Yesterday, I had the pleasure to re-visit our Signature of Buckhead Post Acute Center, which is a real miracle to witness.
It seems like yesterday (it has been six years, actually) when we were launching Signature HealthCARE and acquired this troubled facility that was the laughing stock of Atlanta. Under the prior operator, the place was falling down, vendors were unpaid by the millions, and drug deals were taking place in the parking lot.
I felt overwhelmed, and it really took some blind faith to know where to start. Sometimes you have to believe and if you and your team are bold, your board and lenders support the crazy idea, and your discernment gives you peace of mind, then you pull the trigger. And it may end up your best deal because no one else saw it.
I really had little to do with creating the miracle, but the stakeholders to thank could fill this entire blog. People like Loretta, Andy, Vinnie, Deb, and others all did the heavy lifting, but sometimes I just need to touch something that inspires me to keep believing because healthcare is brutal these days.
On this day, I was visiting with customers in the therapy gym, watching 18 diligent therapists led by Cherie provide compassionate care that would make any healthcare organization proud to wear the uniform. I tried to talk to everyone and tell them, ‘there are no big gains without a little pain’ and telling them we are praying for a restoration when Cherie walked over to Aaron McIntosh, who everyone called ‘Mac.’
He was a former business owner, military veteran and Detroit resident who hit rock bottom. With constant heart problems and no hope for a high quality of life he just shut down, rarely wanting to get out of bed. He had become focused on dying by giving up, but today was a different and new day.
He received the new VAD (Ventricular Assist Device) treatment, which is like a chest vest that keeps him alive and regulates his heartbeat, and rhythm. He started to work hard with our clinical team, made dozens of new friends, and became a cheerleader for everyone else fighting hopelessness because he was feeling younger, getting his power back, and learning to bear weight with a hope to walk again slowly, soon. He believes there are better days ahead for all of us; that if we just start believing, thinking in a positive mindset and push ourselves to our limits, anything is possible.
I told Mac how health care was becoming more difficult. He said I could start calling customers, give them motivating talks, tell them miracles happen at Signature, and do a podcast for the hopeless residents to tell them they have other options – become a mentor, in other words.
He had everything I look forward in a revolutionary leader: passion, dedication, experience, and a deep belief in the Revolution. I told Mac, ‘My VP job is open, do you want to apply? I need a traveling wing man.’ And I think he is thinking about it.
What a story! And it would not have happened if the Buckhead miracle never happened – hopelessness would have reigned here for all. But it lost and hope won because Loretta and her team love their customers, and push them to the limits of their possibilities.
And when it works, it is so beautiful that I can’t wait to get out of bed the next day. Thanks, Mac. Send resumé to…
We cheered, prayed, and cried often over the past years, but learned three great lessons from Stephen that we all cherish today.