The Editor's Desk: A proud moment for the nation's nursing homes

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James M. Berklan, Editor
James M. Berklan, Editor
Whether you're keeping track by counting damning newspaper articles, needling Senate hearings or suspicious family members' glances, it doesn't take long to figure out that nursing homes often do not enjoy a good reputation.
Many times, reputations are rightfully earned. But I'm still shocked at how many times reputations are simply bestowed. The “bestowee” does not act to help itself if held in low esteem.

Luckily, the staff at Villa Springfield Health and Rehabilitation Center in Springfield, OH, doesn't fit that mold. It knows how to grab the brass ring. On April 20, top management from the Covenant Care nursing facility were in Washington to become the first healthcare provider of any type to win the Better Business Bureau International Torch Award for Marketplace Excellence. The BBB has been honoring commitment to ethical business practices in world-class corporations and other businesses since 1996.

Villa Springfield beat out hundreds of other deeply vetted entities nationwide. It actually compelled judges to issue two grand awards since it was tied with giant Verizon.

“Everybody knew this was an ethical company from the way they treated people,” said Sheila Adkins, director of community relations for the council. “The judges could not break the tie. [Villa Springfield] always received such positive feedback from its patients, families and vendors.”

The 110-bed facility was first anonymously nominated for, and won, the six-county Miami Valley BBB Eclipse Integrity Award. Then, Executive Director Bill Robinson and Marketing Director Michele Hemphill decided to accept the challenge of further refining a thick binder of testimonials and explanations about their facility. Having “just one or two” deficiencies this year and none the year before helps, Hemphill noted, but without the gumption to go for the big prize, none of it would have mattered.

“We wouldn't have anything to put together if we didn't have such a good building,” Hemphill said of the 3-inch thick dossier she and Robinson worked overtime to assemble. It was filled with precious rave reviews and explanations of community outreach efforts and best management practices.

The gala in the nation's capital is to be followed by a local celebration at the facility May 12, right in the middle of National Nursing Home Week. Here's hoping the nation takes notice.