When the Stakes are High: The Journey to Rebuild Trust

SEABROOK SAYS:   Doug Luckett has consistently given Gaston County the kind of leadership we need.  Take note and decide today you will follow his leadership model. NOW THAT YOU KNOW, WHAT WILL YOU DO?

 “You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you. It is easy to say you believe a rope to be strong and sound as long as you are merely using it to cord a box. But suppose you had to hang by that rope over a precipice. Wouldn’t you then first discover how much you really trusted it?”    C. S. Lewis

Trust is the basis for all good relationships, and for CaroMont Health and the citizens of Gaston County, trust can be the difference between life and death. If that sounds dramatic, I would encourage you to consider the relationship you have with your healthcare provider – the person you trust to make sure that when you are well, you stay well, and when you are sick, you are fixed quickly. In those moments, your health and in some instances your future is in their hands. In healthcare, trust is critical.

The first week I lived in Gaston County, I was eating in a local restaurant and speaking with my waitress. I mentioned I was new to the area and asked about her thoughts on a number of topics – How are the schools? Where can I get the best produce? Do you recommend a good dry cleaner? And then finally, What about the hospital? Her response was, “My parents always told me they would rather die on the way to Charlotte than go there.” Needless to say, all the information I had gleaned about CaroMont’s medical and quality outcomes prior to my arrival was immediately put in check. I think that conversation was the beginning of our understanding that, as the community’s healthcare provider, we must work to regain trust. I wish I could say that was the only time I heard that statement or other versions of it.

A lot has transpired between that day in early January of 2011 and today. After many opportunities to listen to patients and their families, our civic groups and our internal stakeholders, I sense that the community is more at ease when it comes to our Health System. Through approachability and calm discussion, we have changed course on many things we do, even as we have many things left to do to improve your experience with us.

All along the way, I have tried to have a very open discussion about the importance of our health system’s independence and what it means to citizens, retirees, employees, employers and anyone else who may need our services. Independence positions us to maintain the high level of services, convenience, jobs and affordability that our community deserves. But it also means that we are even more accountable because we actually live and work here. We are fortunate to live in a place where we have access to plenty of strong healthcare professionals, and I know that our physicians, clinicians, nurses, technical, support and volunteer staff try so hard to look out for their neighbors’ health and well-being.

Trust is fragile. Old paradigms, ongoing experiences and word-of-mouth are weighty methods of communication in our area, and I understand that many times we don’t get a second chance to make a great first impression. When it comes to your health, you should go where you feel confident you’ll get the best care. So, if we’re not your first choice, I invite you to give us a chance, and find out how we care. Because if “time is tissue,” earning your trust may mean we not only help save life or limb, but also help make your life, and health, even better.

Doug Luckett
President and CEO
CaroMont Health


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