(Sept. 18, 2020) – KHA's Health Care Worker of the Year Award highlights hospital employees who have made a significant contribution to the betterment of their hospital. These individuals have been nominated for this award because they routinely go above and beyond the call of duty.
Toby Paige has been a fixture at Coffey Health System for nearly 30 years: 22 years as an EMT; five years in the facilities department; and the past three years leading the environmental services team. His two decades in EMS brought a clinical perspective that elevated every aspect of cleaning and infection control throughout the organization.
Toby's extraordinary work through the pandemic reached everyone throughout the organization. He led the facility in proper procedures to prevent the spread and cross-contamination. He also conducted "walk-throughs" in every department and office to point out high-touch areas, provided appropriate cleaning products and demonstrated how to clean each surface. His attention to detail and concern for others was vital in containing disease spread. He voluntarily assumed the responsibility to clean the rooms of positive COVID-19 patients so other staff members would not be unnecessarily exposed. Most importantly, Toby was a calm, positive presence throughout the surge in COVID-19 patients. His professionalism, kindness, and willingness to help at any moment brought reassurance and confidence to all of CHS staff during a very trying time.
Toby always places the needs of patients first. His empathy and respect extends to every person he encounters. He is an excellent ambassador, greeting visitors and families with a smile and never missing an opportunity to help a colleague. CHS partners with the school district to provide job training for young adults with special needs. Toby shows nothing but respect and kindness in training these young men, always making them feel valued. Since taking on his current position, overall patient satisfaction scores related to hospital environment and cleanliness have risen significantly. When an issue arises, Toby provides research for a solution and collaborates with the infection control committee to develop new policies, procedures, and guidelines. His diligence has led to improved workflow and reduced expenses. He has evolved the Environmental Service team into front-line leaders of infection prevention. He assures that his staff is trained to handle any situation and was the first in the facility to be biohazard certified. He has taken an active role to ensure staff in all facilities are properly trained in cleaning and safety procedures, as well as the handling of biohazardous waste. Toby is not a supervisor who only supervises. He works alongside his staff, and together they ensure tasks are completed efficiently without taking shortcuts or compromising the quality of their work.
Toby will be recognized with other Health Care Worker of the Year nominees during the KHA Virtual Convention, Oct. 21-23. The winners also will be recognized at their hospitals.