With the help of community leaders and key stakeholder groups, Catholic Health Initiatives’ new community health services organization is taking shape in New Mexico with an initial focus on children’s health needs.
Catholic Health Initiatives began to develop the organization prior to the sale of St. Joseph Healthcare System of Albuquerque last year. "With the support of the St. Joseph Healthcare Foundation, which was not included in the sale, we have made considerable progress in developing an organization that will continue the Catholic health ministry in New Mexico and serve the health needs of its residents," said Jim Kaskie, senior vice president of operations for Catholic Health Initiatives. Progress to date includes:Establishment of a steering committee. A 12-member steering committee provides general oversight of the community health services planning process. The committee includes members of the St. Joseph Healthcare Foundation Board; former St. Joseph Healthcare System board members and executives; and representatives from the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, the medical community, the New Mexico Association of Home Care and the SC Ministry Foundation.
Establishment of a planning approach and timeline. The steering committee is conducting the planning process in two concurrent phases. One focuses on short-term objectives and initial service priorities, taking into account existing Foundation and other sponsored ministries for possible continuation through the new organization. The other focuses on long-term planning, including identification of community health needs, resources, and opportun-ities for collaboration with existing community service agencies.
Identification of community health issues. Using existing needs assessment information from the New Mexico Department of Health and other state and community agencies and additional research by Catholic Health Initiatives staff, the steering committee identified a number of priority community health issues. After study and deliberation the committee selected diabetes prevention and management; care for the aging and frail elderly; and children’s health care for priority consideration. With input from community leaders and representatives of stakeholder groups, the committee selected children’s health care as the initial area of focus for the new organization. "While it is important for the steering committee to select an initial area of focus and children’s health care is a pressing need in New Mexico, the organization’s future efforts will not be limited to this issue," said Diana Bader, OP, senior vice president of mission for Catholic Health Initiatives. "However, this decision allows us to move forward and establish the infrastructure for our continuing ministry."With assistance from Catholic Health Initiatives, the steering committee has also developed a comprehensive communications plan for the new organization; retained a facilitator to promote interaction with community leaders and help set priorities; initiated a search for an executive director; and established a working relationship with the office of the attorney general of New Mexico, which helps ensure public input to the development process.
The next step for the steering committee will be interactive meetings with experts on the topic of children’s health in New Mexico. "This will help us evaluate what specific services the new organization can offer and how it can best collaborate with existing providers of health services," said Sister Diana. "There is a lot of enthusiasm about this new organization and what it can do to serve the people of New Mexico."