Donald Cook, a representative of the healthcare industry in which he managed staff at South Miami Hospital and currently at The Elizabeth Center for Cancer Detection, had a lot of work ahead of him when he undertook the CEO position at the prestigious Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. Cook found himself managing a tertiary hospital serving the greater Pacific Southwest, with a staff of about 2,200 employees, including 115 faculty members from the University of Southern California School of Medicine.
Teetering on the brink of a serious financial crisis, Cook was forced to lay off 20% of his newly acquired staff, including 18 of the tenured faculty, all before he had completed his first year’s work at the hospital. Undergoing massive change throughout the organization, including a disrupting change in fiscal intermediary, the employees struggled on within a disorganized and discouraging work environment.
Having much success with The Pacific Institute’s curriculum in his former company at South Miami, Cook invited founder Lou Tice to intercede at Children’s Hospital.
All of the physicians and management team, numbering 150 in all, were invited to the two-and-a-half-day seminar featuring The Pacific Institute’s flagship program, Investment in Excellence®. The format used at Children’s Hospital was different than that used at South Miami Hospital in that, after Lou’s live presentation, the staff viewed a televised program conducted by certified facilitators from The Institute who helped support new learning and implement new concepts tailored specifically for the medical group.
Unlike his experience with The Pacific Institute with South Miami, in which he managed one of the lowest-paying hospitals with the poorest fringe benefits in the entire county, Cook was pleasantly surprised to find that the same curriculum also appealed to people at the highest educational and professional levels. “I worried about how Lou would be accepted by this high-powered group, which included over 100 highly trained physician specialists. But Lou was great and he hit a home run with the entire group.” Soon Cook had physicians, managers, and staff members alike requesting further program material, expressing an overall sense of appreciation that significantly raised the level of morale throughout the entire organization.
From his previous experience with The Pacific Institute’s curriculum at South Miami Hospital, involving, Cook recorded the following measurable improvements:
- Employee turnover rates went from approximately 50% per year to between 15% and 20%.
- Absenteeism was reduced to a level that seldom, if ever, required a call to registry personnel.
- Employee incident reports dropped 80% – 90% per month.
Without focusing measurements, these same kind of results were reflected at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. It’s a teaching hospital, and as such, patient handling takes a backseat to teaching. Even so, the spirit of the education permeated the hospital. Prior to implementing the Institute’s programs, for a “children’s hospital,” it was a pretty intimidating place for a youngster with serious health problems. The physical atmosphere was “cold and impersonal,” intimidating even the parents. The staff took on the challenge of humanizing the building, its hallways, waiting areas and patient rooms. Soon there were bright colors in drab hallways, kid-inspired artwork on the walls, toys and games in waiting areas – in short, what we see as “normal” in hospitals today. On a personal level, Cook relates the following story: When Lou first introduced The Pacific Institute’s material at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles, the director of research was Robert McAllister, M.D., internationally recognized in the field of Cancer Research.
“Over the years, Mac and I often talked about Lou and what a great person he is. About 20 years later, I visited Mac and his wife in San Diego. After breakfast the day after I arrived, Mac asked if I had seen Lou lately. He told me to go upstairs and look at the left hand mirror over the basin. I did, and there, to my amazement, was a 5” x 8” card with a place to enter the date, and lines to write out six affirmations. Mac told me he had written his affirmations, a key concept of The Pacific Institute’s curricula, for the past 20 years with very few misses – a process which ultimately helped lead to substantial contributions in the medical field.”