Waverly Health Center

From left, Danielle Barth, Betsie Frey and Sheila Fox meet with hospitalist Dr. Clay Dahlquist to discuss patient care before going on rounds at Waverly Health Center.

WAVERLY — In a city experiencing more than two decades of steady growth in everything from business to housing, it can be tough for its hospital keep pace.

That’s not the case at Waverly Health Center, said Emily Neuendorf.

“WHC is a remarkable organization because of its culture and dedicated staff,” she said. “As a locally owned and controlled facility, our staff and leadership have the ability to make decisions and implement change based on the needs of our community and patients.”

In the past 15 years, the health center has almost doubled its workforce, Neuendorf added. Despite boasting one of the city’s largest employers, WHC remains a close-knit working environment.

“It is rare for an organization to keep its culture intact with rapid growth, but WHC has done just that,” she said. “WHC’s employees live and breathe person-centered care, which translates into taking care of not just patients and their families, but each other.”

All employees are encouraged to provide input and ideas, said CEO Jim Atty.

“In my five years here, this has been a place that has a fairly flat organizational chart from an ego standpoint,” said Atty. “Everyone respects everyone else; we don’t have those soap opera situations.”

Local ownership and management helps and ensures faster decision-making, he added.

“It really does take everyone to deliver patient care,” he explained. “Everyone works as a team. It’s great to see everyone come together to do that.”

Employer of Choice nominators lauded WHC for its investment in continuing education, professional development, leadership training and other programs.

“Our organization has a recognition program called ‘Spotlight on Values’ for our employees, providers and contracted staff,” said Beth Blake.

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The peer-driven program allows employees to nominate colleagues for exemplifying any of the six organizational values: compassion, enthusiasm, excellence, innovation, integrity, and leadership.

Each quarter, the WHC engagement council and past recipients review nominations and vote for winners.

At a special ceremony, Atty presents honorees with their awards.

“I feel this speaks volumes about our CEO that he makes the time and wants to do these presentations,” said Blake. “He knows how important it is for staff to be recognized.”

Amber Smith agrees.

“(It) is such a rewarding way for employees to be shown that they are valued, respected and applauded for a job well done,” she said.

Managers are intentional about sharing information, too, said Linda Hansen. Each morning, the management team meets for a brief, 8:45 huddle. There, they discuss issues, concerns, information, and milestones.

“Transparency is alive here,” said Hansen

In addition, WHC’s senior leaders meet regularly with individual staff groups.

“Every month, two administrators visit each department to listen to concerns, pass along information and just connect with the front line staff,” she said. “This makes everyone feel like a part of the entire health center team.”

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