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Chris Slimmer

Creative Solutions in Healthcare

Most health care providers in the Fort Worth area have probably never heard of Creative Solutions in Health Care, but the Fort Worth-based company owns and operates 51 skilled nursing homes and 13 assisted living facilities that are now caring for almost 3,200 residents throughout Texas.

Since Chris Slimmer joined the company as CFO three years ago, some 27 new locations have been added and revenue has more than doubled, from $105 million to $240 million. Creative Solutions is now buying many of its once-leased nursing homes as well as adding new ones, and plans call for opening its first Fort Worth facility in 2013.

The company recently bought the first four facilities it opened, including Granbury Care Center, its flagship nursing home.
“We fly under the radar, but we are adding about seven new properties a year,” Slimmer says. “Our homes are mostly in small towns and rural areas, and each market is operated as an individual corporate unit. Our people don’t like to see large corporations come in from the outside and take over.

“We go in and make major improvements in the quality of living for our residents, with emphasis on things like diet,” Slimmer says. “We are the only skilled nursing home provider in Texas to serve only registered Angus beef. Our people deserve it – and they demand it.”

Slimmer is best known for fostering strong relationships with vendors and financial partners and for working closely with his COO, CEO and vice presidents to determine how changes in the economy and health care legislation and regulations will affect all departments of Creative Solutions.

“It is pretty challenging to understand the total impact and make changes in the abbreviated time frame that we have today. Our finance department had a lot of gaps, and we closed the gaps, improved the auditing and accounting departments and the AP [accounts payable] department. The whole flow of money and how we manage it has improved, and that in turn allows us to really invest more in making major improvements in quality for our residents,” Slimmer says.

“What Chris has done for our company is to promote the kind of efficiencies that make it possible for us to continue offering the highest quality care for seniors despite reduced reimbursement rates and constantly changing regulations,” says Gary Blake, co-founder of the company. “Our company’s top priority is to care for seniors with the respect, compassion and dignity they deserve.”

What is the best piece of financial advice you’ve ever received?

Budget well and invest in things you understand.

What books/publications do you read to stay ahead in your industry?

Recently, I read Good To Great to learn about what led to companies’ successes or failures. There are countless articles from various publications and government agencies to stay ahead of regulatory changes. I also read Golf Digest, which has no relation to my industry, but my golf game needs all the help it can get.

Who would you say is your hero/someone you look up to, and why?

My parents are my heroes. Someone I look up to (figuratively and literally) is Felix Baumgartner after his supersonic free-fall from the edge of space. That was amazing and showed what people can do if they remove the barriers around them. I am waiting for my invitation for the next time around…

– Carolyn Poirot

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