Culture Success Story: Letter from Saint Joseph London President

Saint Joseph London

Terry Deis

Terry Deis, president of Saint Joseph London, wrote an open letter to his staff after their recent Joint Commission visit praising their excellent performance and relaying the positive feedback of the surveyors. We wanted to share this letter with you, too, to share in the celebration of a culture journey that is alive and well in London!

Dear Team,

In April, I published a blog post about my wife’s Aunt Louisa and how her unannounced visits were a lot like the Joint Commission visits – unannounced and a little painful. You may be familiar with the culture concept from our culture journey – the Mood Elevator.

Now the Joint Commission has come and gone and I have to tell you that, over the course of the week they were here, my mood elevator went from “stressed,” the third lowest level, all the way to the top, which is “grateful.” We had a very successful survey and we were successful because of all of you!

So let me brag on you all just a little bit:

The life safety surveyor, Dwayne L. Smith, a native Kentuckian, told our leadership that our hospital had the fewest recommendations for improvement than any hospital he had surveyed this year, due largely to the excellent work of our plant operations and biomed staff.

The surveyor team lead, Dr. Franks, was consistently complimentary of all facets of our organization, both the main hospital and the off-site locations. He was particularly complimentary of how closely nursing and other clinical staff work with our physicians and how committed our physicians are to our hospital and patients. He told us and a member of the KentuckyOne Health Board of Directors, “wonderful medicine is being practiced at Saint Joseph London, by your physicians, nurses and those that support them.”

The nurse surveyor, Marcelle Applewhaite, had zero findings in two of our daily briefings. She said she had never seen that before. She couldn’t say enough good things about the nurses she encountered during her tracers. She said, “The staff is fabulous, in most places they scatter when Joint Commission comes to their unit or department. At Saint Joseph London, the staff seemed anxious to tell all the good things you do here, from the most novice nurse to your most veteran staff.” And the most positive comment was from Marcelle who said, “If I get sick anywhere in the south, please bring me to Saint Joseph London for care.”

The ambulatory surveyor who visited our off-site locations, Kathy Bishop, had only two minor findings, both of which were corrected before she left London. She said, “you have a wonderful culture here. People work so closely together as a team. There doesn’t seem to be any blame between areas, only willingness to help each other to keep your patients safe.”

Every surveyor mentioned the staff’s engagement, knowledge, warmth, and just plain friendliness. There were six findings, none were condition level. That’s a remarkably small number when considering they reviewed our hospital and all of our off-site locations against 1,600 elements of performance and 3,300 CMS Conditions of Participation.

As a hospital leader, this is the most successful survey in which I have participated. If there is a higher floor than “grateful” on the Mood Elevator, I think it would be “pride.” You all did wonderfully, and I couldn’t be more proud of the Saint Joseph London family.

We are planning a celebration of our success in the coming weeks. Please keep an eye out for the forthcoming details.


Terry Deis
President, Saint Joseph London