Provider of choice

How to change the culture from provider of last resort to provider of choice

The creation of the Center 49 years ago came about from a community need for healthcare. For its first 36 years, the Center served as the anchor and safety net for healthcare in the community. The Center provided primary healthcare, basic dental services, social work support for patients, WIC Program services and pharmacy. In the last 13 years, beginning with the design and construction of a new 48,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art, $17-million building; the Center is working diligently to be the provider of choice for the community. Services have been expanded to include more providers for the anchor services, with addition of complex dental procedures, Licensed Clinical Social Work counselors, Psychiatry, substance use disorder program, an intimate partner violence prevention/intervention program, community health worker program, outreach and enrollment staff to help patients access health insurance coverage, cooking demonstration kitchen classes, nutrition education classes, physical education classes (i.e. Zumba, yoga, and 5K), fresh fruit and vegetable market in the warm months, and an increased communication and marketing efforts (including social media presence and a new website under development). A clear strategic plan was developed with stakeholders (including patients and staff) and is currently under implementation, now following Kotter’s Eight Steps to Transforming Your Organization. The ongoing challenge is the transformation from 36 years as safety net provider to provider of choice. The community and staff are not all convinced that the Center can be the provider of choice for the community, even after all of the efforts and investments made. What other strategies to change deep-rooted organizational culture and community perception are available?


Culture and Digital Transformation


Public/Private Competition

Participant comments on Provider of choice

  1. Let me begin by commending you on your efforts. This is an amazing program and a true commitment to the community to which you serve. Community building is a challenging effort and to be successful requires a tremendous amount of partnership with the community. By analogy, the REACH program( has done a lot of this type of work in rebuilding communities. What they have learned is that there is a strong need to develop multiple community partners, ensure that the community has input into programs (they actually say drive the programs) and where possible have their programs play a role in their internal spaces. Another approach is well trained community health workers who are influencers in their communities can be very effective at outreach. We are currently working through this model as well.

  2. Incredible organization! I guess sharing “wins” is key to this transforming process. Make sure truly great achievements are being noted by the staff as well as the customers. This can be done through advertising, local TV commercials, small newspaper like reports etc. People have to notice that real change can be made by individuals. I’m sure it already happens, I guess just nobody notices it as it’s not communicated.

  3. Since I am from the area and know the market, I’ve been pondering this. Clearly, a great place…. that I have never heard of. You mention stakeholders being both patients and staff, but seems like that stakeholder group needs to get broader to penetrate the market as a place of choice. How are key payors involved? how about employers to work with payors to drive patients to it (narrow network? utilization incentives? etc).

  4. This is the world I live right now. I truly commend you for all the fantastic program you have implemented to make this center a medical home for patients. I wonder, however, if you have people from the community as liaisons for some of your program that address social determinants of health. People/patients will feel more relaxed and comfortable in familial environment, this can be bolstered with familial members from the community incorporated into your program and serving as champions of those programs. From the organizational stand point, I think a deliberate intensive marketing strategy should help to uplift the imagery and the “perception” of the center, this may include some rebranding and upgraded mission statement.

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