Posts Tagged ‘Planetree’

Going “Rogue” – An Open Letter to Healthcare CEOs

October 17th, 2011

For the past three years, I have had a chance to dig heavily into the future, and I’m pretty convinced that the old saying, “Necessity is the mother of invention,” has never been more true than in today’s healthcare environment.  What was a given before in healthcare management may no longer be so in the future, and since most hospitals only Chief Innovation Officer is the President him or herself, their tasks of visualizing, understanding, deciding and directing the future of the organization will be shifting even more heavily from quantitative deciding-and-directing to the more qualitative visualizing-and-understanding side of this leadership equation.

Although I understand the reluctance of most CEO’s to be on the bleeding edge of creativity, my experiences at my former positions can significantly reduce or mitigate the majority of risk from any decision regarding innovation.

Our new competitive environment has an insatiable appetite for information, access and connectivity and it’s a well known fact that a periodic injection of chaos fosters creativity and forces your co-workers to leverage technology.   Because most organizations already have an environment that is built on trust and collaboration, injecting a little creativity can put their CEOs in more of a position to be the orchestrator and the inspirer.

That Used to be Us That Used to be Us is the new book by Thomas Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum in which they analyze four specific challenges Americans face as a nation—globalization, the revolution in information technology, the nation’s chronic deficits, and our pattern of excessive energy consumption—and spell out what they believe needs to be done to sustain the American dream, and achieve true supremacy based on innovation and excellence.

As an innovator and futurist,  several sections of this book captured my imagination and brought closure to a myriad of beliefs that I have instinctively embraced over the past few decades.  When my responsibilities revolved around the CEO position, I always saw my job as being a contributor to an environment where creative decisions were embraced allowed to happen and then those innovators were rewarded and inspired to keep going.

As the co-founder of a Research Institute, one issue that continually resonates with me is that  “We don’t have enough ‘rogue’ CEO’s in healthcare administration to take risks so that the rest can benefit from both their successes and knowledge.”

Well, fortunately, I’m your guy.

For the last several years I have been out there implementing unusual things, and many of these disruptive ideas are coming to pass in a big way.  I was the first hospital CEO to blog, starting in 2005 (, was an early Planetree board member, created the first breast cancer research center dedicated to the Department of Defense, and filled my hospital with Integrative Medicine, hotel amenities, and music.

Below, I’ve listed thirteen new examples of areas of innovation, in which we’ve been working for the past three years, as well as numerous ways to pay for these initiatives.

 Thirteen Examples of Disruptive Technologies and Practices That Hospitals Need to Understand 

  1. Robotic algorithmic software that improves emergency room flow by 37 to 50 percent.
  2. Financial transaction software that reduces electronic transfer fees exponentially (25% of health care income is from electronic transfers.)
  3. Utilization of nurses and actuaries as patient advocates to significantly reduce your employee health costs.
  4. Preventative medicine reimbursements that can double a physician’s income and add bottom line profits to hospitals.
  5. Treble growth potential of your organization through adding Integrative Medicine
  6. Diabetic retinopathy telemedicine for Family and Internal Medicine docs.
  7. Proteomic and genomic testing creating new “hospital income.”
  8. Peritoneal lavage that extends Stage 4 cancer patients from three months to five years or more.
  9. Bone scaffolding that supports bone growth and virtually eliminates bone infection.
  10. Special bandages that protect and stem cell cocktail sprays that heal burn wounds
  11.  Access to a cancer consortium that allows small and medium hospitals to become Certified Cancer Centers
  12. Hospitals paid “not to play” during an energy crisis as a back-up to the power grid.
  13. Green hazardous waste disposal costing 25% less than traditional methods

If you’d like to learn more about any adopting any of the concepts above, or receive a leadership presentation that will enable your staff to see the opportunities (rather than just the threats) in our current, uncertain environment, here’s where to find me.

Why Are Hospitals The Way They Are? from Nick Jacobs, FACHE on Vimeo.


Sometimes it’s Better to Punch a Bear in the Face

March 27th, 2011

I’ve tried to avoid controversy, but since my reading audience has dropped by a few thousand readers after departing my previous CEO position a few years back, I doubt that this will cause me any more problems as a consultant than I’ve already caused by expressing my opinions in previous posts. So, for those of you who are still dependent upon me for financial support, I apologize.

This morning, I read an article in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette by John Hayes entitled “Meet Your Neighbors: The Bears,” about black bears living in Pennsylvania. The essence of the piece is that there are about 18,000 bears living among the 12,000,000 citizens of Pennsylvania, yet there are only about 1,200 bear-related complaints to authorities a year. The bigger issue, however, is that there have been no reported deaths caused by black bears. They don’t eat people.

During this same period of time, I read a post by my friend and fellow patient advocate, Dale Ann Micalizzi, referencing an article about the former president of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston, Paul Levy,  another nontraditional hospital CEO who espouses transparency. “Admiting Harm Protects Patients” is the article appearing in today’s Las Vegas Sun. In my book, Taking the Hell out of Healthcare, which Paul graciously endorsed on the cover page, we talk about patient rights, patient advocacy, and the need to have someone with you during your hospital stay to ensure that you are not going to become a statistic. In today’s article, Paul is recognized for the work that he did with his blog — a blog which I encouraged him to write and to keep writing — in which he challenged the hospitals of Boston to reveal their mistakes, to stop keeping the infection rates and other problem statistics secret.

Because he was trained as an economist and a city planner, Paul Levy was considered an outsider by his peers when he took over the troubled Deaconess hospital, but as he quickly turned it around, he did so through the eyes of an outsider. In December 2006, he published his hospital’s monthly rates of infection associated with central-line catheters, which are inserted deep into the body to rapidly administer drugs or withdraw blood. These central line infections, which can be caused by nonsterile insertion of the catheter or not removing it soon enough, are preventable. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate 250,000 central-line infections occur annually, costing $25,000 each and claiming the lives of one in four infected patients.

Dale Ann Micalizzi (L) and Paul F. Levy (R)  - Healing Hospitals - F. Nicholas Jacobs, FACHEHe then challenged the other Boston hospitals to do the same. He was accused of self-aggrandizement, egomania, and numerous other witchcraft-like things, but the bottom line was that the number of infections went down, and they went down because the staff and employees wanted to do better and wanted them to go down.

What else happened at Beth Israel Deaconess?

• Hospital mortality of 2.5 percent, which translates to one fewer death per 40 intensive-care patients.

• Cases of ventilator-associated pneumonia, from 10-24  per month in early 2006, to zero in as many months by mid-2006.

• Total days patients spent on ventilators from 350-475 per month in early 2006 to approx. 300 by mid-2007.

• The length of an average intensive care stay from 2005 through 2009, the average stay was reduced by a day to about 3 1/2 days.

(See my previous post on outrageous claims at my prior place of employment.)

Well, in today’s article about the bears, I read that “when bear attacks occur they are generally very brief, and injuries can include scratches and bites.”  Here’s the part I had not anticipated from the bear conservation officer: “Fight back, don’t play dead.  Unlike other North American Bears, black bears don’t consider people to be food.  When it realizes what you are, or gets a painful punch in the face, it is likely to go away.” I believe it’s a useful metaphor.

If you or your organization would like to hear a CEO or two speak about patient advocacy (and way better healthcare), I’m sure I know a former teacher/musician and a former city planner who would welcome the invitation.

Patient advocacy is in your hands!

Health 2.0 Leadership (1 of 2) from Nick Jacobs, FACHE on Vimeo.



February 3rd, 2011

For the past 25-plus years, my personal commitments, both intellectually and emotionally, have been directed toward helping to make positive changes in the healthcare system worldwide. It’s been my great pleasure to have had the opportunity to connect with such organizations as Planetree, and to work with them to enhance and promote their philosophy of integrative medicine and human touch. We have watched them grow from three to more than 600 affiliated hospitals. It has also been exciting to have had the chance to work with organizations like the American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine (ABIHM), a truly transformational healing organization. Their laser-focused goal is to reach more and more physicians worldwide to assist them in becoming certified in the techniques of holistic and integrative healing arts.

Along with these high-touch organizations, I’ve also been privy to advancements and discoveries made within the research field. As a former hospital CEO, and Founder of a medical research institute, I have been exposed to both the peaks of promise created by medical technology and the valleys of disappointment that have evolved from those unfilled expectations generated by the promises of that same technology.

Veratherm - ThermalTherapeutic Systems, Inc. - Nick Jacobs, FACHE

The subject matter to be addressed in this next blog segment is not a false promise. This particular medical device, the VERATHERM™ system was designed, patented and FDA-cleared as a portable hyperthermic perfusion system. There are two other FDA-cleared devices that have been used for this procedure – one which has been retrofitted and the other is somewhat outdated. There are also experimental-type devices that have been pieced together for use in some research facilities and academic medical centers, but they are not FDA-cleared and cannot be marketed.

What VERATHERM™ does provide is a very real opportunity for surgeons and perfusionists to not only standardize hyperthermic perfusion in the treatment of cancer but, potentially, to help to significantly extend the lives of those patients touched by these surgeons and the use of this technology. Most recently, I have had an opportunity to not only see this medical device but also to work with the extremely passionate individual who is in charge, Raymond Vennare, CEO of Thermal Therapeutic Systems, Inc. Raymond has helped to develop and bring to market this compact and mobile perfusion system that, I believe, will contribute to helping literally hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. In my exploration of hyperthermic perfusion, however, I have discovered that only a tiny fraction of those patients who could be helped by the technique that is enabled through the use of this device have any idea that it even exists. Hence, the reason for this blog. VERATHERM™ not only does exist, but the procedure performed by these surgeons and perfusionists can also have a dramatic impact on certain types of cancers.

Please understand that my interest in hyperthermic perfusion in the treatment of cancer revolves around a commitment to those individuals – people like my father, and Raymond’s father, mother and brother who, because products like this were not available, were all lost prematurely due to different types of devastating cancers.

How does this work? After complex surgery for the removal of the tumors in specific body cavities, such cancers as the colon, appendix, stomach, lung and even some types of metastatic breast cancer, the appropriate fluids can be heated in order to perform an intraperitoneal or intrathoractic lavage. These heated fluids then are circulated through the impacted body cavity as needed to help eradicate any remaining cancer cells. Sensors and probes built directly into the VERATHERM™ Console and Disposable Kit efficiently monitor temperature, pressure and flow of heated and unheated sterile solutions while protecting the patient, physician and profusionist.

Let me close by saying one more time that, due to the procedure enabled by this medical device, the lives of many patients have been extended by as much as three-to- five years. It’s not technically impossible to do, but, as a patient, you have to know about it to request it, and only a handful of cancer centers in the entire country have begun to even look at the creative re-use of profusion equipment for non-traditional surgical lavages such as this.

You read it here first!

The Parable of the Starfish

One morning an elderly man was walking on a nearly deserted beach. He came upon a boy surrounded by thousands and thousands of starfish. As eagerly as he could, the youngster was picking them up and throwing them back into the ocean. Puzzled, the older man looked at the young boy and asked, “Little boy, what are you doing?” The youth responded without looking up, “I’m trying to save these starfish, sir.” The old man chuckled aloud, and queried, “Son, there are thousands of starfish and only one of you. What difference can you make? Holding a starfish in his hand, the boy turned to the man and, gently tossing the starfish into the water, said, “It will make a difference to that one!”


Along the Way…Things Became Very Interesting

January 31st, 2011

Two years ago I began this new journey, but not until a few months ago did my work in consulting really begin to take shape in a way that could never have been predicted.

As the challenges of our present economic times have become increasingly daunting, my personal and professional journey has become even more dedicated to innovation and creativity. One goal has been to provide new alternatives to past practices that will create value for patients. This means making a contribution to saving and transforming lives, while producing cost savings and financial stability, and developing new markets to enable provider growth in their missions.

Olympic National Park, Port Angeles, WA - Nick Jacobs, FACHE - Healing Hospitals - SunStone Consulting

The driving force behind my exploration began with asking how we can begin to control those out of control expenses that are currently blurring the lines between continued care for our population, and rationing or elimination of services?  But, the answer(s) must enable us to continue to add healing opportunities for our patients at every turn.

Because my creative energies have always been focused on producing more ways to generate new monies for whatever organizations I have personally represented,  it seemed somewhat foreign to me to spend more time on fiscal issues than creative alternatives.  However, with literally millions of Baby Boomers coming of age each year, it was obvious that our entire culture is at risk both fiscally and socially. Consequently, after listening carefully to my peers, several opportunities presented themselves that would address all levels of these concerns.

Through the combination of their proprietary software and dozens of years of combined knowledge in the healthcare finance field, SunStone Consulting, LLC, spends each and every working day addressing the challenges of finding monies that should already have been captured by hospitals and physician practices, while also creating new opportunities that have heretofore not been explored. That’s where SunStone Management Resources comes into play.

SunStone Consulting - Nick Jacobs, FACHE

We have identified new companies, new entrepreneurs and new creatives who can not only improve healthcare, but also significantly improve the bottom line of those organizations willing to embrace their programs. One such company with whom we are partnering can increase Emergency Room productivity by as much as 35 to 50%.  They can also help do the same for cancer centers and operating rooms. They utilize robotic systems that communicate patient needs and simultaneously seek out the appropriate medical services required as soon as the patient is triaged. The patient’s condition and potential requirements are communicated to every individual who will or should have contact with them throughout their hospital stay.

We have also identified what I refer to as “no brainer” opportunities. By making otherwise locked fiscal percentages  a commodity, even small and medium sized organizations can save huge dollar amounts. How? By changing out only the electronic reading devices used hospital-wide. This simple change has resulted in huge fiscal savings for clients.

Add to examples like those above the introduction of  a new invention that, in the right hands, can help to extend some types of Stage 3B and Stage IV cancer patients’ lives from months to years through a relatively simple post-surgical procedure. Also consider the invention of new materials that would support bone growth, while virtually eliminating the need for casts or even slings. Imagine a series of protocols that have brought over 40 people out of deep, irreversible comas. Then, on a completely different path, consider having access to  the cumulative knowledge garnered from over a hundred million dollar investment in breast cancer care.  (This is about to be made available to small and medium sized hospitals across the world.)

These are but a sampling of  just some of the opportunities currently driving my passion in this new healthcare world order.

You may want to make a simple inquiry into what’s behind the innovative, practical, and incredible creations of the brilliant people doing this work.  It’s not just so many words on a page.  It is the future, and the future for you and your organization could be now.


And one more thing . . .

August 12th, 2010

These blog posts are supposed to be directed toward creating healing hospitals. That objective seems to be compromised from time to time as I post genuine opportunities for hospital CFO’s and CEO’s to trim monies from their budgets, to find money that their hospitals should have received, or to initiate new ventures that will create additional, positive economic yields for their facilities.  I’m sorry, but I just can’t help myself.

One of my “gifts” as a CEO was to always find ways to pay for the challenges that we faced so that new ideas, new modalities and  new healing techniques could be introduced to our healthcare environmentI even wrote a book about it. Interestingly, the biggest push back that I experience when presenting to my former peers is that bottom line, no nonsense question: “How the heck are we supposed to pay for this stuff?”

The Benefits of Healing Hospitals

View more presentations from Nick Jacobs.

Over the years I’ve prepared charts, graphs, and narratives demonstrating the dramatic growth patterns, the huge economic surpluses, the wonderful bottom lines that were generated by embracing a “healing” philosophy, but those of you who have been lured by “snake oil salesmen” in your past lives are very leary that my passionate dialogue is simply that, dialogue. You have  no  reason to believe me when I say that improving your employee morale will improve your patient satisfaction scores. Of course it’s common sense, but if you’re too nice to your employees, they’ll think you’re a push over and they’ll take advantage of you, right?  Well, after 22 years of niceness, the one thing I can tell you is that niceness can be confused with weakness, and that needs clarification early on in your journey.

You see, my recent devotion to the economics of healthcare was prompted by the knowledge that you will be treating much larger quantities of patients for less reimbursement. Consequently, new streams of funding will be imperative. For example, the annual amount of discretionary healthcare dollars spent on integrative and holistic medicine is well into the double-digit billions of dollars.  Logic would tell you that at least a percentage of these dollars could be spent at your facilities.  The downside is that your patients have not been used to paying cash for anything except co-pays, but the reality is that “they will pay,” if the service is meaningful, helpful, and healing; money simply becomes a way to get them there.

Wellness Wheel - Image credit: Marquette UniversityIf you, however, don’t believe that massage is good for you, don’t believe that some people respond well to acupuncture or Reiki, don’t care that aroma therapy, floral essences, or pet, music and humor therapy have a place in “legitimate medicine,” that’s a problem, a personal problem.  Go on vacation to some place like Canyon Ranch, and let go for a few days.  Allow yourself to be open to new modalities.  The body and mind can work extremely well together . . . if you’ll just give them a chance.  More importantly, you can generate additional funds for your facilities that will result in additional growth in market share, in patient loyalty, and in patient and employee  satisfaction.

So, this week’s tip . . . financial transaction services: Over 1/4 of your facilities daily financial transactions are completed electronically.  We are currently providing the interface for your financial transactions that will reduce your costs of doing electronic business exponentially.  It is seamless, requires no interruption of your current banking relationships, and invisible to the patients and your staff, but why, for example, would you pay 4.5% if you could complete the same transaction for 2.5%?  It’s savings that can contribute to your bottom line to allow you to supplement your staff with those individuals who can add additional depth, healing activities, and peace of mind to your patients’ experiences.

It’s all good.


Planetree or Bust!

October 4th, 2009

Those who have worked with me know that I have been unequivocally one of the most loyal supporters of the Planetree Philosophy of care in the world.

My former place of employment was the third Planetree hospital in the country, after Planetree’s headquarters moved to Griffin (Derby, CT.)  We were the first Planetree hospital in Pennsylvania, and that hospital, Windber Medical Center, is now one of the top ten Planetree-designated sites internationally.  After having served on the Board of Directors of Planetree for nearly eight years, having written literally dozens of blog posts and articles about Planetree,  having taught numerous online seminars for them, contributed a chapter to their latest book, and served on the Planetree Speaker’s Bureau for half a dozen years, I’m back once again with a presentation this Tuesday at the Planetree 2009 conference.  It’s called: Take Care of Your Employees and They Will Take Care of Your Patients.


Although I was encouraged to retire from the board in order to give newer members their opportunity to participate, and am no longer a part of the Speaker’s Bureau, with no formal ties to the organization anymore, I want to assure you that my experience, passion, and commitment to humanizing healthcare, transparency, creating a nurturing environment for patients and their families could not be stronger.

Since my transition from formally running hospitals full time,  I have immersed myself deeply into the world of  helping hospitals through my consulting practice to achieve the patient, employee, and family satisfaction ratings that ensure top scores in HCHAPS which, in turn, will result in increased business, increased revenue, and increased growth for any organization.

Nick Jacobs, FACHE
Nick Jacobs, FACHE

I am including one of my lastest articles on Integrative Health written for Hospital News.  Remember, if I can help, just call, e-mail or or comment:

Integrative Medicine

Massage, Flower Essences, Spiritual Healing, Drumming, Reiki, Acupuncture, Music, Aroma, Humor, Pet, and Art Therapy; all of these healing practices were formerly referred to as Alternative or Complementary Medicine.  They deserve, however, to be referred to as Integrative Medicine. Because, when we integrate these various disciplines with other contemporary healing methodologies, the results can be amazing.

As a hospital CEO, it brought me great satisfaction to introduce all of these treatments to the healing environment of the hospital.  Many times they came amid intense resistance from both the medical staff, and some members of leadership.  In fact, after nearly 10 years of offering comprehensive exposure to Integrative Medicine, we still had a smattering of nonbelievers.  The only thing questionable about these therapies for a healthcare administrator is that the typical insurance companies don’t cover the costs of all of them and cash payments come into play.

The number of patients coming to our facility had tripled through the emergency room alone as did the overall budget of the entire organization during that time period.  Those “Forest for the Trees” practical leaders still could not bring themselves to give credit to one of the major contributing factors involved in that surge of the hospital’s popularity.  Yes, of course, we also encouraged 24 hour, seven day a week visiting, had guest beds in many patient’s rooms, and served meals to the families on the medical floor where their loved one was a patient. Did all of this combine to the create a healing environment?  Of course it did, but Integrative Medicine was the heart and soul of the difference.

Their skepticism seems to fit into the cycle of questioning the validity of wellness and prevention, two comprehensively established methodologies for improving general health and well-being, proven over centuries of unofficial clinical trials.  Wellness and Prevention works, but because the insurance companies have not yet fully embraced these philosophies, then some still say that they are not valid.  Treating sickness can be as comprehensive as ensuring wellness.  For whatever reason, some of our medical and administrative leaders often confuse reimbursements with healing, and forget to add new patients and additional income from related disciplines like PT and OT to the equation.

As a nonmedical, nonscientist, it was easy for me to understand why the various integrative arts worked so well for our patients and their families.  From the old song, “All You Need is Love,” you could easily enjoy the looks on the faces of those patients and family members who used these treatments to receive sorely needed relief from whatever pain or loneliness they were experiencing.  It doesn’t matter if you’re eighty minutes or eighty years old; touch, nurturing, and love all remain critical in our lives.  Have you seen the statistics on how much better people do with pets than without, or how many babies died in orphanages due to the “failure to thrive?”

None of these ancient arts were created because the scientific method produced FDA approved results in trials of 200,000 or more.  They evolved into centuries old healing arts because they provided relief and help in a time when leeches, bleedings, and a lack of hand washing were the accepted medical treatments.  The tribal shaman, medicine man, healers, and other spiritual leaders all knew what the subtle and not so subtle impact of their work meant to their fellow human beings.

We have casually observed the use of these healing modalities on patients who have experienced restored feelings to otherwise numb feet.

We have seen them relieved from debilitating back pain, healed from hopeless wounds, saved from surgeries due to the opening of blocked intestines through acupuncture.  We have observed psychological breakthroughs from drumming that had never been reached by traditional therapy.  Truthfully, I didn’t care exactly what made our patients better, just that they were better, and the results were dramatic, with an infection rate of 1% or less, a 3.4 day length of stay, a low readmission rate, and the lowest mortality rate for adjusted morbidity in the region.

Remember, “All You Need is Love.”


Interesting Words to Think About

September 25th, 2009

The time has come to realize that the old habits, the old arguments, are irrelevant to the challenges faced by our people. They lead nations to act in opposition to the very goals that they claim to pursue — and to vote, often in this body, against the interests of their own people.  They build up walls between us and the future that our people seek, and the time has come for those walls to come down.  Together, we must build new coalitions that bridge old divides — coalitions of different faiths and creeds; of north and south, east, west, black, white, and brown.

The choice is ours.  We can be remembered as a generation that chose to drag the arguments of the 20th century into the 21st; that put off hard choices, refused to look ahead, failed to keep pace because we defined ourselves by what we were against instead of what we were for.  Or we can be a generation that chooses to see the shoreline beyond the rough waters ahead; that comes together to serve the common interests of human beings, and finally gives meaning to the promise embedded in the name given to this institution:  the United Nations. (President Barack Obama’s Speech to the United Nations)

Obama Speech UN 2009

Interestingly enough, there were 22 years in a row when I could have made the same speech (Okay, it would not have been rendered  as eloquently as the President’s, but the content would have been similar.)  The most disconcerting thing about this statement is that I was referring to the internal stakeholders of many hospitals.  One of my favorite statements during those years because of all of the infighting was that “We are not the enemy.”

An enormous amount of energy is expended in almost every healthcare organization on internal power struggles.  In many cases these struggles revolve around issues relating to money.  Questions like “Should the radiologist or the cardiologist be permitted to perform one particular test?”  Turf battles over procedures always seem to be part of the equation.  Other struggles revolve around perceived power relating to whatever positions are held because someone wants more control of larger pieces of the budget.

Power, control, greed?  All of these traits are part of the human experience, but when an organization expends much of its energy on these issues, the result is wasted time, wasted resources, wasted anguish, and, in many cases, lower quality outcomes.

Watching old movies of workers in factories during World War II have always fascinated me because we, as a country, had found a common enemy toward which we could focus our angst.  The fact that health care never seemed to be able to embrace illness as the common enemy always created intrigue for me. Yes, we would rally and work together when emergencies hit, but the other daily activities became somewhat mundane and boring, and our instinct seemed to be to revert to power, control, and greed.

Maybe, just maybe, we could find a way to marshal the medical staff, employees, and administration, the volunteers, and patient families to work together every day in every way to create an actual healing environment where patients can be surrounded with the energy of love, kindness, respect, dignity, and healing.  Maybe this environment could be the goal of every hospital executive, and they could begin and end each day by focusing on setting the example for the creation of a healing environment.


Healing and the Mind Revisited

April 8th, 2009

I’m working in Chicago right now, feeling a little overwhelmed by a phone call that I had from one of my very dearest friends about his impending future, about my son-in-law in Baghdad and his family who are living without him at home, and also about the challenges that we individually and collectively face both nationally and internationally during this time of economic crisis and overall unrest. During the midst of my thoughtful contemplation, I received an E-mail from a very dear friend, Savery, with a link to open. I was so moved by it that I decided to post the link on Facebook.

Almost immediately after it went out, my friend, Dr. Dean Ornish, sent me this follow up link from Bill Moyer’s show. For those of you who don’t know this about me, the Bill Moyers series, “Healing and the Mind” was my inspiration for the Planetree Philosophy that we implemented at Windber all those years ago. For some reason, he and I keep intersecting, and here we are again.

So, thanks, Savery, Dean, and Bill, but most of all, thanks to the amazing man who created this wonderful experience that you are all about to have.


Like Deep Sea Fishing

February 2nd, 2009

Being a little older or just more chronologically mature makes this new life of consulting somewhat like snorkeling or even deep sea fishing for me. It’s a whole new world out there. If the total culmination of all of my experiences were listed on an 8½” x11″ sheet of paper in order of interest, category, and complexity, it would have to be written in 4 pt. type.

When it comes to prioritizing, cataloging, and quantifying my consulting practice desires, skills, knowledge base or just interests, this gets somewhat crazy at times.

For example: Planetree and the Samueli Institute have both captured my imagination and, I’m sure that over the years, I’ve captured theirs as well. Optimal Healing and Patient Centered Environments are my forte, my passion, and my love.

Do you know all about Web 2.0 …or 3.0, as some are calling it now? I’ve presented all over the United States and been featured on podcasts and webinars for years. How should you use Twitter, YouTube, and other streaming video platforms, Facebook, Blogs, Podcasts, Webinars, and other new technologies to move your business forward, to publicize your specialities, and to get your company’s name out there?

The actual science of microbiology is NOT necessarily one of my passions or deep skill sets, but running a research institute for nearly a dozen years that specialized in proteomics, genomics, biomedical informatics, and histopathology while interacting with the Department of Defense and Military medicine community certainly is a skill base developed through massive amounts of tears, sweat, and blood (my own). This information alone should be something that someone needs to know about on a regular basis.

The world of small and rural hospitals you say? My goodness, name someone who has had more “edgerunning” experience in this area than I have, and I’ll personally send them flowers. The growth, nurturing, care and feeding of a hospital that is smaller than 100 beds takes special stamina and a very positive mental outlook, because limited resources require unlimited creativity.

Economic Development through technology, healthcare, small businesses, and even tourism seems to have been a recurring theme in my world for decades. Jobs, Jobs, Jobs.

How about OC-48 dark fiber, telemedicine, teleradiology, telepharmacy, telecritical care, and teledermatology? Been there, done most of that, and have been working with groups and contacts who can add electronic medical records, disaster recovery/business continuity, data fusion centers, and other areas of specialty to your needs.

Interested in being an all-GE shop? Going completely digital? Having a 3T MRI with a breast coil? How about mobile PET/CT or the latest in mammography, and data repository technology? Okay, I’m not an expert, but I sure do have some interesting knowledge and amazing contacts here, and when it comes to breast care centers, we constructed one of the finest in the world.

Green? Wanna be green? Well, unlike Kermit’s song, it can be easy being green, and one of my current assignments involves everything green for schools, churches, and, most importantly, hospitals. How to get there, how to save, and most importantly, how to MAKE money from going green is currently something that we understand.

The Dean Ornish Coronary Artery Disease Reversal Program that we established is one of the best in the country, and we know how to set them up, run them, and help them prosper.

What about the World Health Organization? Work in the Netherlands, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, England, Italy, Greece, and even Africa interests me deeply, and my contact lists from those areas are very long indeed.

Construction? How to afford it? Alternatives to traditional methodologies, traditional financing, and Planetree design? Yep, we have that knowledge base, too.

Of course, there are things that you probably haven’t even considered: Wellness or EQ education, Patient Centered Care models, employee centered care to get you to patient centered care, the use of Markeking to grow your organization and to protect your position, and don’t forget: board relations, strategic planning, employee education, and, of course, nutrition.

Now, add to that this list of skills that SunStone brings to our table as well: the CDM, charge process, Compliance, Documentation Accuracy, Inpatient Coding and Compliance, Outpatient Charge Process Analysis, Outpatient Billing Maintenance, Pharmacy Revenue Cycle, Pricing, Recovery Audit Contractor Readiness, Reimbursement and Financial Analysis, Revenue Cycle, Transfer DRG’s and Workers’ Compensation Recovery.

IF YOU NEED US… Remember:

F. Nicholas Jacobs, FACHE
International Director
SunStone Consulting, LLC
1411 Grandview Avenue,
Suite. 803
Pittsburgh, PA 15211

Home Office: 412-381-3136
Mobile: 412-992-6197
Fax: 866-381-0219


A Note From Nick Jacobs

October 24th, 2008

A Note from Nick Jacobs

On October 23, it was my honor and privilege to speak at the PATIENT-CENTERED CARE CEO CONFERENCE in Chicago with some very impressive CEO’s and Leaders. My topic was “Linking a Patient-Centered Approach to Quality Improvement and HCAHPS,” but my deeper theme was “Leadership with a Heart – Developing Love and Respect in the Workplace by Nurturing Staff, Physicians, and Patients.” For those of you who were able to attend, thank you for your kind words of encouragement and support.

As was explained during my introduction, I have made the very difficult decision to leave Windber Medical Center, but I leave with a commitment to spread the word both nationally and internationally about the journey to Patient Centered Care and how to achieve it.

Obviously, it is a risky time to attempt to begin this endeavor, but, because no time is ever completely safe, it was my decision to reach out to my peers and friends to offer my commitment to work with you with that same passion to help you achieve your goals regarding this effort.

Because Sunstone Consulting is an organization that has specialized in finding additional financial support for hospitals, we can bring you not only the formula for Patient Centered Care, but also the needed additional financial support to achieve your goals in this area.

Although I will not officially complete my assignment at WMC until December 31st of this year, my current schedule permits me two days per week to begin to develop new relationships with my friends and peers. Should you have interest in contacting us for a visit to Windber, or if you would just like to make inquiry regarding engaging us for work at your facility, please feel free to either respond to this letter by E-mail or to call me at the following contact address below.

Once again, thank you for the privilege of working with you on such a significant topic.

Warmest Regards,

Nick Jacobs

Nick Jacobs FACHE - Author of Taking the Hell Out of Healthcare

Nick Jacobs

F. Nicholas Jacobs, FACHE
International Director
SunStone Consulting, LLC
1411 Grandview Avenue Apt. 803
Pittsburgh, PA 15211
Mobile: 412-992-6197
Fax: 866-381-0219