Centra: Deliver Value To Community

Published 4:05 pm Tuesday, May 17, 2011

FARMVILLE – E. W. Tibbs has a hat trick of goals but they have nothing to do with the Stanley Cup and everything to do with caring for and saving lives at Centra Southside Community Hospital.

Tibbs is the new CEO and President of the hospital that employs 527 (with a payroll over $20 million) and he has vowed that three goals will be scored:

First, effectively bringing the hospital into the Centra system.

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Secondly, increasing the connection with the community.

And thirdly, delivering value to the community.

“At the end of the day this is not my hospital, it's the community's hospital,” Tibbs told the Farmville Area Chamber of Commerce, “and Centra is serious, and I am serious, about making sure that we do at least three things.”

Increasing the integration of Centra Southside Community Hospital into the Centra system means “to ensure that we have a single standard and that standard ought to be the best that can be done anywhere in the world or we shouldn't be doing it, no matter where, in Farmville, Virginia, Lynchburg, Virginia or Danville, Virginia,” he said. “Whether we're doing general surgery or we're doing orthopedic surgery or we're doing pediatrics…there's a single best way.”

But don't misinterpret the meaning of those words.

“That in no way, shape or form means that we're decreasing things here in Southside. In many cases it means we'll increase services. In many cases it means we're taking great ideas and best practices from this community and from our hospital here in Farmville into Lynchburg and into other communities,” Tibbs said during his presentation this month to the chamber.

Increasing the community connection, he pointed out, was evidenced by “what we're doing today. I tell many folks, I'll talk to a group of one. And I'm serious about that. It's important that I have an opportunity to talk to you guys today. It's also important-whether it's church groups or individuals on the street or just being able to grab lunch or dinner with somebody-that we really increase our community's connection. Because what's at the essence of success of a community hospital is trust from the community.

“If you trust your community hospital,” Tibbs said, “when you have a need you'll come there. And so we've got to make sure we get that level of connection that we need throughout our community, geographically, across all groups of people, and that we maintain it.”

As for delivering value to the community, Tibbs said that he makes “a simple definition for it…Value, for me, is a combination of quality and cost. If our organization produces a product that's high quality, and we can measure that and show it to you but you can't afford it, it's just going to sit on the shelf. We've got to make sure that we've got measurable quality and that we're affordable.”

Tibbs described his family, talking about his wife and their two daughters, and said that everyone has a list of people who are most important to them in their lives.

And that list is more than a collection of names-they are the people for whom you would spare no effort to protect, heal and save.

“My expectation,” Tibbs said, “and what I've shared with folks at the hospital and throughout our offices, is simply put-that everybody we interact with, whether they're a patient or a family member-they get the same level of care and service every time that any one of us would want for anybody that's on our special list.

“It has to be individualized. It has to be focused to meet their needs. And it has to be every time,” he told chamber members.

And then he asked the pertinent question.

“So how are we going to get there?”

And he answered his question by saying, “We're going to get there first by knowing where we are. And by knowing where we are we'll know what we need to improve on and what we need to grow and, frankly, what we may need to stop doing.”

Centra has embarked upon a six-month process where it will be performing an assessment of everything in its organization, top to bottom.

“Nobody gets a mulligan,” Tibbs declared.

“If we don't have the measurements to know where we are we're developing those measurements. As we get those measurements we're trying to figure out how we compare, not only in comparison to Centra Health,” he said, “but the outside world….

“We have to make sure than when you go out there and you measure us that we're not only as good but better (as any other health care provider) so you can make a comfortable choice,” Tibbs said, “and stay close to home and local for your health care.”


Giving an example of how Centra will pursue scoring those three goals, Tibbs spoke of how Centra is working to establish a PACE program in Farmville. Centra established a PACE (Program for the All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) Center in Lynchburg two years ago which has received national recognition.

The federal program aims to keep the elderly out of hospitals and nursing homes, allowing them to continue living independently. PACE participants spend the day at a PACE Center in their community where they socialize, receive necessary health care and a nutritious meal. Transportation to and from the PACE Center is provided and the program also provides for after-hours and weekend health care needs that might arise.

According to the National PACE Association website, the program's model is “centered around the belief that it is better for the well-being of seniors with chronic care needs and their families to be served in the community whenever possible.
PACE serves individuals who are age 55 or older, certified by their state to need nursing home care, are able to live safely in the community at the time of enrollment, and live in a PACE service area. “Although all PACE participants must be certified to need nursing home care to enroll in PACE, only about seven percent of PACE participants nationally reside in a nursing home. If a PACE enrollee does need nursing home care, the PACE program pays for it and continues to coordinate the enrollee's care.”

Centra is working hard to establish a PACE Center in Farmville to serve area residents.

“You will hear us and see us diversify ourselves over the years to come. Right now, we're working on what's called a PACE program, a program for all-inclusive care for the elderly,” Tibbs said, explaining that, “We're actually in a state application process and if we're successful we'll be able to open that program (in Farmville) in the spring-summer of 2012.

“And that gives us an opportunity to try to work with our frail elderly in this community…We get a set sum of money to keep the most frail elderly folks healthy, and out of nursing homes and other places,” Tibbs said. “We're not against any of the nursing homes here, they do a great job. But to the extent we can keep people healthy, keep costs down and keep them in their community living independently, we think that's a good thing.”

Earning Trust

Tibbs summed up Centra's mission by saying “it is really about earning the community's trust. This area, from a population standpoint, has more population than necessary for our local hospital to be most anything you want it to be.”

Building trust and loyality will mean, he said, that Centra Southside Community Hospital is the first hospital that comes to mind when you have the need for hospital care.

“We're not going to try to be all things to all people. That's not what I'm saying. We're not going to do heart surgery. We're not going to do nerve surgery. There are places that do that. Lynchburg's one. They do that very well,” he said. “But, to the extent that we can be at least as good if not better than anywhere else you go, those are things that we'll do.

Tibbs spoke of “building a culture” at the hospital and said “our success, or lack thereof, will be driven by our ability to drive the culture in our workforce that believes, works and lives by these standards…And a culture in our community-trust and openness so that we're able, long-term, not only meet the needs of this community but earn their trust.”