Armed with an understanding that the changing landscape of healthcare requires innovation, bridge building and an unwavering commitment to patient-focused care, Michelle LeBeau, RN, MHRM, believes that both the Alice Hyde Medical Center and Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital (CVPH) teams have what it takes to navigate this new dynamic.
President of both the Malone and Plattsburgh hospitals, LeBeau took the helm in 2018 after years of experience in the healthcare industry. First hired by CVPH as a registered nurse, the graduate of Clinton Community College served in several leadership positions including Supervisor of Occupational Health, Director of Human Resources and Vice President of Human Resources. She was named CVPH’s Chief Operating Officer in 2015 and played a key role in the organization’s cultural work which has been instrumental in CVPH’s growth.
As president, LeBeau brings an intimate understanding of the importance of providing exceptional patient care while supporting those who provide that care. “It is an honor to lead an organization that brings new life into the world, supports folks in times of uncertainty, promotes wellness, and guides individuals as they leave this world to enter the world, they believe comes next,” said LeBeau. “This is special work. These are not just hospitals. Our communities come to us when they are in need and in crisis. It is important we are here to help.”
Achieving those goals means having to look beyond the hospital walls and partnering with community agencies and other organizations. “We are always asking ourselves, what more can we do? Often, the answer is to reach out and work with others to meet the needs of our patients,” said LeBeau as she pointed out the successful partnership with Hudson Headwaters Health Network (HHHN). In addition, CVPH and HHHN recently opened Plattsburgh Family Health on Plaza Boulevard in Plattsburgh. The federally qualified health center is staffed with seven HHHN family practice physicians, an exceptional team of CVPH support staff and provides easy access to a variety of CVPH services including the Diagnostic Center, Women’s Imaging and Blood Donor Center.
“For many years our region has dealt with a critical lack of access to primary health care. This new facility helps to alleviate that and would not have come to fruition if it were not for the partnership between the University of Vermont Health Network and CVPH,” explained LeBeau. She added that three of the four family medicine residents set to graduate from the CVPH Family Medicine Residency in July will be employed at Plattsburgh Family Health.
The residency program, which now has 10 residents in training, was developed in partnership with the University of Vermont Health Network with an eye on improving access to primary care. “And, it’s working!” LeBeau said.
It’s no surprise, given LeBeau’s background in Human Resources, that she firmly believes health care is first and foremost about people. “Alice Hyde and CVPH are good places filled with great people. It is a privilege to serve beside them,” she emphasized.
Supporting the current team while recruiting new members is a top priority for both organizations. “The recruitment process provides an opportunity for the prospective employee to get a better understanding of what the organization is about —what we do and who we are. Once hired, an extensive orientation process begins designed to support and encourage our new folks in their new roles. We stand alongside new employees, with an emphasis on taking very good care of one another,” said LeBeau. “Career ladders, continuing education and numerous other learning opportunities help both Alice Hyde and CVPH employees grow professionally and personally.”
LeBeau explained that because the changes in health care are both exciting and challenging, having a good team in place is paramount. “It’s moving to a focus on wellness and preventative medicine. We are spending more time trying to understand the needs of our communities. It’s great to see our work transition from how do we treat a specific disease or condition to how do we keep people healthy. This transition requires employees to think differently and to use different skill sets while still maintaining their focus on quality care.”
This major shift in emphasis is made easier by the collaboration amongst the entities of the University of Vermont Health Network. “The sharing of resources and talent within the network supports both Alice Hyde and CVPH as they grow and transition to meet the needs of their communities.
“Together we are improving lives,” emphasized LeBeau.