What Does it Mean to Lead Meaningful and Sustainable Change?
The “Portrait of a Green House Leader” series seeks to highlight talented leaders in The Green House network. It is powerful on many levels to hear these thought leaders share their insight and wisdom. The first of these leaders is John Ponthie, founding member and managing director of Southern Administrative Services, LLC.
Southern Administrative Services is a progressive long-term care operating company with twenty-six affiliated nursing homes in Arkansas, including two Green House campuses (Green House Cottages of Wentworth Place & Southern Hills).
John’s interest in long-term care began as a teenager working at a nursing home where he developed a love and appreciation for interacting with Elders. He went on to receive a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Louisiana State University and a Master of Health Administration degree from Tulane University. John’s healthcare career of over twenty-five years includes sixteen years of hospital administration in addition to serving on the Board of Directors for the Arkansas Health Care Association and the Multi Facility CEO Council for the American Health Care Association.
Despite being a “proud owner” of several traditional long-term care facilities, John and his colleagues witnessed many of fundamental problems of high staff turnover rates and the institutional plagues of loneliness, helplessness, and boredom among Elders. “We knew there had to be a better answer, and for us it was The Green House Project” John says when describing his journey to becoming a Green House adopter.
He identifies that partnering with The Green House Project was crucial to overcoming the fear of change and breaking free from institutional barriers
“We didn’t know what we didn’t know… you know the old model and you’re comfortable with it and to take off in a new direction is difficult. We were in a dark room searching around for a light switch and The Green House Project had the flashlight.”
Working with The Green House Project provided him with the education, training, and the “stamp of approval” from a credible organization necessary to create the right culture to provide a better quality of care. To show the value of the quality of care associated with The Green House model, John successfully led the request for a differential in payment from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services through the first state plan amendment in Arkansas.
With two communities in operation, a third in development, and a fourth pending, John’s pride of association with The Green House model is spreading throughout Arkansas, proving that the model can be successful even in small markets. When discussing financial viability, John states that The Green House model creates a competitive edge that fosters the opportunity to do well through a payor mix while also providing high quality care. Specifically, maintaining a successful census of long-term care elders while incorporating 15-20% of short-term rehabilitation allows him to re-invest back into his business where is matters most; creating and sustaining the right culture to create and maintain a better quality of care.
From a value perspective, John relates that adopting The Green House model gives him the “trump card” over any other model of care. “Where there is an opportunity there needs to be a primary consideration for financial reasons, strategic reasons, and obvious reasons of care and quality.” Investing in The Green House model allows him to “plant his flag at the top as a market leader” and generates the opportunity for him contribute towards creating a better standard of life and care for future generations.
In his free time, John enjoys piloting and spending time with his wife and three children. Click here to listen to the webinar interview of John Ponthie.
“Any number of people can design or build the architecture but that doesn’t bring about the revolutionary change in culture that The Green House Project provides. For us to be able to leverage the successes and failures of so many other adopters is invaluable. The Green House Project has the expertise and structure to help manage our process in a manner that gives our project the highest possibility of success. “ -John Ponthie