Fairport Baptist Homes Caring Ministries' first new president and CEO in two decades has a big job ahead.
Edward Burleigh took the helm in late November and joined the organization as it revamps its strategic plan and faces changes in the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
"In the first quarter I'll be meeting with the board and senior management here ..., working on revising and developing a strategic plan for the next three years," Burleigh said. "Our goal is to have a workable strategic plan for the future."
The board announced Burleigh's selection in late October, at the end of a yearlong search process.
Burleigh succeeds the retired Garth Brokaw, who led Fairport Baptist Homes for the last 21 years. He was with the organization 31 years, starting in 1980 as chaplain. Its assisted-living community is named for him.
Joseph Anderson, chairman of Fairport Baptist Homes, said it may be hard to fill the shoes of a fixture such as Brokaw, but Burleigh is off to an excellent start.
"Things are going extremely well," Anderson said. "He's already spent time with a number of leaders in the community, and we're looking forward to him being an important part of that community as he takes Fairport Baptist Homes to the next level."
Because the roles of president and CEO entail overseeing Fairport Baptist Homes and the organization's fundraising arm, Fairport Baptist Homes Foundation, the search committee sought a candidate with experience in fundraising. Familiarity with faith-based organizations was also key, Anderson added.
"We were looking for someone who had extensive long-term care experience in a faith-based, not-for-profit environment," Anderson said. "The faith-based piece was important, as Fairport Baptist Homes is a 107-year-old Baptist-based organization, so we wanted to make sure the individual was comfortable in that environment."
Burleigh previously served as president and CEO of Evangelical Services for the Aging in Hatboro, Pa., and CEO of Monroe Village of Jamesburg, N.J.
The board is refining the organization's strategic plan to place a greater emphasis on marketing, so the search process also looked for candidates with a strong background in this area, Anderson said. Fairport Baptist Homes plans a greater outreach to the community and donors.
"We have an excellent program but don't advertise it as much as some of the other nursing facilities," Anderson said. "We want to make sure that we get our name out there in the community more than we had in the past. The other focus is on building stronger donor relationships from a foundation standpoint, so our marketing is a two-pronged approach."
Marketing expertise was an important consideration in selecting Burleigh, Anderson said. As part of the strategic plan, Burleigh would strengthen the organization's relationship with the American Baptist churches throughout the region. This is also part of the plan to bring in more donors, he added.
Burleigh will lead Fairport Baptist Homes through some changes, Anderson noted. Just before he joined the organization, the board decided to close the day care program for children that it had operated for 14 years. Anderson said the program was no longer financially viable, but Fairport Baptist Homes does plan to continue the spirit of its mission.
"That kind of intergenerational interaction is something we want to continue, and one of the things Ed will be looking at is making sure the residents still enjoy that interaction with children," Anderson said.
Burleigh also guides the organization through a shifting funding landscape, Anderson noted. With changes for Medicare and Medicaid funding looming, the search committee considered whether a candidate from New York who has dealt with the state's unique regulatory issues might be better suited, but ultimately it decided Burleigh was best for the job.
"We talked a bit about finding someone from New York but concluded that some of the issues go across the board and that Ed would be able to come in and become knowledgeable about those nuances," Anderson said. "In just the first few weeks he's been here, Ed has already caught on quickly and is working with a network of CEOs in the area. We knew Ed would be able to learn quickly and meet the challenges we face in this area."
Burleigh added that the Medicaid system in Pennsylvania is similar to the one in New York and that the need for greater efficiency is true of health care organizations regardless of location.
"I think the challenges we face here at Fairport Baptist Homes are the challenges the industry in general faces," he said. "The challenge of reimbursement cuts for Medicare and Medicaid is something that requires us all to be more creative and to look at all of our costs in a way that leads us to provide better care with fewer resources."
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