Lady of the Sea General Hospital

  • Location: Galliano, LA
  • Award: Rural Healthcare Organization of the Month
  • Awarded: May 2012

For over six years, Lady of the Sea General Hospital (LOSGH) has been focused on one goal – strengthening our commitment to create exceptional experiences for patients, patient's families, visitors and health care providers.


Established in 1956, LOSGH is a 25-bed critical access (CAH) not-for-profit hospital in Galliano, Louisiana. With the support of our community, Lady of the Sea employs over 250 healthcare workers that provide compassionate, high quality healthcare, close to home. We are the closest medical facility and the first responder for oilfield workers in the Gulf of Mexico off of the Louisiana coast, as well as the primary provider of healthcare for the residents of the South Lafourche community.

As a small hospital that primarily provides family medicine and general surgery services to our community, we realize exactly what our role is in the continuum of care for our patients. We have established great relationships with the larger healthcare facilities in our general area to ensure that our patients have continuous access to specialized care when it is needed.

The closest larger hospital facility is 40 miles away, and we have partnered with Urology, Cardiology and Oncology providers from our surrounding area to come to our facility each week and provide services to our community members, so that they do not have to travel far from home for necessary outpatient care. While offering more healthcare options closer to home is an advantage to our patients, it's also an advantage for our dedicated staff members who get to experience a larger role in their patient's overall healthcare. We are the only CAH hospital in Louisiana that owns a dialysis unit, which again is a service we provide to save our patients from having to travel long distances for necessary healthcare.

One Common Goal

Six years ago, we realized that our personalized, "treat you like family" atmosphere is the cornerstone of our patient perception of care. Realizing that pay for performance, and patient's expectations of their healthcare providers were changing, we sought out ways to be proactive in approaching what healthcare would look like in five years to the people of South Lafourche.

After a group of our managers attended Studer Group's Rural Health Institute in August 2006, we formed a committee of employees to formulate our Standards of Behaviors. This endeavor started us on the road to excellence, and we've been steadily making great strides ever since. Our employee turnover rate has been 4% or below for the past three years.

After rolling out our Standards of Behaviors to all employees in January 2007, we began training our managers on how to round on their employees in April 2007. In 2006, prior to putting employee rounding into place, 58% of our employees gave us a rating of 7-10 on how well we communicated at our hospital. In 2011, we have increased to 83% of our employees giving us the same rating.

We began training at quarterly Leader Development Institutes in January 2008. This has continued quarterly ever since. Even through hurricane warnings and evacuations and the BP oil spill that taxed our staff and resources, we never backed off of training our managers to lead their staff to higher levels of excellence in patient care.

Quarterly Leadership Development is like a shot in the arm for our management staff. 100% of our managers have been brought up "from the ranks" without true management experience prior to being promoted. Our LDI's really help them to focus on not only their patients and the patient experience, but also on the employee and what it means to be seen as the "leader". We believe that our LDI's and the consistent support of our management team is the driving force behind our 3% turnover rate.

Our core committee works diligently on training opportunities for our managers, our supervisors and our employees. In 2006, 54% of our employees rated the support received from their managers, and the availability of their managers as a 9-10. After putting leadership training into place regularly, and using highmiddlelow® conversations for employee performance improvement, we now have 74% of our employees rating our management team as a 9-10.

In addition to LDI's, we also began mandatory Forums for all employees. Each quarter, our employees have the opportunity to attend our forums led by our CEO, Don Werner, and our "firestarter" trainers. Our attendance rates are above 95% because of the commitment by both our management team on scheduling and ensuring that their employees attend, and the commitment of our employees to come to one of the forums (8 forum times are offered for each session) and participate.

As we rolled out the behaviors, we continued to send our managers to Studer Group institutes. We have had 95% of our manager and supervisor staff attend Taking You and Your Organization to the Next Level trainings, 70% of our ER staff attend the Nuts and Bolts of the ED institute, all charge nurses from Med / Surg attend Taking You and Your Organization to the Next Level, our C-Suite team and firestarters attend What's Right in Health Care annually, and all of our family medical physicians and 75% of our ED physicians have attended the Physician's Institute, as well as out C-Suite team who supports our physician group. We believe that by attending these professional trainings, we have had the opportunity to develop traction in moving our facility toward higher patient satisfaction and job satisfaction for our staff overall.

In 2009, we realized that it was time to improve our evaluation system, and we began researching the Leader Evaluation ManagerSM (LEM). Through our LEM research, we decided to become a Studer Group Rural Partner in October 2009. Not only has the LEM assisted our management team in focusing on measurable, sustainable improvement, our coach, Carolyn Laughlin has also proven to be a great partner for us in keeping us focused on the next step, and celebrating our accomplishments.

Throughout 2010 and 2011, we focused on hardwiring AIDET® and Key Words at Key Times with all of our employees. Through our forums, we had practice sessions and many of our departments assigned AIDET® captains that were drawn from our employee group. These captains encouraged their fellow employees to use AIDET® and Key Words at Key Times while also congratulating their co-workers when they heard them doing it right. After making great strides with AIDET® and Key Words at Key Times, we have found that the majority of our employee group is more inclined to consider WHY we communicate with our patients and HOW it's best to deliver certain messages to our patients and families to ensure excellence in health care.

In 2011, we hardwired the Monthly Meeting Model between our manager level and our C-Suite. These monthly meetings have given us a specific timeframe to review all LEM goals along with their measurement and 90-day plans, rounding takeaways and recognition, issues to address, budget compliance, and overall manager communication. We believe by instituting the monthly meeting model, our employee satisfaction and communication between employees have greatly improved. On our most recent employee survey, 89% of our managers rated their communication with their immediate supervisor as a 10, our highest rating possible, which shows us the effectiveness of these monthly discussions.

LOSGH experienced growth in all of our service areas over the past twelve months. We believe that the tremendous increase in patients using our services is directly attributed to the higher level of care that our patients receive. The culmination of training and focus has led to HCAHPS results of above the 90th percentile in 7 out of 8 domains of HCAHPS.

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