Archive for the ‘McLeod’ Category

Health Care Reform and Transformation

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

On Wednesday, I participated in a ’spirited’ discussion about health care reform and the need for transformation.  We are planning for the future.  We are listening and learning.  We are creating a safe place from which to share different perspectives and ideas.  In a stubborn moment … suddenly these words … these paragraphs from author Paul Tripp flashed through my mind.

‘So, who’s schooling you? 

There is never a day that passes without you being taken to school in some way.  Life is really all about teaching and learning.  And there is a way in which neither teaching or learning stops from the first until the last day of your life.  So, perhaps one of the most important diagnostic questions that each of us should be asking is this,

“Do I approach life as a student?”

Willingness and openness are the essential characteristics of any good student.  Why, you may ask?  Because learning not only shows me what I didn’t know, but points out the places where what I thought I knew was, in fact, wrong.  I cannot tell you in my many years of teaching how many defensive students I have met.  “Defensive student” is an oxymoron, like “jumbo shrimp” or “low-fat butter.”  You can’t be defensive … and be a student.  You have to open up your heart.  You have to be willing to be told that you are wrong.  You have to submit yourself to someone who knows better and knows more.  Defending what you know will not lead to either further or corrected understanding.  Willingness to listen, consider, and change are in the heart of every good student.’

So, I am sure I will have a round two or three with my colleagues as we work together on the changes that are taking place in health care.  May we each have discernment, focus and determination on behalf of patients and families.  Discernment suggests we are serving with qualified teachers.  From Paul Tripp’s writing:

‘We … live in a world of many, many voices.  All of them are interpreting your world and all of them are vying for the allegiance of your heart.  And you have to remember that learning is a process not an event.  One truth opens the doorway to another truth.  One truth functions as an interpreter of a truth previously introduced, but now understood more fully.  Learning is a lifelong process and because it is, it requires perseverance.’

May we have perseverance on behalf of our patients to walk through these complex and difficult times as we strive to be The Choice for Medical Excellence.  May we be open and willing to learn from patients and families, other team members and be evidence-based in our approach.


We are on a Mission!

Friday, February 10th, 2012

The Mission for McLeod is to improve the health and well-being of the people living in northeast South Carolina. For primary, secondary and tertiary medical care, we seek to serve the people residing in twelve counties in South Carolina and portions of three counties in North Carolina.  At McLeod Health, our teams are striving to reduce the burdens that are associated with illness and injury. It is a mission of size and importance given the medical needs of the rural Carolinas and the demographics of our people. We seek to provide excellence in patient-centered care to those who entrust us with their medical needs.

It is not a Mission Statement we recite, but it is an ongoing daily action of compassion, accomplished through the service of our people.  At the end of our day, we will take our intellect, our heart and our hands – and combine all three – to initiate for the good of others and serve them.  It is a mission based upon a  commitment to the voluntary, nonprofit approach to medicine, community outreach and to the traditional shared values in committing ourselves to a calling of service.

I had a chance today to observe an example of the mission in action. During the Department Director meeting at McLeod Regional Medical Center, Julie Ulmer received recognition for her service to others as a McLeod Speech Language Pathologist. Julie was recognized as a McLeod Merit Award recipient by her peers and patients. The circle of Merit Award recipients was widened today to receive her for cheerful, unselfish service and devotion to others. This recognition honors her for consistently exemplifying the values and mission of McLeod.

Julie Ulmer, at left, is pictured with her mother, McLeod Nurse Educator Joanne Ulmer, following her Merit Award presentation.

It was interesting to hear her Director, Harriet Jeffords, recount Julie’s heritage of service, reflected by her family’s own legacy of caring for others. Julie’s mother, Joanne Ulmer, has served as a Nurse Educator at McLeod for nearly 15 years. Her brother and sister-in-law also are part of the team of McLeod health professionals. It was interesting to hear about Julie’s start with McLeod as a youth volunteer, later as a summer career student and as a scholarship recipient prior to joining McLeod in 2002.

We appreciate that she continues to share her enthusiasm and commitment to cheerful and compassionate service with others. That’s our mission in action!

Please join Julie … join us in this mission.  Help us to continue to strive and improve. There is a noble mission out there with your name on it … with our name on it together in caring for others.   


“Exit Strategy”

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

While we plan for everyone on the team to remain until retirement, this is not always possible.  I found this instruction to be helpful with any responsibility to which we have been entrusted.  In his book, Created for Work, Bob Schultz asks an interesting question about our work – “Do you have an exit strategy?”

‘On commercial airlines, before you ever leave the ground, attendants provide an exit strategy. They tell you how to use your seat for a flotation device if the plane landed on water. In the unlikely event of the plane losing cabin pressure, they show you how to employ oxygen masks. Exit doors are clearly noted and you receive instructions on how to use the evacuation slide. Airline companies want their passengers to know how to get off their planes under all circumstances –  before the plane leaves the runway.

How does all this apply to our work or job? Do not wait until the last day of work to plan your exit strategy. To finish well, it is good to have the end in sight at the beginning. That vision will direct your actions to your desired goal. If we stopped to consider an exit strategy for our work, we would surely come up with some ideas like the following:

On the last day of my job,

1) I want to have a record for doing well and always being on time.

2) I want to have the reputation of owning a good attitude.

3) I want to give sufficient notice before I quit so my boss might find and train my replacement.

4) I want to finish all my business. That means returning all equipment and owing no debts.

5) I want to be able to look everyone in the eye, knowing I did as much as possible to be at peace with them.

6) I want a heart desire to see my boss prosper. I want to hear my boss say as I leave, “Well done. If you ever need a job in the future, call me back. We can always use a person like you.”

7) When I leave my position, I want to leave all my affairs in order so that I might enter my new course with a full heart, a clear conscience, and no regrets.

I have given only seven off-the-cuff ideas for ending a job well. I am sure that we could think of better ones, with a little effort, that would make our departure admirable. It’s worth our time to consider how we want to finish our current commitments and then keep to the plan. By practicing first-class exit strategies from jobs and other commitments, we will develop the wisdom to complete valuable responsibilities in life.

Knowing my exit strategy gives me practical wisdom for how I should act today.’

Do you have an exit strategy?


Switch: How To Change Things When Change Is Hard

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

In preparation for an upgrade of our organization’s computer system from McLeod Invision to McLeod Soarian, the leadership team is reading a book entitled: Switch: How To Change Things When Change Is Hard, by Chip and Dan Heath. By March 31, 2012, each leader, director and vice president is required to read and prepare a one-page summary of what they gleaned from this best-selling book.

The entire healthcare system is changing rapidly and we need to find new ways to serve others.

Switch concisely approaches change with a visual model that includes “the Rider,” “the Elephant,” and “the Path.” These elements are well illustrated through numbers of real-life examples in business, education and healthcare settings. Every difficult challenge or problem has an often overlooked or obscure “Bright Spot.” By gleaning and focusing upon small, but successful Bright Spots, larger solutions can be framed for future improvement. In other words, ask, “What is working?” and “How can we do more of it?” Bringing obscure, but successful Bright Spots into the spotlight is key to change. Positive change is possible. Bright Spots not only need to be drawn out of obscurity but also emphasized and rewarded.

It has been said: “If we open an argument with the past … we will neglect the future.” This book brings to light the counter intuitive approach of focusing on Bright Spots within our workplace rather than an unhealthy obsession over what is not working.

Whatever change you were attempting to initiate, I hope that you will join our team in reading this helpful book. If you would like to borrow my copy, please let me know.


Here are a few practical excerpts from page 263:

Problem: I’ll change tomorrow.

1. Shrink the change so you can start today.
2. If you can’t start today, set an action trigger for tomorrow.
3. Make yourself accountable to someone. Let your colleagues or loved one’s know what you’re trying to change, so their peer pressure will help you.

Problem:  People keep saying, “It will never work.”

1. Find a Bright Spot that shows IT can work. There’s no situation that is 100 percent failure. Like a solutions-focused  therapist, look for the flashes of success.
2. Think of Bill Parcells and the way he prods players for small victories in practice. Can you engineer a success that could change your team’s attitude?
3. Some people probably do think it will work. Carve out a free space for them where they can catalyze the change without facing direct opposition.

Problem: I know what I should be doing, but I am not doing it.

1. Knowing isn’t enough. You’ve got an Elephant problem.
2. Think of the five minute room rescue. Starting small can help you overcome dread. What is the most trivial thing that you can do – right at this moment – that would represent a small step toward the goal?
3. Look for path solutions. How can you change your environment so that you’re forced to change?
4. Behavior is contagious. Get someone else involved with you so that you can reinforce each other.

Referendum for Healthcare Services Passes

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

McLeod Health and Loris Community Healthcare System are extremely pleased with the public vote of confidence and outpouring of support from the community on the Healthcare Services Referendum on Tuesday, November 1.  An overwhelming 85 percent of voters passed the Referendum for Healthcare Services.

We are most appreciative of the dedication and hard work on behalf of the Citizens’ for Better Healthcare Services Committee to promote this effort.  Composed of residents from the Loris, North Myrtle Beach, Green Sea, Little River and Nichols communities, the Committee worked diligently for several months to communicate the issues involved in the referendum.  Working together for patients and families, we are stronger.

Loris has over a decade-long relationship with McLeod Health.  These hospitals share the same philosophy of quality patient care and are inspired by beloved local physicians.  Over and over again at fall festivals, in community groups and meetings, patients and families spoke of their personal experience with McLeod Health physicians and staff and of your commitment to the patients we serve.

These positive relationships created the opportunity to merge both organizations. These positive relationships, based on your service to others, created this opportunity to receive such a mandate in this referendum vote.  Working together, we are stronger.

McLeod Health, Loris and Seacoast continue to share a not-for-profit mission and focus on providing the best possible health care services to patients.  Loris and Seacoast will retain a local governing board and local foundation, with continued involvement and leadership.  The McLeod Health Board will expand to include three additional Board members from Horry county.

Loris Community Healthcare System provides care for residents of northern Horry and southern Brunswick and Columbus counties.  Founded in 1950, Loris Community Hospital is a fully-accredited acute care facility with 105 licensed beds.  Seacoast Medical Center opened in 2000 as an outpatient facility.  In July 2011, Seacoast Medical Center began providing inpatient care as a 50-bed hospital.  Other facilities affiliated with Loris Healthcare System are Family Health Centers in Loris and Green Sea, Loris Extended Care Center and the Center for Health and Fitness.  Loris Healthcare System also operates a network of physician practices and has more than 120 physicians on active and affiliate medical staff. Loris Healthcare System has nearly 750 employees.

With the passing of the referendum Tuesday, we will continue to work together for better healthcare services and better value in the communities we serve.  Both organizations and their staffs will benefit from working together. Our patients deserve the best healthcare services and the appropriate timing is now. Our communities are growing and this partnership is a way to provide these services to all patients in the area.

We have some challenges ahead, as with any new opportunity for growth and service. Thank you for your service and continued dedication to improve the quality of life for others.


See Myrtle Beach Sun News article below:

Recognition offers encouragement

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Please take the opportunity to read the following editorial which appeared in the Myrtle Beach Sun News on Wednesday, October 26, 2011.

I was grateful for this publication’s vote of confidence and endorsement of the effort to formalize a more permanent relationship between McLeod Health and Loris Community Healthcare System. I was encouraged by the recognition of the McLeod reputation for quality and excellence.

The positive words are indeed a reflection of your passion, your work these many years to improve care and service for patients and families.
Because of you and the McLeod team, the community in the Loris area positively received the news of a merger between McLeod and Loris. Over and over we have come across patient after patient, family after family who could relate a positive experience with McLeod.

While we don’t know the outcome of the vote on Tuesday, November 1 … and we will have a great deal of work ahead of us in this merger during health reform …  I am proud of you and your service to others.  Thank you for the daily sacrifice you make for patients and families.


Here’s the link:

…Then Keep Asking A Small Question

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

 In his book, “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us,” Daniel Pink talks about motivation and mastery.  He says,

“Real achievement doesn’t happen overnight.  As anyone who has trained for a marathon, learned a new language, or run a successful division can attest, you spend a lot more time grinding through tough tasks than you do basking in applause.

Here’s something you can do to keep yourself motivated.  At the end of each day, ask yourself whether you were better today than you were yesterday.  Did you do more?  Did you do it well? Or to get specific, did you learn your ten vocabulary words, make your eight sales calls, eat your five servings of fruits and vegetables, write your four pages?  You don’t have to be flawless each day.  Instead, look for small measures of improvement such as how long you practiced your saxophone or whether you held off checking email until you finished that report you needed to write.  Reminding yourself that you don’t need to be a master by day three is the best way of ensuring you will be one by day three thousand.

So before you go to sleep each night, ask yourself the small question: Was I a little better today than yesterday?”


New Management Relationship with Loris

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

McLeod Health has been working to formalize a healthcare partnership with Loris Healthcare System, and its affiliates, during the past year. We have good news regarding developments in this relationship, which will benefit patients in the communities we serve.

Loris Healthcare System has entered into a management agreement with McLeod. Through this relationship, McLeod will assume responsibility for managing Loris Community Hospital and Seacoast Medical Center, as well as other healthcare facilities owned by Loris Healthcare System.

Loris Healthcare System and McLeod will maintain local governance and management. A new administrator for Loris Healthcare System will be announced upon mutual agreement by our two organizations.

The five year  management agreement will focus on ways the two not-for-profit healthcare systems can work together to strengthen the availability of healthcare services in the northeastern region of South Carolina and southeastern North Carolina. In a manner which is consistent with the charitable mission of both organizations, the arrangement will serve patients and families in more than a dozen counties – from Horry County through the Pee Dee, to Sumter County.

Discussions between the organizations began last year following a thorough strategic planning process and a review of this potential alliance. Compatibility, similar charitable missions and values, and a commitment to deliver high quality patient care are the primary reasons for the affiliation.

This relationship with McLeod will strengthen healthcare in our region by advancing clinical programs and services, supporting physician recruitment, providing operational efficiencies and allowing future growth.

Additionally, this past week we announced that Dick Tinsley has been appointed the transition team leader to coordinate the management relationship between McLeod Health and Loris Healthcare System, which includes Seacoast Medical Center. He will support the work between both not for profit organizations as they continue working together strategically for the future. 

Dick is an experienced healthcare leader with a diversity of skills. The expertise and business acumen that he has demonstrated at McLeod and the experience he brings to Loris Healthcare System will strengthen the transition for our organizations and support the vision for future growth. He has also been a part of healthcare leadership for more than 25 years, providing organizational expertise in a variety of duties, including vendor relationships, strategic planning, managed care, joint ventures, physician engagement and service line development. He has served in a leadership position with McLeod Health since 1998 and as a Vice President of Planning since October of 2000. In his role, he has had administrative oversight of McLeod Orthopedics/Neurosurgery Services, Trauma Care and Emergency Services, McLeod Health and Fitness Center, McLeod Home Health Services, and McLeod Hospice. Dick has also had responsibility for CONs, DHEC matters, legislative and governmental relations.

The Loris and McLeod teams share a common mission and existing relationships, including the provision of high quality specialty care, such as Cancer, Orthopedic and Cardiac Services. We plan to bring the quality methodology as well as the valued clinical effectiveness initiatives and improvement processes to this agreement.

We will continue to work hard together to bring the best care possible to our patients. I wanted to recognize all of our teams of healthcare professionals for their efforts, commitment and support during these times of challenge and change.


Medicaid Announces Second Round of Budget Cuts

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

The state’s Medicaid Agency announced another series of payment reductions to providers for medical services provided to patients.  This link will take you directly to the memo from the agency: I have provided it as we received it from the South Carolina Hospital Association.  Hospitals received a 3% cut beginning in April of 2011 and these additional changes will be implemented in July 2011.

The recession continues to impact state and local governments as well as all business and organizations providing services.  We continue to look for ways to reduce costs in the face of these payment reductions for the services provided to patients.  Please see the link for “Bright Ideas” on the McLeod Health Compass (Intranet) homepage in order to submit your additional suggestions for improvement.


Learning and Mentoring

Friday, June 17th, 2011

“I look back on the old Masters highlights and I watched some things that I’ve done, and I’ve learned from those experiences. It’s taken me time and years of seeing what’s worked well and what hasn’t.”
Phil Mickelson, American Golfer

As health care professionals at McLeod, we have responded to the mission of caring for people. For most of us, it is not a job, but a vocation and a calling. Part of our responsibility in providing the very best experience to our patients and their families is by also mentoring and teaching others to render excellence in medical treatment. Teaching new generations to carry the torch of compassion and fostering the commitment to excellence is supported by sharing the lessons learned in our daily work.

For the past four years, McLeod has hosted an internship for medical students from May through July, a concept developed by Dr. Alva Whitehead. This fellowship for rising second year medical students is funded by the McLeod Foundation. It has been used as both a learning tool for physicians in training as well as recruitment for the future by McLeod.

Currently, five medical students are spending their summer vacation at McLeod Regional Medical Center receiving an insider’s view of how a hospital works. This six-week internship, which ends in July, is often the first experience in a hospital for many of these students.

Dr. Bryon Frost in the Emergency Department demonstrates how to insert an airway tube to the medical students visiting McLeod this summer.

Members of the 2011 McLeod Medical Student Fellowship are:
Abigail Case, USC School of Medicine
David Giovannini, USC School of Medicine
Ashley Greeson, USC School of Medicine
Roopa Varadarjan, Medical University of South Carolina
Brian Williams, USC School of Medicine

The internship includes rotations through the Family Medicine Residency Program, Rapid Improvement Events, a two-week Surgery segment with Dr. Michael Rose, and visits to different areas in the hospital such as the Emergency Department, the Lab, Radiology, Critical Care Units, and Radiation Oncology. The students also round with physicians, administrators, hospitalists and nursing directors and attend meetings of the Cancer Conference Board, IRB, and Quality and Safety during their fellowship.

Summer Medical Student David Giovannini (center) observes Dr. Al Gilpin during surgery.

Thanks to all our teams who have supported this time of instruction and interaction. Good luck to these students as they continue on their educational journey.