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Brandy Hamar is a Patient Loyalty Manager at Community Care Partners (“CCP”). Brandy’s Everyday Hero story began when she returned to work after years of being a stay-at-home mom. Brandy started at the front desk at one urgent care clinic. She now manages patient loyalty across the approximately 100 CCP clinics. This is her story of personal and professional growth.

CCP represents a network of urgent care and primary care clinics. CCP provides the following services in addition to urgent care and primary care services: laboratory and radiology services, treatment of fractures / lacerations, immunizations, occupational health and medicine, work-related injuries, physical therapy, and on-site prescriptions. The company has locations in Oregon, Washington, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Texas, and Louisiana.

 

Transcript

Introduction

Brandy Hamar: So it is a big lift. We averaged over 10,000 calls this last year. It is why we do what we do. It truly is what sets us apart. I don't know other healthcare organization, especially in this area in Oregon, that does what we do. I get all the time from patients when I'm making those calls as, oh, you're a person.

You know, I thought my feedback just went in the air to a robot. And so I get all the time, even if they had a horrible experience 'thank you so much for following up, that means so much to me', and we make sure that they know that their concerns are going to be heard and we will pass it off to the appropriate management.

We also respond to all of our Google reviews, positive and negative. And just make sure that the patient knows that we are people and we do care, and we're here for them.

Anderson Williams: Welcome to Everyday Heroes, a podcast from Shore Capital Partners that highlights the people who are building our companies from the inside, every day, often out of the spotlight.

With this series, we want to pull those heroes out of the shadows. We want to hear their stories, we want to share their stories. We want to understand what drives them, why they do what they do, how they might inspire and support others to become everyday heroes too.

In this episode, I talk with Brandy Hamar, the Patient Loyalty Manager at Community Care Partners.

Brandy is deeply driven. And after years as a stay-at-home mom, she's returned to the workforce to find a profound sense of purpose in her work. She's also shown what an impact one person can have when they work from the heart.

Brandy Hamar: My name is Brandy Hamar, and my role is Patient Loyalty Manager for Community Care Partners.

I was born and raised in Oregon. I've been here my whole life. I will be married 27 years this coming year. We have two kids. Fun things, I decided that I wanted to pick up running at 37 years old, so I have run dozens of half marathons and I have completed four full marathons.

Anderson Williams: Wow. Good for you. My, yeah, so a little bit driven.

Yeah, I see that. So tell us how long you've been at CCP, and I know from digging a little bit more that that's been a journey for you. So will you just tell us a little bit about how you got started and that evolution?

Diving Back In

Brandy Hamar: I was a stay-at-home mom for a long time. I chose to be home with the kids, do some part-time jobs, just to make ends meet, and I was just looking for something.

I just didn't know what I wanted to do, so I got started. I saw a job fair online. I thought healthcare was something that I wasn't sure I wanted to perform, but I thought I could do my part in helping the community. So I started with Community Care Partners at the front desk. I was just really looking for something to fulfill myself and give me an identity as a person besides being just a mom.

And I've grown so much, I've accomplished so many things that I never thought that I would possibly be able to accomplish. And you know, just looking back, I'd tell myself, buckle up for this ride. Dig deep and trust that you have the skill and ability to really accomplish anything you put your mind to.

Anderson Williams: Well, and I think it's interesting and I wonder how, and the benefit of hindsight and all of that growth, you would think about this, but you started in a role that quite honestly, to me, seems absolutely brutally difficult. To work the front desk at an urgent care clinic where you're basically a place where people really don't want to be and they're in some level of crisis.

Talk about that experience and how that didn't run you away, but facilitated your growth.

Brandy Hamar: I found it as a challenge. You know, I was that mom. I was the mom that was taking my kids to urgent care. I was the mom that sat around all day and stressed out about, 'should I take my child in or not? Is this nothing?' Showing up five minutes before closing and giving them that comfort that they needed. Assuring them that they were in the right place and that we were there to help.

It didn't detour me at all. It was something that I truly enjoyed, is just being able to show the patients the care that we have is an organization for them. Front Desk has, I will say, they are the face of the company. They can make or break a visit. The front desk would be the first person that you see when you arrive and the last person you see as you leave. And just the way you speak to the patient, making sure that no matter what you're busy doing, making sure that they feel appreciated and they feel wanted, that their concerns are being heard by somebody.

That was just always my goal is to really provide that experience because of course, I've had not so great experiences.

The Compassion Aspect

Anderson Williams: And where does that come from for you? I mean, that's not a skill you can learn. Maybe you can get better at it, but I don't think that's foundationally a skill.

 

Right? Where does that come from for you?

Brandy Hamar: Yeah, so for me, mine is, like I said, it's who I was born to be. It's that compassion aspect. I just read a comment from a patient that said either one cares or one doesn't. You can't teach that. And I spoke about it in a meeting and it's so true. And if you lose that, then it's time to move on because especially in healthcare, it's so easy to get burnt out, but just remembering the golden rule, that treat others how you want to be treated and it'll come around every single time and put you back in that place.

Think about if it was your mom. Think about it as your child. That is truly my goal and my professional life as well as my personal life.

Anderson Williams: I asked Craig Simmons, the Chief Marketing Officer at Community Care Partners, about his perspective on Brandy's approach, her role, and her impact on the larger organization.

Craig Simmons: Brandy's been here since the start. She started out in our flagship clinic at the front desk. That role has historically been referred to as, creator of first impressions. That role in urgent care is the tip of the spear. Someone comes in and isn't feeling well and how they get treated by that person is the beginning of the journey.

So Brandy started out in that and did that role so well as the organization grew and started to invest in things like a Net promoter score program, she got shoulder tapped to say, hey, help us. Roll out that program to be a component of what we do here. And, uh, I can go into more detail about it later, but she's done some amazing things with that program.

Our voice of the patient program is a core strand of our cultural DNA as a company. And I gotta give Brandy Hamer a lot of credit for that.

The ‘Voice of the Patient’

Anderson Williams: And say a little bit more about the 'Voice of the Patient' program and give us a sense about what that looks like and her role in leading it.

Craig Simmons: She used to be a one woman band, and in the early years of our company, I would say she managed the complaint line.

People that got upset, we got a bad review. She would call them and try to retain the patient and let 'em know, 'oh, we're hearing, we hear you', and 'oh, we're sorry you had to experience that.' That program has now evolved to where she's got a team of four people. We drive it centrally and we actively solicit feedback from every single patient, but we don't just solicit it.

The 'Voice of the Patient' program, Brandy and her team every two weeks, does a pause with the business, prepares the scores for the last two weeks, prepares the feedback. The actual comments that people made about the teams in the clinic. Good and opportunities for improvement. And they share them with the field leadership team and then the field leadership team shares with the clinics.

Nine out of 10 pieces of feedback we get are amazing. 'You guys were amazing.' And we use that. We ring the bell, we celebrate, we provide quarterly awards for clinics that do amazing work, but the one out of 10 we use as one of our key core values is accountability. Hey, we missed the mark on that. Why? Is there a process improvement?

Is there a coaching opportunity? Are there things we should be doing different to make sure that we're actually providing the best care that is personal as possible? Our company's culture is built on our promise to our patient is providing care that is personal.

Anderson Williams: And do you have a sense of, it's one thing to be really good at managing that stress and that communication and that relationship while you're there at the front desk and interacting with that person and have those skills.

That's not an easy thing.

Craig Simmons: I think it speaks to who Brandy as an individual. We talk about Brandy having two degrees. Brandy's got a degree at FSO and GSD, 'figure stuff out' and 'get stuff done.' That's what she does. You see a company start out small and grow, can you grow at the same pace that the company grows?

And Brandy's a perfect example and probably why we nominated her for this podcast is she was able to do that and she saw the opportunity. When I first joined, Brandy had been here before me and I said, I'm like, 'what do you wanna do? What have you done? What do you wanna do? Let's talk about your career.'

And she said, 'I'll be honest. I got married young. I had kids young. I supported my husband, I supported my kids.' And she looks at me in the eye, she's like, 'now it's my turn.' I still bring that up to her. I was like, I love that. It's my turn. And she lives by it. I mean, so we gave her some opportunities, coached her along the way, and she's owned it.

Scaling Her Impact

Anderson Williams: It's clear that Brandy didn't just step back into the workforce. She dove back in, head first, and into the deep end. But just because you're personally driven and have real empathy and compassion for customers who are a lot like you, doesn't mean you can apply that to an entire company. So I wanted to hear how she's been able to scale her work.

It's one thing Brandy, to think about your compassion and your care at that front desk for that mom or that parent. You sort of see yourself in them, you know the challenge. It's a whole lot other thing to take that and expand it and scale it in an organization. What is it about you or what is it that made you want to take that very personal, very high touch experience and scale it?

Brandy Hamar: Oh, that's a good one. I believe in what we're doing. A hundred percent. So that was first and foremost. It's easy to fight for something if you truly believe in it. So I was seeing all of it. Let's take it all and let's work together. Not all these little groups, but everybody's working together to really deliver on the care that we're promising.

It's looking at it from a big picture, right? So care isn't just what you're receiving in the clinic. I sat with the billing team and said, hey, this is what I'm seeing. What can we do different? Because obviously this is a trend. So it's from that billing experience, it's from the call center experience. It's from the provider experience, it's the front desk experience. That's really what this program does.

 

We look at it from all angles and not just the care that the provider, so the doctor or the NP or the PA is giving out. It's the care that we give as a team and to our patients and to each other. We as CCP preach care that is personal and we truly do sit back and look at it from all angles and what can we do to make the patient experience from the time that they check in till the time that they pay the bill and have that full patient experience, what can we do to make it better? And again, all leaders are on board.

The Personal Touch

Anderson Williams: And what is the result of that kind of approach? Is there a story, an example of a patient, obviously, without any names or details, but is there a time where you've had a patient experience or multiple patient experience where you said that's why this approach matters.

That's why the way we are differentiating ourselves in the market matters. Is there a story that comes to mind when you think about that?

Brandy Hamar: Well, there's tons of stories. I've had so many great experiences that I've heard about from checking in. All the staff is nice. I showed up at the clinic. They were locking the doors.

They unlocked the doors and let me in and you know, still provided that same care that they would've provided to the first patient that walked in. And then, you know, I was able to talk to that billing team member who walked me through the billing process and explained to me what insurance was going to cover and what they weren't.

And that's truly an everyday thing here, to be honest. We've heard that one that really speaks out is, I heard about one, and this is more of an in-clinic thing, and a provider had seen these twins for a long time, and one of the twins had cancer and did pass, and the other twin came in and they have these little recliners in the clinic for the littles to sit on when they're there.

And the sister or the brother came in and loved the chair so much, and the provider sent the chair home with that family to remember because they loved it so much for the brother or sister to have at home. We've had providers that have waited with patients and prayed with them while the ambulance has come, you know, just every day things like this, it just, it melts your heart.

You can go on Google and you can always see all those great reviews and knowing those people firsthand, it really touches you.

Anderson Williams: So I decided to take Brandy's challenge and check out some of the Google reviews she references. I'll just say she's not overselling the impact she and her team are having.

What they're doing, and perhaps more importantly, how they are doing it has been incredibly meaningful to the people they serve. Here are just a few examples of the reviews that I found.

Google Review 1: Oh my dear, the staff knows I take chemo and comes to me in my car, so I'm not exposed to anything. The provider is so compassionate.

The nurses are sweet, and they take such good care of me and my concerns. Please let all the staff know that they're a beacon of hope for our community.

Google Review 2: They're fast, professional, efficient, but not in that cold, all facts, got no time, I'm in a hurry, make a diagnosis kind of way. But in a genuinely concerned, active listening, personable way that doesn't make you or your children uncomfortable, but still maintaining a fast paced environment.

Even if the staff has had a long, hard or stressful day, they stay kind and mindful of their patients.

Google Review 3: They have this saying on the wall about treating their patients how they would want to be treated. And how they want to treat their staff with respect and inspire them. Sorry, I'm butchering it. Anyway, the staff I worked with at the front desk were amazing.

One woman in particular, I wish I could remember her name, showed compassion and went above and beyond to accommodate my three-year-old. This is like my fifth time with this urgent care, and I seem to keep being surprised by their care and service.

Brandy’s Superpower

Anderson Williams: Despite her success in creating this kind of impact, Brandy didn't want to talk much about herself.

It was about the work. It was about the company, it was about the customer. It was about the impact. But I couldn't resist trying again for a personal reflection on her journey.

When you think about your time and big decision to come back into the workforce and to do it in healthcare and to do it in a really challenging environment in healthcare, and then over this time to grow and scale this effort that you were putting in as sort of an individual contributor.

Now you have a team doing all of that. It's a remarkable story of growth that you're unwilling to talk about yourself, but tell me a little bit in that story, what you are most proud of in terms of that journey.

Brandy Hamar: I really am most proud of looking back when I came on just not knowing what direction I wanted to go, knowing that I needed to do something.

I wasn't being fulfilled just being at home. Now that my kids were in school all day and they could really take care of themselves and coming on as working front desk. And I was pretty proud of just doing that. And I did a lot of training while I was up at the front desk. But looking at that person that I was seven years ago, I would never have been, I guess, brave enough to speak for all the other people, and especially speak up if I thought something wasn't right and speak for change.

And so just seeing the growth from where I started and then elevating the program that we have today that's used throughout our organization and 90 clinics. And just thinking back that it was me in a little cubicle speaking for 10 clinics. So yeah, I'm super proud of that and I'm super happy to see what it's done for the organization as well.

Anderson Williams: Brandy Hamar is an everyday hero whose superpower is her compassion. Brandy reentered the workforce after years of being a stay-at-home mom and started at the front desk in one urgent care clinic. In that first role, she leaned on her experience and perspective as a mom in serving and supporting patients and families with whom she had deep empathy.

She saw herself in them. Over the last several years, she's taken that same personal care and compassion and spread it across Community Care Partners and has helped build the processes and systems to sustain it as part of the DNA of the entire company.

This podcast was produced by Shore Capital Partners with story and narration by Anderson Williams. Recording and editing by Andrew Malone. Editing by Reel Audiobooks. Sound design, mixing and mastering by Mark Galup of Reel Audiobooks. Google reviews voiced by Sophie Pollard, Drew Mascari and Hallie Becker.

Special thanks to Brandy Hamar and Craig Simmons.

This podcast is the property of Shore Capital Partners, LLC. None of the content herein is investment advice an offer of investment advisory services, nor a recommendation or offer relating to any security. See the terms of use page on the Shore Capital website for other important information.

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