Wednesday, June 24, 2009

New Financial Reality Accelerates our Journey to Excellence

For CHRISTUS Health, the global economic crisis has prompted the need to proactively accelerate our Journey to Excellence, striving to more rapidly improve our clinical and service quality while reducing costs. Driven by our Futures Task Force II recommendations as they are incorporated into our three-year rolling strategic planning process, we know our future strategic initiatives must be affordable, given the new financial reality. Hence we have enhanced our planning process with use of two new tools for our acute, non-acute and international ministries. These are an operational algorithm and Strategic Portfolio Analysis (SPA).

In addition, we know that organizational risk must be managed more intensely and therefore have developed and implemented a comprehensive, system-wide Enterprise Risk Management program. We have prioritized 19 high-risk areas, and are systematically developing action plans to mitigate these risks as we move into the future.

Additionally, to become more business literate as we continue our Journey to Excellence, we must continue to enhance our business development process, creating a more viable and stable financial plan going forward. To do this, we are securing--under the best possible terms--our debt structures and intentionally slowing our capital appetite in comparison to the expenditures we approved in our first decade of existence.

And finally, because of the goals embedded in our four directions to excellence, guided by our balanced scorecard approach, we continue to see advances in our clinical and service quality metrics while our labor and supply cost have showed significant declines.

As leader of CHRISTUS Health, I can tell you that we would have done all of this regardless of the recent financial crisis. But there is no doubt that these financial challenges have intensified our focus and accelerated our progress on this journey. Luckily, this means we are well-positioned to continue fulfilling our mission far into the future.

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