The Excelsior Springs Hospital Health Care Foundation held its 27th annual dinner and auction on Oct. 17 to honor the individuals making a difference for ESH and the Excelsior Springs community.

The foundation awarded its 2019 Commitment to Caring Awards to Alan Berutti, Teresa Gilham and Molly McGovern.


The foundation awarded the Commitment to Caring Awards to those individuals committed to providing quality health care for the community.

CEO Kristen DeHart said Berutti provides excellent service to the organization as a member of the hospital’s maintenance department.

She said she describes him as reliable, dedicated to the hospital, staff, patients and the community.

Over the eight years of his tenure, Berutti progressed from no experience at all to being a certified in-house med gas and vacuum maintenance technician. He currently works on his Environmental Protection Agency certification in refrigeration. Both certifications, DeHart said, elevate his knowledge of maintaining some of the hospital’s critical infrastructure that directly affects patient care.

Berutti takes it upon himself to provide exceptional support and service to our patients, residents and staff, DeHart said.

“Alan is a wonderful ambassador for our facility in assisting patients, residents and visitors as they navigate the hospital halls,” she said. “Alan has made a difference at our facility, exemplified the mission of the hospital, and has positively impacted the people of our hospital.”

Gilham began working at ESH in 2006 and began working as the Director for Laboratory Services in 2010.

Several co-workers said they describe her as, “by far, the hardest working employee at Excelsior Springs Hospital – she is our unsung hero,” DeHart said.

DeHart describes her as an amazing advocate for her patients, her staff and others in the hospital.

“She is incredibly knowledgeable about her department,” she said. “Her complete understanding of thelaboratory operations, various tests, results and requirements are impressive. Her ability to bring that knowledge to every level of the organization, to teach and train is so very appreciated.”

Gilham’s knowledge creates confidence for the staff and medical staff, DeHart said. The ESH lab performance ranks high on a national level, she said, with a nearly perfect score from The Joint Commission visit in 2018 and continued improvements in processes and testing results since their last visit.

Gilham always finds good in the actions of others and will always recognize her employees for the work that they do. While holding her staff to a high level of professionalism, DeHart said Gilham refuses to ask them to do anything that she is not willing to do herself.

McGovern serves as Excelsior’s city manager and functioned in the role of Assistant City Manager from 1981-1999.

DeHart said McGovern serves as an advocate for our city in every way. During her time over the years, she said, McGovern worked countless hours to bring resources to the city, to help with projects that stimulate the growth and vitality of the city and serves as a significant contributor to the change in the economic landscape of Excelsior Springs.

“Molly has always supported the Excelsior Springs Hospital,” she said. “When I have had to share the most difficult messages, Molly has been the sounding board and voice of reason, getting us in front of the right people, guiding us with the content of the right message at the right time.”

McGovern understands the importance that a hospital and healthcare vitality bring to the community, DeHart said. The passion she holds for the community brought together the resources for the Excelsior Springs Community of Excellence initiatives. Most recently, DeHart said McGovern brought together resources to the hospital through the city’s Opportunity Zone discussions.


This year, the foundation also honored Elisabeth Fostich, Christine Riegel and Shannan Sanderford by awarding them 2019 Up and Coming Awards, recognizing employees who have been with the hospital less than five years.

Fostich joined the ESH staff slightly over a year ago, DeHart said, serving as the Director for the medical surgery and emergency room departments.

Hospital foundation honors award winners

Pictured left to right, Hospital CEO Kristen DeHart, Molly McGovern, Christine Riegel, Teresa Gilham, Shannan Sanderford, Elisabeth Fostich and Foundation President Dr. Kent Powell. Not pictured: Alan Berutti.

Improvements Fostich made during her tenure include staff education, the development and implementation of nurse-driven protocols, the identification and awareness/importance of time-critical diagnoses and building a nursing team of dedicated employees to replace the reliance on agency staffing options.

“In her short time in the ESH organization, Elisabeth has changed our world for the better,” DeHart said. “This hospital’s clinical team is solid and capable, due in great part to Elisabeth’s persistence to move the clinical bar higher each day. We are smarter, better educated, prepared and confident to care for every person that comes to our hospital.”

Riegel began working with ESH three years ago in her role as Executive Assistant, DeHart said.

“When she arrived, she had little guidance or direction, as the CEO position was in a state of transition,” she said. “Chris chose to use her time and talent to build relationships with the staff, with board members and community members. Those relationships have flourished today, as Chris is a valuable member of the team as well as a coordinator with a wide knowledge base of the hospital’s operations and contacts.”

Riegel took an active role over the years with the development and upkeep of the ESH Website page and content, the hospital’s Facebook page and other social media outlets, DeHart said.

Hospital officials recently received word their Facebook page reached over 1250 members.

When asked to complete various tasks, DeHart said Riegel always steps up to do the task without question.

Sanderford assumed her role as Speech-Language Pathologist two years ago. De- Hart said Sanderford does not shy away from hard work or stepping outside of her box.

“Shannan rarely has free time at work because she is constantly checking with others to see how she can assist,” DeHart said. “Shannan has recently become Vital Stim certified, a certification that helps improve patient’s ability to swallow. She has been very engaged in the hospital’s community outreach programs and provides screenings to the local daycare students. She also has been very instrumental in getting agreements in place for Speech and Language Services to be provided for students of the Excelsior Springs School District.”

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