A Compassionate Approach to Health Care that Is Flourishing
On August 28th, the Grand Seawell Ballroom in Denver was filled with CEOs, CFOs, CTOs, COOs and every other chief executive officer abbreviation you can imagine. In the midst of all these C-suite executives sat a table of nurses, therapists, social workers, and more from Mount Evans Home Health Care & Hospice. For the second year in a row, Mount Evans was named a Top Company in the field of health care by ColoradoBiz Magazine. Rather than send our administrative team, we wanted the caregivers who serve their mountain communities day in and day out to have a moment to shine.
It turns out, the defining qualities that make Mount Evans stand out as a ‘Top Company’ have very little to do with business and everything to do with heart. Our team has never chased success. Accolades and awards have always been a byproduct of our purpose-driven mission to make a difference in people’s lives.
When I was asked by ColoradoBiz Magazine to explain our success, I told them, “People often look for a formula, an algorithm or a metric that defines success – for Mount Evans our simple formula is this – We love the communities we serve, we love the work we do and we love our patients. I think at the end of the day, love is our secret formula. It’s what makes us successful.”
Throughout Evergreen and our mountain communities, the last blooms of the season are on full display. These rich colors have much in common with the recognition bestowed upon Mount Evans. That’s because a garden requires careful tending. It’s been said that without hard work, nothing grows but weeds. We recognize that the vibrant colors we are witnessing have been decades in the making and we’d like to thank the many people who have watched over, loved and helped Mount Evans to grow throughout the years. Allow me to explain:
- You have to have a big dream – It’s been almost 40 years since our founder, Carol Linke had the vision to start a hospice in Evergreen. At the time, there were only two other hospices in Colorado. She wanted mountain residents with terminal illnesses to have the opportunity to die at home with dignity.
- You have to make a landscape plan – The best gardens require planning. Some plants need sunlight while others fare better in the shade. The more thought that goes into arranging the various shapes, sizes, and colors of plants will increase the beauty of the garden. For Carol, that meant putting word out in the community that she wanted to start a hospice. Fifty people answered her call for help. Within four months, Mount Evans was up and running with a budget of $20,000.
- You have to plant the garden – Whether you opt for seeds or plants, annuals or perennials, you can’t grow a garden if you don’t plant it. Our first seed was sown in Carol Linke’s basement in North Turkey Creek, the initial headquarters for Mount Evans. Operating a hospice meant hiring occupational therapists, physical therapists, registered nurses, home health aides and a team of dedicated volunteers. Within the first year, this team cared for 15 mountain residents.
- You have to provide the basics – Plants need water, the right soil and light to thrive. For Mount Evans that means providing compassion, comfort, healing, courage and hope to mountain residents and their loved ones. During 2018, we were able to help 1,053 patients through their most challenging experiences.
- You have to shape your plants – Bushes, limbs and branches all need periodic shaping to coach them back into position. Here at Mount Evans we are constantly shaping how we deliver care. For example, even though we serve a rural population, our proximity to Denver lumps us in metro providers with lower-paying urban rates. That means we only recoup $0.45 for every dollar we spend providing care to Medicaid patients, $0.69 on for every dollar with private insurance companies and $0.97 on the dollar with Medicare. We will never compromise our care, but it does require finding smarter ways to provide that care in order to minimize our six-figure losses. What we’ve discovered is that we’ve found ways to provide better care for more patients at a lower cost.
- You have to have a community of gardeners – Mount Evans could have never thrived without a watchful community of gardeners looking after our every need. These are our volunteers, our donors and everyone who has worked for Mount Evans throughout the years.
- Gardening is all about love – The rewards for gardening can’t be measured in time, dollars or possessions. Love is the reward. It’s what we experience with our patients and their families every day and it’s why we do what we do. A garden is a celebration of life and beauty that should be shared. We feel the same way about this honor. It belongs to the community. You stood behind us for nearly 40 years and we look forward to serving you for 40 more.