Integrity Transitional Hospital: Christy Carver, CEO

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A group of private investors opened Integrity Transitional Hospital in Denton, Texas in 2007. It is a 54-bed, long-term, acute care hospital (LTAC) that cares for medically complex adult patients who are critically ill or suffer from multi-system health complications or failures. “We serve everyone from wound care to renal dialysis for renal failure, ventilator management for respiratory failure, and cardiac management for cardiac failure,” says Christy Carver, CEO of the facility since March of 2009.

Since Carver’s arrival, the hospital staff has worked to rewrite it’s mission and values statements. “All were wordsmithed—created—by the staff of Integrity Hospital over the last year,” she says.

More than Just a Name

When patients come to Integrity, most have already been in a hospital environment for an average of two weeks and can plan to be at Integrity for about another four. “They are tired. They are worn out. Some of them are very ill and they don’t want to be here, but have to be here. We try to make it as home-like as possible,” says Carver.

When the staff was reworking the mission and values statements, they felt it was important to encompass not just the patients, but all that they serve, the families, employees, contractors, physicians, referral and payor sources included. “The core phrases that meant the most to them were compassion, warmth and concern,” says Carver. “Any employee who works here, they have to understand that the moment they put on their nametag, they are agreeing to put the needs of their patients first. We all work. We all have lives. We’re all human beings here, but when we come to work, we come here to care for our patients.”

“LTACs are not new to healthcare, but I don’t think the healthcare community has done a very good job as a whole on educating residents and consumers about the full continuum of care and where LTACs actually lie on that continuum of care. I think many people lose out on the intensive treatment that we offer,” says Carver.

This is an aspect of LTAC care that Carver worries is not well-enough understood by the general public. In answer, Integrity has a full time business development and marketing team. They have also joined forces with the local chamber of commerce to help educate the public about the types of services being offered. They’ve become a part of a program called “The Right Care is Right Here” which is an initiative to keep healthcare for area residents in Denton County.

“When you come into our facility, it’s almost like tag team healthcare. You get treated by every specialty in the building and your plan of care is tailored to what your need is,” says Carver. “I know that there are consumers out there that would really benefit from our type of care and from the outcomes that they would receive from our facility.”

Leading the Team

Carver says the only way to affect change permanently is to get the consensus of the team. She emphasizes listening and leading by example. “If I affect change through intimidation and fear, it will be short lived. They’ll be doing it for the wrong reasons,” she says. “I develop a culture of family and I develop a culture of team. They see me implementing the change as well as requiring it of them.”

“If you were to visit our facility, you would see a very productive, very effective, very accountable team. If you asked any of my team members what I expect of them, they’ll tell you, ‘She expects me to do my job, she expects me to do it correctly, and she expects me to do it in a timely manner.’ I am very fair and I keep my word. I follow through.”

The Future of Integrity

As well as being Joint Commission accredited, Integrity is seeking Wound Care Center of Excellence recognition. They won’t be able to apply for a hospital magnet award because of their size, but they are fashioning their nursing program to be that of “nurse friendly” hospital. “We do that by building career ladders and clinical ladders for our staff and by giving them opportunity to advance in their careers and grow their compensation,” says Carver.

The hospital is currently building a 6-bed intensive care unit and upgrading laboratory and radiology services. They expect to install an electronic order system this year and are shopping for an electronic medical record.

“The facility has gone through a lot in the last year, but we have absolutely tailored our selection process for our nursing staff and our respiratory therapy staff especially for individuals who have acute care experience, preferably people with intermediate care to ICU type experience,” says Carver.

“We come to work every day wanting to do an excellent job. We may not do it perfectly, but we do our best. It’s a given we will make a mistake, but if we recognize the mistake that we made or if it’s brought to our attention, we will fix it. We will learn from it and we will make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Carver says. “We care for people with integrity. Everything we do, we do with integrity.”

-by T.M. Simmons

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