Friendship Haven receives top honor

Gov. Terry Branstad honored the staff of the John and Lin Simpson Health Center Wednesday morning for going above and beyond state standards to provide a high quality of life for the facility’s residents.

“I just want to thank you for what you do day in and day out to make this such a special place,” the governor told about 100 people gathered in the Welcome Center of the Friendship Haven campus. “Today we get to honor this facility that stands above its peers.”

Branstad presented the 2014 Governor’s Award for Quality Care in Health Care Facilities to Jennifer Crimmins, the vice president of health center operations at Friendship Haven in Fort Dodge. She is also the licensed administrator of the health center.

“I’m humbled to accept this award,” Crimmins said.

“We really truly do raise the bar on excellence in everything that we do every day,” she added.

This is the first time the center has received the award.

The John and Lin Simpson Health Center opened last year. It’s named after the Fort Dodge couple that gave $500,000 to Friendship Haven and committed to provide a 100 percent match for an additional $500,000 in donations.

The facility replaced the former Tompkins Health Center, which was demolished.

Rod Roberts, the director of the state Department of Inspections and Appeals, said nursing homes are nominated for the award by their residents and family members of residents. Facilities cannot nominate themselves, he said.

Roberts said that after his staff receives the nominations, it reviews the inspection reports and history of the facilities. The staff also considers the special programs provided by them.

The John and Lin Simpson Health Center was nominated by Bev Baedke, of Fort Dodge.

“The Simpson Health Center at Friendship Haven isn’t a health care facility, it’s not a nursing home, it is home,” Baedke wrote.

“The beautiful Simpson Health Center, coupled with an amazing staff that is thoroughly in tune, caring, attentive and compassionate to the residents and the families they serve would be a perfect fit and very deserving of being honored with the prestigious 2014 Governor’s Award for Quality Care,” she wrote.

The local health care center was selected from among 16 nominees.

Before introducing Branstad Wednesday morning, Roberts saluted the staff of the health care center.

“What we’re doing today is acknowledging and recognizing the quality work and the quality involvement of all kinds of people,” he said. “People make the difference.”

“This award acknowledges that there are those programs that go well beyond the minimum that is expected,” Roberts added.

He also offered some advice for the staff.

“This is a significant moment and a great award to receive, but don’t rest on your laurels,” he said.

Branstad said the center has quickly developed a home-like atmosphere.

“That spirit of home is thanks to the wonderful staff working for the highest quality of life for the residents who reside here,” he said.

Following the award presentation, Branstad and Reynolds toured the facility. Their first stop was the Friendship Haven Celebration Center, where they greeted people who watched the presentation on live television.

Members of the Iowa Central Community College Dance Team distributed programs and served refreshments at the event.