so we weren’t moving,” said Mancuso, who joined the organization in 2011.
“So in 2013, based on recommendations from employee health, including myself, we went to the board of directors and said, ‘This should be on the radar for an organizational goal,’ ” said Mancuso.
“In 2013, the first year the revitalized program was a top goal of the organization, it was suggested we set our goal at no more than nine preventable injuries, and that year we had only three preventable injuries,” Mancuso said.
So in 2014 the goal was renewed to no more than three preventable injuries. “Unfortunately we had four,” said Mancuso. “This year we’re shooting for no more than four, and we’re at only one so far.”
An important duty for Mancuso is serving as the coordinator of communications throughout the 583-bed organization.
“On a monthly basis I go in front of all of our critical management staff,” said Mancuso. “I give them an update on how we are tracking to our goals, what things we have seen go wrong, what things we have seen going well. I outline where we are struggling with compliance, how we are using equipment or training or things like that.”
“In 2013, the first year the revitalized program was a top goal of the organization, it was suggested we set our goal at no more than nine preventable injuries, and that year we had only three preventable injuries.” — Angeli Mancuso, Manager, Employee Health & Safety, Cottage Health System
Mancuso coordinates all the visits when Prevent, a consulting group that was instrumental in establishing the safe patient handling program, comes to the hospital group on a quarterly basis.
“I set up all the meetings to make sure Prevent gets in front of the right leadership teams to keep this program in the forefront of people’s vision, to say that this is still a significant issue, that we still have work to do,” said Mancuso.
Prior to joining Cottage Health, Mancuso was the staff nurse in the occupational medicine department at Sansum Clinic, a Santa Barbara-based multidisciplinary, non-hospital based group. In all, Mancuso has been in the occupational safety industry for 10 years.
Encino, Calif.-based Karla Hacker, director of claims for Sedgwick Claims Management Services Inc., who works closely with Mancuso, said of her: “I have the opportunity to see the impact Angeli has on the overall Cottage Health program. She took the lead in tackling one of the industry’s most challenging exposures, patient handling injuries. She’s made a profound impact on the quality of life of Cottage Health employees while reducing claims costs.
“While her attention to detail allows her to deliver on day-to-day objectives, she brings a big-picture approach to her role.”
Angeli is also being recognized as a 2015 Responsibility Leader®.
Taking It to the Streets
After a hard week at work making the Cottage Health hospital in Santa Barbara, Calif., safer, Angeli Mancuso takes it to the streets, literally.
As a nurse with the nonprofit Doctors Without Walls, which also goes by the name Santa Barbara Street Medicine, Mancuso visits the public parks in Santa Barbara to offer medical services to the homeless. There are multi-pronged benefits to the work that Mancuso and Doctors Without Walls perform.
One, seeing the disenfranchised in public cuts down on emergency room visits, freeing that service for those who in many cases are in much more urgent need of care.
Doctors Without Walls does manage chronic wounds in the homeless population, but many times the doctors and nurses in the program are needed to just lend a sympathetic ear. Or to refer someone to another service.
“It’s a lot of talking,” Mancuso said.
The group also brings along students who are interested in a career in medicine to work as scribes and on outreach.
Mancuso also serves with Aeromedicos of Santa Barbara, a nonprofit formed in Santa Barbara decades ago that flies professionals to Baja California in Mexico once a month to staff free medical and dental clinics. The hard-working Mancuso made three trips with that group this year.