Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The Importance of Transparency

Because people come into our facilities and programs each day, putting their health—and often their lives—in our hands, they deserve to know as much as possible about us. They want to receive health care services that are excellent and will result in the best outcome at the most affordable price.

We at CHRISTUS Health are committed to provide this information to our patients, residents and their families so they can make informed decisions about us. We are committed to total transparency in all we do.

This transparency ensures that our patients, their families and our Associates and physicians can hold each other accountable to the high standards of compassion and excellence that we have set for ourselves.

If we expect our patients to be loyal to us and trust us, we must return to them our measured outcomes so they are assured that we are committed to our Journey to Excellence and to carrying out the healing ministry of Jesus Christ.

Because of this commitment, CHRISTUS Health reports the following on its website:

We began posting our financial performance on our website in 2000. Since we are not a “public company”, we aren’t required to report this information online. However, because of our strong feelings about transparency and the increased scrutiny of public corporations’ financial health following the Enron scandal and passing of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the public reporting of this data has become even more important.

This section includes our audited financial numbers for the previous fiscal year. It begins with an overall financial summary and also includes downloadable files which report on our financial operating performance, balance sheet and cash flow statement for the previous fiscal year.

Community Benefit (our financial commitment to charity care)
We began reporting this in 2002, long before it was a hot-button issue. This section of our website includes our Community Benefit Annual Report, which reports the amounts we spent on charity care, community services, government-sponsored programs and total community benefit in the previous fiscal year. This section also includes information on our CHRISTUS Fund and its grant recipients as well as information on CHRISTUS’ dedication to community health. Recently, we have added region-specific community benefit information to the site.

This information debuted on our website in October of 2006, and is be updated quarterly. An FAQ section explains quality and how and why we measure it, and the site includes credentials and accreditation information, reports our performance on measures that we are required to provide to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) by system and facility, an explanation of each measure/treatment and why it is important and related information on prevention of disease.

Patient Satisfaction
This information also debuted on our website in October of 2006, and is also updated quarterly. Again, an FAQ section explains how we measure patient satisfaction and how we interpret it. We report our overall score and service measures (prompt care, concern for special needs, communication and courtesy and compassion) by system and facility. Also, we explain these measures in more depth, paying special attention to our service measures, which we feel define us as a Catholic, faith-based health system.

This section debuted earlier this year. It includes links to the insurance carriers we work with, lists our pricing discount policies and displays estimated hospital charges for our most common procedures system-wide.

What other information about CHRISTUS would you like to see us post on our website?

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