Yesterday was the 6 year employment anniversary of Kurt Arisohn, our VP of Operations. If you have met Kurt, you will remember him. He is a force of nature, that looks about 12. At a recent meeting with the ownership of a hospital chain, the CFO of the company exclaimed after recieving Kurts business card, “Look, the kid has a card. And he’s a VP!”
This “kid”, started with Wound Care Advantage by announcing to me after our first meeting that he would be working for us. I found that surprising since we didn’t have a job for him. He liked who we were as a company and wanted to operate Hyperbaric Chambers in his home town of Lancaster CA, where we had a center. He had exceptional knowledge and training, and had been operating a large multiplace hyperbaric program back East. He volunteered for over three months, cleaning windows, gurneys, whatever he could do. We hired him. Best descision ever. Kurt is arguably the best implementation specialist in the industry.
As Kurt and I spoke about the past yesterday, a very difficult time in our company’s history was brought up, and it finally dawned on me, that the culture we are so proud of at Wound Care Advantage really was solidified with Kurt and that particulair project.
We had been asked to assist a hospital in CA in taking over their wound program. They had cancelled their management contract after five years, and the transition was planned over a four week period. The management company was not happy and things were very difficult. On Friday night prior to this transition period, the CEO called letting us know that the management company had announced it was leaving that night instead of four weeks from then. To complicate matters, JCAHO was scheduled to arrive at the hospital on Wednesday of the following week. No problem I said. “There is one more thing,” he said, “The management company is opening up a center across town, and the whole team is leaving to go with them including some of the physicians, I don’t know what you will have to work with on Monday morning.” This changed things quite a bit. I made two calls, one was to the Chief of Staff who I had worked with at another center, and the second was to Kurt.
We brought our entire team in that night and Kurt led the way. We worked all weekend long, by Monday morning we had implemented our EMR system, gotten the policy and procedures over to an emergency meeting of the executive committee, and had a team in place including the Chief of Staff if needed. I am proud to say that not one patient missed an appointment and we passed JCAHO inspection with high accolades. It was a difficult transition and there were several challenges along the way. (including the toga incident, but that is for another blog) Through it all Kurt helped keep things on track and kept us all laughing. Our six founding rules became much more important to us during that time. We also decided based on this project that all of our partners would own the tools we provided even if we were no longer there, so no hospital we worked with would have to go through what we did for that center. That program is now one of the best centers we have in our company.
Many companies talk about their culture and try to explain what they stand for. We don’t need to. Next time you have a chance, talk with Kurt for five minutes, our culture will be abundantly clear.