Category Archives: Events

Howard Dean: Keynote Speaker CXO Healthcare Meeting July 2013

Howard Dean:  MD, initial frontrunner for 2004 election, former Democratic National Committee Chairman, former governor of Vermont, currently serves on board of Extendicare and considering run in 2016.

My first and earliest impressions of him…perhaps not good and lacking positivity, which I was able to share directly with him. He was generous with his conversation and willing to accept my impression, for I willingly shared it with him regardless of whether he wanted to hear it.

But transparency, for the most part, serves me well. And when someone identifies a shortcoming – and a long-ago press moment (the Dean Scream gaffe)  – one has no choice but to nod, to accept and own it. Which he did, and for which he was gracious.

I spent 20 years in Washington: 10 years living there, and another 10 years commuting as a fundraising expert and public relations consultant for not-for-profits, and political candidates; organizations hanging on a precipice of time when Washington was flush with money and time was supplementary, and one could control it by stepping on it and giving it pause. Fundraising was plentiful and time was everywhere; wasting a day meant no harm because you could get it back in the next one.

Washington… I went there because I was starry eyed, probably less about making change, but I liked the power and the adrenaline, the impact a politician could have with (or without) conviction. I went there because it had meaning, or I had meaning, inside the cupcake of the beltway where power collides with do-gooders. Where do-gooders can be considered progressives–outsiders who eventfully are swallowed into the funnel of the polarizing city and leak out the bottom. Mostly, a do-gooder doesn’t survive in Washington because they do not last.

Howard Dean, I would not tag as a do-gooder or any type of crusader. And, as we all do, we evolve into the maturity of regret over things we’ve said or done. But Dean was sharp, and crisp, and edgy at the recent CXO (healthcare) Summit where healthcare leaders come from across the country to understand the blight of an industry that goes ever-changing before us without warning, and when time runs over you if you haven’t budgeted the cuts or strategically figured how to overcome the demise of an industry which seems to have forgotten the baby boomers heading steam-engine right for us. And the sick get sicker, and the world gets smaller, and the need is often hard to fit into a DRG, an MCO or a care continuum because sickness is personal. And who takes care of the accompanying fear of the consumer-patient who does not control his or her destiny? The provider does, and the doctor tells them what to do and what they need. The question is, ultimately, who has control.

So Howard Dean is a doctor, a physician, and what he did at the conference was give us a critical insight into the interiors of a broken Washington. A Washington that doesn’t know it’s broken, with 65 percent thinking the overall climate is good while that number on the outside of the cupcake is a meager 35 percent.

I know. I lived there. I remember being on top of the world, and I recall the intellectual encounters where we knew what ‘should be’ and had all the answers if only this bill had this many votes, or that bill could just simply get out of committee, or that organization could impact global trade. And it’s not that things don’t happen over time – albeit too much time and with too much leniency of real issue discussion, or watered-down approval, so the collaborative process can take place. What’s so great about the collaborative process if it doesn’t amount to anything?

So Dean gave examples of a broken city and Obama Care with its thousand holes. He was funny and interesting, and even riveting, with an honesty for which I had grown skeptical in the political world I had fled so long ago because impact was slow and impossible.

But perhaps I was wrong because honesty in politics can happen. Relevancy can elicit change, and maybe it’s time for ardor and rigor again in the realm of standing up for what is not happening. Maybe it’s time for the emphasis of control to shift away from where CMS is king and we are trying to pick up its robe, and there are too many corners, and it drags across a continent with self-imposed rule. Maybe it’s time for a few great leaders, and a vision, and strategy. And then, collaborative people will follow.

So now, as a Signature HealthCARE change agent, I am/we are back in the game. A game we will return to because it’s time. And revolution is a fight for good. Not in an altruistic sense, or even a progressive sense, but in the realm of what is best for the person, intersected with the corporate sector as its care giver, trying to create care where care is supposed to be value driven, but where care may paradoxically wane because even the government isn’t willing to pay for the lost and old, or their legacy.

Last thought…

So I had judged Howard Dean with the satisfaction of knowing him as he was depicted long ago in the press and for his stint as governor of Vermont. For I believe in the industry and corporate side of socialization, for the creativity of idea operationalized into a business, and the power of a profit. I am for this, for job creation, and the employment of hope which is edifying to the man or woman who works while seeking purpose within.

But Howard Dean had much to add to the conversation regardless of my impeded judgments. So we clipped them off and Joe and I spoke to him, and we learned from him, and chose to listen – and it felt like the Washington I went to, not the one I had left. And I became relevant again, and got back in the game.

A revolution of thought and of actions, for without both, there is no visionary change.

See Joe Steier’s blog post about this event >>

“Blessing Of The Hands” Ceremony at the Home Office

Gifting During National Nursing Home Week – the Blessing of the Hands

Shavuot is the Jewish holiday, celebrated this week, which commemorates the anniversary of the day God gifted the Torah to the Israelite people, making them at that time an entire nation committed to serving God. This gifting of God to his people at Mount Sinai is reflected in the holiday’s association with the harvest, when the many gifts of God are celebrated, most especially gifts like gratitude, guidance, discernment, relationship and purpose.

The Christian holiday of Pentecost is also celebrated this week, and it shares many similar attributes. It remembers the day when the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples, fifty days after Christ’s resurrection, and bestowed upon those who received it equally marvelous gifts, such as wisdom, understanding, discernment, counsel and awe.

It is in remembering these great holidays, which celebrate some of God’s greatest gifts to humanity, that we offer to you our gift of the Blessing of the Hands. Coinciding with National Nursing Home week, this simple and beautiful ceremony will be conducted throughout the company, both in our buildings this week (some of which have already begun) as well as at our Home Office this Friday.

In this season of gladness, abundance and plenty, we offer this to those who make so much happen for so many as both a celebration of blessing and as a remembrance of love.

“Blessing of the Hands” Ceremonies At Louisville Area Facilities

Signature HealthCARE Chaplains Craig Cantrall (Cherokee Park), Clinton Palmer (SHC of South Louisville) and Nathan Marrs (SHC of Trimble County) visited five Signature buildings to perform the ‘Blessing of the Hands’ ceremony.

A former hospital chaplain, Craig adapted the program and launched it at Signature three years ago. During the ceremony, the chaplain blesses frankincense and myrrh, pausing to draw crosses on the hands of those receiving the blessings. The ceremony is rooted in the ancient tradition of washing the feet of guests who enter the home.

In the nursing home, the practice is viewed as a ‘thank you’ to the caregivers for the work they do, but it also serves as a reminder that their hands are performing God’s work.

Our 2nd Annual Interfaith National Day Of Prayer After Almost A Decade From Our Earliest Beginnings: What We Have Learned

Our 2nd annual Interfaith National Day of Prayer after almost a decade from our earliest beginnings: What we have learned

by Dianne Timmering

The National Day of Prayer on May 2, 2013, our 2nd annual Inter-faith prayer day, was about the faith of a mustard seed; like the tight center of a wheel, we were the spokes of faith.

As we built the Spirituality Pillar, we began to uncover the power of the listening ear, the lending of compassion toward the empathy of the ailment and the simpleness of time to mend a suffering heart.

Prayer or a good game of checkers could heal we discovered; after all it was about time and the bravery of kindness. Prayer and the Spirit were about the essence of unconditional love we found even in the unavoidable imperfections of our existence.

We have learned it is about celebrating the dignity and beauty of faith traditions long established, the abolition of assumption; it is about the ancient roots of “crying out” like David in the Psalms for something bigger than the self; it is about the breaking off of caged conceptions and the pressing into new wisdom; it is about the outpouring of love . . . just love because that is what God is.

We found that the sanctity of respect could bring different faith traditions together – not watered down or diminished, but thriving in who we are as peoples, with boldness and a shine for the world; a world with no need for strife, but for dialogue, collaboration and a willingness to hear one another. It is in this secret beauty of one voice that is perhaps the best language of love.

And finally, maybe this national day of prayer, a government ordained moment, a heritage of our nation almost 240 years old saw the merging of public/government works, business innovation and spiritual pursuits, not just in service and works but as three points of integration to establish thriving communities in our city, prolific job opportunities, and domestic tranquility and justice for all.

And we welcomed our honored guests from numerous faith traditions—Baptist, Jewish, Muslim, Quaker, Catholic, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Bahai, Unitarian, and Native American-Sioux.

And we were one voice crying out for many in need of hope. A theme began to emerge as the power of the divine sang love and healing in magnificent harmony. Tradition made us beautifully different. Love made us the same.

We were souls praying with one voice. And we shared moments of faith and the culture of the beautiful and all were welcome.

Dianne Timmering, EMBA, MFA, CNA
Vice President of Spirituality
Signature Consulting Services, LLC

For full news coverage of the event, including a video interview with Dianne, please visit the Courier Journal’s website.

Blessing of the Hands – A Testimony From South Pittsburg

This past week we celebrated National Nurses Week in our facilities and one of the programs the Spirituality Department put forth to mark the event was our special “Blessing of the Hands” ceremony. Our chaplains performed this simple ceremony throughout our buildings for all those nurses whose hands care for our dear residents every day.

One beautiful testimony in particular that we wanted to share comes from Donna Adams, the Administrator at South Pittsburg which shows just how much this work is appreciated. It’s posted below and thanks so much to Donna for sharing it with us:

Just wanted to take a moment to share what a true blessing the “Blessings of Hands” has been within our facility this week.

Being a nurse myself I can honestly say nurses are often times viewed as the strong warriors who can handle it all!! They appear to have this magical touch that makes everything feel better instantly. All nurses seem to need is a Band-Aid and everyone becomes happy.

They appear to be actual Superstars at what they do. For instance; they multi- task, deal with difficult residents, stand on their feet for long hours, they don’t slow down to eat, they handle blood and emergency situations as they always put others before themselves while smiling and leading by example desiring to serve more. A nurses mindset and heart is so full of passion to serve others that they would NEVER have a thought of slowing down to recognize anything about themselves especially their hands.

This week thru the “Blessing of Hands” the secret was revealed about myself, our Director of Nursing and our charge nurse staff. As nurses we really aren’t the Strong Warriors we appear to be. Nurses are people with needs who also need a special touch and strength from God. This week our nursing staff was provided a sense of peace, empowerment of strength and a fresh anointing thru the “Blessing of Hands”. It was an awesome feeling to hear Pastor Ronnie not just speak over our hands but provide us that individual touch as if we were reminded we are God’s hands extended.

This truly made our nurses week extra special!

Donna Adams, Administrator
The Bridge at South Pittsburg


A Story of Inspiration – Jeff Carver and the 2013 Louisville Mini-Marathon

The following, related by Signature HealthCARE stakeholder Rob Carter, is the inspirational story of his friend Jeff Carver:

Jeff Carver: Former Director WFBR 95.3FM, voice of Bullitt East Sports, recovering from severe TBI in summer of 2011 car crash, devoted Christian, Marathoner.

Jeff has 3 children, youngest one being 16 and a wonderful wife (Debora).

Jeff was a fantastic athlete. He participated in a 150 mile bike ride to benefit MS, many marathons and finished the full 2011, 26.2 mile Derby Marathon in 4:03:28. He is the owner of Carver Communications a cellular and paging equipment company.

About one month later during Fathers Day weekend 2011, Jeff had a car wreck that almost ended his life. He now suffers from traumatic brain injury (cerebellar ataxia) that he sustained from his accident. The good thing about Ataxia is that Jeff still has his full memory and intellect, unfortunately the portion of his brain that controls muscle movement no longer functions, there is no cure for Ataxia but Jeff is determined to beat it. For the few months following they were unsure of his future, but Jeff has a determination like no one else I know. He learned to walk again after about a year with the help of a walker or his wife by his side. He falls a lot but keeps saying that “my brain is not going to do this on its own, I will fall many times before I learn how to walk again.”

This year 2013, 2 years after his accident, Jeff is once again finishing the Derby Mini-Marathon. He had the help of some friends, but finished the 13.1 miles in 2:43:59. According to Debora this is the most amazing thing he has done since his accident. Two months ago Jeff bought a Terra Trike and was not able to peddle 4 miles before wearing out. This past Saturday he peddled 13 miles and finished up walking across the finish line. That day Jeff was a celebrity, I don’t think he ever quit smiling and I will say that I had tears in my eyes as I helped him cross the finish line.

I could have run faster on my own, I could have had a faster time but sometimes you need to slow down, help a friend and enjoy the moment. Jeff is my inspiration.

Rob Carter

Here is the Youtube video chronicling Jeff’s great accomplishment:


Spirituality And Wellness Fairs

One of the great partnerships at Signature is that of the Spirituality Department and of our Wellness Fair Team. IT is more than just one particular group of people, but all departments everywhere pullinig together to promote wellness in our facilities and our Home Office too.

Below are some thoughts recently shared with us from Angela Ryan with  the BMG Group whihc helps us manage our Wellness Fairs:

Signature HealthCARE is starting 2013 with great success in wellness events! Stakeholders seem to be responding to the message and interest is building to gain and maintain a healthy lifestyle!

A quick recap of the wellness events for the first quarter:

13 Facilities participated in a wellness fair and over 575 stakeholders received biometric screenings

The Chaplains are making a positive impact on the wellness fairs and stakeholders by creatively promoting total health of the body. Some events had photo booths, Bible quizzes, separate ‘relaxation rooms’, hand massages, to give you an idea

The Laughter Box provided by BMG has been a huge success bringing a respectful light heartedness to the stakeholders day

Breast Cancer Awareness & Mammography Campaign are included in all Wellness Fairs with 6 facilities being visited by the Mobile Mammography Coach

75 Stakeholders received mammograms through the Mobile Mammography Coach

Tobacco Cessation campaign received positive feedback from Administrators of the three facilities originally contacted. Two facilities recommended receiving specific educational materials and one facility started with an interest survey to analyze how to proceed further

Three additional facilities have been contacted to begin promoting the tobacco Cessation Campaign within their facilities

Communication to the facilities is continuing and growing since there is a strong correlation between engaged team leaders with higher response and participation in the wellness campaigns

We are excited to continue to partner together in building a healthy environment for all of Signature!

Men’s Senior Chaplain Program at Spencer County, KY Facility

One of the very best new programs being developed by the Spirituality Department is the Senior Chaplain Program. It is designed to empower specific residents within a given facility by giving those with pastoral and spiritual gifts and talents the title of “Senior Chaplain” to assist in servicing the spiritual needs of their friends and neighbors in the facility. It is a program which gives purpose and meaning to those who participate, as well as being a source of both more constant and better care for all those they assist.

One of the recent facility’s to adopt and implement the program is our facility in Spencer County, KY. Director of Spirituality Vernon Jewel has found that in rolling out the program he has found it effective to do so in two groupings, one for the women and one for the men.

Below are his thoughts and pictures from his roll out of his Men’s Senior Chaplain Group:

We started the program Courageous the first week in February 2013 and there were seven men who completed the program initially. We first viewed the movie Courageous and then went step by step through the program. The men got to see different situations in life that pertained to their life and how to apply biblical scriptures to help solve the issues. We are working on how each one of them can use their new understand to help others in our home such as; passing out encouraging scriptures or quotes, prayers at nurses unit, welcome new men that come to stay with us, etc. Those who completed the program and were presented with their certificate entitled “The Resolution”.This has been a wonderful journey with the men it has giving them a time to connect to each other and to search themselves to see their purpose and learn to live it out.

Vernon Jewell – Director of Spirituality
Signature Health CARE of Spencer County


Spirituality In The Workplace Discussion with Joe Steier and Dianne Timmering – April 19, 2013 at 12:00 Noon

Our next Spirituality in the Workplace lunch is set for Friday, April 19th 2013, starting promptly at noon, at our Home Office at 12201 Bluegrass Parkway, Louisville, KY, 40299.

We are pleased that CEO Joe Steier and Vice-President of Spirituality Dianne Timmering will lead the discussion on building and sustaining the concept of spirituality as a core
competitive advantage in a for-profit environment of the business world of 2013.

All are welcome, but for planning purposes, reservations are requested for the event and may be made by emailing Stephen Bowling at

All attendees may feel free to come by any time after 11:30 AM on the day of the event, this will provide an opportunity to get to know some of the other attendees.

First Annual Interfaith Symposium at Winter Park, FL Facility

The First Annual Interfaith Symposium at Winter Park Care and Rehab featured the explanation of misconceptions about Sikhism, Judaism, mainline Protestantism, Islam, and the Bahia faith. Twenty-five Residents and two chaplains attended.

The event was moderated by the Executive Director of InterFaith Council of Central Florida, Rev. Jim Coffin. We learned that not all Moslems are Arabs and that Baha’ism is the youngest of the world religions. In addition we were astounded to discover that there are over 50,000 varieties of Protestants throughout the world.


Larry Limbaugh, Chaplain

Winter Park Care & Rehabilitation Center