Features

Jason Bush – Diakonos Group

Following his father, a CFO helps evolve geriatric healthcare

After a geriatric patient undergoes a surgical procedure like a hip replacement, physical therapy is just one part of recovery. The other is growing comfortable with daily tasks, such as dusting or grocery shopping. Since 2014, Jason Bush has been helping the skilled nursing and rehabilitation facilities associated with the Diakonos Group offer both types of therapy to its residents.  

Jason Bush | Chief Financial Officer | Diakonos Group

Jason Bush | Chief Financial Officer | Diakonos Group

For an average of 21 days post-surgery, skilled residents—meaning patients that don’t need long-term help—receive care and therapy from registered nurses, physical therapists and dieticians.        

Through the Green House Project at Diakonos, this care will be expanded. Certified nursing assistants will cook meals for post-acute patients. After about a week, they’ll encourage the residents to handle meal preparation, cooking, cleaning up and washing dishes, preparing them for a return to home life.  

“We’re not asking them to mow lawns but handle regular tasks like laundry and other household chores,” says Bush, who was promoted to the company’s chief financial officer in January 2021. “That’s why our Green House Project is so important.”    

Jason Bush | Chief Financial Officer | Diakonos Group

When participating in the Green House Project, patients will live in small homes with no more than 16 residents. That’s instead of occupying rooms in much larger buildings without home settings or the same opportunity to re-learn vital skills. 

“In nursing, the Green House homes aren’t about growing plants but growing patients—helping them feel that these locations are their home away from home,” Bush says. 

Stepping into digital comfort  

Bush has been equally excited about the rollout of a new software called OnShift even though he faced challenges finding the budget for it. 

“Unfortunately, at Diakonos, I’m the guy who usually has to say ‘no.’ The owner once surprised me with a gag gift, a physical ‘no’ button,” he tells Vision with a laugh. “Still, I try to say ‘yes’ whenever I can, especially when the money will benefit our residents, staff and vendors.” 

Jason Bush | Chief Financial Officer | Diakonos Group

The software, called OnShift, will soon replace the manual process of finding nurses to cover employees who call in sick. It will do this by automatically notifying available nurses of openings instead of the current system, which involves managers placing calls to nurses one-by-one for 14 locations.  

It’s not the only smart use of technology. Through an app, nurses, employees and therapists now use facial recognition to log their hours instead of manually entering the information. Bush is combining that app with a financial software called DreamCore made by Prone 2 Dream Technologies. Dreamcore helps him track the number of employees at each location and tap into payroll and scheduling systems. 

Combined, Bush says these changes have enhanced his ability to manage costs and to do it in real time. 

“Before, it was like my 13-year-old going to take a test and finding out 45 days later that the homework he did in the weeks before the exam was wrong,” Bush says. “With this new tech, we can now be a few steps ahead.” 

Faith and family footsteps  

For Bush, working at Diakonos is doubly rewarding because he gets to keep his father’s legacy alive. In 2003, Scott Pilgrim started Diakonos Group and, shortly thereafter, hired Bush’s father, Bill Bush, as the company’s chief financial officer.  

Bush followed in his father’s footsteps almost by accident. In 2014, he left his 8-year position as a controller with a company in Oklahoma to move to Berkeley, California, with his wife and children. This would allow his wife, an ordained Methodist minister, to finish her doctorate.  

Jason Bush | Chief Financial Officer | Diakonos Group

Searching for a job, the Oklahoma City University graduate with 16 years of experience at that time called his father, who told him that Diakonos could use someone for remote work. Bush began accounting consulting as an account clerk for the company. A year later, he accepted a position as its controller.  

In 2020, Bush’s father began training him to take over the chief financial officer role. Bill Bush passed away in October 2020 from COVID-19. It was nine months before he was set to retire. 

“Not only did I lose my father, but our owner Scott lost a close friend—and the company lost over half a century of experience overnight,” Bush says. “Scott has been extremely patient, as I’ve been learning the ropes as quickly as possible. Now, I’m enjoying helping bring about wonderful changes and evolutions—things that I think would have made my father proud and excited.” 

View this feature in the Vol. III 2023 Edition here.

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