Partnering for our patients: Fireside chat with Sally Deitch of Ascension
Chris Bosler, senior vice president and head of the health systems operating division at Labcorp, sat down with Ascension’s Sally Deitch MSN, MHA, RN, FACHE, executive vice president of nursing and operations infrastructure, to discuss the partnership between the organizations.
Chris Bosler: How are you and the rest of the Ascension leadership team thinking about the challenges and opportunities coming up for Ascension over the next year?
Sally Deitch: Hospitals and health systems coming out of the pandemic have been hit with a number of different things we have to take into consideration. Our workforce has really changed and the number one priority is stabilizing the workforce. This involves looking at what is important to our associates: what makes them really want to come to work? They are in a very different environment, as we have seen a huge shift from inpatient to outpatient—and even virtual visits.
Our workforce is the strongest part of our company. We've got to make sure that we can stabilize our workforce and improve financial performance and stewardship. This is a core part of our mission.
CB: You have been a clinician and an administrator; how have you thought about lab and the importance of lab over the course of your career?
SD: When you’ve been through actually taking care of patients as a nurse, foundational to anything and everything you do is what happens in the lab. People don't understand that if we break the lab, we break the organization. The importance of our laboratories, whether it's phlebotomy or pathology, is paramount. Anybody that works in the lab is part of the foundation of all of our information. As administrators and clinicians trying to understand the impacts of the actions that we're taking with the patient, most of that can be seen through test results. The lab is a foundational piece of care.
CB: Ascension and Labcorp have partnered around that fundamental backbone. Why is this a good thing for Ascension and for patients?
SD: I love this partnership. I think it has showcased when you really concentrate on expertise and leverage a partner that owns their space, you can elevate the quality of care that you deliver. [Laboratory medicine] is Labcorp’s expertise—they are world-renowned for it—and it has been a phenomenal partnership.
I see the Labcorp employees and the former Ascension employees who are now Labcorp employees as pioneers in this space.
And employee satisfaction is high. I have heard comments like, “We should have done this earlier,” or, “I wish all other decisions, transactions and relationships would be this easy.” This partnership provides so much benefit to the organization and to our patients.
CB: We believe there's a lot of opportunity ahead for us and for the communities in which we live. What are your thoughts on the opportunity?
SD: The unity in opportunity is not only possible, it will happen. We don’t look at Ascension as separate and Labcorp as separate. We are all in this together to deliver care. How we impact our communities is the significant tie between Labcorp and Ascension. We see the need to serve the community and have that impact, and Labcorp shares that same exact value. You can really bring the synergies of these two organizations together to meet community need.
To start a discussion about how Labcorp might assist you with your health system's unique challenges, contact us.
Ms. Deitch serves as executive vice president, nursing and operations infrastructure and has responsibility for Ascension subsidiaries Medxcel Facilities Management and The Resource Group (Ascension’s group purchasing organization). She ensures alignment, collaboration and consistent implementation of operations across Ascension’s hospitals and ambulatory facilities.