SPEAKER 1: Just by chance, we had Nancy coming out already for another activity, and she's teaching a course on, excuse me, on unconventional leadership today. So it's a wonderful opportunity that we have her here.
She really was, in many ways, the inspiration for the Institute. She was out speaking as a keynote for entrepreneurship quite a few years ago. John [INAUDIBLE] and I had invited her out and she was kind enough to come. And we were walking over there and I said, you know, this hospitality and health thing that we've been working on, are we smoking something? And she goes, well, I just hired this guy from Ritz-Carlton to start a new hospital for us. I think you may be thinking in the same direction.
And so that led to us going out there over time and having a whole delegation, including Rohit and other colleagues from hotel and the dean of human ecology. And that all ultimately led to the formation of the Institute.
But I've been very fortunate. Nancy and I were in school at the same time together. She's the class after me. So we knew each other back we were in school, we served on the board together, she was the first woman president of our alumni association, we've been involved in a whole lot of things together, and I feel very fortunate to have her as a colleague, and friend, and co-conspirator, a lot of things around here.
She has so many awards, I could go on and on and on, but among the many things, she's been listed in Modern Health Care as one of the top 100 people in the field. She's been listed many times on the top 25 women in health care. She's won awards for the Isenberg awards. She was a catalyst for that from the Joint Commission. She won the Gail Warden award from the National Center for Health Care Leadership.
She was the person who inspired and ultimately led the institution to win a Baldrige award, which is a phenomenal accomplishment for quality, for those of you who are not familiar with that. And has done so many things, including turning around the hospital financially, and doing this not only at Henry Ford, but a number of places. And has just been an incredible inspiration for many people in the field.
So we're very fortunate to have her, particularly because of the Institute and this whole idea of the intersection of hospitality and health. So we're going to have a conversation about some of the things-- some of the ideas that inspired her, and hopefully then we'll open up to questions and give you all a chance to learn from her. So welcome, Nancy.
NANCY SCHLICHTING: Thank you.
It's great to be with you. I look forward to your questions.
SPEAKER 1: Great. So just to start out, I think to the extent that you're already covering any of these things in your saloon colloquium or later on, we can kind of move on to other things if you like. Or we can expound a little more. So just generally speaking, tell me a little bit about your original inspiration for how to do something really different in West Bloomfield, and how that ultimately then played out throughout your system.
NANCY SCHLICHTING: Well, you know, my interest in design and creating a great environment for patients really started early in my life because I thought hospitals were just awful places. You know, they were [INAUDIBLE], they basically didn't feel like they were there [INAUDIBLE].
And so very early on when I was at Cornell, I went for my internship, actually, my summer internship at Sloan Ket--
--I had ever seen in a hospital. And so it struck me how important that was, how it created a different environment for patients and families [INAUDIBLE].
And then moving on in my career, I tried to take some of what I saw there. And they also had great food, by the way. Great food. And they had a chef at Sloan Kettering. This is in 1978, so you can see how far back that really went. But they knew that providing excellent food for patients was important in the healing process.
And in fact, the food was so great there-- I was here in New York. I went there for most of my meals because the food in the cafeteria was fantastic. So those two things were kind of seeds in my career. But I tried every time after that, in every role I was in, to try to bring elements of healing and improving the hospitality services of an organization.
And it always was well received. I mean, it wasn't-- this is not rocket science when you think about it. I mean, I've always commented that hospitals were more like prisons than they were hotels because you walked in, they took your clothes away, they put a band on you, they put you in a room with strangers, and then you get charged $1,000 a day. At least. So it didn't seem like a very hospitable place.
But when I went to Henry Ford Health System-- Henry Ford, back in the early 1990s, because the hospital was built in 1915, had this idea that the hospital should be a hotel for sick people. He described it that way. And he had a different vision. And that was really important.
And now I'm on the Hill-Rom board that makes beds for hospitals, and that was originally developed by the Hillenbrand family. And their vision was to create furniture in hospitals that resembled the home. So if you go back in history, there's a lot of aspects that I think really feed what you all are working on, which is how to bring design, hospitality, health care, and merge them together in meaningful ways.
So West Bloomfield was this amazing opportunity we had at Henry Ford, because how often does a person like me get to build a brand new hospital? I mean, what I spent my life doing was retrofitting, trying to renovate and improve. But you couldn't demolish and start over. But when we had this new hospital concept, it was like, whoa. It's a blank sheet of paper. What can we do?
And so the thrill, for me personally, was building a team that thought differently, that really looked at this differently. So our architects, our people who worked on the interiors, the interior design features, the food people, everything we did, we tried to think through how to do it differently.
But the most important thing I did was hiring Gerard van Grinsven, who he had actually been the vice president of food and wine for the Ritz-Carlton chain. So you can imagine the food thing was pretty important to him. And then he also ran the Dearborn Ritz-Carlton. He was a general manager there. And he took that-- if you've ever been to Dearborn, Michigan, it is not, like, the garden spot of the world.
And this Ritz-Carlton was sitting, literally, in a shopping mall area. No views, no beach, nothing. And it was one of the lowest ranking Ritz-Carltons in the chain, and you can imagine why. Gerard came in, and they moved to the top quartile on the Ritz-Carlton chain. In fact, I think it was in the top 10, in terms of customer satisfaction and people just believing it was the greatest place.
And it was because Gerard had this incredible ability to engage these people and inspire them, and have them believe that they could achieve that level of performance. And he cared about them and it was obvious. Because the reason I met Gerard was I used to go to the Ritz-Carlton for dinner with my father, who lived in the retirement community there.
And we'd go in and have dinner and, honestly, all they'd talk about was GBG. They called him GBG. And they loved this guy. And when he came and talked to me, probably a couple years later, about the fact that he wanted to stop traveling with the Ritz, he had a young son, he wanted to stay in the Michigan market and he was going to go work for an emergency department, kind of a group of doctors that wanted to improve service in emergency care, I said to him, I think if you're going to work in health care, you're going to come work for us. And I had no clue what I was going to do with him.
But the truth was, I knew the way he thought about things. His vision was something we would benefit from. So at first, we talked about having him head of customer service. But I decided that would be entirely too disruptive. Plus, he was a control guy. He was a leader. He couldn't be a staff to a bunch of people. It wouldn't have worked.
So we were building this new hospital, and I was quite concerned about who was going to run it. And I knew if I hired a traditional administrator, we'd have a traditional hospital And if we had a traditional hospital, we probably wouldn't have succeeded.
But anyway, the journey to disruption, if you will, and what I thought about was how to disrupt our model of thinking. And to do that, you have to have support. So my chief operating officer wasn't in my corner right away, but I went to the head of our medical group. And I said to him, you know, I have this thought that maybe Gerard could run our West Bloomfield hospital.
And he looked at me, and I was so thrilled because he basically said, Nancy, I think if Gerard can make the trains run on time for us, we can do the clinical work. And he knew, I mean, we all knew that this was an enormous risk. I mean, when you build a new hospital and you're ramping up, you've got this tail of losses, because you have no revenue, you have to staff the hospital, and we had a $60 million problem when we opened. We were losing $60 million on that hospital on day one.
So how do you take a hospital in a competitive market and make it succeed? You do things entirely differently. And you do it in a way that it's focused on the patient and the patient's family. And so we hired Gerard, he came for 2 and 1/2 years ahead. He was involved in the design of the facility, which was critical.
If we had designed it like we would have, and then he came in as the CEO, I don't think it would have been the same at all because he brought all these ideas of making it a place for health and well-being, and a community center, and that's how we designed it. And we were integrating two ambulatory facilities into the design, and then we made what was called Main Street.
So when you walk into West Bloomfield, you aren't sure where-- I mean, it doesn't look much like a hospital at all. I mean, it doesn't look like a hospital. And you have retail shops, you have areas for people to congregate and have coffee, and it's become a gathering place for people in the community to come. And we have farmers markets on certain days of the week, and people play cards, and Mahjong, and all kinds of things. And they have coffee and they have lunch because the food is great.
And it really changed the game. We have a spa there, we have areas for patient families to stay overnight if they don't want to stay in the room with the patient. They can stay in the room with the patient. There's a place for them to sleep, but if they want more privacy, or the patient isn't doing well, they have a separate area to go.
And everything we did there was designed with quality, safety, service, and innovation. And we actually built these mock rooms in a warehouse. We spent a million dollars building mock rooms so that we could have thousands, literally, thousands of people, patients, staff of all types, housekeepers, nurses, physicians, to come in and give us their input about the mock rooms. And we made hundreds of design changes based on that process.
And when we opened, we ended up with a hospital with 99% patient satisfaction. We ended up with a hospital with top decile quality scores. We ended up with a hospital where we went from zero percent market share to about 9% market share in three years. We were cash flow positive in one year, profitable in three. It is just a remarkable story.
In a market-- we opened in 2009. Think about that. Remember-- you probably don't. You're pretty young, but 2008 and 9 was the Great Recession. And Michigan was a disaster. We lost almost a million jobs in the state. General Motors and Chrysler went bankrupt. It was a terrible time. Our unemployment rate in the entire metro area was I think about 13%. It was a really tough time.
So a lot of people said to me at the time we were ready to open, they said, maybe you shouldn't open. I'm like, are you kidding me? We have to. We're not going to stop now. It would be insane not to continue on.
And there were construction projects during that time that literally stopped. And that was a question again in 2008. Should we stop the construction? I said, absolutely not. People need health care. We're going to provide the best. And it's going to be differentiating in the market.
So that's what we did. That's a long story, sorry. I kind of went on and on, but--
SPEAKER 1: No, no.
NANCY SCHLICHTING: --it's helpful to understand the context of how we did this.
SPEAKER 1: A couple of other things that I always thought were interesting, I remember going out and visiting, and hearing about the fact that some families actually wanted to have weddings in the hospital atrium. And you know you've really done something unique when a wedding planner agrees to have a wedding in a hospital.
NANCY SCHLICHTING: Well, it's a beautiful place. It really is. I mean, you walk in and this atrium area-- we have a couple areas where you can gather. And one is a very quiet area. It's where our chapel, our interfaith chapel, is.
And then we have a bigger area. And we have all kinds of functions there. Community functions, weddings--
SPEAKER 1: [INAUDIBLE]
NANCY SCHLICHTING: Yeah, we've had musical events. And what's neat is the way it's built, some of the rooms have windows out into the atrium. And then the other side, they have windows out into a pond and a beautiful kind of wildlife area. And a lot of patients like the internal view because of these events. So they have a chance to watch a wedding, or watch a musical event, or watch another function. And we have tea there. We have teas. People will come in in the afternoon and have tea.
So it makes it interesting, something to watch. And I was worried about that, initially, with the design. I thought, these internal rooms, this could be a little claustrophobic. But they don't view it that way. It's really been fine.
SPEAKER 1: Essentially, I noticed, too, when I was touring, that [INAUDIBLE] art shows and things that memorialize certain people. Actually, one of my former clients who ran [INAUDIBLE] The other thing I really liked is [INAUDIBLE] Great Britain people [INAUDIBLE] really get to know what was going to work in that market, because it's one of your biggest competitors [INAUDIBLE].
NANCY SCHLICHTING: Right. I didn't have him do that. That was his idea.
SPEAKER 1: Really? Hm.
NANCY SCHLICHTING: Yeah. He had a natural instinct. He used to call it-- he was from the Netherlands, so he had a wonderful Dutch accent. And he'd say, Nancy, I want to hook the people. Hook them. And I'm like, OK. Let's hook them. But he just knew that he had to engage differently in the community.
And so what he did-- of course, it's all about food for him. And so he would go out-- and this was a very diverse community. We had Chaldean, Christian, Arab Americans, we had a very strong Jewish community, a strong Asian community, in the area around West Bloomfield hospital. We had African-American, very diverse in every aspect.
So he would use these community-- he'd reach out. He'd have an event to basically explain our vision for this new hospital. So he was doing marketing and building a customer base, but he did it through these wonderful food events. And, of course, the food that he would put in place for these events was just beautifully done.
And he actually-- I mean, the Ritz-Carlton probably didn't like us, but he brought a few people from the Ritz with him, including many of the folks who knew how to put on a great event, who were very focused on the whole connection in marketing to the customer, which again, health care doesn't do as well.
So he brought a lot of dimensions of the hospitality industry into Henry Ford, and we learned from it. The cool thing now, at Henry Ford, is you can go anywhere in the health system, and we have eight hospitals. And we have ambulatory sites. But no matter where you go, you will see the impact of West Bloomfield.
And the reverse is true. We couldn't have built West Bloomfield without the incredible talents of the people at Henry Ford Hospital and the health system. Because they knew the clinical programs, we brought the Henry Ford medical group, which is an incredibly multi-specialty group, with the highest quality of practitioners. We brought their expertise into that hospital.
So for a 200 bed hospital, we had top talent, medically. We had top talent nursing-wise, and we also had this whole new dimension. But we now, across the system, we don't call food service food service anymore. It's called culinary wellness. And it's real I mean, it's real. It's not fake. Because we took out all the freezers and the fryers when we built West Bloomfield. Everything's fresh. Everything is from scratch. And we translated that to our other sites.
So in downtown Detroit, where I will tell you, fried chicken day used to be the best day of the week, we now bake chicken. And we don't have quite as long a line, but it's a new day in food. People today want healthier food, so it's actually done very well. And the cafeteria and all the food service has not gone down the tubes when we got rid of the freezers and fryers. It's actually probably improved it a lot. Those people that want to go to fast food still do, but it's not the hospital.
SPEAKER 1: So I'll open it up in a minute, but just one thought. So what do you think was the most difficult thing in getting the rest of the system to begin to embrace some of the ideas? I'm sure there was a little bit of resistance, initially, about this West Bloomfield experience.
NANCY SCHLICHTING: We had a lot of resistance. Again, when you disrupt an organization, there are a number of things that are necessary, I think, to have in place. One is you have to have resilience. Frankly, the reason I hired Gerard was not because he came from the Ritz-Carlton. It's because he was a remarkable leader.
He inspired people, he had very high standards of performance, and he was competitive. And he was intrigued with the idea of doing something different. But he wanted to win. I mean, if he hadn't been resilient, this wouldn't have worked, because it isn't like everybody just embraced him. They didn't. There were a lot of naysayers, internally and externally. In fact, our major competitor had an ad, literally, an ad, that said, we're not the Ritz-Carlton. I don't think it went over that well.
In fact, after we opened our hospital and people started to see the impact it had, they hired some folks from the Ritz-Carlton. So I love that. And they weren't as good as Gerard, I will tell you.
But I think it was important for me to be his backstop. And there were times when I took him on in a public way, so that people knew it wasn't like I just thought he walked on water. He wasn't perfect. In fact, he wanted to make the new hospital look like the Ritz-Carlton, and there was no way we were going to do that. So the interior design folks at Henry Ford, who had done a fantastic job, really researching, and looking at every color, every fabric, everything, they were doing a fabulous job, and he started to come in and say, well, I'm going to bring in my people. Well, I told him, we're not bringing in your people. And that helped, actually.
But on the flip side, I met with him every month for 2 and 1/2 years to help him understand how to work with physicians, how to understand their psyche, understanding nursing, because it's a whole culture unto its own. So it's not like you can just come in as the hospitality guy and connect with these folks. You'll connect with the housekeepers, you'll connect with some of the other folks in the organization because you had experience with them, but it's different.
And so I did a tutorial every month with him, helping him understand how to react, how to interact how to present ideas in a way that people could hear him. Because otherwise, it would just be so hard. The good thing was people, the right people in the organization, like, we had the chair of neurosurgery and the head of the medical group, they were enthusiastic. So it wasn't like I was alone. And that helped a lot.
And over time, I think we built a very strong base of support for what was going on. And then when people started to see it, when it came out of the ground, and you started having tours, and you could see what we were doing, there was enthusiasm about it. And when it opened, it was the best party we've ever had at Henry Ford.
We had this gala, and people from all over the health system came. We had, I think, well over 1,000 people at the gala. And it was just a celebration of what we had accomplished. And then, of course, after it did well, that was critical.
AUDIENCE: When we just did Henry Ford, West Bloomfield hospitals, in addition to everything you said, what was amazing to watch was all of these services for the patient families.
NANCY SCHLICHTING: Oh, yeah.
AUDIENCE: The demo kitchen, [INAUDIBLE] if you could talk a little bit about how that came about and [INAUDIBLE].
NANCY SCHLICHTING: Well, that probably was my vision. Because I have felt, for my entire career, and it's because of experiences I had as a child, that health care did not have any place for families. And when someone in your family is sick, and I'm sure many of you have experienced this, the whole family is affected, and especially children.
And it's just incredibly difficult for people, especially people who are seriously ill, to handle-- they're worried about their families, but the institution is doing nothing for them. So we have tried to build in the patient family experience.
One of the first things I did when I came to Detroit was we talked about visiting hours. Visiting hours were draconian, too. So we began changing a lot of things. But when we designed that facility, we thought a lot about what can we do for families to make this experience better?
And so every area, we thought about them, even waiting areas. How do you do that? The demonstration kitchen has proven to be a fantastic experience for not only patients and families, but people in the community. Because what we knew about health care is that people don't know how to eat, not only when they're well, but when they're sick it's even harder. If you have cancer, if you have heart disease, and you have to change your diet, how do you learn to cook differently in a way that makes it satisfying for individuals?
And then the other thing we've done that's really fun, well, we built a greenhouse to start growing our own vegetables. So we have a greenhouse. And people can come. Kids can come from schools. We have a lot of school buses that show up. And they come, and they learn about food. Because today, a lot of people don't have food with their families. They just eat on the run. And they don't understand how great food is. And so we teach them.
And we have a camp in the summer for kids that come, and they learn how to set a table. And many of them have never done that. And they learn how to cook themselves. So they get the bug of wanting to learn about food and learn about cooking. And then they get to go to the greenhouse and pick the vegetables. I mean, it's wonderful.
So it's that kind of stuff that really is how you create an environment, and how you want people to come to a hospital. Gerard's goal was that people wanted to come to West Bloomfield. Most people don't think on a Friday night, let's go to the hospital for a really good time. You know? But you could come to West Bloomfield on a Friday, and you'd have a good time. There's some cool things that we do.
SPEAKER 1: Like Nancy said, the history is just, like, all these people [INAUDIBLE].
NANCY SCHLICHTING: And we have the best shop, the retail that Gerard brought. The shop is fantastic. I used to go there every holiday to buy gifts. And it was just great. And they'd wrap them up so nicely. It was fun to go in there.
And they change the merchandise. Unlike most gift shops in hospitals that are terrible, they really mix it up and have neat products. Of course, in a hospital, most of your clients are actually your staff. So they're there all the time. So mix up the products. Make it interesting. Have people come from the community because the shop is so great.
And actually, I brought a retail consultant in about two years ago, prior to my retirement, because I was still unhappy with all of our retail. Because some of our shops were still the traditional shops with candy, and just terrible. And so we brought this consultant in. And we've-- slowly-- I mean, people are funny about change. I didn't have the influence, too, because I knew I was going to retire. But I'm still hopeful that the rest of the retail will be good at Henry Ford.
NANCY SCHLICHTING: Hi.
AUDIENCE: So I wanted to ask you a little bit about the process after [INAUDIBLE]
NANCY SCHLICHTING: Oh, the question was about post-hospitalization. What have we learned in terms of that? And you're asking the right person. Because for eight years at Henry Ford, I was head of the readmission work. And I did that because it was such a sea change for us on the acute care side. Most of our hospital leaders were very much used to, we have to grow, and grow admissions.
And when you embrace the concept of reducing readmissions and improving the transition of care out of the hospital, it means that you probably won't be a revolving door as much. And your admission volume will drop. So I wanted that to happen. I was willing to take the financial risk of pushing that. But I also believed we had a lot to learn.
Because the whole word of discharge-- think about that word. You're discharging. Basically, you're out of the organization. And for decades, we have not really done a lot of work on the post discharge world. We did some things. I mean, obviously, you had discharge instructions. You would give patients prescriptions for medications. You told them to see their doctor. Sometimes you'd order home care or other follow up. But there wasn't a really cohesive approach.
So what we've learned is it's very hard, and it's very complex. And there has to be new ways of thinking about the care process from beginning to end. You really need to worry about the patient before they come into the hospital, and obviously, the pre-hospitalization experience, and you have to worry about what happens afterwards.
And we've also learned that if a patient does not see their primary care physician within three days, and really maybe even shorter than that, the probability of them being readmitted in certain disease categories is extremely high. So if you have congestive heart failure, or pneumonia, and you go home and you don't get follow up care quickly, you'll probably be back in the hospital quickly.
The other thing we've learned is that medications, and the medication reconciliation between hospital and home, has to be done very, very carefully. Because patients are accustomed to what they took before they went into the hospital, and often will revert back, thinking that's what they should do. And they don't understand the impact of new prescriptions or the timing, and they get it wrong. Then they end up with a problem and they come back in the hospital. So there's so much to it.
But today, I think every hospital has to be very focused on that experience. And I'm lucky. I have a 95-year-old dad who I am the primary caregiver for, and support, and he's an engineer. So that helps, because when he was hospitalized a couple of years ago and he went home, the first thing he did was sit down at his table and lay out his medications and understand what changed. And he put some in Ziploc bags. And he knows exactly what he's doing.
But most people aren't like that. So you really have to provide a lot more support. And we've begun to build that into the whole process ahead of time.
The other thing that happens is if families don't know what's going on, forget it. Because many of our patients are supported by a family member in a meaningful way, and they need to know as much, if not more, about what has to happen post-hospitalization. So that communication-- and you also have to have a follow up safety line.
Because the truth is, when you give all this information at once, you only retain so much of it. So when you go home, and then you try to remember what you were told, or look at the instructions, it's not that simple. So we had a call line. You could call in and talk to a nurse, and they could help you walk through it. And if they had a problem, they could connect you to the right person. So that was really important.
SPEAKER 1: Great. Good question.
NANCY SCHLICHTING: Yes.
AUDIENCE: Hi. [INAUDIBLE]
NANCY SCHLICHTING: I think patients--
SPEAKER 1: [INAUDIBLE]
NANCY SCHLICHTING: Oh, the question that we have the patient centered-- more patient centered model today. What's on the horizon for the next phase of that? Who knows? I mean, I really think you guys are going to figure that out.
But I think being open and understanding some of the complexities and difficulties that patients have will help inform those next phases of work. I mean, what we just talked about, patient navigation, and understanding what patients need, and how to make it simpler for them, is going to be a critical element.
We have an aging population. Our patients are sicker and have more complex illness than ever. And our ability to help them make sure that they recover well, they have the supports that they need-- I used to say that one thing I would do, this was years ago, I decided this was the most important thing in health care, is we all need a guide. Because health care is just hard to navigate. And we can try to make it simpler, but it's still-- you still need a point person.
And for those of us who have been in the field, I'm sure, Brooke, you still get calls. People call us to say, what should I do? And how do I approach this problem? So I could open a whole service on patient navigation, because I get calls every week from people, friends or family members, who say, what should I do? And how do I get the appointment? And how do I do this? And who's the best person? All of those kind of questions. We need guides in health care.
And the good news is, today, there's a lot more transparency. You can get online and find more out about your physician provider than we used to be able to do. But it still has to be much more standardized and consistent. I don't want the patient has a bad ex-- I don't want to just get one review on a doctor. I want a very balanced view.
One of the things we did at Henry Ford in the last five years, actually, I think it goes back at least five years, is we publish on our website-- if you go to the Henry Ford website and look up any of our doctors, you will see their patient satisfaction score. And that is really helpful. And it also drives improvement. Because you can imagine the doctors don't want to have a really bad score. So that's why we did it. So the transparency was really to drive improvement. You're welcome.
AUDIENCE: So we've obviously talked about your experience with the Detroit hospitals and Henry Ford system. In the past few years, you've been working with the Obama administration as well as the Trump administration, at least as an advisor with veteran health and veteran affairs. How are they leveraging your experience and your skills to better facilities and develop that side of things?
NANCY SCHLICHTING: Well, you know, the interesting thing is that--
SPEAKER 1: If you could repeat the question.
NANCY SCHLICHTING: Oh. The question was about my experience outside of Detroit, particularly working with the VA, and how they have leveraged my background and experience to help move that process forward.
I chaired the Commission on Care, which developed a long range, 20 year plan, for the VA. And we had tons of recommendations about every dimension of what needed to happen.
But one of the big issues for the VA is the quality of their facilities. The average age, I think, of a VA hospital, I think, is 40 years. So they've got a long way to go.
One of the issues that we brought up was design and improvement in the facilities. And also, closure of some, so that they can build new ones. The other problem they had-- when they build a facility, they've built a couple in the last few years. They have been so far over budget, not well-managed. And a lot of what we felt had to happen was having the talent within the VA to be able to drive the kinds of changes that are required to improve the care for vets.
But I will also tell you that having visited a lot of VA hospitals in that time period that I was on the commission, they are very, veteran centric. They don't get credit for it. They have lots of problems, and mostly, because of the nature of their system and how it is administered from a governmental standpoint. But when you look at the people who work there, 1/3 of the employees within the VA are veterans.
When you go into a VA facility, it is really-- they embrace the vet. There are pictures of veterans. They have a store there that has all veteran type merchandise. They make it a place that's really comfortable for veterans to go.
So in many ways, they have a lot of those characteristics. They are incredibly focused on that patient population that they serve. But the way the government functions has not necessarily driven the type of innovation, and certainly the funding, for some of the changes that are required.
And our hope was, and I think they're actually following some of our recommendations, is that over the next 20 years, they can really build a different process for how to enhance the care of veterans. But thank you for the question.
AUDIENCE: We're almost out of time.
SPEAKER 1: OK. So maybe time for one last question.
AUDIENCE: I was just going to ask what your perception is on how the model expanded or not expanded outside of [INAUDIBLE] system. Did you feel like there is a little [INAUDIBLE] everyone's coming to take notes and build copies, or if not, why not? Why isn't it like that?
NANCY SCHLICHTING: The question was have people modeled themselves after what we did, and have we had the kind of interest in what we accomplished there? And the answer is yes. The hospital really created, not only in our local market, but beyond, created quite a buzz. And part of it was because it was Henry Ford, and Henry Ford has been known to be an innovative system over decades in health care.
And I think it's also because it was Detroit. And who would have thought this would have happened in Detroit? And I think that it resonated with a lot of people. It's not like these concepts are really hard to embrace.
In every day, you don't have a chance to build a brand new facility. So many times, it was people that had a chance to build a new facility that wanted to come, and see what we had done, and how it had worked. But I also think that people have learned through the HCAHPS scores and everything else, that patient experience matters. And I think the opportunity to enhance that experience through some new thinking, new design thinking, retail thinking, things that we haven't often thought about in health care, is really relevant.
So I think it's catching on. I really do. I don't think you're going to see too many hospitals. Although, I still see some. You walk in, and you think, what were they thinking?
I went to-- my sister worked at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, and I went into that facility after they built a brand new facility, and I thought, it doesn't seem like it's for kids. And that's a pretty fundamental thing for a children's hospital. And I was surprised.
So I think, sometimes, some of the design folks and architects, they kind of get caught up in their own thing. And if you're not connected with them and have them connect with patients-- and that's why we did that whole mock thing. Our architects were very involved. And I'll tell you, no one is prouder of that West Bloomfield facility than the architects. When I see them, or see their spouses, or their family members, they all talk about it, you know, it was the greatest thing I ever did in my career. That's pretty cool.
SPEAKER 1: Awesome. Well, we know everybody's got to get to class, and Nancy has to get to her next talk, but please, thank you.
NANCY SCHLICHTING: Thank you very much.
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Nancy M. Schlichting, former CEO of Henry Ford Health System, gave a Health, Hospitality and Design Industry Seminar on March 9, 2018. Offered by the Cornell Institute for Healthy Futures, the seminar course (HADM/DEA 3033/6055) provides a unique opportunity for students to learn from industry leaders with proven success in the emerging industry that combines elements of hospitality and design with health, wellness, and senior living.