Ignite Medical Resorts
Providing first class amenities and a caring approach
With its resort-style facilities, Ignite Medical Resorts is upending the skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility (SNF) industry in the United States. The company, founded by Tim Fields and Barry Carr, has rapidly grown from an initial two facilities in 2018 to seventeen facilities today in Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wisconsin.
The company’s spectacular growth is attributable to a guest- and employee-focused culture that has seen it attract top professionals in the medical and hospitality field, besides supporting tremendous growth on the guest acquisition side.
“One way we differentiate our service is addressing patients as guests, not patients,” says John McFarlane, Chief Clinical Officer at Ignite Medical Resorts.
“When a guest first comes to one of our facilities, they get a warm welcome from our leadership team and some of the staff, resort-style,”
“Once they settle in, we undertake a comprehensive admission process through which the guest has a staff member always by their side ensuring everything is proceeding smoothly. Part of the admission covers medical aspects, and the other covers the guest’s experience at our facility. We want to know what they enjoy doing, their preferred diet, what other activities they would like to participate in, and so on.”
Ignite Medical Resorts has a designated director of hospitality in charge of each facility’s amenities, including food service, cafe-style amenities, coffee and snacks, and others.
“The director of hospitality acts like a concierge manager,” adds McFarlane, “with a primary role of ensuring guests have everything they need, which I feel is a major aspect that sets us apart from many other companies.”
Hospitality at Ignite Medical Resorts goes a step further to offer guests non-medical services that increase the level of comfort and enjoyment of their stay.
“If we have a guest who enjoys doing art or other hobbies,” McFarlane says, “we’ll set up their room so they can enjoy activities they would have done at home.”
“This level of personalized service speaks to how we try to make every guest’s stay as person-centered as possible.”
At the core of the guest experience at Ignite Medical Resorts is a comprehensive medical system underpinned by state-of-the-art hospital-grade medical equipment and an in-house pharmacy system, as McFarlane explains.
“With our in-house pharmacy solution, we can obtain medications for our guests, which is a major challenge for other SNF facilities that do not have an in-house pharmacy solution. This solution can quickly administer medications ordered for a resident without going through an outsourced pharmacy partner.”
Ignite Medical Resorts is truly an outlier in the SNF industry due to its heavy focus on developing and providing state-of-the-art resort-like facilities to guests. The facilities, for Jared Carr, SVP Operations, North Division, provide the best care anyone would ever want for their loved one.
“We provide the kind of care we would want our families to receive if they required SNF services,” he says.
“Our resort-style facilities have exceptionally high standards, including Starbucks cafes, better staffing ratios, beautiful, upgraded facilities, and the latest medical equipment.”
“Many Ignite facilities also have in-house dialysis and piped oxygen operated by highly-trained nursing staff and technicians. We can take clinically complex guests, which many SNF facilities cannot do, and usually opt to send the guest back to the hospital.”
“At the end of the day, despite our beautiful facilities and the great experience we provide, our guests come to us for medical reasons. We understand they would rather be home with their family, dog, or grandchildren, and we do all we can to make their stay as comfortable, enjoyable, and pain-free as possible.”
Ignite Medical Resorts recently took over four facilities in Texas, further expanding its presence in the South. With this new acquisition, the company split its facilities into Northern and Southern divisions, which has helped create a more efficient management structure.
“The North Division contains Illinois, Wisconsin, Kansas, and Missouri, and the Southern contains Oklahoma and Texas,” explains Carr.
“I focus my time on the Northern division, while our other SVP of Operations, Rachel Shearer, runs the Southern Division.
Reorganizing the company’s management structure is helping the company undertake scalable and controlled growth while ensuring all facilities run as per its core operating procedures.
“With Rachel and I overseeing operations and John overseeing the clinical end of it, we are slowly developing an organizational structure that can manage such a rapidly growing company. Considering that we started in 2018 and now have seventeen facilities, it is a very exciting time for us, and we want to ensure we have the right structures in place to manage this growth.”
Ignite Medical Resorts maintains close ties to the healthcare community in its areas, especially hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities. As McFarlane explains, these close ties are part of the company’s care value chain and represent an indispensable part of its services.
“We work closely with our hospital partners across the country, so our providers can follow patients from the hospital to the SNF level of care. That continuity improves service quality because it gives us additional context on guests regarding their clinical history. This visibility enables us to anticipate what care they need and implement a comprehensive care plan ready for when they come through the door.”
However, sustaining this level of service requires a formidable pool of employees across the entire care spectrum, an aspect that Carr admits has become more complex to achieve in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Every facility we have is constantly recruiting because, with a global shortage of healthcare workers, it’s important to seek the best and the brightest continuously,” he says.
As part of the company’s recruiting strategy, it has partnered with local colleges and hospitals with training programs to get a pipeline of new nurses, CNAs (certified nursing assistants), and CMTs (certified medical technicians).
“Hiring now is more challenging than before the pandemic,” says Carr. “We must lean into our hiring processes and reassess things like how much we pay and what benefits we’re providing.”
“At the end of the day, we wanted to be the employer of choice for medical professionals. We know there are amazing ones, and we want to be whom they work for.”
Alongside its recruitment efforts, Ignite Medical Resorts also appreciates that retaining employees is crucial to ensuring it can continue delivering exceptional service to guests. The company is achieving this through employee-centric initiatives that are helping reduce turnover while attracting new hires.
“Our culture is very employee-centered,” Carr explains.
“For example, all amenities at our facilities are not just for guests, but our employees too. We also have a Superhero in Scrubs program, which rewards employees for doing the basics like showing up on time and in uniform and not having any disciplinary action.”
“When they do that for a certain number of hours, they move to the next level of Superhero in Scrubs, which translates into more dollars per hour and more benefits.
“With such a competitive talent market, we are committed to incentivizing our employees, whether with benefits, money, or a better work-life balance.”
Running all these initiatives is the company’s Director of Culture and Engagement, traditionally filled by an HR manager. Carr says this position’s core responsibilities are recruitment, orientation, appreciation, and retention.
As Ignite Medical Resorts’ unique business model continues to propel it forward, Carr and McFarlane are optimistic that there is more robust growth ahead, which they will need to manage to ensure sustainability.
“We don’t want to take on too many facilities, operate more than we can manage, or expand into markets we aren’t familiar with,” Carr says. “Whatever expansion we do will be in the areas we are already in because we have hospital and community partnerships.”
For McFarlane, growth will require identifying great opportunities that fit the company’s model.
“We’re very selective of the territories we operate in,” he says. “We want to ensure that with any new facility we operate, whether a new construction or acquisition, we’re able to match the Ignite model and deliver the best quality of service possible to guests.”
AT A GLANCE
Ignite Medical Resorts
What: Luxury rehabilitation facilities with world-class, resort-inspired amenities
Where: Park Ridge, Illinois
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