At Ascension Health, our operating model guides how we make decisions, work together and lead our ministry. We believe that knowledge and leadership reside across our system in many facilities and in many people. A strong System Office provides strategic services, as well as thought leadership.
Our Operating Model has three interrelated components:
- An organizational framework that depicts the business units of the system and their relationship to each other
- A leadership framework that describes our leaders and how they are involved in organizational strategy and how operational decisions are shaped
- A management structure that reflects how day-to-day work gets done
Ascension Health hospital affiliates and health facilities are the foundation and the center of our model. All other business units are focused on strengthening the position of our hospital affiliates and health facilities. Our primary principle of operation is to maintain local flexibility so hospital affiliates and health facilities can operate to meet local community needs. Local boards and CEOs are given latitude to operate in a manner that suits their market. As part of a system, hospital affiliates and health facilities are accountable to each other and the system as a whole for performance. Hospital affiliates and health facilities collectively participate in setting system-level performance targets. In order to achieve the targets, the ministries mutually support each other.
National strategic services are those services focused on providing thought leadership. Staff for national strategic services may be based at the National Office in St. Louis, Mo. or in the hospital affiliates and health facilities.
While our model favors local flexibility, we appropriately share services if they allow us to leverage our size/position.
We are likely to create new businesses, locally and nationally, as we pursue innovation. We will adapt our operating model to accommodate any new venture.
We have adopted a model of distributed leadership. Distributed leadership capitalizes on the broad base of leadership ability across the system. As strategic and operational discussions are pursued, we pull appropriate experts from across the system to help shape our thinking and direction. We are committed to decision-making that is sufficiently flexible to involve the people whose knowledge is required to make a quality decision. Distributed leadership does not imply a consensus-oriented, decision-making model.
System leadership includes leaders from across the entire operation of Ascension Health and focuses on creating the capacity for Ascension Health to be successful. Leadership roles will evolve and change based on mission and business requirements. Much of the collaborative work of the system occurs through virtual teaming rather than formal management structures.
The CEO Council is a key element of the leadership framework. The system CEO leads the CEO Council. The role of the Council is to provide input into, validate and socialize decisions. The CEO delegates certain decisions to the Council, while only seeking input on certain issues.
The Ascension Health management structure has been designed to support fulfillment of the Call to Action. Health Ministry CEOs are primarily accountable to their boards, while having a matrix accountability to an Operating Group Executive.