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By Naomi Stanford
Health Care Facilities Article Use Policy
In April 2011, Chase Brexton Health Care's CEO departed after 20 years' service. That event launched the organization on a two-plus-year roller coaster of change, including two new CEOs and a move into a remodeled historical building. Meanwhile, the organization was tackling the challenges of implementing the Affordable Care Act in a way that sets the foundation for long-term growth and success. How they did this is a fascinating — and transferable — story that shows the value of effective change management and transparency.
Using an inclusive and systematic design process helped Chase Brexton — a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in Baltimore — adeptly manage this massive and change.
The change started with the interim CEO, who spearheaded a business strategy driven by the challenges predicted in working with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In particular, the shift in reimbursement to a value-based payment modifier was predicted to have a profound effect on the organization's financial viability, which led the interim CEO to conclude that Chase Brexton would likely need a whole new business model based on fee-for-service with a much broader client base.
Part of this new business model was the consolidation of the several downtown locations to one site that allowed for projected growth. To this end Chase Brexton purchased the Monumental Life Building Baltimore, which comprised a total of 192,000 square feet — more than enough to meet the 10-year plan — and began to convert it from an office building to a health care facility that would consolidate downtown locations.
Although there was a good deal of communication with staff on the new building and the business plans, there was a lot of anxiety during the first 10 months about what the changes meant for individuals. Rumors circulated and questions remained unanswered.
One problem is that many decisions seemingly were being made without a lot of consultation with the staff. To start addressing the anxiety and perceived lack of participation, a short series of workshops on change were held in May 2012 with various groups of staff. The workshops suggested that a more wide-ranging and far-reaching change program could bring huge benefits both for individual staff members and for organizational performance. A whole transition project was proposed called ONE Chase Brexton. The goal was to use the move into the Monumental Life Building as a lever to change the business model, culture, brand, and performance of Chase Brexton without losing sight of the (new) mission "to provide compassionate, quality health care that honors diversity, inspires wellness, and improves our communities." The re-alignment would affect all five Chase Brexton locations.
A crucial step came when the senior leadership team publicly committed to a ONE Chase Brexton change/transition process. This was a powerful statement that began uniting staff in all five centers around the ONE Chase Brexton ethos. The senior leadership team took the view that empowering staff to fully participate in the change process was the best way to go.
Project teams met regularly and all their project documentation, discussions, additional materials, and schedules were posted on an open access SharePoint site. This meant full transparency to all employees: They were free to read about the status of the organization redesign and transition and to comment on what was posted.
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