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Safe Patient Handling Program Recognized Nationally

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It's official: St. Luke's is a national leader when it comes to creating a safe work environment.

That's according to the American Psychological Association (APA), which has recognized St. Luke's, based in Duluth, Minnesota, as one of nine 2013 Best Practice Honorees for the health system's Safe Patient Handling Initiative.

Steps taken by St. Luke's Safe Patient Handling Committee helped to reduce employee injuries and worker's compensation claims for five consecutive years, despite an increase in the total number of employees over the same period.

The award will be presented to Human Resources Director Marla Halvorson and HR representative Shawn Burns at a ceremony in Washington DC on Saturday, March 9.

"Typically, you are going to see a slight increase with your number of workplace injuries with any increase in the number of employees," said Ms. Halvorson. "A trend like this is really unheard of, and to have some recognition that we are doing something unique is great."

Over the same five-year period, a reduction in St. Luke's worker's compensation costs has also helped the organization see significant savings.

"Those are dollars that go to the patient's bedside for patient care, which helps us focus on our mission – to put the patient above all else," said Ms. Halvorson.

The national recognition comes one year after the Minnesota Psychological Association presented St. Luke's with a Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award, forwarding St. Luke's application on for consideration at the national level.

"Forward-thinking employers such as St. Luke's are taking steps to create a positive work environment where employees can thrive," says David W. Ballard, PsyD, MBA, head of APA's Center for Organizational Excellence. "In turn, employees are more engaged and committed to the organization's success. This shared responsibility for creating a psychologically healthy workplace promotes an organizational culture that values well-being and performance and delivers results on both sides of the equation."