Signature HealthCARE: Great Ideas in Practice

Part Two of a Three Part Series

Part Three — Medical Cost Offset: The Role of Psychology at Signature HealthCARE)

I wasn’t expecting to write a post on Signature HealthCARE, but I was impressed by what I read during my research on the International Center for Long-Term Care Innovation and by my interview with E. Joseph Steier, III, President and CEO of Signature HealthCARE. Long-term care is multi-faceted and fascinating to me, and I often feel facilities could be taking greater advantage of opportunities for research, learning, and spiritual growth. I was excited to hear that Signature HealthCARE is doing just that.

E. Joseph Steier, III, President & CEO of Signature HealthCARE,
with John Reinhardt, President & CEO of the International Center for Long-Term Care Innovation, which works in partnership with Nucleus and the University of Louisville

According to E. Joseph Steier, the Signature HealthCARE philosophy is based on three core pillars:
  • Intra-preneurship, which refers to the development of businesses aligned with their nursing facilities, such as home and community based services and their furniture company.
  • Learning, which is manifested through a monthly podcast by Steier that’s available to all employees via the company intranet and numerous on-site and off-site meetings. For example, they have an annual “learning congress” for top management, and a five-day “CEO school” for facility administrators, taught by Steier himself. “Best practices” to improve resident and staff quality of life are shared between facilities, and the company is increasing its learning focus through other initiatives, including establishing an Institute of Long-Term Care Studies.
  • Spirituality, which is incorporated into facility life by including nondenominational chaplains at morning clinical meetings, care plans, and other quality improvement meetings, in addition to providing services to residents and their families.
Smaller organizations can easily use some of these ideas, such as sharing best practices and increasing communication between the CEO/administrator/owner and employees.

By opening themselves up to social media like My Better Nursing Home, Signature HealthCARE has the opportunity to manifest their pillar of learning through their response to comments, positive and negative, that can inform their practices.

11 thoughts on “Signature HealthCARE: Great Ideas in Practice”

  1. Thank you so much for all the information you provide! It's really helped me- I'm researching how to become a caregiver for my elderly parents.

    I found this website,, which has offered a lot of helpful suggestions and information.

    I just wanted to pass it along to anyone who might be interested.

    ShareWIK stands for Share What I Know, and the site offers information from doctors and other experts as well as stories and advice from people who've had to go through the pain of 'parenting your parent.' (This links to a really interesting video featuring several individuals who share their experiences) (This links to a blog post by a woman who shares her experiences transitioning her mother from independent to assisted living. Very insightful.)

    Hopefully you find these links as helpful as I did!

  2. Dr. El,

    Sounds phenomenal! It would be interesting to see how their philosophy/trainings translate into practice. It would be awesome if you could visit their facilities and report back your findings.

  3. I was reading about the your article by the International Center for Long Term Care and its' endorsement of Signature Healthcare as being a good example of innovation in Kentucky. I am troubled to read how advanced the company seems to be in Kentucky when I advocate for residents in one of their sister facilities in Cecil County, Maryland. This facility has had a troubled history over the last eight years, and the company has a track record of periodically removing the whole management team at one fell swoop. This has taken place at two year increments, and it just happened again in August, 2010. The Administrator, Director of Nursing, Social Worker, and Business Office management have all been replaced by new people from out of state. The residents don't know why the staff has been changed and miss the people that they knew and trusted. The other staff members don't know if they'll be terminated next. This atmosphere brings anxiety, stress, and fear to the whole population. I would like to see Signature live up to their mandate to promote the spiritual, physical, and social lives of all of their residents even the people who live in the older, and smaller facilities.

  4. Anonymous #1, looks like an interesting source of information for caregivers, thanks.

    Todd, Sean, and Sue, it does sound like a company with great ideals and philosophy. I'm interested to see how they respond to the comment by Anonymous #2, who's reporting on her experience with them.

  5. Hi, this is Ben Adkins, media relations manager for Signature HealthCARE. I wanted to take a moment to address some of the statements made above.
    While this facility has experienced some changes in its administrative staff, the claims above are exaggerated. In this high-turnover industry, we strive for stability and continual improvement in our nursing communities, which includes working to ensure the most-qualified staff are in the appropriate places. Staffing decisions are always taken seriously and made with the best interest of our residents in mind. We welcome fair criticisms, comments and feedback, as it only helps us to become a stronger organization for those we serve.

  6. Dr. El,

    I would like to respond to both Anonymous and Mr. Adkins. I have experienced staffing relocations from both sides of the fence. What may seem to some as arbitrary changes by administration may be well thought out and necessary, although not widely understood by residents, family members or other staff members. It would be interesting to hear from more people who have had experience with Signature Healthcare to better understand how their philosophies translate into practice.

    To Mr. Adkins,
    As an objective reader, I find your response totally unsatisfactory. It sounds like generalized rote response from a corporate media relations manager void of any recognition or understanding of the specifics of the situation.

  7. I have worked in long-term care for many years, and under many different companies. I must say that Signature HealthCARE has absolutely been the best! We have grown by leaps and bounds since becoming a Signature facility. Is Signature perfect? Absolutely not, but they are continually and sincerely trying, in my opinion, to revolutionize long-term care for everyone, not just Signature. We have come a long way under Signature leadership, and I'm excited about what the future has in store!

  8. Thanks, All, for your comments. Glad this post is generating a discussion among us. We need to hear from each other in order to learn and grow as a field.

  9. I would like to respond to Anonymous from Nov. 5th. Would you be able to identify the location of your Signature facility? And how long Signature has owned it? Thank you.
    An ombudsman


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