Case Study: Windstream Small Business Serenity Hospice

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Serenity Hospice was created in 2003, by a passionate registered nurse and her best friend. Owned and operated by a veteran oncology field nurse, its mission is simple: to provide exceptional day-to-day quality of life for patients with life-limiting illness.
With combined hospice nursing experience of more than 200 years, the Serenity team has earned
great insight into the daily management of disease processes and the turmoil this may cause for a
family. Serenity Hospice works with family members to create a peaceful symptom free environment for
loved ones who require their services.

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Case Study: Windstream Small Business Serenity Hospice

  1. 1. CASE STUDY         Serenity HospiceThe CustomerSerenity Hospice was created in 2003, by a passionate registered nurse and her best friend. Ownedand operated by a veteran oncology field nurse, its mission is simple: to provide exceptional day-to-dayquality of life for patients with life-limiting illness.With combined hospice nursing experience of more than 200 years, the Serenity team has earnedgreat insight into the daily management of disease processes and the turmoil this may cause for afamily. Serenity Hospice works with family members to create a peaceful symptom free environment forloved ones who require their services.The ChallengeLike many businesses in New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina delivered what could have been a knockoutblow to Serenity Hospice. “Before the storm hit, we had phone lines, fax lines and Internet service,”says Jackie Diamond, Serenity’s president. “After Katrina hit, we had no way of communicating withour staff or our patients and their families. After the storm, we had no control of the time line in gettingthings back up and running.”Serenity’s laundry list of problems was not uncommon in post-Katrina New Orleans; Diamond’s teamhad forwarded calls, as they left New Orleans for Baton Rouge, from Serenity’s telephone number tothe its answering service. “But the answering service lost power as well, and we had no way to switchour number from their number. If someone called our number, the phone would ring but was neveranswered. There was no way to reach us,” she says. “Our telephone provider at the time told us, ‘wecan get you up and running but it could take six months or longer.’”Diamond was finally able to get Serenity’s previous phone company to establish a landline in BatonRouge, but it took six weeks to do so. “It was like an act of Congress to get the phones switched,” shesaid. “It was too much red tape to go through. My partner and I decided we needed to find anothertelephone service provider, and quickly.”When Serenity Hospice was finally able to move back into its New Orleans office, Diamond switchedproviders. In addition to her voice lines, she still required five fax lines to handle the requirementsassociated with the care of her company’s patients. For instance, she needed to forward papers todoctors; those papers had to be signed and returned within 72 hours to meet Federal requirements. “Itwas a lot easier to fax the papers than ride around and get them signed in person,” Diamond says.“Even today, while Medicare will accept email confirmation, we still need to faxed documents to meetMedicaid’s requirements.”
  2. 2. CASE STUDY        But Diamond noted that her new provider still wasn’t delivering the level of service she’d beenpromised. “We had T-1 service, but it wasn’t doing the job. Trying to log onto a website meantsignificant delays. Getting or sending emails were also slow, and delayed. If someone sent an email, itcould take minutes or even longer before it arrived. We were told there would be a significant changein speed when we upgraded, but it wasn’t there.”It was time to find another provider. Serenity Hospice found Windstream.The SolutionFrom the beginning, Jackie Diamond realized that Windstream was going to deliver a better level ofservice, at less cost.“Being in healthcare, phones are our first line of communication. Windstream offered us a bundle likethe others with Internet access, but the deal clincher was the reliability we got from them,” she says. “Inmy business, reliability and uptime are critical. When a family member passes away, a relative must beable to get in touch with the nurse, especially since most of our care is administered at the patient’shome. If the phones aren’t working, our business and reputation suffers. And as an owner, any kind ofdisconnect is not acceptable, not only from me but from the families we serve. That’s why phonereliability is so important.”Diamond contracted with Windstream, and was immediately impressed. “When we converted to theirservice, they were there when they said they’d be there…and the conversion was done in less than 90minutes. And every day, Windstream’s level of service meets or exceeds our expectations. It’sreliable, and there’s no downtime or lag time when we’re using the Internet to receive or send emails.And I take advantage of Windstream’s online, automatic billing; I know I’m going to pay one price everymonth.”She’s particularly impressed by the ability Windstream gives her to use her iPhone to auto-forward callsto the answering service when the office is closed for the day.“ If the receptionist accidentally left the office without transferring the phones over to the answeringservice or if the electricity went out in the past, I would have to go into the office to make sure the callswere forwarded. Now, I can activate the auto-call forwarding from my iPhone. I can be anywhere, andI don’t even need a computer.”Diamond says she’s recommended Windstream to others as a great service. “Everything Windstreamhas promised they have delivered and followed through,” she said.
  3. 3. CASE STUDY        The FutureIn the years since Hurricane Katrina, Serenity Hospice has continued to grow, and has continued to relyon Windstream to meet its telecommunications needs.“We’ve added phone lines, and they were done promptly and without any complications,” Diamondsays. “Were looking to continue our growth over the next couple of years. It can be pretty tough forindependent companies like ours to survive; it’s important to keep a close watch on expenditures andproductivity and reliability.“But I rely on Windstream. If the phones or Internet are down, your employees can’t work, and we haveno way of communicating with our staff or patients and their families. For a small agency like ours,that’s crucial. And I know that Windstream will be there to work with us at every step of the way.”

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