Acadia St. Landry Hospital CEO Michael J. LeJeune, a native of Roberts Cove and current resident of Lafayette, was hired as the hospitals CEO last Summer. Here we caught up with LeJeune to discuss his first year as leader of the facility.
Your one-year anniversary as CEO of ASLH just passed on July 25th. How do you feel about your first year as CEO?
Reflecting on my first year as CEO, I feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. It has been quite the journey filled with challenges and opportunities for growth. I am grateful for the support and dedication of our team. While there were inevitable obstacles along the way, we tackled them head-on and learned valuable lessons that will guide our future endeavors. Overall, I am optimistic and excited about the path ahead and look forward to continuing our journey of success as CEO of Acadia St. Landry Hospital.
Looking back at the last year, is there anything you would have done differently?
Looking back at the last year as ASLH CEO, I believe there are certainly opportunities for growth and improvement. While we have achieved milestones and overcome challenges, there will always be areas that we could have done things differently, but as they say, hindsight is 20/20. While continuing to lead this hospital, I remain committed to implementing these improvements moving forward, leveraging the lessons learned from the past year to drive positive change and deliver even better healthcare services to our patients.
Early on, you said people asked if you knew what you were walking into with taking the CEO position. What would you say to those people today?
When people initially asked if I knew what I was walking into with taking the CEO position, I understand that their concerns stemmed from the inherent challenges and responsibilities associated with the role, the state of the hospital at the time and of course good ole Louisiana politics. So, while I knew some of what I would be walking into, I am not sure anyone can fully be prepared until they jump in. In hindsight, while I may not have fully comprehended the extent of my new task at hand, I have embraced the opportunity wholeheartedly and am grateful for the trust placed in me. I am proud of the progress we have made as a rural community hospital, and I am excited about the future possibilities that lie ahead.
Early on, you talked about getting the hospital where it needs to be. How is that going, in general?
Since the early stages, our focus has been on getting the hospital where it needs to be, and I’m pleased to share that we have made significant strides in that direction. Overall, our progress has been positive, and we are moving steadily towards our goals. First and foremost, we have implemented strategic initiatives aimed at enhancing the quality of patient care. We have focused on improving patient outcomes, reducing wait times, and ensuring a patient-centric approach in all aspects of our services. Financially, we have taken measures to ensure the hospital’s sustainability and growth. We have implemented cost optimization strategies while maintaining high-quality care. This will help us achieve a stable financial position and allocate resources more effectively to areas that directly impact patient care. Overall, I am proud of the progress we have made in getting the hospital where it needs to be. While there is still work to be done, our dedicated team and collaborative efforts have positioned us well to deliver high-quality care, meet patient needs, and fulfill our vision of being a leading healthcare provider in our community.
How is staff retention and recruiting going? Any positions you are looking to fill and are any totally new positions in the works?
I’m happy to report that our recruitment efforts have yielded positive results, with the addition of talented individuals who bring valuable skills and experience to our team. We continue to actively engage with potential candidates and are confident in our ability to attract and retain exceptional talent moving forward. By focusing on both staff retention and recruiting, we aim to build a strong and cohesive team that drives our hospitals success. The only really new position we have created is a Director of Growth and Strategy. The goal of this position is to lead initiatives for expanded services, strengthen partnerships, and enhance patient experiences.
As CEO, you are responsible for leading, managing and providing strategic direction for the hospital, while ensuring the hospital’s mission and patient-care advocacy remain at the core of efforts. How have you worked to meet those responsibilities?
Although not always easy, I fully understand the significance of leading, managing, and providing strategic direction for the hospital, while keeping the hospital’s mission and patient-care advocacy at the forefront of our efforts. To meet these responsibilities, I have implemented several key initiatives: We have worked closely with the hospital’s leadership team to establish a clear and inspiring vision for the organization. I have fostered a culture of strong governance by ensuring transparent and effective communication channels with the hospital’s board of directors. Regular board meetings and updates allow for alignment of strategic goals and provide a platform for discussing critical matters related to patient care, financial management, and organizational performance. Recognizing that our employees are the backbone of our hospital, I have prioritized recognizing our employees. ASLH employees are not simply “numbers”. They are unique individuals that have lives, families, and goals and should be recognized as such. By consistently working towards these responsibilities, I strive to ensure that the hospital’s mission and patient-care advocacy remain at the core of our efforts. These actions contribute to our overarching goal of providing high-quality healthcare services, promoting patient well-being, and making a positive impact on the community we serve.
What do you enjoy most about working and leading the ASLH?
What I enjoy most about working for and leading Acadia St. Landry Hospital is the profound impact we have on people’s lives. Every day, our dedicated team of healthcare professionals come together to provide compassionate care and make a positive difference in the lives of our patients and their families. Being part of a mission-driven organization that prioritizes patient well-being is incredibly rewarding. The joy of working and leading our hospital lies in the ability to positively impact lives, collaborate with a dedicated team, drive innovation, build meaningful relationships, and be part of an industry that constantly strives to improve the well-being of individuals and communities.
Do you want to say anything about the USDA loan process and/or plans for new hospital. Last year, you said you had hoped to have a plan by the end of 2022 … do you think there will be a plan by the end of this year?
These are probably the questions I have heard the most this past year… What’s going on with the new hospital? Are we getting a new hospital? What does Michael want to do regarding the hospital? From day one people wanted me to give them an answer. However, I needed time to access the entire situation myself. This is not just a “take someone’s word” type of project. After being here for a year now, talking to countless rural hospital and critical access hospital CEOs not only in Louisiana, but across the US, I have decided that as the administrator of Acadia St. Landry Hospital, it is in the best interest to move forward with the plan to build a new facility on the new property. It is my understanding that if we can build an appropriately sized hospital, that our current ASLH Board of Commissioners supports this decision at this point. What has to be understood is that this is a first step. I am well aware that not everyone will support this, but a decision has to be made, and in all honesty, at the end, the final decision will not be mine. All I can do is be the catalyst that gets us there. There are an incredible number of factors involved. For example, we don’t know what the new cost will be yet, but we do know building cost have increased significantly, there are multiple approvals, several votes and of course politics involved. But when I was hired, I was asked to do what I can to make this hospital succeed and that is exactly what I intend to do. I don’t just want Acadia St. Landry Hospital to survive, I want it to thrive! I think the people in our community deserve that. So, moving forward, when people ask, what’s going on with the new hospital, what’s the CEOs thoughts on the new hospital, now you know. What I ask for is patience, this is a very long process, but the only way to finish is to start. As always, I have an open-door policy and am always willing to meet.