Jim Zorich frequently heard from fellow physical therapists about the high expectations placed on Homeland Center staff. When he started working here, he understood why.
“If you truly care about the residents and everybody that’s involved with Homeland, the work is not hard, and you’re going to enjoy your job,” he says.
That distinction ripples into the lives of residents and their families.
“We focus on meeting the residents’ needs,’’ he says. “There are always activities going on. The nursing staff is always present.’’
Now, Jim Zorich is in a new phase of life. He recently went from physical therapist to Administrative Assistant of Quality Assurance, becoming responsible for upholding Homeland’s renowned quality of care.
Born and raised in the northwestern Pennsylvania town of Warren, early-on Jim saw a chance for a fulfilling career in physical therapy. He graduated from a seven-year doctoral program at Gannon University in Erie.
“Physical therapy is changing and evolving all the time,” he says. “There is constantly research being conducted for evidence-based therapy that will help ease pain and improve strength. There’s never a point where you’ve truly mastered or know it all.”
Jim’s innate passion for helping people became ingrained while in college after undergoing treatments and surgeries for a lifelong, hereditary condition associated with certain cancers.
“I know what it’s like to need help from other people,” Jim says. “After realizing how important life is and how little time we have on earth, I decided I wanted to make a difference.”
While still in college, Jim came to Harrisburg for an internship. There, he met his future wife, Allison, so he returned and found a job with Genesis, a physical therapy provider. Homeland was one of his clients; this led to an offer to work for Homeland HomeHealth, a community outreach program providing a full continuum of in-home, physician-ordered medical treatment.
After more than two years with Homeland HomeHealth, another opportunity came Jim’s way. With his knowledge of operations at many levels, was he interested in overseeing Homeland’s quality assurance?
He transitioned to his new role as Administrative Assistant, Quality Assurance Performance Improvement Educator in mid-2019. He assures strict adherence to quality procedures in nursing, dietary, housekeeping, and maintenance, helping sustain Homeland’s five-star Medicare quality designation.
Delivering quality care, Jim says, takes attention to detail and a listening ear: “Having a good rapport with everybody, you’re able to meet the needs of the residents.’’
He credits his success to his parents, Ronald and Voula Zorich. Both have long worked for Warren General Hospital; Voula as a medical technician and Ronald as imaging manager. It was his parents who urged him and supported him to become an Eagle Scout, even as he played baseball and took AP courses in high school.
“They taught me perseverance, to overcome your challenges in life,” he says. “Everybody encounters adversity. Everyone thinks they’re alone, but we’re all fighting our own battles. That mindset helped me get through my medical issues. It’s something you fight through, deal with when the time comes, and get back to reality.”
Jim enjoys hunting, fishing, camping, and weightlifting. He and his wife, Alli, are huge fans of Penn State, her alma mater, and hold football season tickets. Most years, Jim and Alli travel to bowl games, but they didn’t this year because they are embarking on a new venture – parenthood.
Homeland supports Jim and his colleagues through all of life’s journeys, he believes.
“Homeland makes employees feel important and gives them the confidence they need to do their jobs,” he says. “Happier staff leads to happier residents. I know that I’m part of something bigger. At Homeland, it’s not just a job. It’s a community.”