To say that Christian Fletcher, CEO of LifeBrite Hospital Group, is a man with strong convictions might be the understatement of the century.
Christian and his wife Amber started LifeBrite Hospital Group out of concern for a major epidemic facing small rural community hospitals throughout America. The increased closures of these hospitals touched the Fletchers deeply, as it leaves rural townspeople to drive 1-3 hours away to get the critical healthcare they needed. After all, nearly 1 in 5 Americans live in rural areas and really reply upon their community hospitals for care ranging from the flu to a broken bone to more urgent medical conditions. In addition, many of these rural hospitals run skilled nursing facilities, so when they close, elderly patients are displaced, and families that care for them are left desperate for solutions.
Christian’s deep empathy with the elderly began in his early years, when he volunteered his time at a skilled nursing facility in his hometown of Mobile, Alabama. He became particularly close to an Alzheimer’s patient when they just “clicked” with each other. “He made a huge impact on me,” remarked Christian. “This man thought I was either his son or his grandson, and he looked forward to my visits and lit up when I walked in the door.”
The Fletchers, to date, have purchased hospitals in Blakely, Georgia (LifeBrite Community Hospital of Early) and Danbury, North Carolina (LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes). These two hospitals were acquired out of bankruptcy, and the Fletcher’s LifeBrite Hospital Group’s purchase was exactly what these two facilities needed to stay alive. With the acquisition, both hospitals were able to continue providing essential services to the community they serve and accomplish things that were beneficial to these vulnerable communities.
Christian often walks the halls of these hospitals, checking in on things and providing morale boosts to the workers in the facility. “The work we do – it gives tremendous purpose to our lives,” says Christian. “These hospitals were on the verge of closing, and through our company LifeBrite Hospital Group, we [Christian and Amber] get to play a personal role in sustaining them.” So far, they’ve been able to provide both hospitals with new invaluable technology and recruit non-employed physicians in nearby larger cities to do surgeries in their ambulatory surgery center. They also have been able to market open beds in their skilled nursing facilities to referral sources such as other hospitals and physician practices.
Other philanthropic endeavors
Home might be Mobile, Alabama, but after a stint in Los Angeles, the Fletchers have lived in Atlanta since 2014. These two still maintain deep roots in Mobile, engaging with a local church there to build a new facility encompassing church and youth. This facility and its programs for youth are more than just spiritual outlets – they teach courses ranging from STEM to entrepreneurship. “It’s a full gamut of youth life,” says Christian. “We envision it becoming a center of influence – not just church-related things but also valuable life skills such as tutoring, job skills, resume-building, athletics, and philanthropy. This will be a place where the youth actually desire to go.” It’s very much a “come as you are” type of program: no dress code, no money needed – a real changing force in the community.
Back in Atlanta, Christian and Amber have been involved with organizations that are working to start up schools focused on inner-city “at-risk” youth. These schools will focus on young people who’ve grown up in bad circumstances in impoverished areas for which they had no control. Their goal is to teach young people that you CAN rise above your circumstances intellectually. Says Christian, “I’m quite passionate about helping those without equal opportunities. Opportunities many of us had growing up aren’t afforded to everyone. I’ve always operated spiritually – from my heart, and not for accolades.”
As if the Fletchers don’t sound busy enough to you, they are both in the process of finishing up Master’s Degrees (Christian from George Washington University, and Amber from the University of Alabama in Birmingham). And they also manage to spend a lot of quality time with their four very active children, including one brand-new baby (all under the age of eight).
Needless to say, this humble power couple is living proof that the power of prayer, empathy, and philanthropy can make profound changes in the communities around you.