Says he’s focused on creating a positive environment for patients and employees –
By Patricia Beech –
Monarch Meadows, Adams County’s newest nursing home facility, has a new Administrator.
Greg Stout, of Winchester, took the reins at the Seaman-based facility in early October and began putting his own particular brand of health care to work.
Seated at the desk in his small office, he explains his competitive win/win approach to managing the nursing care facility.
“We want to make sure that Monarch Meadows is the best nursing facility within a 50-60 mile radius of where I’m sitting right now,” he says. “If we do that, I believe it’s not only good for us, but it also challenges other facilities to be better too, and that’s good for everyone.”
Monarch Meadows is a state-of-the-art nursing facility specializing in short-term to home rehabilitative care, including physical, occupation, and speech therapy. The facility also offers assisted living apartments and personalized services such as restaurant-style dining and other amenities not currently found in other mid-Ohio Valley facilities.
“When we have patients come in for rehabilitation of their knees, hips, or cardiac issues, I want to make sure we take the very best care of them,” says Stout. “And for those who are long term and spending their last chapter with us, I want to make it a good chapter, I want to be sure they’re enjoying life as much as possible and that they’re treated very well.”
Stout, who has worked 30 years in healthcare management, also concerns himself with the well-being of his entire staff.
“If you don’t treat your employees right, you’re not doing right by your own internal ethical standards, and that’s just not the way to be,” he says. “When you treat people right they’re going to do what they’re supposed to be doing, especially in an endeavor like this that involves taking care of people’s family members. You want those employees to know that they’re appreciated and feel that the work they’re doing is worthwhile, and that can be indicated by the way you treat them financially and across the board.”
Undoubtedly, his people-first policies contributed to the facility receiving a 5-Star rating from Medicare this year, but he is careful to give credit where credit is due.
“The people that got us to a 5-Star rating were our housekeepers, and the laundry folks, and the nursing assistants,” he says, pointing to the 5-Star poster leaning against his office door. “The people in that picture are all management here, but everybody played a part ingetting us to the top of the heap.”
Stout attributes his inclusive leadership style and compassion for others to his upbringing.
He grew up in Maysville, Ky. during the 1960’s where his father served as a minister for the Church of Christ.
At age 14 his family moved to Anderson Township. He says he found himself among people who weren’t accustomed to his particular cultural heritage.
“I didn’t know I had a name other than ‘Hillbilly’ the first two years I was there.”
He says the 1960’s was a time of social awakening for him.
“If you didn’t agree with the Vietnam War, and if you didn’t agree with the way black folks were treated, and if you thought women should have equal rights, there was a platform for expressing those views. I was very influenced by that era.”
After graduating college with a Bachelor’s in Human Relations, a degree he jokes, ‘qualifies you primarily for the unemployment line’, Stout spent six years as a social worker at the old Cincinnati Workhouse.
“We helped people coming out of prison, and people on probation or parole, to get jobs and sign up for vocational school, that was my day job.”
In addition to working in the criminal justice system, he was also employed by the Talbert House, a drug and alcohol rehab center, and was an instructor and head basketball coach at Southern Ohio College in Cincinnati.
At age 30 he made the decision to leave the criminal justice system and enter Healthcare Management.
After giving up his job at the Sheriff’s Department, Stout says he “sold his home, condensed everything he owned into five boxes, and moved to El Yunque National Rain Forest in Puerto Rico”. He attended the American University of Puerto Rico where he did a year of pre-business undergraduate work before entering the Masters program at Xavier University.
He says he loved the time he spent in Puerto Rico, even though he was isolated by a language barrier.
“I spoke no Spanish at all when I went down there,” he says. “I’d been a counselor, a coach, and a teacher, then suddenly, I was in a place where there was no one to talk to because no one spoke English and there were no telephones. I was starved for communication.”
Returning stateside, he completed an internship with the Healthcare Management Corporation and was assigned to his first administrative position in 1987.
“They told me I’d have to do a ‘short stint in Siberia’ and I was thinking, ‘oh no, this is going to be Dayton, Cleveland, or Pittsburgh’,” he says. “When they said it was in Adams County I perked right up and said yes, that’s where I want to be.”
Stout was assigned to the Eagle Creek Nursing Home, but it wasn’t his first excursion into Adams County. In 1977 he had purchased property on Brush Creek Road.
“When I worked with the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department and wanted to get out of the city, I came to Adams County with my 12-gauge and fishing pole,” he says. “This is where I got my batteries recharged and it was a perfect fit for me.”
Having spent over 30 years in the local healthcare industry, Stout says it’s far easier to run a facility in Adams County then it would be in Hamilton or Franklin Counties.
“It’s so much more personal here,” he says. “We know each other, we care for each other, there’s no anonymity between our employees and our patients and their families.”
The focus is on creating a positive environment at Monarch Meadows.
“If everybody’s feeling positive and they’re encouraged to laugh and have a good time, they’ll enjoy coming to work and that makes a world of difference, not just for the employees, but for the patients as well.”
Stout’s own positivism was challenged this year when he was diagnosed with Stage 4 neck and throat cancer.
“I didn’t think I was going to make it,” he says. “It was the proverbial 2 x 4 to the head that wakes you up and makes you say ‘thank you, I’m alive every morning.’”
After undergoing chemotherapy and 38 radiation treatments, he was declared cancer-free. He asks himself how and why he survived.
“I’m here for a reason,” he says. “I’m here to do something worthwhile, and I’m open to whatever it is – maybe I’m already doing it, and that’s why I’m determined to do the best possible job I can while I’m here.”
To do that, he has developed an “open door” policy.
“Literally and figuratively, my door is always open,” he says. “If something’s not going right, I want to know about it so I can take care of it. I’m not going to have something not be right with your Mom, or your Dad, or your brother while they’re here under our care – that’s just not going to happen.”
After three decades in administration, he says he’s not yet ready to retire.
“I feel like I’m 12 years old,” he says. “I don’t feel like I’m on the verge of retirement, but when it comes, my wife and I are going to get a little trailer and drive across America,we want to see it all, and maybe re-live the 60’s all over again.”