Vidant-Beaufort business of the year

Published 10:22 am Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Each year, the best and the brightest in business are singled out by the Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce. This year, Vidant Beaufort Hospital made the top of that list, as Business of the Year.

“It is an honor to receive this recognition from our Chamber of Commerce,” said Vidant Beaufort Hospital President Harvey Case. “I am extremely proud of our team members and the excellent work that they do every day to take care of our community. This award is a testament to the work we are doing to become a national model for rural health in our leading the way to excellence initiative.”

WBCCC’s Board of Directors chose Vidant from a slew of nominations, a task chamber Executive Director Catherine Glover said was no easy task.

“It gets pretty heated because there are a lot of well-deserved nominations,” Glover said.

But catapulting Vidant Beaufort to the top were its high marks not only for patients’ experience at the hospital, but its working environment. Vidant Beaufort ranked the highest in the entire Vidant Health System in patient experience — 90.6 percent of survey respondents ranked the hospital a 9 or 10. From 2015 to 2017, the hospital also experienced a 16-percent increase in employee engagement scores, the largest increase in the Vidant Health system, as well, according to Pam Shadle, director of marketing, community outreach and development.

“We’ve been on this initiative called ‘leading the way to excellence,’” Shadle said. “At Vidant Beaufort, we believe we can lead the way in becoming that national model for rural health.

We believe there are things that we must do in order to do that. … A big part of that is community involvement. We have really stepped that up tremendously. We’re increasingly recognizing that our place is not just in the four walls of our hospital. It’s out in the community.”

In working toward that goal, Vidant performed 760 health screenings in 2017 and participated in 57 community events, 47 of which were health improvement events where staff offered wellness screenings or shared some type of health care education with the community. Through the Vidant Health’s Community Benefits Program, every year for the past seven years, Vidant Beaufort has been given $100,000 to share with and support local nonprofits, and in those seven years, Vidant Health has invested more than $40 million in Beaufort County — the latest investment being a $17 million emergency department expansion, according to Shadle.

Jennifer Lewis, Vidant Beaufort’s community health improvement coordinator, was one of several hospital employees chosen to make a congratulatory statement on a video played at the awards ceremony. Lewis, who’s been with the hospital for 25 years, mentioned employees’ dedication, pointing out a T-shirt that is often seen worn on campus: “Life is better on the boat,” a play on Vidant Beaufort’s “voyage to excellence.”

“This award is really a testament to the fact that when you’re all in the boat together, rowing in the same direction, excellence really can happen,” Lewis said in the video.

Glover said the chamber’s awards banquet, held at the Turnage Theatre on Thursday was very well attended.

“It was just great to have all those businesses come together and celebrate the year. There’s a lot of stuff going on now. It’s a good time to be doing business in Beaufort County,” Glover said.

More Chamber winners will be covered in future issues of the Washington Daily News.