Sun Health Programs Making Measurable Differences in Health of Patients and Clients

Innovative approaches helping chronically ill and those recovering after a hospitalization 

SURPRISE, ARIZ., Dec. 4, 2014 — Preventing hospital readmissions and managing chronic disease present complex challenges for health care providers and organizations.

Sun Health, a community-based nonprofit organization, is using innovative approaches to address these challenges. The resulting Sun Health programs, the first of which was launched in 2011, are yielding promising results and drawing attention from many quarters in the health care industry.

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Wulkan Foundation Grants $10k to Northwest Valley Connect

Transportation Coordination Service to Use Grant to Expand Services

SURPRISE, ARIZ. – Dec. 3, 2014 – Northwest Valley Connect (NVC), a nonprofit transportation coordination service founded by Sun Health and Benevilla, recently received a $10,000 grant from the Wulkan Foundation, a like-minded organization dedicated to helping older adults find transportation options.

Wulkan Foundation $10k Grant

(L-R) Jennifer Drago, NVC board chair; Beverly Wulkan, Wulkan Foundation; Kathy Chandler, NVC’s executive director and mobility manager; Michelle Dionisio, NVC board member.

The grant was awarded to NVC by Beverly Wulkan, an experienced civil engineer and transit expert, well-acquainted with the challenges older adults often face when planning local trips to doctors, the pharmacy, the grocery store, social engagements and other appointments and errands.

Wulkan explained why she chose NVC as the recipient of the grant: “First, Northwest Valley Connect is helping seniors find options to their transportation needs, which is a match with the foundation’s mission. Second, having been involved in nonprofit organizations, I understand that a little extra money is always helpful with new programs.” The Wulkan Foundation was started by her husband Alan Wulkan in 2013.

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Donation Will Help Keep Women ‘in the Pink’

SUN CITY, ARIZ., Nov. 19, 2014 – The Sun City Women’s Golf Association, North Division (SCWGA-ND) recently presented a check for $10,700 to Women’s Diagnostic Services at Banner Lakes Imaging Center.

The donation will be used to provide 3D screening mammograms for women without insurance or the means to pay for one. The low-dose 3D mammography system produces high-quality images that allow radiologists to view breast tissue with far greater detail and precision than 2D mammography.

The funds were raised through the SCWGA-ND’s 19th annual “Pink Ribbon Tournament,” played Oct. 28, on Sun City’s North Golf Course. The tournament attracted a full field of 168 women and men golfers.

Sun Health Foundation, the fundraising arm for Banner in the Northwest Valley, will manage the funds.   Continue reading

Ron Guziak Shares Insights on Community Health, Wellness & Hospital Ecosystems

As part of last year’s Healthcare Executive Summit in Chicago, our very own Ron Guziak presented his opinions on community based health care, and changes within the hospital ecosystem – a powerful presentation that landed him a feature piece in today’s Becker’s Hospital Review.

“Whereas 3 percent of the population are the sickest and represent the vast majority of the healthcare dollars in the United States, and 12 percent of the population experience surgeries, emergencies, and cancer treatment, 85 percent of the population uses healthcare services periodically but thinks of themselves as very healthy—and wants to stay that way.

‘Most of what I hear about population health is about the 15 percent; our system of care gives lip service to the 85 percent,” Guziak said. “At Sun Health, we believe it is now our responsibility to provide services to the 85 percent using evidence-based technology and programs, while measuring outcomes.’

Today, Sun Health is not only the largest locally owned senior living nonprofit in Arizona, but it also is seeing dramatic success with its community health programs, including Care Transitions. “Our goal is to use revenue from our portfolio, our foundation and our senior living operations to fund community programs,” Guziak said.

In May 2013, Sun Health entered the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid pilot Community Based Care Transitions Program. The 30-day program provides in-home nursing assessment, chronic disease education, medication review and education, home safety evaluation, fall risk assessment and weekly follow-up calls.

At two hospitals, Sun Health Care Transitions has reduced the readmission rate for high-risk Medicare patients to 7 percent.”

Read the full article here.

*Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Sun Health Foundation’s Gala Raises Funds for Banner Sun Health Research Institute

2014 Sun Health Foundation GalaSURPRISE, ARIZ. – Nov. 12, 2014 – More than 300 guests celebrated Italian style at Sun Health Foundation’s signature fundraiser, the Healthy SUNsations Gala, whose theme this year was “That’s Amore! An Italian Carnevale.”

The Nov. 8 celebration, held at Wigwam Arizona in Litchfield Park, featured fire jugglers, stilt walkers and jesters, a gourmet Italian dinner, entertainment by a tenor trio called “The Three Waiters,” a live auction and a video highlighting Alzheimer’s research at the Banner Sun Health Research Institute (BSHRI), beneficiary of this year’s Gala.

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COO Sharon Grambow on SiriusXM Radio Today

Sharon Grambow, COO, Sun HealthWe have some exciting news to share today! Sun Health Senior Living Chief Operating Officer Sharon Grambow will be a guest on “When Things Go Wrong” – a weekly show on Business Radio powered by The Wharton School on Sirius/XM Radio Channel 111.

Sharon will be on at 1:00 p.m. PST (4 p.m. EST) today talking about customer service successes and other positives at Sun Health Senior Living’s three Life Care Communities: Grandview Terrace in Sun City West, La Loma Village in Litchfield Park and The Colonnade in Surprise!

If you have Sirius/XM, you can listen live on Channel 111. You can also hear the show live or archived for 30 days on

A free, 30-day trial online subscription is available with no credit card required. Just click on to sign up. The trial will allow non-subscribers to listen live online at and via the SiriusXM free mobile app. Business Radio is in the Talk and Entertainment section of the site. Please feel free to pass it along to any colleagues, followers, friends, etc.

Once you have the trial or an online subscription:

  • Go to and sign in
  • Click ‘Listen Online’ in top right corner
  • Click ‘Shows On-Demand’
  • Then search for the show by name – When Things Go Wrong
  • Click on recent shows to listen

More information about the show is available at If you listen, let us know what you think!

Employee Showcase: Penny Jacobs

Penny Jacobs, Grandview Care Center Health Care AdministratorA breath of fresh air just blew into the Grandview Care Center… and her name is Penny Jacobs. As the new administrator of the center, her competency is obvious from the very first conversation and she is clearly excited about this new phase of her career.

Penny’s first day was August 25th.

“I’m proud to be part of such a wonderful, strong team.

After seeing the incredible things Sun Health has done with the Grandview Care Center, their other properties and the  surrounding community – not to mention the numerous awards and accolades they’ve earned – I was over the moon to be offered the position.

I was welcomed with open arms and phenomenal acceptance, and have a deep appreciation for the friendly, relaxed atmosphere. No wonder patients love it.”

Licensed as a health care administrator in Arizona, Nebraska and Iowa, Penny comes to Sun Health from a small community nursing home in Nebraska. Having moved away from Arizona for sixteen months, she’s happy to be living in the Valley once again.

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Sun Health Well-Positioned for More Growth with Addition of Real Estate Development Staff

Sun Health has added new staff members to manage future growth and ongoing construction at its three continuing care retirement communities and other real estate holdings in the West Valley.

Paul Vanderveen 1Paul Vanderveen has been named director of Real Estate Development. He will be responsible for master planning, entitlement and development of all Sun Health properties. He will also lead and direct site acquisition, site master planning, new product development, design, regulatory approval and infrastructure development.

Vanderveen will report directly to Sun Health Executive Vice President Joe La Rue and will collaborate with Sun Health senior leaders on related development projects. He also will work closely with Neal Smith, newly promoted construction superintendent of the Real Estate Development team.

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