In its 75 years of operation, The Baton Rouge Clinic has had only two Chief Executive Officers. The current CEO and Clinic Administrator, Ed Silvey, plans to work for about another five years before retiring. He has already named Shunn Phillips as his replacement and is grooming her as she works in her current roles as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer.
Stability and years of service go hand-in-hand. In fact, several of the physicians joined the Clinic’s staff in the 1970s and 1980s, and 40 percent of the Clinic’s non-physician employees have worked there for at least 10 years.
This type of stability allows the patients of the Clinic to experience a consistency in their health care from a team of friendly faces that often remains the same, guided by a steady leadership team that always keeps the patients’ well-being first in mind.
“I think we have the stability we do because the culture of the clinic is very patient-centered,” said Silvey, who is in his 34th year at the Clinic. “We believe in doing what is right and the rest will take care of itself. We make ourselves very accessible to our patients and we work to be good stewards and good members of the community. I think all of that makes a difference and is a big reason we’ve had such consistency.”
Dr. Michael Rolfsen, who joined the Clinic in 1987, said stability begins at the top and trickles down through the organization, which has created a family-like environment that does not go unnoticed by patients and employees.
“The longer you are here, the more you feel a sense of ownership,” Dr. Rolfsen said. “We have an incredible committee structure where everybody can play a role. Our CEO and CFO are able to guide us in business decisions and let the physicians focus on patient care. It’s a great relationship that is possible because of the consistency we have here.”
“Many patients have seen the same Clinic physician for decades, as well as the same nurses, technicians and other staff,” said Dr. Roy Kadair, who has been with the Clinic since 1977. Several patients have even told him that they have noticed the stability amongst the staff. Kadair attributed the consistency amongst the staff to the strong leadership at the Clinic, which has cultivated an environment that many people do not want to leave.
“Not only can patients find many services under one roof, but they do see that there is very little turnover,” Dr. Kadair said. “It’s obvious and it’s something that people pay attention to. In the 44 years I have been here, I can almost count on one hand the number of physicians that have left to go somewhere else. It almost never happens. That’s important for the patients and the staff as well.”
Dr. Richard Lieux, joined The Baton Rouge Clinic in 1993, and has been impressed by not only the stability within the organization’s leadership, but with its consistent commitment to provide patients with the best possible health care, even as the overall team has grown tremendously over the years.
“I’ve had the luck of being on an executive committee for 23 of the 28 years I’ve been here, and the one thing that has always stayed the same is that we really do look at what needs to be done for the patients,” Dr. Lieux said. “It’s the same philosophy that inspired the men who started the Clinic 75 years ago, and it’s something we still keep in the forefront today.”
Silvey noted that there can be a misperception that health care organizations can become outdated if there is not much change among staff; however, that is not the case at The Baton Rouge Clinic. One of the Clinic’s main principles is to cultivate an environment of continual learning. All physicians are required to maintain their board certifications, and regularly attend courses regarding the latest medical techniques and treatments. The Clinic also fosters a spirit of innovation, which has included adopting an electronic medical recording system and continuously adjusting to current health care needs.
“I think it all stems from a teamwork culture,” Silvey said. “A lot of our patients refer to us as a big family. Even as large as we are now, there is still that family atmosphere of people always trying to help each other. I think that’s a big reason people stay here and it makes us a very unique place.”
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