‘Some­times scale does help with cer­tain things’

The first step is find­ing out whether the two mis­sions align. Does the lead­er­ship think some­what the same way about the fu­ture?”

Modern Healthcare - - Bold Moves - Dr. Rod Hochman CEO Prov­i­dence St. Joseph Health

In late 2017, Prov­i­dence St. Joseph Health and As­cen­sion con­sid­ered merg­ing. The two faith-based pow­er­houses even­tu­ally abandoned those talks, say­ing the tim­ing wasn’t right. It was a year into the merger of Prov­i­dence Health and Ser­vices and St. Joseph Health. Prov­i­dence St. Joseph CEO Dr. Rod Hochman said his new sys­tem and As­cen­sion had sig­nif­i­cant and sep­a­rate goals in 2018. No stranger to con­sol­i­da­tion, Hochman in 2012 over­saw the union of Prov­i­dence and a sec­u­lar or­ga­ni­za­tion, Swedish Health Ser­vices. While ac­knowl­edg­ing that ev­ery deal is dif­fer­ent, Hochman says re­search is key to the some­times scary move to com­bine or­ga­ni­za­tions.

WHAT WAS YOUR RISKI­EST DE­CI­SION? Merg­ing two or­ga­ni­za­tions with dif­fer­ent cul­tures. One’s faith-based, one’s not. One’s based in Seat­tle and one’s up and down the West Coast. What they had in com­mon was that they re­ally were com­mit­ted to their com­mu­ni­ties and pop­u­la­tion health.

WHY WAS THAT MOVE RISKY? It took a lot of work to get both sides to un­der­stand each other, but ul­ti­mately, seven or eight years later, it’s been very, very suc­cess­ful.

DE­SCRIBE THE OUT­COME In a merger, you al­ways have to ask: What are the goals, what should we do? And will the com­mu­nity be bet­ter off? When we grade all of those things, the an­swer is re­sound­ingly yes. We think the qual­ity of care is bet­ter. We think ac­cess to care is bet­ter. We’ve brought more tech­nol­ogy to care. Some­times scale does help with cer­tain things.

RE­SPONSE FROM THOSE IN­VOLVED Our em­ployee en­gage­ment scores have gone up ev­ery year for the last four years.

AD­VICE TO EX­ECS IN SIM­I­LAR PO­SI­TIONS When you’re new, don’t do any­thing right away. Take some time, fig­ure out what’s go­ing on, make sure you talk to your con­stituen­cies. I see a lot of my col­leagues when they take on a new job, they feel they have to do some­thing right away. And I say re­sist the temp­ta­tion. And don’t con­sol­i­date for the sake of con­sol­i­da­tion. The first step is find­ing out whether the two mis­sions align. Does the lead­er­ship think some­what the same way about the fu­ture? If those things are there, you’ve got a good shot at be­ing suc­cess­ful.

DE­SCRIBE YOUR LEAD­ER­SHIP STYLE I would hope that they would say Rod’s a ser­vant leader, that he cares about the peo­ple who work for him, and thinks not about him­self but about how to make his peo­ple bet­ter.

I think it’s HOW WOULD OTH­ERS DE­SCRIBE IT? de­scribed that way. I mean, I love the peo­ple who work for me and I think they know it.●

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