Autumn Woods News

2022 Women of Distinction Hall of Honor – Susan Grigg, RN, BSN, CRRN, LNC, LNHA, Chief Executive Officer

February 28, 2022 Uncategorized
  • Nominee Job History

Susan Grigg, RN, BSN, CRRN, LNC, LNHA, is currently the Chief Executive Officer for 17 skilled nursing and rehabilitation facilities and 1 assisted living facility in three portfolios that include the McGuire Group, VestraCare and RCA Healthcare Management/Absolut Care.

In this capacity, she is responsible for managing the overall operations and ensuring regulatory compliance for the three-portfolio enterprise that includes 4,200 health care professionals and 3,200 residents.

Sue previously served as the Chief Operating Officer for the three portfolios and has held a number of roles within the McGuire Group portfolio for the last 15 years, including Vice President of Health Care Services and Administrator of Quality and Compliance. In addition, she serves as a Legal Nurse Consultant for a local law firm where she provides medical record review and analysis as well as defense litigation preparation. She has also held roles as a Director of Nursing at The McAuley Residence and Elderwood, as well as unit manager positions at Elderwood.

  • List the nominee’s exceptional achievements and contributions or service. This can also include outside activities, such as charitable efforts, academic accomplishments, family or personal interests 

Susan holds a bachelor of science in nursing from Grand Canyon University and an associate in applied science in nursing from Niagara County Community College.

She is a licensed New York State nursing home administrator, registered nurse, certified rehab registered nurse and holds certifications for Train-the-Trainer and advanced life support.

She is a member of the Professional Nurses Association of WNY and NYSHFA Nurse Leadership Institute. Sue was the 2021 recipient of Business First’s Excellence in Health Care award.

  • Is there anything else about your nominee that you would like the judging panel to consider?

When asked why she wanted to be a nurse, she responded: My grandmother was a nurse, so I grew up seeing the lives she touched and the loving care she extended to others. I intuitively knew that I was born to help others.

  • Why should McKnight’s select this nominee? 

Standing just slightly over 5 feet tall, Sue Grigg is a giant in the long-term care arena. She is strong in ethical convictions while not abrasive, self-confident but not self-righteous and generous without expecting reciprocity. Her encyclopedic mind for operations and regulations, coupled with an expansive nursing knowledge, defines her as one of our region’s most respected leaders.

Perhaps, more than in any other profession, health care employees have witnessed the harsh consequences of the Covid-19 virus. As a Registered Nurse and Chief Executive Officer, Sue has played a pivotal role in guiding our organization during these unprecedented times. Her contributions are that of a true leader; a reflection of dedication, integrity and resilience on what seems to be a never-ending journey.

She has invested thousands of working hours over the last two years to stay abreast of changing regulations, integrate compliance protocols and research new clinical measures to ensure the health and safety of our residents and employees. As a result, she played an  essential role in initiating game-changing moves throughout the pandemic including:

  • Even before the virus reached the east coast, she had a team of people working on sourcing personal protective equipment (PPE) from around the world. To date, the company has spent several million dollars on PPE to ensure the health and safety of the staff and residents. Not only were they protected, staff were encouraged to take home PPE for family members to keep them safe. In addition, a drive-through mask give-away was hosted at the corporate center to provide masks to first responders and other community health care personnel when the pandemic first began.
  • Sue and the executive team made bold moves at the beginning of the pandemic by being one of the first operators in the area to voluntarily limit visitation at the nursing facilities in an effort to keep the residents and staff safe.
  • Partnering with regional health systems on the opening of the area’s first COVID-only facility in Orchard Park.
  • Transforming the McGuire Group’s Harris Hill Nursing Facility in Williamsville into a specialized Covid-only center designed to accept patients from hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living facilities throughout the Western New York area. This was an essential step in lightening the burden along the continuum of care, but especially within the McGuire Group facilities, as it allowed newly positive residents to be transferred to Harris Hill, keeping the sister facilities virus-free.

In order to make this happen, Sue worked with the clinical and executive teams to integrate sophisticated COVID-focused treatment plans while establishing testing and isolation protocols to prevent further contamination. Overall, more than 1,000 individuals were treated and recovered from the virus at Harris Hill.

The facility’s designation as a Covid-only center also meant that staff treated a record number of admissions during an intense six-month period. During this time, Sue worked to provide our team with the knowledge and materials needed to educate the staff about the importance of infection control measures. This effort paid off resulting zero deficiencies from the Department of Health during its infection control surveys.

  • Sue was also instrumental in making it possible for Harris Hill to be the first nursing home in Western New York to offer monoclonal antibody infusions for the treatment of high-risk Covid patients. She and the team worked closely with local physicians to develop protocols for administration and Overall, the treatment was found to be effective when administered early and helped reduce the need for hospitalizations. Notably, this level of treatment also allowed patients to be cared for at the facility, creating a more comfortable recovery environment and reducing the burden on the hospital system. Based on the success of the program, monoclonal antibody infusions were rolled out at facilities in all three portfolios.
  • Likewise, similar measures were taken at VestraCare’s Bishop Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in the opening of a designated Covid-only unit in 2020 which accepted 65 Covid-19 patients from local hospitals, significantly more than other area nursing homes. By doing so, Bishop helped hospitals maintain enough open beds so Central New York could meet the state’s guidelines for reopening. Likewise, in December of 2021 Bishop once again took measures to assist local hospitals and health care providers by opening a 35-bed Covid-only unit to meet the growing need during a new wave of cases due to the Omicron variant.

Sue has stated that the sharing of information and innovative best practices has crossed all boundaries in the health-care landscape when it comes to fighting Covid-19. Facilities that were once competitors have become partners to protect residents, employees and one another. Joint collaborations serve as the lifeblood for developing timely and effective means to treat the sick, control the spread, share resources and temper anxiety as each day brings new challenges and opportunities. Communication is key, whether with employees, residents’ family members, partners or the community at large. It’s our team’s critical thinking and forethought that has allowed us to implement programs that make an impactful difference in the fight against Covid-19.

Outside of the many COVID-related initiatives Sue has spearheaded, she has also been responsible for developing and implementing many of the programs that serve as the backbone of our company and are regarded as benchmarks in the industry for quality and best practice.

They include:

  • Developing successful subacute rehabilitation programs that deliver post-hospital healing to thousands of patients each year.
  • Two complex medical care units, both earning the distinction of being the first of their kind in their respective geographic locations.
  • An in-house hospice unit, which serves as a model for others in the industry.
  • An Appropriate Level of Care, ALOC, program designed to reduce hospital admissions and provide care through an established provider network.
  • In-house dialysis dens offering unique 5-day gentle dialysis protocols
  • Implementation of an in-house ventilator-dependent unit

As someone who holds a number of degrees and licensures, Sue understands the value of career growth and education for employees. She has had a hand in overseeing initiatives for robust educational opportunities that include:

  • Collaborating with 1199SEIU Upstate healthcare union and Trocaire College on an apprenticeship program through a workforce development grant from NY state to help close skills gaps within the nursing workforce.
  • A New York State approved Certified Nursing Assistant Training Program consisting of both didactic and clinical components. The program runs throughout the year and typically results in the certification of more than 500 individuals annually.
  • Partnering with local universities and colleges to sponsor employees who are looking to enhance or change their career paths. To date, the company has assisted more than 600 employees to become RNs and LPNs.
  • Partnerships with local colleges to offer in-house career ladder training for LPNs and RNs as well as CNA training programs. This has included Trocaire College, Erie1 and Erie 2 BOCES, D’Youville College, Corning Community College and a number of others currently in the development stages.

Sue’s leadership can also be evidenced in the unbiased reporting by the federal and state governments which continually reflect outstanding five-star ratings across the board for all of the McGuire Group’s facilities. In addition, the McGuire Group is the only multi-facility organization in that state to have all of its facilities finish in the top quintile of NY State’s quality benchmarking measure for eight out of eight years. This distinction is reflective of Sue’s unique ability to motivate those around her to provide the best care possible.

Sue’s unparalleled contributions are extended beyond the doors of The McGuire Group when she shares her extensive knowledge with executives from other local health care facilities. She works with the facilities to ensure that they’re meeting requirements and helps them achieve attainable goals in the areas that are weak. While doing this, she not only identifies areas of concern, but also suggests ways to solve the issues, such as rewriting a policy, bringing in additional resources or effectively closing a loop. The facilities that she has helped have seen direct impacts to both their state survey results as well as their CMI (Case Mix Index), which directly impacts reimbursement. Additionally, she serves as a legal nurse consultant where she has been called upon as an expert by defense attorneys in nursing home litigations.

Whether it’s guiding an organization through a global pandemic, establishing thresholds for industry best practices or serving as a role model and leader, Sue is a true blessing to the long-term care industry. It is with honor that we nominate our spit-fire leader, Susan Grigg, for the 2022 Women of Distinction Hall of Honor Award.

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