King’s Daughters Medical Center: Alvin Hoover, CEO

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King’s Daughters Medical Center has a simple mission “to provide quality health and wellness in a Christian environment.” The hospital is located in Brookhaven, Miss., a city of about 11,000 deep in the heart of the Bible Belt. Although many organizations are faith-based and have values inspired by beliefs, King’s Daughters emphasizes the Christian part of its mission and has a legacy steeped in tradition and history.

The King’s Daughters organization was founded in the late 1800s by 10 Christian women with the mission of ministering to people in need. One of the women, Margaret Bottome, was aboard a ship on a voyage home from Europe when a young man died. He had no family members on the ship during his illness, and Bottome became dedicated to establishing a group of women who could minister to people in need like the young man.

King’s Daughters is a national organization with hospitals throughout the country; the hospital in Brookhaven was founded by a local affiliate.

“The foundation of all we do is service to others,” said Chief Executive Officer Alvin Hoover. “We believe in giving ourselves to others in their time of need.”

Hoover said that although an employee does not need to be a Christian to work at the hospital, the organization looks for characteristics such as “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control. These are characteristics all caregivers should have.”

Even in difficult economic times, the hospital has maintained a sense of family and has continued to provide compassionate care to patients, which Hooper partly credits to the Christian basis of the hospital.

“I believe that our openness about the religious foundation for our hospital causes us to be held to a higher standard, but I think it has paid off for us,” Hoover said. “We are willing to put those values out there and state our mission, but we have to back it up, and we have.”

This is reflected in the hospital’s patient-experience scores. In 2008, King’s Daughters had the second highest HCAHPS scores in the country. Locally, the hospital was recognized as the No. 1 hospital in Mississippi for medical care and patient satisfaction.

Keeping a sense of family during difficult economic times

King’s Daughters suffered, as most healthcare organizations have, with the downturn in the economy. King’s Daughters is a private, not-for-profit, 122-bed hospital with annual revenue of about $160 million. It provides mostly general acute care. At the end of 2008, the hospital went through a series of layoffs, having to eliminate about 54 FTEs. The hospital was able to turn a negative eight-percent operating loss into a positive three-percent operating gain by the end of the fiscal year.

Hoover said the staff maintained a sense of family throughout the hard times.

“During the layoffs, I had four or five employees come by my office and offer to give up some of their hours if it would save somebody’s job,” Hoover said. “Our employees will donate time off to employees who are going through tough times and have used up their PTO. They really care about each other.”

Hoover said the hospital has been taking the opportunity to prepare for coming reform by being proactive. The most recent initiative has been to improve documentation by hiring a clinical-documentation specialist.

“We have provided the tools and resources to our physicians to make sure they have what they need to document everything they do correctly,” he said. “We have encouraged our clinical-documentation specialists to obtain certification, and last year when they were certified, they were two of the only four certified clinical-documentation specialists in the state.”

This initiative has improved the hospital’s case-mix index. In addition, Hoover said the hospital has been  undergoing renovation to upgrade facilities and expand where needed. King’s Daughters has expanded the emergency department, added ICU and surgical beds, increased orthopedic services, and is implementing an electronic medical record.

The hospital is looking forward to the future and positioning itself to continue serving the local community.

“Healthcare is not what it used to be,” he said. “To be successful, you have to anticipate what changes are coming and be ready to make changes to adapt. We are positioned as well as any hospital to respond to reform. And we will continue to provide good healthcare.

-by Patricia Chaney

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