Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Effectively Communicating with Credit Markets

On Dec. 30, the Healthcare Financial Management Association’s (HFMA) HFMA Wants You to Know Newsletter carried an article titled, “Effectively Communicating with Credit Markets.” I shared it with the CHRISTUS leaders as many had asked about the reasons for our successes this year in maintaining our credit ratings as well as in our refinancing of a significant portion of our variable debt.

In the article, Fred Hessler, a managing director of Citi’s Health Care Group, who has followed CHRISTUS Health’s journey since its inception almost 11 years ago, points out that “in today’s uncertain environment, access to low-cost capital may depend on your organization’s ability to clearly communicate its strategy for maintaining financial sustainability in the face of economic and regulatory challenges.” He goes on to identify three themes for effective communication and then uses the CHRISTUS Health presentation which Jay Herron, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for CHRISTUS Health, gave at the Annual Non-Profit Health Investor Conference earlier this year as a best practice for this effective communication process and summarizes why our presentation is noteworthy. I recently blogged about our experience at the conference, and you can access our entire presentation on HFMA’s Website here.

Although Jay and I have the honor and privilege of representing CHRISTUS Health by doing these presentations, it is important at this time to recognize the work of Melissa Williams, System Director, Debt and Portfolio Management for CHRISTUS Health, and Kim Reynolds, System Senior Director, Financial Reporting for CHRISTUS Health, who work diligently with their team to put these presentations together in a concise fashion that quickly connects the dots to our Journey to Excellence. Part of the CHRISTUS Heath brand since we began on February 1, 1999 has been transparency driven by open and honest communications of all we do. We are pleased that these values, which are sometimes difficult to maintain, are truly appreciated by those in the world who have been and are continuing to observe and monitor our visionary Journey to Excellence which has been evolving for over a decade.

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