Best Places to Work in Healthcare Survey


Melissa Memorial Hospital (MMH) is participating in the “Best Places to Work in Healthcare” program created by Modern Healthcare and Best Companies Group. The program is designed to recognize outstanding places of employment in the United States.

What is Best Places to Work in Healthcare?

Best Places to Work in Healthcare is a survey competition to determine which participants are the best employers. The process is managed by Best Companies Group (BCG) and winners are published by Modern Healthcare.

What is Best Companies Group (BCG)?

Best Companies Group is an independent research firm specializing in identifying and recognizing great places to work. BCG manages programs worldwide, including in the US, Canada, and the UK.

As a part of the program’s process, we would ask all full and part-time MMH employees that receive an online survey in your email inboxes on Friday, March 29th, to please take 10-15 minutes to complete the survey. Please watch for the survey coming from with the subject, “Best Places to Work in Healthcare-Employee Survey.” Please do not forward your invitation on to other employees as each invitation contains unique access information that you can only use once.

If you accidentally delete your survey email, you will receive reminders on April 3, 8 & 12.

A third-party agency will administer the survey and tabulate your confidential ratings. Please follow the instructions and submit your completed survey no later than April 12th. The survey is optional, not mandatory.

Your honest feedback is extremely valuable to this process. Thank you, in advance, for participating in the “Best Places to Work in Healthcare” survey.


Winners are notified in May and publicly announced in September 2019!


2019 State of the Organization

To those of you who attended the forums, thank you! To those who weren’t able, I want to share the State of the Organization for 2019. I welcome all feedback and look forward to an exciting year ahead.

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Working remotely

Working from home, or telecommuting is great for some and impossible for others. In an effort to ensure work is the priority when you’re not physically at your desk, a policy has been written and approved by the Culture Committee. This policy applies to all employees and spells out the when and where telecommuting is appropriate and what is expected of you when you take advantage of this perk. Yes, it is a perk. For every person that can work from home, there are those with a patient-facing job that can’t and most likely would love the opportunity. Telecommuting requires you to be extremely self-motivated as well as have the correct environment for being productive.

Some key points to the Telecommuting policy are:

  • Individual must have been employed at MMH for at least 12-months, trust is paramount, and this will help with that.  Established employees work ethics are usually known by this time.
  • These employees must have satisfactory performance reviews, this is for exemplary employees.
  • This is not a form of daycare and should not be used as such.
  • There will be an evaluation of the work environment to determine the success.

This is a benefit and should be treated as such.  Being a former clinical worker, I can imagine some of the angst I would have if I didn’t get this opportunity.  However, it is the career and job I chose…direct patient care… it cannot be done at home (except for tele-health etc).  Please read the policy attached to the email and as always send me any concerns!

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Up & Coming

As always, the new year brings changes. A few that will affect us are:

  • Price Transparency
  • ALTO (ALternatives To Opioids)
  • Communication Plan
  • Telecommuting Policy

Today I want to discuss the communication plan. This plan is a comprehensive, yet still a work in progress, way for the organization to communicate. Megan Sprague and Elizabeth Hutches were the main authors of this, with input from many different people.  The purpose of the plan is to:

  1. To clarify and align MMH’s goals and objectives: Think of this as our roadmap; you know where you want to go, but you need a route to get there. The plan is our map.
  2. To clarify the relationships between audiences, messages, channels, activities, and materials: Going through the communications planning process will help you identify who you need to reach, tell them what you want them to know, and how you will reach them. You will find that each of your audiences has unique characteristics, needs, and motivations.
  3. To identify and implement a variety of communications activities: There are many different ways to spread your message. This will help determine the best method of communication. Some people prefer email, others paper, and some face-to-face. This plan helps match situations with the methodology.
  4. To clarify staff members’, stakeholders’ and others’ roles in the process: People need to know what they will be contributing to the organization and what they are responsible for. This plan will help you all manage your responsibilities.
  5. To help family members and stakeholders get on the “same page.”: A well-articulated plan will help people get on the same page and articulate a consistent message.
  6. To include stakeholder input in the communications process: All stakeholder engagement is important to MMH, this plan will help streamline the processes.
  7. To avoid policy violations:  Selling items over company email is a policy violation, and should not be done.

The Culture Committee met regarding this and had a discussion on the needs of developing a plan to ensure effective communications. It was determined that this plan is a great start to help the process to ensure messages were sent and were appropriate. We also discussed the use of ‘Holyoke All’ and the ramifications of this. We determined that limiting the use of ‘Holyoke All’ to managers and leadership, except what is needed for the below plan, was a good idea to limit solicitations, degrading emails sent to all, etc.  However, weighing it with the need to continue to celebrate and recognize the achievements that occur, we decided that utilizing Elizabeth Hutches as public affairs and marketing was the best option. The MMH newsletter that is sent out monthly should be utilized for recognition as much as possible so please send these items to Elizabeth to be included. Also, look for the “brag board” coming to the cafeteria in 2019! We will share the employee of the month and you are welcome to use the markers provided to share your congratulations or let them know how much you appreciate them. This will also be used to share news on certifications, special weeks of notice (Administrative Assistant Day, etc), and even the new babies born to hospital employees!

Balancing growth and maturing an organization while keeping the family atmosphere is often difficult, but in order to achieve success, it is very important. Without further ado, the MMH Corporate Communication Plan:

Comm Plan1Comm Plan2


Community Health Needs Assessment

What is a Community Health Needs Assessment? The CHNA helps rural nonprofit hospitals to meet the IRS tax filing requirements for nonprofits, making decisions, planning strategically, and partnering with community members to build synergies that enhance the healthcare – and health – in their medical service area. It is a process used by organizations to determine priorities, make organizational improvements, or allocate resources.  Since MH is a special district hospital, we were not required to do this in 2016.  It has always been my belief that we have to listen to the community we serve in order to provide adequate services.  So we did this in March of 2016.

Who does the CHNA? This process is overseen by Vertical Strategies that is owned by Melissa Bosworth who did MMH’s last CHNA in 2016.

Why do a CHNA? This process involves determining the needs, or gaps, between where the organization envisions itself in the future and the organization’s current state.  This is what we do to understand what service lines are needed, do our three-year strategic plan, and plan our growth.

The Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) was last done in March 2016 and the priority results were (we have checked most of these off our list!):

Priority I:

Cancer prevention and treatment

MMH will reduce the amount of outmigration for cancer screening and treatment by increasing its specialty market share through oncology/chemo infusions. The hospital will also cater its marketing to increase the public’s awareness of services available, and to promote health literacy and wellness.

Priority II:

Oral health services and access

The facility will contract with a dentist to provide services in Holyoke at least four times per month, within the hospital.

Priority III:

Substance abuse prevention and treatment

MMH will work internally to gain acceptance for telehealth platforms and implement the technology necessary to provide telehealth services. Additionally, marketing campaigns will focus on health literacy and wellness and options for those residents and/or family members suffering from the effects of substance abuse.

Priority IV:

Orthopedic services and access

The hospital will reduce the amount of outmigration for orthopedic services by increasing its specialty market share in this area. MMH will put the focus on channels to allow residents to recover in their community, and increasing the surgeries performed at the hospital rather than external referrals.

Priority V:

Mental health services and access

MMH will work internally to gain acceptance for telehealth platforms and implement the technology necessary to provide telehealth services. As with substance abuse, marketing campaigns will focus on health literacy and wellness and options for those residents and/or family members suffering directly and indirectly from behavioral health problems.

Priority VI:

Vision services and access

The facility will recruit a clinician to provide vision services within the community, although not necessarily through the hospital.

When? Please take the survey before November 20, 2018, and help shape the future of your community!


The Dark Side

Recently we had Toby Lesser on-site for a leadership training.  Toby did a great presentation on communication and difficult conversations.  Yesterday in the weekly Senior Leadership meeting, Jennifer Wernsman showed courage, determination, and resiliency in leading the team in an exercise in how we are doing with what Toby presented on…communication, perception, and difficult conversations.

In order to spend the right amount of time on each item, this will be a multi-part blog.  This may be a tough blog for some to read as I am going to be real and transparent. This is also going to be enlightening to will anger others…and here we are being vulnerable…

The Senior Leadership team has bi-annual team building meetings, and we set team expectations in September of 2017.  These expectations are Communication, Positive Attitudes, Pause to Celebrate, Support, Ownership, Role Models, Open-Mindedness, Speed in Decision Making, and Educate.  These expectations are what we hold ourselves to as leaders.

We asked ourselves as a team, how are we doing?  Here is what we said:

  1. Still growing/gelling as a team
  2. We have peaks and valleys in how we perform, and what occurs in the organization
  3. We are still acclimating to our positions and expectations
  4. Overwhelmed
  5. Challenging times ahead
  6. We are doing good things
  7. We are loyal to one another, hold each other accountable, lift each other up, but there is always room to improve
  8. We need more collaboration/openness, but it has improved over the past year

Toby discussed perceptions, and how perceptions are reality. One of the struggles of any leader is perceptions around their actions. Whether they are true or false “perception is reality“.  We discussed the importance of perceptions, even if they are wrong, rather than wasting time “blaming, complaining, gossiping or commiserating with those that do”. We will take action to help show the misperception and also take ownership and fix the things that are accurate or inaccurate.

Here are the common perceptions that we hear:

  1. Leadership doesn’t communicate
  2. Leadership is never in the office and/or never leaves their office
  3. Leadership does not walk the walk. They expect us to follow rules, but do not follow rules themselves e.g.:  Pickle Pledge, Extracurricular Activities, Mandatory Activities
  4. Leadership says we should celebrate more often, then takes away our rights to have department-only celebrations and doesn’t allow us to recognize our accomplishments

The perception I will focus on today is communication. This will sound a tad defensive, but one of my biggest pet peeves is speaking in absolutes.  Only the Sith (any Star Wars fans out there?) can speak in absolutes. “Leadership NEVER communicates”.  “Leadership NEVER follows the rules and ALWAYS parks in the wrong spot”.  Toby shared that 90% of miscommunication results from delivery of the message: tone, body language, wording etc. Most problems we experience in our organization, and any human interaction, is related to miscommunication. This means that awareness of delivery in all of our messages can solve nearly all our communication problems!

What is the Senior Leadership Team doing currently to communicate?

  1. All of us have a weekly 1:1 meeting with our managers, or have an open door policy
  2. Morning pickle pledge updates
  3. Provider forums
  4. Quarterly employee forums
  5. Med staff meetings
  6. Monthly manager meetings
  7. Blog
  8. CEO rounding with every employee
  9. Weekly senior leadership meetings
  10. Daily leadership huddles
  11. PR (Elizabeth) newsletters, all employee emails, printed communications
  12. Majority of managers get leadership meeting tidbits from senior leaders
  13. Department managers present at senior leadership huddle on rotation
  14. Department managers present at the monthly board meeting on rotation
  15. Employee engagement survey
  16. Provider engagement survey
  17. Informational TV in clinic waiting room
  18. Bulletin board in the nursing area
  19. Schedule bulletin board in Administration
  20. Finalizing organizational communication plan (stay tuned for more information soon!)

This is a pretty extensive list. Some of the themes I hear back from staff is “my manager does not tell us these things”, “I don’t check my email”, “I had 50 emails, and didn’t want to read them all so I deleted them all”, and “I don’t have time to read email”. Granted, email is not a perfect communication avenue for everyone, as some groups prefer one-on-one, printed, or other methods. Some of the people who say they don’t have time to read email are known to ‘like’ or make Facebook posts during business hours. Policy 1120.2 Electronic Mail Systems is one that everyone has acknowledged, states in procedure number 3 that “E-mail should be checked daily”, making it a part of everyone’s job description.  E-mail etiquette will be a future post…

One thing that senior leadership discussed was that sometimes it is the “what’s” that is not communicated rather than the “how’s”.  As Toby mentioned, communication is a two-way street and I would like to take the opportunity to put this back on everyone; what do you need to hear from us?

With all that being said, here is our plan to tighten up communications:

  1. Julianne and Megan send out tidbits from the senior leadership meeting to their areas. We plan on distributing these tidbits to all managers and possibly the entire organization. These may be emailed or printed, but this is still under construction.
  2. Utilize the upcoming culture committee to review the communication plan and revisit other plans for communication improvement.
  3. Promote more two-way communication and become more approachable for more feedback.
  4. Utilize all of the above to tailor messages.
  5. Promote existing email policy.
  6. Promote the expectation of trickle-down communication from managers to frontline rock stars.
  7. Assign executive sponsor to each committee to be responsible for two-way communication between leadership and their committee(s).
  8. Encourage more participation in All Employee Forums.  Currently, only 1/3 of staff attend these and a lot of important information is shared during these events. Looking at potentially offering more forum options at different times.  We will be expanding agenda to allow all leadership to present info from their areas.
  9. Install an informational TV in the cafeteria for a “Senior Leadership Channel” that will be more tailored to MMH Family Members. This may include dashboards we track, schedules, departmental updates, etc.
  10. Email/contact me with any other constructive feedback. If you have a problem to share, bring a solution!

My door is always open for you!
CEO door

I will put our closing discussion points at the end of each blog in this series:

  • Fair or not, we are held to a higher standard as the leadership of MMH.
  • We need to be cognizant of how our actions are perceived.
  • We can’t please everyone all of the time.
  • We will improve our “leadership by example”.

Culture Club

That title is one someone born before 1990 will probably recognize. But we’re not talking new wave English bands today; I want to talk to you about the culture of your workplace.

By definition, “Culture committees are cross-functional teams of employees that discuss, plan, and proactively drive all matters pertaining to company culture.”

At MMH it starts with a group of employees committed to improving our culture or our experience as an employee. They strive to bring the voice of the employee to the table and aim to decrease employee turnover, improve employee morale and encourage staff collaboration. It’s not all about perks and benefits, a lot of what they work on is just making sure the little stuff is looked after. The small changes that make a big impact such as encouraging the improvement of every employee through ownership and personal improvement. to contribute to and be a part of making this the place they want to be.

Additionally, I will be creating a Culture Committee to assist in developing a superior culture.  This committee will give recommendations to the Senior Leadership Team and Spirit Committee on things that are related to culture, and engagement of employees.  This committee will also be responsible for next years employee and physician engagement survey…we will be going for national awards with these surveys!

Giving and providing opportunities for feedback are important as well and senior leadership is always looking for new ways to allow open communication. This is done through regular CEO roundings, yearly employee satisfaction surveys, and annual employee evaluations. One major focus, especially in healthcare, is that of employee health. We want to encourage health and wellness, both mental and physical. You can now use the treadmills and other machines in the cardiac rehab room for free (contact HR or rehab for this). We encourage employees to utilize their two ten minutes breaks a day to get outside and walk. We have hosted educational training on diabetes as well as mental health first aid. We have conflict management training planned for managers in October and look to offer more in the future.

So tell me, what training would you like to see offered?

employee quote

The MMH Vision, striving to be a regional leader

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Photo by Pixabay on

According to the Business Dictionary, a vision statement is “an aspirational description of what an organization would like to achieve or accomplish in the mid-term or long-term future. It is intended to serve as a clear guide for choosing current and future courses of action.” After many hours of reflection and a few moments of writers’ block, I present to you the Melissa Memorial Hospital vision statement.

We strive to be the regional leader in providing
comprehensive services,
compassionate care,
and community wellness.

Provider Engagement

One area of importance in healthcare, that used to be overlooked is provider engagement/satisfaction.  Studies have shown that it is the most promising means of improving performance, decreasing errors, and improving patient care/experience. The goal of provider engagement is incorporating providers’ input into operational agendas instead of merely imposing new strategies over which providers have no say.

Engaged providers approach their work with energy and enthusiasm, are dedicated to their patients and truly committed to the improvement of their organizations. In contrast, disengagement among providers can pose a serious impediment to achieving an organization’s goals.

An organization’s culture is profoundly affected by increasing engagement among providers and other clinical staff. Dyad and triad leadership models — in which providers, clinical staff and administration work together on some level of management — create a trickle-down effect through the rest of the organization, because each group contributes its perspective of the business and can more efficiently solve issues.

Additionally, the act of bringing provider and clinical leaders to the table with administration helps flatten the traditional health hierarchy in which providers serve as the clinical captains but are not really integrated with broader leadership.

In the rapidly changing healthcare landscape, this is more important than ever.

With that being said, MMH did the first ever provider engagement/satisfaction survey.  This baseline survey will help with creating an excellent healthcare system in our own little town.

For our annual provider satisfaction survey we used this methodology:

  • Questions developed by Lane Looka, FNP
  • Put into an anonymous survey monkey
  • 13 questions with sections for comments
  • 1-4 scale used 1 is the lowest score and 4 is the highest being the numerator and percentage determined by dividing by numerator of 4
  • 92% participation rate with 11/12 providers surveyed, all contracted or employed (including specialists)
  • Benchmarked against 19,270 respondent Medscape National Provider Compensation/Engagement Survey

provider sat survey results (1)

Overall the need was expressed, as it was with the employee satisfaction survey, that communication is an area to focus on for improvement. A communication planning meeting between management and providers will take place soon to work together on a solution.

Looking forward we aim to maintain this high level of provider satisfaction/engagement. We will continue to work on areas needing improvement and hope you share in the sense of excitement we feel to build on the foundation we have in place. Again and always, thank you to each and every one of you in the MMH family, you are what makes this place flourish.

A more in-depth look at results:

  • 92% participation rate giving high confidence of survey accuracy
  • Overall satisfaction, or net promoter score measured at 82%
  • High question score is 96% of providers surveyed were satisfied with their schedules
  • Low point is 55% of providers satisfied with how they receive feedback on thoughts by supervisors
  • Medscape shows that the overall satisfaction rate of family medicine is 46%, MMH scored 78% higher at 82%, the highest overall score on national survey was Dermatology at 64%
  • Medscape showed that 53% of family medicine providers were satisfied with pay, with 81% of MMH providers satisfied with pay

Giving every employee a voice

Yearly employee satisfaction surveys allow each member of our family the opportunity to have a voice. They can share what they like and what they don’t like. One thing I would add is the request that when you don’t like something, offer a solution.

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A few things to note:

  • The same 23 questions have been used for five years
  • All answers are anonymous
  • Answers are benchmarked against the Press Ganey national scores

emp sat survey

We are at the top of the best in class terrority as benchmarked from Press Ganey, with scores that rank far higher than both their best in class average as well as the national average. As a result of this survey, the employee benefits committee is working on recommendations for employee education and an organizational communications plan is being developed with hopes for implementation for 2019.

As we look to the future it’s good to know that the team we have wants to be here and enjoys working together. While there is always room for improvement, with the right culture it’s an improvement as a team and guaranteed for success. Thank you to each and every one of you in the MMH family, you are what makes this place flourish.

More in depth look at progress:

  • 84% participation rate gives this survey a highly validated bell curve
  • Overall satisfaction rate for 2018 was 89% for the prior 4 years was 2014: 44%; 2015: 45%; 2016 84% and 2017: 82%
  • Overall job rating question showed 96% satisfied in 2018; 2017: 95%; 2016: 93%
  • Likelihood to recommend MMH as a good place to work was in 2018: 95%; 2017: 92%; 2016: 91%; 2015: 57% and 2014: 63%
  • Employees here recognized for job well done highest increase from 77% to 89% (area of focus last year)
  • Area of opportunity is orientation and training had slight decrease 2018: 87%; 2017: 88%; 2016: 81%; 2015: 46%; 2014: 32% (area of focus this year)
  • Majority of comments were geared around education for all staff
  • MMH in best in class territory as benchmarked from Press Ganey
  • Recommend MMH as a place to work in 2018: 95%; best in class: 87%, National Avg: 77%
  • Employees recognized 2018: 89%; best in class: 74%; National Average: 64%
  • Senior Management is concerned about employees 2018: 80% (2015:36%); best in class 71%, National Average.: 56%
  • I have not considered resigning in last 6 mos 2018: 83% said no; best in class: 68% said no and National. Average: 60% said no