Wesley Rogers joined one of the largest nursing home providers in the United States in December 2017; a legacy business founded in 1963 with a presence across multiple states – including 23 nursing homes in Indiana.
He’d spotted not only a wonderful growth opportunity for himself, but also for the company. But to get there, the business first had to downsize.
"Over three years we were able to implement a lot of discipline, focus and strategic improvement while always doing the right thing and saying ‘yes’ to resident-based needs," Rogers tells The CEO Magazine.
As the business came to the end of this period of transition, only the 23 homes in Indiana remained under its operations. Those in other states had been progressively transferred to new operators.
In October 2019, a new entity emerged with a name that reflected a renewed focus on short and long-term nursing services solely in the midwest state: Brickyard Healthcare.
We have always considered our people to be our greatest asset as they provide the care that we deliver.
Now, as President and CEO of this new entity, Rogers explains that the organization is in a "selective and cautious" growth phase. "We’re an established regional operator with a good volume of business but there are a lot of headwinds that we are facing in our industry and in skilled nursing," he says.
A large proportion of those headwinds involve the heavily regulated nature of his industry. "Next to nuclear energy, nursing homes are one of the most highly regulated industries in the country – even more than hospitals – and we have been targeted for even more oversight," he explains. "It’s a big challenge for us."
There’s also a labor shortage to navigate. "We’ve had a lot of challenges in the workforce and we’re really trying to be creative in how we develop benefit plans, in what we do for our people to create a culture of accountability and success, and in how we foster a sense of belonging for our employees," he says.
In terms of talent acquisition, Brickyard’s recent certification as a Great Place to Work 2022 is a timely boost. "We have always considered our people to be our greatest asset as they provide the care that we deliver," he reveals, noting in a statement at the time of the announcement that "we are so pleased that our employees feel welcomed and appreciated at Brickyard Healthcare".
Making a difference
An experienced healthcare professional, Rogers has spent his career working across nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities and hospital consulting. He’s also an astute entrepreneur – in 2005, he sold the home infusion and compounding pharmacy he founded eight years earlier to a major national company.
At Brickyard, he is committed to an overarching vision: "To be an outstanding healthcare organization." And to achieve that, he knows he has to look at performance markers in other sectors.
"We don’t necessarily just compare ourselves to fellow competitors in our space, in skilled nursing," he says. "We want to set the bar high for ourselves to establish the opportunity to provide outstanding care to the residents that we care for and to have a high level of customer satisfaction."
You can lay your head down at night to go to sleep knowing you made a difference in somebody’s life today.
And a freshly defined set of values are now the north star that guides Rogers and his team. "In everything we do, our mission is to foster a culture that serves our residents beyond health and safety, connecting the hearts of those who need our care and those who provide it," he says.
The future is looking bright for the new-look Brickyard Healthcare. "Studies show that people want to be involved in meaningful and engaged work, and we have a great opportunity in health care because we have the chance to make a difference in the lives of people," he points out. "It’s a career that can be very rewarding.
"You can lay your head down at night to go to sleep knowing you made a difference in somebody’s life today."
Did You Know?
Brickyard is the nickname for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – the host of the annual Indy 500 motor race. The four-kilometer racetrack, which opened in 1909, was at one point paved with 3.2 million bricks. While the modern-day track is mainly asphalt, a small ribbon of bricks remains on display at the start/finish line – and Indy 500 race winners continue to kiss the bricks to this very day.