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Getting to Know VHCA-VCAL Chairman Vernon Baker

Getting to Know VHCA-VCAL Chairman Vernon Baker

vernon_bakerVernon Baker, Administrator at Dogwood Village of Orange County, is completing his first one-year term as the VHCA-VCAL Chairman of the Board.  He will begin his second term on January 1, 2017.  He has shared his thoughts on where VHCA-VCAL and the profession are going, as well as a bit about himself.

What path brought you into long term care? I got here indirectly.  I became interested in going into physical therapy and working and volunteering in PT at the hospital.  Then I worked in a nursing home for two summers and fell in love with that side of things.  I got my AIT in October of 1989 and was licensed in February of 1991.

Where did you grow up and why aren’t you there now? Blacksburg.  I’m not there now because I’ve moved for job opportunities.  I now live in Charlottesville with my wife.

What are you most passionate about professionally? Making sure that my staff and I treat others as I would want to be treated or have my loved ones treated.  That extends to my staff as well—I treat them like I want to be treated.

What most excites you about VHCA-VCAL and the contribution you can make as Chairman?  To promote our industry and to help carry the industry into the future, even though we don’t know what that looks like.  These are exciting challenging times with a lot of opportunity to make our part of the health care delivery system more in the forefront than it’s ever been.

What do you think will be different about VHCA-VCAL after you tenure as Chairman?  We will be on a more focused path of taking the organization and the membership into the future.  We’re operating in a highly competitive market focused on meeting quantitative, measurable parameters.  The association should be providing us resources in these areas so we can continue to serve our populations in the best means possible.

What do you see as the biggest challenges/opportunities facing VHCA-VCAL? For member centers, their challenge is surviving all the changes ahead.  For the association, its challenge is continuing to stay on top of what the members need to help them be successful.  The biggest challenge will always be to see what they need—political action, education, representation before government  entities, dealing with managed care like the CCC Plus program.

What are you passionate about personally? My family.  I’ve been married for 26 years to my high school sweetheart and best friend.  It’s not that we’re perfect, but compared to most, it’s a storybook.  She’s a teacher and is passionate about what she does.  We both love to go to work and love to go home every day.  We have two children, a son and a daughter.  I talk to my son and daughter almost every day to check in.  If I don’t call them, they call me, which is pretty cool.

Where can we find you when you’re not working? We have a great group of friends we do things with like going to sporting events and celebrating birthdays.  I like to spend time gardening out in the yard and going for walks with our two beagles.  I also play golf, but haven’t yet gotten paired up with a legislator at the PAC tournament.

What would be impossible for you to give up? It would be impossible to give up my faith and relationship with God.  I try to read my Bible every day.

Anything else you’d like to tell people about yourself?  I love learning more about the industry and learning from my peers—other administrators and owners.  I love learning from others what they’re doing, and what they’re seeking out.  This comradery is one of the great opportunities within VHCA-VCAL with its great, friendly, supportive atmosphere.  I have always enjoyed going to meetings and serving and knowing what’s going on.

What’s the most unusual thing in your desk drawer?  A screwdriver.  It comes in handy when someone needs help.

In your work what concepts are sacred?  I tell the staff and live by not doing anything illegal, immoral or unethical.  If a surveyor is here, tell the truth.  If we get in trouble by telling the truth, we’ll take care of that.

What is your grand, audacious goal? My goal that I’m always striving for is to be a top performer in my industry.  Since I’m a stand-alone entity here in Orange, I want to be a top performer in everything that’s measurable—Five-Star, quality, satisfaction scores, employee retention. 


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