Strong Culture Sustains High Rankings at Door County Medical Center

Employees of Door County Medical Center (DCMC) believe that before they start caring for you or me, they should first care about each other.

“We provide care here, but it’s the caring that we excel at,” said Jody Boes, vice president of patient care administration.

“Culture eats strategies for lunch,” said CEO Gerald Worrick, adding that the culture of caring is well established at DCMC.

“The culture thing is really common sense things. It’s really taking care of people as you would want to be taken care of. Putting your ego aside and listening to people. Simple stuff. It started with very simple things, like having employees say hello to each other.”

Hospital officials believe it is this culture of caring that has earned the hospital a 99 percent patient satisfaction rate three years in a row.

“I’ve been in hospital health care since 1989. I worked in Madison at St. Mary’s for about 25 years, a big hospital. I have to tell you, I’ve never worked for a medical center that has been able to sustain patient satisfaction three years in the 99 percentile,” said Kevin Grohskopf, chief business development officer. “That’s something I’ve never encountered in my career. That means we’re in the top one percent among hundreds of hospitals for patient satisfaction. It’s really remarkable that we’ve reached it and sustained it over three years. That really goes to the culture we have here. I attribute that to being a team here. We work together well, respect each other and are empowered and engaged to do our jobs.”

Achieving that consistently high patient satisfaction represents the success of the hospital at all levels – from the receptionist to the person who handles billing questions.

“It now is clearly a culture of a high-performing organization that really puts our patients first,” Boes said. “It’s a continuum from the first moment that anyone calls our organization, walks in, or when the bill is reconciled. It’s really a community of caregivers. We are a team and there’s not one member more important than any other.”

She also points out another recent recognition DCMC received. “Our housekeeping scores, our organization was ranked the 16th cleanest hospital in the nation. That’s a tribute to the housekeeping department and the leadership there. It’s incredible.”

These findings come on the heels of a report by the federal Health Resources and Services Administration that recognized Door County Medical Center and 57 other rural Wisconsin hospitals as the best in the nation for rural critical access care.

DCMC officials say it is the various collaborations they have put in place that help sustain the quality of care here.

“One of the things we have done here through Jerry’s leadership, we’ve partnered with nursing schools, specifically NWTC, UW-Oshkosh and UW-Green Bay,” Boes said. “We provide an opportunity for our nursing students to gain nursing experience here. The feedback I’ve gotten, because of our strong culture, open, caring honesty and willingness to teach, we are able to recruit nursing staff. We also do nursing internships. I was just talking to the father of one of our nursing interns. He spoke about how much his daughter has experienced in the care area and how willing we are to educate this young, soon-to-be registered nurse. It’s really about our culture.”

Worrick said the same is true of medical students who train at DCMC with professionals who are proud to share their knowledge and experience.

“We are now starting to hear we’re the place where you want to spend some time in your training,” he said. “They get good clinical experience and the physicians are interested in allowing them to be immersed. That program was put together with the rural in mind, educating primary care physicians in rural settings. It’s a really unique program and we’re blessed to have it. And it all comes back to the culture.”

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