Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Burning Questions, Part V

This week, I’ll be providing the final installment of my answers to the questions posed by leaders from across CHRISTUS Health at our recent leadership retreat.

Q. You mentioned that physician integration, seeing physicians as our partners and not customers or competitors, will be essential for our future success. Do we have strategies in place to make that happen?

A. Under the leadership of our Chief Medical Officer, and assisted by many team members, a myriad of physician integration strategies have been developed, and some are being implemented. Two important ones are the expansion of the employed physician model, now through our CHRISTUS Provider Network, and the development of evidenced-based clinical protocols which will be systematized.

Q. Should our growth be predominately out of the hurricane belt?

A. Although I believe we will explore every “call” that comes to us, our due diligence process will indicate that perhaps some of the best opportunities where we can expand our ministries will not be in locations prone to hurricanes. We have done that with our growth in San Antonio, both clinically and for our information systems, and in New Mexico.

Q. Do you believe there is a difference in a faith-based health system versus a non-faith based one?

A. Based on my experience in the three prior heath systems where I served, I am absolutely sure and have experienced a different ambiance in CHRISTUS Health. It has been much easier here to work with a balanced scorecard, making sure the decisions we have made were not driven primarily by a financial mindset. In addition the ability to routinely reflect and pray in preparations for meetings and events, as well as, with patients, sets us clearly apart. And finally, embracing the incarnational spirituality of our founding congregations gives us the ability to live out the golden rule every day, which should be the basis for all heath care quality and safety. In the end, if the care we render is not good enough for our Associates and their families, it is not good enough for anyone else who enters our doors! It is just that simple!

Q. Is there a role for young leaders in CHRISTUS Health?

A. Clearly the answer is a resounding YES! In the enhancement of our diversity program, we not only must be concerned about ethnic and gender diversity, but also talent and age diversity. The diversity of leadership has been a driver to determine participants in our coaching and mentoring programs, our leadership development classes, and our succession planning initiatives. Having younger and better prepared leaders coming behind you should be a goal for all of us as we continue our professional journey!

Q. What metrics did you use to plan a smooth and seamless transition?

A. To assure a smooth transition, the key is to plan as far in advance as possible. Abrupt changes in leadership are disruptive, even when they are done for appropriate reasons. Also, be totally transparent in explaining to all audiences the reasons for the transition. And finally, planning the transition when things are going well is most helpful, so your successor can assume the leadership responsibilities on a firm foundation, rather than meeting daily unknown surprises.

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