By David Abercrombie, MCMH CEO
What standards do you use to ensure that employees act in a professional manner at all times and what methods are used to ensure that they behave in a professional, caring manner?
A little over a year ago the hospital’s board of directors met in a strategic planning meeting. The Values of the hospital were changed at that meeting to: Faith, Family and (local) history. This changed a lot about how we do our job. As administrator, I can tell you that I personally measure how this hospital meets its daily problems according to those values. I realize that values are things we can’t touch and sometimes it’s hard to believe in what we can’t see. But they are real. Values are sacred things down deep inside of us. It is about what we will accept and what we won’t accept. What we will do and what we won’t do. As an organization, it is how we live our life at Madison County Memorial Hospital.
In a more concrete fashion, Madison County Memorial Hospital (MCMH) has put top of the line management in place. These are not merely words. I have the credentials and the experience to know what top of the line management is, and at MCMH, we have it. This hasn’t happened overnight. In fact, it has taken several years. If I had the option this minute to change out any of our middle or senior managers, I might change one, possibly two. Out of our 21 managers, this isn’t bad at all. Now I’m not saying that in each department under each of these 21 managers that things are rosy – they are not, not all the time. There are problems. There are times when I wonder how in the world we dropped the ball with this problem or that. But our group here in Madison County is as good as any rural community hospital’s management, of which I am familiar with. They are. To those of us who are in a position to know, it is undisputable.
So far, I have told you that our organizational values are right and our management is right. The next level of assurance is a mixture of employees, equipment and processes. This is where I have to say that things aren’t all they could be. But frankly, we have always been a hospital without a lot of money. The money we don’t have would have been used for education, better salaries and benefits to compete for the best talent, newer equipment, things like that. This is causing our re-building to last seven years rather than five. But we are rolling!
It is happening because of a great set of values, a great group of managers, and a great group of employees that we have taken great pains to choose and to keep because of their credentials and because their personal values are believed to match the organization’s values. There is a public finance concept that says that people gravitate to other people of similar values. Our employees do reflect the level of our professional and caring manner. Our employees are here because they want to be here. Because they believe in where we are going. I believe in where we are going.
Answering your question is hard because in a hospital everything and everybody are inter-connected and all mixed together.
A hospital must have good employees, and they must have the tools to do their job (or they will think that YOU don’t care, and leave and go where they DO care); and you have to have your written policies and processes in order; and you must have a clear and understandable organizational value system; and a clear objective. If you have these things, good employees stay with you. If you don’t, they leave.
As our equipment is replaced with newer equipment; as we continue to choose the best employees and put those employee in the right job to match their temperaments and talents; and as they each come to understand that we mean what we say when we “preach” our values, then the sum total of the professionalism and caring becomes greater and greater. In my estimation we came from an “F” and today we have earned about a “B-”. In 1 ½ years, our report card will read “A.” That’s a fact. Watch our smoke.