September 1999

The Value of Being Part of Catholic Health Initiatives

Master Consulting Agreement Offers Attractive Discounts, Other Benefits

Catholic Health Initiatives has established a master consulting agreement with First Consulting Group that will deliver significant discounts for a variety of consulting services, including information technology assessments, strategic planning, interim management and technical expertise. The agreement locks in First Consulting Group rates until 2001 and will discount those rates up to 10 percent, depending on volume and promptness of payment.

"First Consulting Group and Catholic Health Initiatives will track and report the volume of its consulting activities across all of Catholic Health Initiatives and will pass appropriate discounts on to market-based organizations automatically," said Robert Barrett, vice president of information technology consulting services for Catholic Health Initiatives.

According to Barrett, the master consulting agreement provides many additional benefits. "One of the biggest benefits that we can achieve through a master consulting agreement is consistent, thorough legal representation for our contracted consulting engagements," he said. "There has been a tremendous diversity in the terms and conditions of contracts across Catholic Health Initiatives, but this agreement will provide consistency. Because market-based organizations won’t have to deal with the time-consuming process of finalizing terms and conditions, they will be able to focus on defining the scope and deliverables of each engagement."

Under the agreement, consulting engagements will be more simply and consistently defined and managed. "When an engagement opportunity is identified, a market-based organization can process a simple work order against the master consulting agreement instead of having to develop a complete contract," Barrett said. Work orders will define engagement scope and objectives, approach, timeline, deliverables, reporting parameters and expense reimbursement protocols in the form of a two- or three-page addendum to the master consulting agreement. First Consulting Group has also centralized its communications for consulting engagements within Catholic Health Initiatives, creating a single point of contact for work orders.

Barrett noted that First Consulting Group has had long relationships with many market-based organizations. "In looking for opportunities to leverage Catholic Health Initiatives’ size, a master consulting agreement with First Consulting Group represented a significant opportunity," he said. "We now have even better access to consulting resources that are familiar with our organization and can jump right into our work."

Catholic Health Initiatives also has a master consulting agreement with Andersen Consulting. "While market-based organizations are not required to work with these firms, they do provide a consistent and cost-competitive alternative to supporting our work," Barrett said.