Farewell, Bill Borne
Contrary to what you might think (and frankly, it surprises even me), I take no great joy in the announcement that Bill Borne has stepped down as CEO of Amedisys. For the sake of Amedisys, it needed to happen but there would be no Amedisys at all if not for Bill.
In the early 90’s Amedisys was a very young company fueled by a handful of un-medicated junior execs with severe ADD bouncing around like Brownian motion. There were no senior executives to set limits for us but we had Bill with his pipedream of one day being the largest homecare provider in the US. Nobody knew what they were supposed to be doing doing but we always made it a point to be doing something.
There are certainly psychologists and urban anthropologists who study corporations and behavior. An entire graduate thesis could be written about how Amedisys went from being an unknown agency in a southern city to one of the largest and most successful post-acute care providers in the nation to being the company with the 150M settlement and tarnished reputation.
An advanced degree isn’t required to see that the real problem is that Amedisys simply grew up. The values that were held close in every task and idea by the younger Amedisys were gradually replaced with Corporate cliché’s. The practiced speeches where key points were repeated three times because the speech coach recommended it took the place of genuine communication.
The grown up Amedisys and the grown up Bill Borne just weren’t fun anymore. The primary outcome used as a benchmark by almost everyone in the organization was the price per share of stock. Image mattered more than ever. The spontaneity, imagination and creativity that drove a young company to greatness were so ingrained into the fabric of Amedisys that no one ever really noticed them.
The grown-up Bill Borne lived to please investors to keep the price of stock high. He got so carried away with making the shareholders happy that he forgot that others had invested a hell of a lot more than money in his company. Those of us who bled Amedisys Green didn’t think there were other options for us until we no longer had a choice. We were well prepared – that much I will say.
To this day, I am grateful for everything I learned from Bill Borne and from Amedisys. I learned from Bill that I can simply blaze my own trail if I don’t like the one laid out for me. I made friends that will last much longer than Amedisys. I learned the difference between being driven to accomplish a mission and ambition for the sake of power. I know from my time at Amedisys that being passionate out loud about your job is dangerous but being silent for the sake of playing nicely in the sandbox is cowardly and I have seen how ugly well-behaved cowards can be.
I am even more grateful to be gone.
Bill Borne walked away from Amedisys this morning but he gave his company away years ago. The shareholders replaced patients as a priority and the board of directors replaced his employees as the people to whom he was accountable. Patients are not commodities and the answer to problems isn’t terminating a scapegoat.
The Bill Borne wanna-be that walked away this morning had but a passing acquaintance with authenticity. For those of you who never met the authentic Bill, you missed someone important but he hasn’t been around for years.
I wish Bill luck and love in abundance. I mean that. I hope he finds a little flame and sets the world on fire for a cause other than the price of stock.
I wish Amedisys luck in finding their way in this healthcare maze. They have the ability and resources to redesign home health and set the industry standard or put all of their energy into trying to get the stock price back up to where it belongs. We shall see.
Julianne, We all learned a lot from our time with Bill. I learned there are no boundaries, no limitations and no obstacles you can’t overcome if you allow yourself. I learned that with hard work and a group of passionate motivated people, you can achieve more than you ever imagined. I also learned that building something based on quality and clinical excellence, brings you a great deal of satisfaction. I’m proud of my time with Bill and equally as pleased with the timing of my exit. The culture of the old AMEDISYS was defined by an odd but faithful group. For the industry’s sake, I hope a another new Amedisys emerges. For Bill’s sake, I hope he moves on to another adventure and enjoys the rest of his journey. Lynne
Lynne Hebert Division Vice President, Regional Chief Clinical Officer Senior Home Care An Affiliate of Kindred at Home 311 Park Place Blvd., Suite 500 Clearwater, FL 33759 727.533.9700 225.281.0795 cell 727.531.3450 fax http://www.seniorhomecare.net
Lynne, having worked with you over the years status post Amedisys, I know for a fact that the lessons you learned from Bill have underlied all of accomplishments since your exit. I guess some people never get old. I know you were referring to Goldie and Mitch when you spoke of the odd culture that defined Amedisys so I won’t take offense. I also am proud to recognize that you were and continue to be a wonderful teacher and you, Mitchell, Goldie and more are still among the people I consider to be friends and colleagues that add a little more than you take from your post Amedisys adventures.
To this day, I do not like telling you what you don’t want to hear but not telling you would be fatal to our professional relationship. So I have built my business telling the truth to clients and so far, it seems to be working.
Having worked with Bill Borne for 10 years within the company and six more years as a consultant, I must say that his intelligence, determination and vision were important in raising Amedisys out of the realm of a regional home care company to national prominence. He did however have the help of a lot of talented people. I was sad to read the announcement yesterday of his leaving. He was the driving force in the company. I hope that others will take up the leadership role and continue to grow the company to serve more people and continue to develop the clinicians, administrators and others to be passionate about what they do and to be the best that they can possibly be. I hope that Bill finds a new role that will challenge him and use his talents.
Barbara C. Carey
Baton Rouge, LA.
We shall see, Barbara.
The difference between healthcare and leadership is that leadership has no evidence based practices to follow. What worked yesterday and what worked for one leader will be out of date and ineffective for another. It will be interesting to watch from the sidelines.
I worked for Gentiva before it was Gentiva and know exactly what you mean.
Well said Julianne, well said.
I am forever grateful to Bill for the seven years I spent at Amedisys. Six of those years patients mattered. Then Larry Graham became obsessed with us becoming a billion dollar company. We all know what happened to Larry and Bill and many others from that time on. I wish Bill had found his way back. We still texted occasionally but these last few years he had seemed weary. He certainly is set for life, so I hope he relaxes, recharges, and rememebers why he started Amedisys and why he loved those of us who helped grow it by putting patient care first and by living the Core Principles. Then maybe some of us can grow something else and help lots of seniors. But sadly, I doubt that will ever happen.