By Chad Long, Therapy Resource

Recently I had the privilege of participating in a Market Meeting in IA. After great presentations about Case Mix and PDPM from our Service Center subject-matter experts (thank you, Matt Stevenson and Rob Ady), we reviewed therapy metrics. One facility, Hillcrest Healthcare Center, has been demonstrating some very interesting results. The Market Leaders asked Cassie Nielson, DOR, and CJ Rickard, ED, to present on the “secrets” of their improvements. Instead of discussing programs that were developed, or what type of accountability conversations happened with staff, Cassie simply discussed the challenge of being an “owner.”

Cassie began discussing how Hillcrest had gone through significant changes over time, from being a previous Flag flying facility to a financially struggling facility. Recently, CJ came on board as a new Operations leader (another change for the facility), and Cassie confessed to the group she was seriously considering leaving Hillcrest. Cassie then described her conversation with CJ about leaving, and how CJ, very lovingly and with compassion, asked her if she was willing to be an “owner” with him in the future of Hillcrest. He told her how being an owner was not easy and would have some sleepless nights and require tough decisions.

What struck me most about watching Cassie and CJ recall for the group their previous discussions, was how emotionally raw and real they both were as they said, “We never talked about metrics.” They just got to the very heart of what it takes to turn a person, a team and an entire facility around … true ownership.

Cassie said she really had to think, and question herself, about being an owner. Her answer did not come immediately. However, once she made the decision, she started seeing changes. She became more grateful for her team and frequently thanked them. She looked at her schedule and patient care differently and noticed opportunities. She had tough discussions with strong-opinionated therapists about patient/resident clinical care potential, and she started sharing the financial metrics with her team to include them in the overall understanding of the building operations. She also gave more control (ownership) to members of her team for clinical or operational processes.

Cassie and CJ were able to demonstrate CAPLICO in is purest form. I know they will have struggles and challenges ahead, and the metrics will not always be perfect. However, going through the challenge of being an owner will hopefully continue to define their success in the present and future.