Deb Brisch-Cramer

CNO Mental Health, Minneapolis VA Health Care System Department of Veterans Affairs


Mission driven Health Care Executive with a demonstrated passion for leadership; quality and performance improvement; the patient and family experience and the nursing profession.


Leadership Experience

v  Leadership mentor, coach and team builder

v  Conflict management and negotiation

v  Fiscal management

v  Labor-management contract negotiations

v  Strategic management

v  Quality and performance improvement

v  Staff support and supervision

v  Change initiative implementation

v  Interdisciplinary team management


Professional Experience 

Veteran’s Administration Medical Center                                                  December 2014 – Present

·         Chief Nurse for Mental Health Service Line

o   Provide overall management of the practice and profession of nursing for RN’s within the VA Minneapolis Health Care System, Mental Health Service Line.   

§  Scope includes: clinical, administrative, research and education for nursing at the Minneapolis Medical Center and in eleven clinic locations located in Minnesota and Western Wisconsin; one Inpatient Psychiatric Unit; and ten outpatient programs.    

o   Mental Health Executive for Suicide Prevention Team

§  Oversight of all VHA Directives implementation related to suicide prevention.  Implementation of Outreach Education Specialist. 

o   Provide leadership for Mental Health Service Line Performance Improvement 

§  Develop and facilitate Behavioral Health Service Line committee preparing for Joint Commission visit reviewing standards for both Hospital and Behavioral Health Accreditations.  Member of steering committee for Mental Health Quality Council.  Participate in VISN/National wide Performance Improvement conference calls and implement VISN/National Directives including Mental Health Access, staffing, EOC, etc.

§  Facilitating multidisciplinary team to improve through-put of mental health patients in the ED

o   VA Representative on the MHA Mental and Behavioral Health Committee

o   Chair of the Preventive Ethics Committee

o   Active member of the following VA Committees: Continuous Readiness, Ethics Consultation and VISN 23 MH Leadership.


Vertical Systems—Truth Point                                                                  March 2013 – November 2014

·         Performance Improvement Coach

o   Assist clients in implementing and utilizing TruthPoint to effectively meet their patient experience improvement goals.  

§  Development of patient assessments and reports using the proprietary software tools

§  Provide consultative services to apply industry and TruthPoint specific best practices

§  Engaged healthcare professionals and executives across a wide range of services lines with a mission-driven focus to improve healthcare delivery and improve service, performance and patient/family experience.


Vitalize Consulting Services – an SAIC Company                                  November 2012 - March 2013

·         Consultant

o   Direct strategic methodology for electronic health record selection and implementation in healthcare organizations.

Hudson Hospital and Clinics, Hudson, WI                                                 January 2006 - December 2011

·         Vice President of Patient Services and Chief Nurse Officer

o   Directed overall business operations including P&L responsibility for the following areas: Inpatient, surgical services, pharmacy, rehab services, cardiopulmonary services, maternity care, emergency department, care management, nutrition services, laboratory, and medical imaging for a total of 200 FTEs and approximately $40 million in revenues.

§  Led implementation of VBAC deliveries resulting in an additional 6% increase in overall deliveries.

§  Selected nationally to launch Transforming Care at the Bedside (TCAB) as the smallest and only Critical Access Hospital (CAH) in national initiative sponsored by IHI, Robert Wood Johnson and AONE, 2007-2009 resulting in a 4% increase of patient satisfaction patient satisfaction and 67% increase of staff satisfaction.

o   Responsible for Quality Department including: all aspects of patient/family experience; regulatory readiness; Board of Directors education and Board Committee facilitation; medical staff credentialing and peer review; infection control and prevention.

§  Implemented significant changes in Emergency Department leading to increase patient safety and patient flow as well as a 20% increase of patient satisfaction.

§  Presented Board education and meeting reports with an emphasis on current health care issues, regulatory readiness and public reporting.

§  Prepared and led two successful Joint Commission Accreditation reviews

o   Contract development and negotiation with a variety of physician groups; nurse bargaining unit, and nurse anesthetists.

§  Led transition from outside CRNA contract to hired employees saving organization a minimum of 10% per year and adding better coverage.

o   Hospital representative and community liaison with the Phipps Arts Center and St. Croix EMS services.

§  Led initiative with St. Croix EMS to analyze service coverage and how to meet future community needs with increased population growth.

Validus Consulting, Minneapolis, MN                                                      January 2005 - December 2005  

·         Consultant

o  Co-led clinical implementation of the Electronic Medical Record (EMR) within various clinical areas at large urban hospital.  Facilitated workflow analysis and implementation, creation and implementation of EMR resources for users, and integration of new workflows across disciplines.


Children’s Hospitals and Clinics, Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN                  November 1998 - September 2004

·         Patient Care Director of Hematology/Oncology Service line and St. Paul Site Lead

o   Directed overall business operations, including P&L responsibility of Hematology/Oncology Service line, including inpatient and outpatient departments; facilitation of research program; quality initiatives and performance; management and distribution of philanthropic funds; overall responsibility for annual budgets.

o   Over six years, assumed the role of first line manager in five different departments when first line managers were not in place.

o   Led service line and campus integration, as well as contingency planning for possible work stoppage. Participated in a metro wide task force and was liaison with replacement vendor for many of the metro-wide hospitals.




Additional Relevant Experience


United Hospital, St. Paul, MN                                                                      November 1992 - November 1998

Clinical Operations Leader


University of Minnesota Hospitals and Clinics                                        June 1984 - November 1992            

Interim Head Nurse

Assistant Nurse Manager

Clinical Educator

Staff Nurse and Charge Nurse



o   University of St. Catherine, Masters in Organizational Leadership

o   University of Minnesota, Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

o   Wharton Business School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Wharton Fellows Program in Management for Nurse Executives.

o   VHA Behavioral Health Leadership Program

o   Ongoing leadership and nursing continuing education

o   NE-BC Certification - 2023

Professional/Volunteer Activities

o   American Organization for Nurse Executives

o   ANA

o   Volunteer in community/school/church activities




Upon Request

Focus Day - Culture and Processes

Tuesday, January 1st, 2019

2:00 PM Enhancing Patient Experience for Veterans of Color

We will discuss microaggressions, the importance enhancing staff diversity (especially at senior levels), and engaging staff members in difficult discussions; as well as Veterans’ perspectives.

Check out the incredible speaker line-up to see who will be joining Deb.

Download The Latest Agenda