In 2016, CHA convened a meeting of Sponsors, CEOs and system mission leaders to discuss how we maintain and assess ministry identity in our Catholic health organizations. CHA was asked to identify the essential elements that should be part of any ministry identity assessment process and offer some key performance indicators (KPIs) that would demonstrate the organization is operating, caring and making decisions based on its identity as a ministry of the church.
The foundation of the assessment process is CHA's "Shared Statement of Identity" and its seven core commitments which are: acting as a ministry of the church, promoting and defending human dignity, attending to the whole person, promoting the common good, caring for people who are poor and vulnerable, acting on behalf of justice and stewarding resources. For purposes of the assessment process, the order and wording of the core commitments were slightly modified to emphasize the importance of acting in consonance with the church especially in adherence to the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (ERDs).
The CHA Ministry Identity Assessment offers several KPIs for each core commitment with a scoring system that can be used by internal and external reviewers. Some of the performance indicators are fundamental to Catholic health care – such as how sacraments are made available to patients and residents and how charts are reviewed to assure ERD compliance. Other indicators are more aspirational and intended to stretch the ministry to see identity within the "signs of the times." One example is how we deal with the imbalance between the compensation and benefits of the highest and lowest paid associates within the organization.
The assessment process involves all levels of the organization in discussing and scoring the organization's performance based on the data gathered for the key performance indicators. An organization has the option of inviting an external reviewer to be part of the assessment process. CHA could potentially arrange for an assessment team comprised of other members of the ministry to participate and verify or modify the findings.
The assessment process is not prescriptive, nor is it intended to supplant assessment processes and tools already in use by some in the ministry, including assessments by outside vendors such as the Veritas Institute's Catholic Identity Matrix, CHAN Healthcare, or audits by other outside institutions. The CHA process can be used in acute, long-term and other non-acute care settings at the facility, regional or system levels. Each organization can determine which or all of the seven core commitments it will use in the process, as well as the KPIs that will give the best data for a meaningful assessment. The overall goal is continuous quality improvement in ministry identity, so the assessment process ends with the creation of an ongoing improvement plan with regular measurement and reporting.