COVID-19 demands collaboration and new directions

An article by President & Founder, Jean Bourgeois, MBA, RHIA

According to Forbes, 42% of U.S. Deaths are from nursing homes and assisted living facilities* and each day the statistics become more staggering. In my home state of Ohio, the percentage of deaths was estimated at 70%. As each new disturbing statistic is released, it causes concern about the people, the business, and the industry I care about deeply. As a member of the health care industry for my entire career, an active participant in various professional associations, and the president of a company, I feel fortunate to be involved in the ongoing collaboration, innovation, and sharing of ideas.

In the Industry

During this pandemic, my colleagues in the aging services industry have worked hard to schedule meetings at set times where collaboration can happen and best practices can be considered. We knew it was necessary that our professional organizations and their members work together to develop and design innovative approaches to respond to the challenges that lie ahead. As a result of the conversations among professionals in the DRI, AHLA, CLM, and LTC-Risk Legal Forum we have been able to create new tools for the industry. These tools, utilized by individuals advocating for the aging services industry will help support our shared goal to resolve claims and defend cases.

In Conversations with Business Leaders

As a member of several organizations of business owners, it became apparent we needed active and regular dialogue to stay connected and support each other. We recognized there were challenges that never could have been anticipated, yet it was time to courageously lead our companies, whatever form that took. By sharing our experiences, information, successes, and obstacles it became possible to let go of what we planned for the year and create a roadmap for our businesses going forward.  Collaborating we have been able to:

  • Generate new approaches to engage colleagues, clients, and our community
  • Establish plans for the work environment of a distributed workforce
  • Reimagine our service offerings, and in some cases our entire business to assure they will once again thrive

In my own company

When 2020 arrived, we were energized by our strategic plan and before the end of first quarter it became apparent, we had to rethink and redesign the organization. Although we are primarily a work from home company, early in the pandemic we were tasked with closing our doors at the corporate office. With the insight of our extraordinarily talented staff, we were able to create a new structure, new automated solutions, and a new approach to our work. After the initial scramble to respond to the challenges of COVID-19, we focused on the following:

  • Identifying additional technology that would empower the team to successfully and productively work from home
  • Rethinking our communication strategies and meeting rhythm and structure
  • Examining what employee engagement will look and feel like in the future
  • Addressing the impact on our culture of being distanced and what we can do to stay connected, vibrant, and informed as a company
  • Designing new tools, new reports, and new databases to meet the needs of our clients

In it Together

The statistics of this pandemic are overwhelming, the impact on our industry devastating, what will happen next, uncertain. Yet the conversations and collaboration among friends and colleagues locally, nationally, and here within Excelas have been the foundation I needed to take action, optimistically look toward, and plan for the future. Perhaps I should seek therapy because sometimes it looks so bright, I need to wear shades.



*Roy, A. (2020, May 26). The Most Important Coronavirus Statistic: 42% Of U.S. Deaths Are From 0.6% Of The Population. Retrieved June 10, 2020, from

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