As part of my series about the “How Business Leaders Plan To Rebuild In The Post COVID Economy,” I had the pleasure of interviewing Paul Ver Hoeve.
Paul Ver Hoeve is the CEO of Mission Healthcare, one of California’s largest privately-owned providers of home health and hospice services. Paul brings over 20 years of healthcare leadership experience to Mission. Prior to his appointment as CEO at Mission Healthcare, Paul was President of the West Region with Louisville, Kentucky-based Kindred Healthcare, one of the largest post-acute care systems in the country. In his role with Kindred Healthcare, he was responsible for 120 locations across 10 states with 500M in annual revenues. Paul lives in San Diego, CA, with his three children Bailey, Tyler and Riley.
Thank you so much for your time! I know that you are a very busy person. Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
I grew up in a medical family with a father who was a physician and a mother who was a nurse. I feel like I have been in healthcare since inception. As a kid, I always wanted to be a doctor and started college as a pre-med major. While going to school, I had some opportunities to work in home health and realized that I loved the administration part of healthcare and quickly changed to a business major. I had great opportunities as a young professional to work for some well-recognized national healthcare providers that really helped me as I got started.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
I remember early on when I first started traveling for work, I had a trip back east for an important meeting. When I got the hotel, it was about 11 p.m. and decided to iron my white dress shirt so it was ready to go for my 8 a.m. meeting the next day. After the iron heated up, I put it down on my shirt and it left a huge black stain on the front of the shirt. I panicked and realized I had no other dress shirts and didn’t have time to find a shirt before my meeting the next day. All I had was a polo shirt I had worn while on the plane all day. The next morning everyone was dressed up in business suits and I was the one wearing a day-old polo shirt trying to explain the situation. The lesson was always be prepared for what could happen. Since then, I have always traveled with an extra shirt in my suitcase.
Is there a particular book that you read, or podcast you listened to, that really helped you in your career? Can you explain?
Many leaders have likely read the same books, and what I have found the most helpful is reading the things that are specific to what I do and the industry I work in. The advice I have given many is to be a student to your profession. The knowledge you have about the industry you work in will always make you better and help in understanding “the why”. I believe this was driven from a book that I read very early on by Simon Sinek titled Start with Why.
Extensive research suggests that “purpose driven business” are more successful in many areas. When you started your company what was your vision, your purpose?
I agree with the research 100 percent and believe that I have been lucky to be associated with an industry that naturally has purpose. Most healthcare workers choose to be in the field, and want to make a difference in people’s lives. The doctors, nurses, therapists, social works, and chaplains I have had the opportunity to work with at Mission Healthcare, and at other organizations, know they have roles that fill a daily purpose of serving those in need.
As far as the vision and purpose of the company, we have tried to keep it simple. We want to take great care of our employees and create an environment that allows them to provide exceptional care to our 2,000 home health and hospice patients we have the opportunity to care for each day.
Do you have a “number one principle” that guides you through the ups and downs of running a business?
Stay committed to the plan. Instinctively we want to change our plan every time we are faced with adversity or a tough time in the business. I have found that staying true to your convictions wins out through the noise a business can be faced with.
Thank you for all that. The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. For the benefit of empowering our readers, can you share with our readers a few of the personal and family related challenges you faced during this crisis? Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?
Personally, I have been very fortunate to not have had the virus directly hit any of my family members. When I think about the challenges that I have been faced with, they are minor in comparison to the issues many families are dealing with across the country. Some of the challenges I have faced, like many, is having young children out of school, coordinating their online learning, finding ways to keep them active and coordinating childcare.
Can you share a few of the biggest work related challenges you are facing during this pandemic? Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?
First, I have always viewed the 600 team members of Mission Healthcare as my extended family. Four hundred of those employees are providing direct care to patients in our day in and day out. Over the last four months of working through the pandemic, we have been faced with so many challenges that it became a daily exercise. We stayed nimble, and as situations and information changed, we responded as a company in real-time. Also, we took a proactive approach and always seemed to be a few weeks ahead of any federal, state or county mandates. As a home health and hospice provider our number one asset is our employees and if we couldn’t keep them safe, we wouldn’t have been able to live out our mission: “We Take Care of People”.
Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have understandably heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. What are a few ideas that you have used to offer support to your family and loved ones who were feeling anxious? Can you explain?
The fears and uncertainty related to the pandemic are very real. Validating those anxious feelings that loved ones may be feeling is the first step. Additionally, my family has been trying to stay connected with driveway get-togethers, FaceTime chats, and group text chains. It’s also been important to discover new activities that we enjoy as individuals in place of social events. It’s not how most of us are built though, so it can be really uncomfortable to make that shift.
Obviously we can’t know for certain what the Post-Covid economy will look like. But we can of course try our best to be prepared. We can reasonably assume that the Post-Covid economy will be a trying time for many people across the globe. Yet at the same time the Post-Covid growth can be a time of opportunity. Can you share a few of the opportunities that you anticipate in the Post-Covid economy?
I do believe it will take a long time before the country fully recovers and gets back to what we have called “normal”. I believe the opportunity lies within creativity. I have already seen several individuals and companies getting very creative. The other day I saw a company who offered parents summer camp in a box. The box contained a week’s worth of materials for both indoor and outdoor activities for kids. Also, I saw that tropical destination hotels are offering year-long packages for people who now work from home. I have seen restaurants who are now shipping or offering pick-up for fresh produce. Remember 20 years ago when we went to video stores to rent movies? We will all have to adapt.
How do you think the COVID pandemic might permanently change the way we behave, act or live?
With time, and importantly a vaccine, I do believe a lot of things will go back to normal, but there may be a number of things that won’t ever go back to the way they were. The way we all feel about being around large crowds, hearing someone sneeze and watching what we touch may forever be in the back of our minds. In the workplace, we will see corporate travel decrease, more people working from home and less company events and meetings. I’m sure almost all of us are missing dinners, parties, vacations, concerts, and sporting events. The ability to have things to look forward to really is so important for mental wellness and purpose.
Considering the potential challenges and opportunities in the Post-Covid economy, what do you personally plan to do to rebuild and grow your business or organization in the Post-Covid Economy?
Being a home health and hospice provider, we believe that more healthcare will be delivered within the home over the next 10 years. The senior population will continue to look for ways to access care in the home and avoid doctor’s offices, clinics, nursing homes, emergency rooms and hospitals. What that tells us is that we will have to hire and train more clinical staff to provide care in the home environment. It also will require that we continue to train our clinical staff on the clinical competencies needed to manage higher acuity patients who will have more complex needs.
Similarly, what would you encourage others to do?
I think you have to have an honest conversation with yourself about the career or industry you may be working in and understand how COVID-19 has impacted it and what the residual impacts may be. Many will need to take their skills to other industries or change career paths, and others will need to learn how to innovate. I believe sitting around hoping that things will go back to normal at some point could be one of the most dangerous thought processes.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“People want to be inspired”. Early in my career, I walked the halls of a healthcare facility and remember thinking to myself that there didn’t seem to be any inspiration or motivation to what people were doing. With the amount of time we spend at work, we have to have passion, purpose, and the drive to inspire others. Regardless of your role in a company, you have the ability to inspire those around you. This is even more important during challenging times like we are facing right now, and will be crucial as we all look to re-build post-COVD.
How can our readers further follow your work?
Our website is a great resource https://homewithmission.com/ as well as our LinkedIn page https://www.linkedin.com/company/mission-healthcare