Meet LaDonna Howe, Risk Analyst

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Working 30 years as a nurse, and 18 years as a volunteer firefighter and EMT, has given LaDonna plenty of opportunities to experience real-life emergencies, and how best to handle the care of people during those situations. As the Risk Analyst at Bluestem Health for over 2 years, she understands that being prepared for any emergency is key and that is what she loves about her job. "What I like about emergency preparedness is that I know what needs to happen from the nursing and first-responder perspective, and from the management and preparedness side of things," LaDonna says. "I really enjoy bringing all sides together to make the plan work."
 
On any given day, LaDonna wears many hats in her job at Bluestem Health. Her first priority is to review any new information that may have come from agencies like the Centers for Disease Control, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD), OSHA, and the Food and Drug Administration to see if any regulations, guidelines, laws, or protocols have changed. This may determine what plans or procedures need to be updated to stay up to date. This information is then provided to employees and patients of Bluestem Health as needed. She also checks locally to see what is happening, if there has been a disaster or outbreak in the community, and what Bluestem Health can do to assist with that. Information learned from the community is also provided to the staff as directed from LLCHD. Reviewing policies and procedures for emergency preparedness and disaster planning, training staff so they are prepared and know what to do when an emergency occurs, and working with the local hospitals and other agencies ensures that Bluestem Health is prepared to respond to most any emergency situation.
 
LaDonna monitors regulations published by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid so that Bluestem Health meets those requirements at all times. She is involved with Epidemiology services and Infectious Diseases. When there are community outbreaks, LaDonna and clinical staff report concerns to DHHS and follow through with the recommendations. LaDonna is involved with the 340B Program that provides medications to patients at a reduced cost. She also monitors the risks of the facilities and assures that hazards identified by the Leadership team are addressed.
 
Coming from a nursing background, LaDonna has always enjoyed helping people, and now she's focused on making sure the team at Bluestem Health is completely prepared. "You never know when things are going to happen," LaDonna remarks. "I've been in situations with the fire department that have been life altering, so I try to help coworkers understand how teamwork and communication are critical during a disaster." She's especially proud of recently implementing a Closed POD Plan. In the case of a public health emergency in the community, Bluestem Health would be able to provide medication for the population they serve by having Memorandums of Understanding in place with agencies in the community that are also part of the Closed POD Plan for Lincoln and Lancaster County.
 
Working at Bluestem Health was an easy decision for LaDonna. Several people that she had worked with in the past work here. Plus, she likes working in the field of emergency preparedness and where she can apply her nursing, EMT and firefighter knowledge daily. "Bluestem Health is a huge safety net where people can go when no one else wants to help them, where there are people to help them with sliding fee systems, and where they can get the care they deserve no matter who they are or where they are from," LaDonna adds.

LaDonna received her LPN degree from Southeast Community College. She's married with a blended family that includes four children and six grandchildren. She and her husband love riding motorcycles and traveling to warm places, like Florida where they got married on the beach. She likes to scrapbook when time allows, and is passionate about being a volunteer firefighter and EMT. At the fire department, she helps with paperwork, training, and keeping things organized. LaDonna also serves on the Four Corners Emergency Response Team in Seward County.

"Preparing others for any emergency takes a team," LaDonna explains. "It is my goal that Bluestem Health will work together, with neighbors helping neighbors, when a disaster strikes. I enjoy what I do, helping others to be as prepared as possible. Nobody wants to have bad things happen, but if they do, I know that Bluestem Health will be there to help pick up the pieces. That is why I love being part of this team."