Category Archives: Great Information

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 >>

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!

Daily Morning Prayer For Stakeholders at Cleveland, TN Facility

One of the very best services our chaplains provide, and one which we sometimes forget about, is the ministering to our stakeholders in the buildings with whom they interact with on a daily basis.

This is something that is seen so clearly in the new program being done at our facility in Cleveland, TN. Chaplain Carl Caffrey explains:

I have heard from many stakeholders that they would like a daily prayer time.

We just launched it this week. As a matter of fact, I am writing this note right after our Friday prayer time.

It will meet M-F (five days a week) at 9:30 ish (right after Stand-up mtg) each day.

We have had a great response already!

Carl J. Caffrey, Chaplain/Director of Spirituality
Signature HealthCARE of Cleveland


“Amazingly Different – Testimonial from A Bellarmine Student” by Dianne Timmering

Recently I had the pleasure of being a guest lecturer to the Entrepreneurial Strategy class in the MBA program at Bellarmine University. The course focuses on the
development of strategy from an entrepreneurial and new ventures perspective using analysis of case situations and development of new business ideas.

There were 30 or so students in the class and I spoke with them about the cross-pollination of business and the entrepreneurial spirit to build the Department of Spirituality into the largest
for profit multi-faith spirituality program in nation.

One of the students sent me the following email after the class which I wanted to share:


“I had to email you because I wanted to tell you how your lecture inspired me, while it was fresh on my mind.  Your speech was awesome.  I was encouraged as a young woman in Corporate America and a young woman evolving in her spiritual life… as I’m growing, maturing, and striving hard every day to be the Proverbs 31 woman.  Your lecture showed me that in my career I don’t have to be one or the other.  I can be a young savvy business woman and a devout spiritual woman.  I can and should be both.

Honestly, I was afraid to dialogue with you as freely as I would have liked, because of our setting.  However, I will say that your lecture was liberating!  When I left my MBA class tonight I was more uplifted and inspired than I have ever been from any other lecture in my whole MBA stent.

I think Signature Healthcare, LLC is doing a wonderful revolutionary thing and I was tremendously blessed tonight to make your acquaintance.  From our short meeting, I can tell you are a wonderful, courageous woman.”


LeAundrea H.


The Difference Between Helping And Serving

I recently came upon this article which tells the difference between helping and serving. As caregivers of all types, this difference is paramount for our understanding in order for us all to be the best we can be for both those in need and ourselves.

From Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen author of the best-selling Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories that Heal –  10th Anniversary Kitchen Table Wisdom 10th Anniversary, the following is insightful:
“Helping, fixing and serving represent three different ways of seeing life. When you help, you see life as weak. When you fix, you see life as broken. When you serve, you see
life as whole. Fixing and helping may be the work of the ego, and service the work of the soul.”

“Service rests on the premise that the nature of life is sacred, that life is a holy mystery
which has an unknown purpose. When we serve, we know that we belong to life and
to that purpose. From the perspective of service, we are all connected: All suffering is like my suffering and all joy is like my joy. The impulse to serve emerges naturally and inevitably from this way of seeing.”

Read the entire article at:

Endless Hope – Girl Without Hands Wins Penmanship Award

The following is a news article picked up from the blog The Deacon’s Bench, which is an amazing source of all sorts of wonderful information. This story indeed all about our words of “Endless Hope”
Subject: Girl born without hands wins penmanship award
Details, from the  Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

By all accounts, Annie Clark, 7, a first-grader at Wilson Christian Academy in West Mifflin, is a  hard-working and determined student who makes a point of learning from her  mistakes and strives for perfection in her work.
So on the surface, it  should come as no surprise that she won a national handwriting award from the  Zaner-Bloser language arts and reading company. That is, of course, if you  didn’t know that she was born with no hands.
On Wednesday, Annie  received one of two national handwriting awards the Zaner-Bloser firm offered  for the first time this year to disabled students. The other went to a  student in Eastlake, Ohio, who has a visual impairment.
Read  on. And  there’s this, from ABC  News:
Annie’s siblings,  classmates, teachers and family couldn’t be happier for her. The determined  seven-year-old is stopping here. She has big dreams of becoming an author,  according to her teacher.
“This has given her a  real sense of confidence,” he mother, Mary Ellen Clark said. “She is just proud  to be her and as a parent, I’m just thrilled with that.”
Read more at:

We Are Known as People of Prayer . . .

Signature HealthCARE it seems is becoming known as a place where prayer is accepted and appreciated – and this reputation is becoming more and more well known in the general community at large.

Jennie Hornsby related to us the story of how one of our Administrators in TN was recently presented with a great honor in the Tennessee Legislature – and it had to do with prayer:

“A great honor was bestowed upon one of our favorite administrators yesterday.  Representative Kelly Keisling invited Jeff Amonett, our administrator at Pickett, to open the House of Representatives Full Session with prayer.  With almost 100 Representatives present and a host of guests, Jeff was announced as a Minister, a husband, a father, and as a great leader of our Signature facility in Byrdstown, TN.  And this is exactly the proper order.

Jeff is a very humble man and will never boast about his accomplishments, but this was quite an honor and as always, he represented us with soft spoken humility and kindness,
and will go down in history as a part of the 107th General Assembly of the great state of Tennessee.

This is a perfect example of having an awesome relationship with your Legislator, and having them see your heart and the things that matter most. Thank you, Jeff!”

Jennie Hornsby
Director of Legislative Afairs,
TN Special Projects dministrator
Signature HealthCARE, LLC