In the summer, St. Louis-based Ascension Health plans to open a center in Indianapolis that will provide back-office services to its facilities. The Ascension Health Ministry Service Center will create about 500 new jobs in Indianapolis.
The system is investing about $10.9 million in the facility. The Ministry Service Center will provide finance, human resources and supply chain support to the 70 hospitals and 400 other health care facilities in Ascension Health.
"By moving functions like accounts payable, payroll processing and benefits administration to a ministry service center, rather than having each health ministry continue to provide those services separately, we will be able to reduce costs," said Robert Henkel, the system's president of healthcare operations and chief operating officer. He said that the cost savings will allow Ascension Health and its ministries to devote more resources to the Catholic health mission and to the communities the system serves.
Centralizing back-office services at the Ministry Service Center is part of an initiative called Symphony that Ascension Health launched in 2009. It is aimed at making the system more efficient so that it can focus on providing high-quality care to all, with special attention to the vulnerable, said Henkel.
He said the opening of the Indianapolis facility will affect a small number of associates at the headquarters office in St. Louis as well as back-office staff at Ascension Health facilities. He said the system and its ministries are helping affected staff with the transition, including, in some cases, offering them training to move to other roles or the opportunity to apply at the Indianapolis center.
The center is receiving grants, tax credits and other support from the Indiana Economic Development Corporation and other organizations. Ascension Health already has a presence in Indianapolis, with a 20-hospital system and a health care equipment services company.
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