Living our values in times of change

November 13, 2018 Rod Hochman

We live in unprecedented times. Technology has changed nearly every aspect of our lives – from the way we shop, bank and travel to the way we communicate with one another and consume news and information. The pace of change can be overwhelming. 

Here at Providence St. Joseph Health, we are not just adapting to change, we are driving and accelerating it. As I wrote in a previous post, “Six ways PSJH is organizing for the future,” we are working relentlessly to disrupt the traditional model of health care in this country because we know it’s not sustainable. We believe health is a human right and recognize that we can’t meet the growing needs of our communities unless we become more innovative in the way we deliver services. 

In this fast-paced world, it could be easy to lose our way. That’s why, as a leadership team, we continuously take time to reflect on the central question: How do we transform for the future while staying true to our Mission and values? 

We are blessed at Providence St. Joseph Health to have a culture of discernment. When faced with major decisions, we bring leaders together to evaluate the options through the lens of our Mission and values. We ask ourselves: What are we called to do? How do we best serve? How do we make sure people are treated with respect and dignity along the way? 

Sometimes the answer to those questions is that we need to have the courage to take a stand, as we have done recently with big pharma. For years, the pharmaceutical companies have driven up the price of generic drugs and have fabricated drug shortages, compromising our clinical operations, but even worse, hurting our patients. The behavior is unethical and unconscionable. 

That’s why Providence St. Joseph Health has banded together with other health systems around the country to start our own not-for-profit generic drug company, Civica Rx. It’s one example of how we’re partnering in innovative new ways to live our values and make health care in this country better and more affordable, especially for those who are poor and vulnerable. 

As we accelerate change in our organization, one of the issues we have weighed carefully is the question of outsourcing certain support functions, such as distribution of medical supplies and products. By partnering with a vendor that specializes in this area, we are better able to focus on our core services of direct patient care.  

The key, though, is choosing the right vendors. We are intentional about selecting partners that align with our values, and we develop contracts that hold them accountable for operating with the utmost integrity. We also want to ensure a smooth transition for our caregivers, and in the case of the supply distribution center, many of the affected caregivers will have opportunities to become employed by the vendors. 

At Providence St. Joseph Health, our Mission and values call us to instigate the type of change that will fix the nation’s broken health care system and allow us to continue to bring hope and healing to those in need. But they also serve as a grounding force to ensure we never forget who we are as an organization and what our purpose is on this earth – no matter how chaotic the times get.

About the Author

Rod Hochman

Rod Hochman is president and CEO of Providence St. Joseph Health, a national, Catholic, not-for-profit health system, comprising a diverse family of organizations serving Alaska, California, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas and Washington.

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