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Straight Talk
A weekly update from management on the issues that matter most.

Apr 20, 2017
Recently we had a two-day series of “Town Hall” meetings to share news and current events. Rather than using our traditional narrative format, we elicited questions by polling our 4,300 colleagues so we could focus on subjects that mattered most to everyone. We also encouraged “live” questions and discussion. And we followed up by posting all questions with answers on our internet site.

The consistently biggest response—with spontaneous applause—was for our new CNO, Jon Kling, who came up through the ranks starting as a night ICU nurse thirteen years ago.  The first question asked of him was: “Congratulations on your new position as CNO!  What are your top three priorities?”  Jon polled the audiences with most answers being similar to his own: 1. Be a visible leader who actively listens and supports all our nurses and staff.  2. Support shared decision-making at the unit and system level, truly empowering staff to make evidenced-based decisions to improve patient and staff satisfaction.  3. Collaborate with our nurses and staff to develop retention incentives that will support and recognize our nurses who are so dedicated to patients and NCH.   

Here’s another example of a smart question: “Due to the overall uncertainty of health care policy at the federal level, how is NCH currently preparing for changes that may happen due to future Congressional decisions?”  My response: “We have been preparing for the inevitable decreased reimbursements since 2006.  These decreases will accelerate as the federal and state governments are financially stressed.  NCH’s current situation was aptly summarized by Moody’s recent statement affirming NCH’s A2 Rating with a stable outlook.  To quote Moody’s, The rating also reflects favorable operating performance, translating into good debt service coverage, and growing liquidity metrics over the last three years.”  

Another area of focus was on lean transformation as a strategic imperative and top priority to create capacity and enable our daily work.  COO Phil Dutcher shared examples of “Model Cells” as pilot patient care units—5 North in the Baker Hospital and 4th floor at North Naples Hospital.  One of the early successful projects was standardizing supply closet inventories using visual cues for restocking and setting up quick “grab and go” supplies to welcome new patients.  Decreasing variation makes everyone more efficient so we can all spend valuable time with patients and their families.    

Among the other important concerns discussed were: dress codes, visible tattoos, wage adjustments, earlier cafeteria opening hour (currently open about eighteen hours a day), mattress replacement (all new in North Naples Hospital and starting in Baker Hospital), TV stations in the public areas (with the suggestion of standardizing with a calming channel to reduce stress), outdoor eating areas (increasing the capacity), walking trails (adding more), flexible hours, summer time off, shift-change bedside report (encouraged at all times but just getting embedded), tuition reimbursement (a very good plan currently exists that everyone is encouraged to use), harassment and bullying (absolutely no tolerance), and best advancing care at NCH.

We all have the same common goal of helping everyone live a longer, happier, and healthier life.  The better we share information, communicate among ourselves, and realistically understand our resources, the better we will be able to care for everyone and the happier we will be with our noble work.


Allen Weiss, MD

President and CEO

You may contact Dr. Allen Weiss and The NCH Healthcare System by clicking here.