Greetings and hello to all! I was asked, following the announcement earlier this week that I would be joining the HealthNet team, to write a blog so that we could get to know each other better. One particular topic easily came to mind – my initial and positive impression of the people who work at HealthNet. I’ll get to those thoughts later after I first share with you that it is a privilege for me to serve as only the third Chief Executive Officer in the 44-year history of this leading safety net organization.
I was one of many candidates contacted when the nationwide search began to find a successor for Booker upon his well-deserved retirement. I, like other candidates, eagerly applied for this position. Why? Simply stated, HealthNet has a great reputation for serving its patients and is a recognized leader in the community health care movement. The vision of this organization to provide world-class quality community health care is one that many organizations strive to achieve; however, few ever come close to attaining. I, personally and professionally, look forward to becoming a key member of our team of professionals who are committed to ensuring that this vision is and remains a reality.
You will hear more from me and members of our management team on this subject as we collectively continue to raise the bar in providing patient-centered, customer-focused health care services.
Now I would like to share my first impressions regarding HealthNet staff so let me get to it by using an analogy as follows:
“If my beloved Dallas Cowboys and the Indianapolis Colts consistently played at the same high level of customer service exhibited by staff in the clinics and in the IU Health HR Department, then both teams would be 16-0 during the regular season and play each other in the Super Bowl each year!” (Note: I will not venture to guess who wins – ).
This statement is not a frivolous one and is based on my interactions with and observations of staff during my six-month recruitment process. For example, while meeting Martha Wedemeyer at Southwest at 7:30 one morning, I overheard a male staff member tell another what he had to do to get to work on time (his car wouldn’t start, dead battery) to ensure that patient care needs were met. Additionally, a female at the front desk comforted a young couple as she needed care for a dental problem – clinic staff ensured that the patient was seen immediately! At People’s, while waiting to meet Karen, I noted that the clinic receptionist had a welcoming smile and warm greeting for all patients who entered the building. Additionally, the male staffer collecting service fees did so in a personable yet professional manner prior to each patient encounter – no patient was reluctant to pay because he collected their monies in a private and dignified manner. In visiting with Sharon and Kay in their main building for the Homeless Initiative Program, I found them both to be very professional and caring individuals who are committed to their clients and the important work they do.
My impressions of the IU Health HR professionals – Steven Jones, Megan Haymaker, Chris Buczek and Ann Kurtz – are parallel to the same positive impression that I have for the for the direct care and administrative support staff in our clinics. They provided timely responses, were efficient in executing their work and, most of all, really made me and Valerie (my wife) feel welcome at the Martin Luther King Service and during our other visits to Indy. Space does not permit me here but I will visit with Ms. Ladd at the earliest opportunity to personally share with her what a superb job all her team did in bringing me on board. I guess by now that it is absolutely no mystery as to what my first impressions are of the HealthNet/IUH staffs – customer focused and caring professionals!
In closing, I want to pass on several “live-by” principles that I, individually and organizationally, firmly believe in. These beliefs are that:
- All patients and clients (regardless of ability to pay, race, or gender) have the right to quality, easily accessible and customer-focused health care.
- All patients, clients and visitors must be treated with dignity and respect
- Staff cannot accomplish numbers 1 and 2 above if they do not first recognize that their co-workers are their customers too
- Health care services must be provided in a safe, functional and aesthetically attractive environment, and
- We must all be about the business of managing our business so that we have the resources to provide the health care services needed by our target populations.
Again, I look forward to joining the HealthNet team, the opportunity to meet with each of you and for us to openly communicate on a variety of topics and current items of interest. Take care, be safe and best wishes for a productive and enjoyable day.