No Excuses For Not Being Excellent

We hear it all the time from leaders of organizations.  They aren’t ready to get started on a performance excellence journey.  They’re too busy. They have too few resources and too many challenges.  The planets aren’t yet aligned. The litany of reasons goes on and on.
Okay, now imagine you’re the leader of a 448-bed, hospital-based, skilled nursing facility in one of the most distressed neighborhoods in Brooklyn, New York.   It’s in a community where the prevalence of lifestyle diseases has resulted in a high rate of substance abuse, HIV/AIDS, and chronic noncompliance with medical regimen.  You offer HIV/AIDS care, dementia care, ventilator-dependent care, geriatric care, and subacute care in a facility that was built more than 50 years ago. The majority of your workforce is unionized.  With changes in reimbursement, you provide a lot of uncompensated care. And as part of a not-for-profit organization that is struggling to make ends meet, you don’t have a safety net.  Surely, you’d have enough reasons to accept being “good enough,” wouldn’t you?
Meet the leaders of Schulman and Schachne Institute for Nursing and Rehabilitation (SSI).  They have been on a performance excellence journey for many years using the Baldrige Excellence Framework through their participation in the AHCA/NCAL Quality Award Program.  They have earned the CMS 5-star rating for four consecutive years at the same time they have had deficiency-free surveys.  Their workforce is engaged in performance improvement and contributes to a culture of innovation, with programs that have been recognized by the New York State Innovative Practice Award.  Their resident overall satisfaction is approaching 95 percent, significantly better than the state’s Department of Health threshold of 83 percent.  Residents’ results for likelihood to recommend has been at 100 percent for the past three years, and 99 percent of the employees would refer a friend to work at SSI.  Their average daily occupancy of nearly 97 percent is well above the state average of 90.1 percent.  And for the past three years, SSI has been named among US News and World Report: Best Nursing Homes.
This is an organization whose leaders might have been forgiven for finding their challenges too great to contemplate taking on one more – to become worthy of its mission:  to provide excellence in health care while demonstrating its values of respect, integrity, compassion, and excellence.  Instead, the leaders of SSI accepted no excuses for not beginning the journey to performance excellence.  What’s holding you back?
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