November 2021 – The Journal of Healthcare Contracting
by Deanna Leonard, M.B.A.
Our company has a very simple mission statement: “We believe that every patient, resident, caregiver and family member should feel Safe and Comfortable in today’s healthcare environments.” To those of us at Encompass, these aren’t just nice words. We are living our mission every day, and even more so since the COVID-19 pandemic began. One of the ways we’re enhancing safety and comfort is to share our success by helping those with the greatest needs.
What enables an organization to give back?
- Buy-in from top to bottom
- Creative thinking
- Great partnerships
- Quick action
- Detailed logistics and financial planning
Above all, you have to care about individuals – from those in your community to those you will never meet – and then find ways to turn that compassion into tangible support.
Ongoing Needs Must Be Recognized
Underserved and rural healthcare facilities have always struggled to obtain adequate equipment and apparel. So last fall, in collaboration with Jockey International, we began the “Buy Scrubs/Give Scrubs” program. For every unique individual order on Jockey.com with at least one Jockey® scrub item, Encompass Group donated Jockey scrubs to facilities in need. We identified these facilities thanks to the National Rural Health Association, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data, the non-profit nursing group Society of Nurse Scientists Innovators Entrepreneurs and Leaders (SONSIEL) and the group-purchasing organization Vizient, Inc. We donated more than 20,000 scrub units in just the first month!
During Emergencies, Helping People is in Our DNA
Unfortunately, natural disasters seem to have become a way of life in our world. When emergencies occur, we quickly try to determine the most pressing needs and how we might address them, either on our own or with one of our generous partners.
When Hurricane Ida hit the Gulf Coast this summer, we delivered a truckload of scrubs and other apparel to those healthcare providers most hurt by the devastation in Louisiana. In response to the California wildfires, we were able to make multiple donations of scrubs, towels and coats to employees and families of Dignity Health, now CommonSpirit, one of the largest healthcare providers in California. We’ve partnered with this system for some time to provide apparel to the homeless, so it was a perfect opportunity to assist a charitable ally.
Stepping Up to COVID-19
The coronavirus pandemic has become a “chronic emergency” in the healthcare industry. The urgent need for PPE gowns and scrubs, along with a seriously disrupted supply chain, drove us to help as many in the industry as we could. Even individual employees made and delivered their own contributions. Here are a few of the ways we pitched in:
- Parenter with Jockey in donating 10,000 scrubs to the temporary hospital at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City
- Donated 250,000 tier-3 isolation gowns to FEMA for front-line distribution
- In honor of 2020’s Year of the Nurse, we donated 1,200 sets of scrubs to seven hospitals near our headquarters in Georgia
- Partnered with Jockey in donating 10,000 N95 masks and 10,000 surgical masks to the fire department of Kenosha, Wisconsin
- Supplied OR sheeting material to a Georgia health system for making surgical masks for front-line workers
- Donated scrubs to Native American reservations and local senior living facilities in need
Add Giving Back to Your Business Plan
Encompass has an annual emergency budget, making it easier for us to identify and address needs. It’s heart-warming to receive the gratitude of those we’re able to help. But appreciation from the recipients is not why we give back. Whether large or small contributions, one or many times, in our neighborhood or across the country, it’s just the right thing to do.
Deanna Leonard is Vice President and General Manager – Professional Healthcare Apparel Encompass Group, LLC.