The Rules of Engagement



Outstanding Health Care Executive (Puget Sound Region): Tie

Doctors, administrators, nurses, you name it. They were not
happy when their workplace, Puyallup-based Good Samaritan Hospital, was taken
over by Tacoma's MultiCare Health System. Newly appointed CEO John Long had a
Herculean task ahead of him.

How was he to change the downtrodden culture within an
overextended organization and make employees know that he was for real, that
the new partnership was for real? He would give them a tower.

"The community had been promised a new hospital for 15 or 20
years, and it [the new facility] just couldn't be pulled off," Long says. "The
affiliation enabled us to fulfill that promise. That was the cornerstone of the
agreement, to build the tower."

John Long
John Long of Tacoma's MultiCare gave the staff of Good
Samaritan Hospital a new sense of community by pledging to build a new tower, and
then following through.

The $400 million tower, spreading across 350,000 square feet
and nine stories, is on track for a 2011 opening-which, Long insists, wouldn't
have happened without MultiCare's medical expertise, financial backing and

But when Long outlined the construction of the tower as a
goal, the staff remained skeptical. Long was the hospital's sixth president in
six years. Employee morale was not hostile, but it was defeated. So when Long
came on board in 2006, he met with every staff member he could and outlined the
vision: that MultiCare Good Samaritan would be the trusted regional medical
center of choice for every person in east Pierce County. And he set a deadline
to achieve that goal.

"This was our vision for 2012," Long says. Administrators
translated that into annual targets, and Long kept the staff in the loop.
Gradually, things began to change.

Long saw two things in particular. The first was a
significant improvement in morale between 2006, when employees gave abysmal
scores on a morale survey, and the end of 2007, when the staff offered a
phenomenally better response on a similar survey. The second event was the
groundbreaking for the tower, and when everyone saw truckloads of steel coming

"Some of the greatest cynics felt it was finally happening,"
Long says. "Even the most cynical of doctors said, 'You know, this is really
going to happen.'"

The turnaround in morale at MultiCare Good Samaritan has
resulted in new momentum. The quality of care has risen, financial performance
has improved and employee satisfaction is high.

"You could call 25 doctors and hear, 'This is a really good
place,'" Long says. "It's been a great journey for the staff and community."


Engaging with the Mission

Craig Hendrickson expands Overlake's mission.

Overlake Hospital Medical Center in Bellevue has also
benefited from substantial new investments. Under the stewardship of CEO Craig
Hendrickson, Overlake saw the construction of its $133 million south tower,
which increased the hospital's size and capacity by nearly one-third.
Hendrickson also supervised off-campus renovation and construction initiatives
including refurbishing the Paccar Education Center, expanding and relocating
Overlake Medical Center Issaquah, remodeling the Childbirth Center and adding a
helipad to support the hospital's Level III Trauma Center. In addition,
Hendrickson is guiding the hospital as it heads into a $32 million, fully
integrated, electronic medical-record-keeping system.

"The major advantage of that is the ability to transfer more
complete information electronically," Hendrickson explains. And with the new helipad
in place, Overlake may see more of the patients that are now routinely flown to
Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

But one of the most crucial programs he introduced to the
organization was the launch of a cultural crusade to focus on accountability.
He brought in consultants to help define the problems and to establish some
basic values that would promote the hospital's mission and vision. Then he
followed up with staff training to make sure everyone understood what needed to
happen and to engage the employees in the creation and maintenance of that

"In the end, it [Overlake's culture] empowers and engages
them in their profession and with the whole organization," Hendrickson says.
"When you're working on culture, you're never done with it."

To make sure that the program was effective, Hendrickson had
the hospital's health care advisory board develop a survey tool that measures
not just job satisfaction but also employee engagement with the culture and
mission of the organization. The survey results are too new to draw
conclusions. But Hendrickson points out that 88 percent of the 2,500 employees
at Overlake took the survey-that in itself is an impressive show of engagement.



Michael Carter, CEO, Stevens Hospital

In the three years that Carter has led Stevens Hospital in
Shoreline, he converted the financially hemorrhaging health care provider into
a thriving institution and started capital additions and improvements that
exceed $18 million. The development and expansion of programs and services in
wound healing, women's services, cardiac care and a mother/baby unit rank among
the best in the nation.


Back to main story


How Vacuum Systems Will Change the Landscape for Health Care Facilities

How Vacuum Systems Will Change the Landscape for Health Care Facilities


Sponsored by MacDonald-Miller

The Polyclinic Northgate wanted to do something that had never been done before — create a medical clinic that could be rearranged in a weekend, located in virtually any building, and most importantly, a place that would not cost a lot to change in the future. How could there be a flexible system with the constraints that sewer lines currently impose on existing facilities? The Polyclinic turned to its mechanical contractor, MacDonald-Miller, to come up with a solution.

We interviewed Steve Amann, project executive, to find out how vacuum plumbing systems will revolutionize the healthcare industry.  

What is the vacuum system solution?

Vacuum plumbing is a modular drainage system, which allows for immediate and future room reconfigurations. Rather than the standard protocol of requiring slab penetrations to accommodate gravity drainage, vacuum piping serving waste fixtures is installed in overhead spaces, delivering wastewater to a central vacuum center that exits the building at a single, convenient location. 

How will this flexible system change the healthcare industry?

The vacuum system is the first ever application of its kind in a medical clinic utilizing demountable, movable interior walls. Now medical clinic spaces can be remodeled at a fraction of the time and cost formerly required given standard plumbing and fixed walls. This efficiency provides new opportunities for business while maximizing revenue. Now, health care teams can drive project decisions, rather than decisions being made by the constraints of an existing space layout, or lack of plumbing infrastructure.

How will it change the landscape for healthcare facilities?

Medical clinics can now be located in nontraditional locations, such as standard office buildings with lower lease rates than designated-use medical office buildings.

What is the environment and financial impact?

The environmental impact of vacuum toilets is substantially less compared to standard low-flush toilets. With only half a gallon per flush, tenants realize big savings on their water and sewer costs. The system also prevents waste pipe leaks, which occur in gravity-driven systems and contribute to a deterioration of a building’s health over time.

With the ever-changing nature of the health care industry and mounting price pressure, the combination of demountable walls and vacuum plumbing creates flexibility and provides long-term economic benefits — two elements which are in high demand within this emerging industry. 

MacDonald-Miller Facility Solutions is a full-service, design-build, mechanical contractor in the Pacific Northwest. Learn more about MacDonald-Miller’s recent projects.