CEO Rob Casalou Discusses Close of FY2020, New Year of Renewal

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Mercy Health, St. Joe’s and our Medical Groups,

I wish to take a moment to speak to you as we now begin our fiscal year – a time of renewal.

The simple fact is that FY 2020 had unprecedented financial losses due to the unforeseen circumstances of COVID 19.  Together, we immediately stepped up to mitigate the impact that the ongoing financial crisis is having on us. 

These last few months have felt like a blur – both at work and at home.  I know many of you have worked incredibly long hours and dedicated yourself to our patients to battle this disease.  Many of you are working from home to support our health system and caregivers or have been furloughed and now are concerned by an announcement on resizing of our health system and wondering if your job is secure.  All this combined with the impact of the pandemic itself on you and your families has been stressful.   This has been hard and my heart is truly heavy knowing all this. 

But I do know some things that will help us and guide us in the coming months and years:

  1. You are all health care heroes. ALL of you.  We can be proud of how you stood side by side to care for the communities we serve. This is our mission and you have been steadfast in this commitment.
  2. We are a high performing ministry and have lead the way for years.
  3. We are preparing ourselves and designing for the future including a strong emergence plan.
  4. We remain dedicated to the health of our communities, patients, physicians, and colleagues.

Looking back on this year, our thinking will be dominated by COVID. But let’s not forget what happened on January 25, 2020. We launched the largest single instance of Epic in history. The year of intense preparation showed that when we work together we can do anything.  TogetherCare is no doubt a tool for us as we navigate and care for COVID patients.

The pandemic has tested us in new ways and together we have risen to the challenge of our lifetimes. Some days can feel uncertain, but please look ahead with hope. Our patients and communities need us – and we need each other.

On behalf of the entire Michigan Executive Team, I’m extending heartfelt thanks for the contributions you have made with your time and tireless dedication to this organization and ultimately our patients. I am truly inspired by all of you. THANK YOU.

Please continue to be safe and well as we enter into a new fiscal year.

Michigan Region is Live on TogetherCare!


After more than a year of teamwork and determined commitment, TogetherCare is live in Michigan!

Trinity Health this weekend launched the unified TogetherCare platform for improving patient care – inaugurating the Epic-powered platform that will be the standard for patient care and revenue cycle across the national system.

At 7:53 p.m. EST on Saturday, January 25, colleagues at all Michigan care sites began using TogetherCare. More than 1,400 purple-vested Super Users provided at-the-elbow support and escalated issues as needed, and TogetherCare users successfully adopted the new platform to help provide better care.

See more Go-Live photos here.

“For millions of patients, as well as for our colleagues nationwide, this is a tremendous step forward in pursuing our vision to be the trusted health partner in our communities,” said President and CEO Mike Slubowski. “Congratulations to our colleagues and physicians who have been collaborating and working tirelessly to bring TogetherCare to our Michigan ministries.”

Starting in December 2018, the TogetherCare team, in partnership with thousands of colleagues nationwide, built the new Epic platform while converting more than 92 million pieces of clinical data from legacy systems. Over the weekend, more than 11,000 colleagues and physicians accessed the TogetherCare platform successfully.

Throughout the weekend, colleagues in TogetherCare command centers in Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Livonia, Muskegon, Pontiac and the System Office ensured the success of the new platform, resolved issues and answered questions.

The TogetherCare team and the Michigan care team worked tirelessly during an extended downtime that lasted for 19 hours.

“While we have had countless stories of hard work and heroism throughout our TogetherCare build, we can be proud of our leadership team for their unyielding excellence and grace,” Slubowski said. “Jennifer Wallace and Laura Williams, M.D., our day-to-day TogetherCare leaders, ensured the team remain focused and moving forward. Executive sponsors Dan Roth, M.D., and Cindy Clemence continuously inspired the team and removed roadblocks along the way. Michigan CEO Rob Casalou was courageous in volunteering Michigan to go first, and we appreciate his steadfast commitment.”

Early feedback, overall, has been positive. For example, Kayla Anderson, MSN, RN, is director of clinical informatics at MercyOne in Wheaton, Iowa, and is a Super User helping during the Michigan go-live. She texted the TogetherCare team on Sunday morning with an update on the transition. “I’m impressed. Everyone is very chill and nice. Going very smoothly.”

The TogetherCare launch was a family affair for one group of Trinity Health colleagues. Emilia Herrera, a senior instructor in Talent Development at the System Office, delivered baby Matteo Luis Herrera during the cutover at Saint Joe’s in Ann Arbor. Matteo’s father, Luis Herrera, is a procurement customer service agent at System Office, and grandmother Gina Franciosi, is a project manager at System Office. You can see the photo of Matteo above.

REMINDER: Issue Resolution

The TogetherCare team continues to monitor the platform’s performance and address questions and challenges that arise. If you need help, find a Super User wearing a purple vest. They will help you resolve the issue, submit a ServiceNow ticket or escalate critical issues to the command center.

How to Get Help with TogetherCare Epic Issues

To ensure all end users receive support and assistance during the first weeks of Epic, Trinity Health has established the following process:

For issue resolution, please use the following steps:

  1. Reach out to a Super User in your area. They are easy to identify in their purple vests and badge tags.
  2. Check your Learning Home Dashboard in Epic for tip sheets and Quick Start Guides
  3. If you cannot resolve your issue through steps 1 & 2, please submit a Service Now ticket. The link is in your ZENWorks window and on the SharePoint Intranet site.


In all cases, end users should take advantage of at-the-elbow support from Super Users during the first several weeks. Super Users are embedded in every area of our acute care and outpatient facilities to provide support and assistance with both critical and non-urgent issues.

To stay informed:

  • Watch for the “Top 10 at 10” leadership updates
  • Check this blog for new stories, and read the Go-Live Update that goes out via @St. Joe’s News and Mercy Health News.
  • Check SharePoint for QuickStart Guides and resources

TogetherCare Michigan Update for Go-Live Weekend

Countdown Go-Live Weekend – What’s It Going to Look Like?

We are embracing a new way of providing care to those who trust us with their health and well-being. Here is some insight on how Go-Live will actually play out:

Friday January 24

  • Data conversions will continue throughout the day
  • Trinity Health will “flip the switch” at midnight

Saturday, January 25

  • Countdown to midnight: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1: Our Mission leaders begin to pray for a successful Go-Live.
  • Midnight marks the largest single-instance go-live in Trinity’s history and in Epic’s history
  • There is a four hour period while the Epic software downloads – and we make history
  • 3 a.m., Command Center leads take their stations and the Command Centers Open for business
  • Executive rounding  happens throughout the day

January 25 and Beyond:

  • Over 6,000 Super Users, trainers and Epic techs will be providing at-the-elbow support to end users in every unit and critical department.
  • Super Users don their high visibility purple vests and badge tags so that end users can easily reach help as needed.

You Got Issues in Epic? Help is On the Way
As much as we have prepared for a smooth launch, Go-Live won’t be perfect. In all cases, find a Super User when you need help with any issue – including urgent ones. Super Users are easy to spot in their purple vests and badge tags.

  • For non-urgent issues that have no immediate impact on patient care or work stoppage, consult with a Super User before submitting a ServiceNow request online. The link is in your ZenWorks window and on SharePoint.
  • For urgent issues that impact patient care or create a workflow stoppage, immediately engage a Super User. If the situation cannot be resolved, the Super User will engage the Help Desk for immediate assistance.

Super User Welcome Centers

Super Users will be stopping by to pick up their Super User Welcome Packet, vest, badge tag, gratitude gift and other TogetherCare swag – in the Welcome Center.

Volunteers will help with wayfinding, where to park and more. Welcome Centers are open to receive Super Users and those who have questions or if you just need to debrief.

We’ve Got Heart!

Heart of TogetherCare Committee Supports Self-Care and Resilience

Change is here! And there are times when we need to relax, take a moment to laugh, reflect, have some fun, or “Zen out” for a few moments. That’s where the Heart of TogetherCare and our Missions teams come together to help colleagues relieve stressful times with programs, snacks and prizes, stress management tips and more: Here’s a sneak peak of what’s coming to your area:

  • Zen Rooms / Resilience Centers: The Welcome Center can direct you to the nearest one. Stop by and take a breather.
  • All Paws on Deck! Pet Therapy Dogs are coming to your nearest lobby during Go-Live and the weeks to follow. Watch for the pooches clad in TogetherCare bandanas…just waiting to make you laugh and stay focused on your “why”!
  • Because You’re a Winner! We’ll conduct prize drawings each day for Red Wings and Pistons tickets, TogetherCare Swag, movie passes, massage certificates and more!

…Bought to you by the of TogetherCare!

Colleagues Go First! Sign Up Now for MyChart

The new MyChart patient portal will become available to consumers this weekend. But you can download the app and enroll in our new portal right now. Help us beta-test the new MyChart by creating an account and installing the app to your mobile device. Read more and get the Quick Start Guide (internal use only).

Epic Talk

Results Routing in Epic

Reviewing lab, imaging, and other test results is a vital part of patient care because the results help clinicians make decisions about patient treatment. Depending on the clinical setting, clinicians might access results in Epic in different ways. For example, in an inpatient setting, clinicians review results directly in a patient’s chart. In an outpatient setting, clinicians review results in In Basket when they become available. We have created the results routing table below to see how results are routed in TogetherCare.
Accountable Executives Offer Advice for a Successful Go-Live

“It’s not about having a scripted response. We do sincerely feel we’re going to be successful at this. We all need to be that positive optimistic front, and it’s important to be real with people; listen to their concerns and their problems and make sure we follow-up.”   –Mike Gusho

“We have all devoted so much energy to get ready for go live. Yet stabilization takes time and there’s absolutely a learning curve—it’s work!  It’s work to get through this together. So it’s important that we set expectations, measure progress and help our colleagues be solution oriented. We expect many issues and opportunities – so please just know this experience is normal. We want everyone to always ask for help, escalate questions, and submit ideas.”

–Kelly Smith

“Some of our pre-go-live messages are: You’re not going to be completely comfortable on day one and that’s going to be okay. The more practice you get, the better and more comfortable you will become. Things may feel hectic at go-live, as with any big transition; but we will support each other through that process.”

–Jackie Lapinski

Mission Corner:

2 Days to Go-Live! Chaplains are a Valuable Resource

There is no other health care professional that is trained, motivated and willing to take sufficient time to provide the depth of spiritual comfort, sense of hope and peace to patients, residents, family members and colleagues as a professional chaplain does on a daily basis.

“We are to do for one another what Jesus did: comfort others by inspiring in them hope and confidence in life. Our distinctive vocation in Christian health care is not so much to heal better or more efficiently than anyone else; it is to strengthen their confidence in life. The ultimate goal of our care is to give those who are ill, through our care, a reason to hope.”

–The Late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin

–Excerpts from Trinity Health – The Value of Spiritual Care booklet

Thank You…

It has been my honor to write, communicate and to plan events that push us all to this next level of work through TogetherCare – powered by Epic. This newsletter has been our connection over these past months –pressing toward Go-Live 2020 all in 44 issues.  I’ve met so many wonderful, empowering, committed colleagues. Special thanks to the accountable executives who brilliantly kept the purpose and the intricacies of TogetherCare and Epic in their hearts and minds at all hours of the day and night.

Moving forward, Kevin DiCola, regional communications director and I will communicate through other channels, so stay tuned and always pray for our continued success with our new electronic health record and revenue excellence system – Epic.

– Leisa Parham, Epic Communications Coordinator

We’re Still Communicating

The TogetherCare Michigan Newsletter may be sun setting – but we’ll still stay connected with all of our colleagues. Here’s how:


Michigan Epic Update is published by the Epic Accountable Executives and Leisa Parham, Communications Coordinator.

Sign Up Now: MyChart Opens to Colleagues Ahead of Go-Live for Test Run

The new MyChart patient portal will become available to consumers after the TogetherCare Go-Live, but colleagues throughout Mercy Health, Saint Joseph Mercy Health System and IHA can download the app and enroll in the portal right now.

In the days leading up to the launch of Epic, colleagues who have a Trinity Health employed physician or have used a hospital or service in the last six years are eligible for early enrollment.

At this early stage, legacy information is still populating so you probably will not see some or any of the information from your existing portal at this time. However, you will be able to see many of the features and resources that will become available after go-live.

Direct link:

  1. How do I get started? Just follow the steps in our MyChart Activation Job Aid to get started.  If you would like personal assistance, several of our hospitals will have early activation tables during cafeteria hours.
  2. Why is Trinity Health inviting colleagues to sign up early? The early signup period is an important way to test the system before it becomes available to our patients.
  3. What historical information is available in MyChart prior to Go-Live?
    You may not see information in your portal prior to Go-Live. Information will be populated over time as the transition from multiple portals takes effect.
  4. What if I don’t see a report or procedure in my new record?
    The transfer of legacy information from existing patient portals will take time to complete. If some information is missing, please be patient and wait a few weeks for it appear.
  • What features will be available in MyChart?
    Your new portal has all of the same functionality as our current portals but with some added benefits, including billing summaries in one place for all encounters at a Trinity Health owned practice or facility; test results; appointments; messages from your doctor; medications; discharge instructions and office visit notes, among other features.

Who can I contact for assistance?

If you’re having trouble finding the MyChart app in your mobile device store, or need help with installation, submit an online ServiceNow request.

On Saturday at 9 a.m. the MyChart Support Line, 844-982-4278 will open for questions.

In-Person Help Available at the following locations:

Mercy Health Saint Mary’s (Grand Rapids)
– Wednesday, Jan. 21 from 11 a.m. -12:30 p.m.
– Thursday, Jan. 23 from 8:30-9:30 a.m.
– Friday, Jan. 24 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Workflow Dress Rehearsals Take Center Stage in Epic Readiness Activities

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Local clinical and revenue teams have been conducting Workflow Dress Rehearsals (WDRs) to simulate the new integrated workflow scenarios. The scenarios include ambulatory visits, emergency department arrivals to surgery and inpatient admissions.

Multidisciplinary teams gather to simulate the various, new processes while actually using the Epic system for registration, documentation, orders, medication administration.

“The workflow dress rehearsals have been very beneficial in bringing teams together to focus on the new workflows and Epic functionality, especially with patient handoffs and transitions to different areas of care within the hospital. These rehearsals are helping these teams to be better prepared for the changes that will occur when we go live on Epic”, says Carol Hisscock, SEMI Acute Readiness Champion.

Workflow Dress Rehearsals provide setting to –

  • Simulate integrated scenarios
  • Practice Epic and  new workflows
  • Work together in Epic with local and multidisciplinary teams
  • Debrief on issues and concerns, as well as talk about what went well.

Successful “Soft Launch” Drives Learnings for TogetherCare Go-Live

A letter of appreciation to those who achieved a successful soft launch over Conversion Weekend on Jan. 18-19

Over the weekend, a team of more than 2,200 TogetherCare and Michigan region colleagues, with assistance from Epic, successfully converted existing appointments from our current electronic health record systems to TogetherCare.

More than 1,900 Michigan colleagues and 300 TogetherCare and Epic colleagues braved the winter weather and worked around the clock to ensure a seamless transition to TogetherCare for our patients. We thank them for their dedication and commitment.

Here is the what they accomplished* by the numbers:

  • 99% of appointments converted
  • 228,536 appointments imported and validated
  • 67,589 appointments manually scheduled

As of Monday morning, we are live across the state of Michigan in both acute and ambulatory, on the prelude (registration) and cadence (scheduling) Epic applications for scheduled encounters with a date of service of Saturday, Jan. 25 and beyond. We’ve found our build to be solid and our colleagues are excited to begin using our new system during this “soft” launch.

We also acknowledge that with an implementation of this scale, we will experience challenges. We appreciate the support and partnership exhibited from the TogetherCare and Michigan region colleagues as we worked through some of these challenges. We continue to learn forward during this process and will apply all learnings from the weekend to our future waves.

Thank you to our TogetherCare colleagues, our Michigan region colleagues and our Epic partners for making this a success.

In gratitude,

Kelly Smith
Mike Gusho
Jackie Lapinski
Laura Williams, MD
Jennifer Wallace

* Figures as of 8 p.m. Eastern on Sunday, Jan. 12.