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Strategic Planning for a Long-Term Care Campus
Serving the Religious Community

The Scenerio

Health Dimensions Group believes that each strategic planning engagement is unique. Indeed, the scenario facing the Regina Health Center, located in the growing suburban community of Richfield, Ohio, presented a unique situation requiring careful consideration before a successful long-term strategic plan could be developed.

Today, many congregations are making choices about how and where to provide care for aging members. In July 1993, the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine founded the Regina Health Center to meet the long-term care needs of 22 religious congregations in various parts of the country, priests, and other members of the local community. Regina Health Center, located near Akron, Ohio, is comprised of 81 Medicare and Medicaid skilled beds, which includes a 17-bed dementia unit and 74 assisted living beds. Since its inception, Regina Health Center has been very successful in achieving its mission.

However, demographic changes will necessitate a change in the types of residents that will be served on the Regina Health Center campus over the next 10 years. A successful long-term future necessitates that Regina Health Center must plan simultaneously for a spike in the need for skilled care among the aging religious communities and then a sharp decline in demand. The following events were occurring at the time the strategic plan was to begin.

  • Regina Health Center was in the midst of expanding from 80 to 101 skilled beds, while reducing the number of assisted living beds from 74 to 54. The state of Ohio granted a Certificate of Need in order to allow Regina Health Center to meet the peak needs of the aging religious communities that it was founded to serve.
  • The leadership of Regina Health Center recognized the need to proactively plan for a future in which the local aging community, rather than the aging religious community, would utilize its services more heavily. However, this transition must be carefully planned in order to meet the needs and preferences of the religious communities.
  • Regina Health Center’s unique mission also created additional financial challenges. Because Medicaid is the payer for the aging religious, Regina Health Center’s dependence on Medicaid as a payer was increasing and would continue to increase.

Utilizing a Collaborative Consultative Process

In January 2001, Regina Health Center began the process of developing a 5-year strategic plan with the assistance of Health Dimensions Group.

Regina Health Center is unique because of the multiple stakeholders with an interest in Regina Health Center’s future. Therefore, the traditional strategic planning process also incorporated an extensive consultative process with the following steps:

  • Seeking guidance from a diverse strategic planning committee
  • Conducting in-depth interviews with referral sources, competitors and collaborators, Diocesan officials, and an Advisory Board representing all 22 congregations.
  • Conducting listening sessions with all employees.
  • Seeking input from all department directors
  • Convening senior housing representatives in the greater Akron community.

Respecting the collaborative history of Regina Health Center, Health Dimensions Group believed that the process was essential to creating a strategy that could gain acceptance and ultimately be implemented.

Developing the Strategy

Health Dimensions Group combined the consultative process above with the traditional components of strategic planning. When the process was completed, Regina Health Center’s strategic plan for 2002-2007 reaffirmed its commitment to its original mission. Regina Health Center has an outstanding reputation among the religious congregations and the community who are familiar with its high quality care. Therefore, Regina Health Center can capitalize on its quality reputation to develop a Catholic-sponsored long-term care campus for seniors and fulfill unmet needs in the community.

Specifically, Regina Health Center has selected the following four strategies to guide its future:

  1. Expand services to home and community based services, as well as institutions to meet the needs of the religious communities and clergy.
  2. Transition Regina Health Center to an organization primarily focused on serving the religious and responding to the unmet needs of the laity in the community.
  3. Enhance the services and capability of Regina Health Center through integration with a health system. Improve the financial viability of Regina Health Center.

These strategies take advantage of the many strengths Regina Health Center derived from its service to the aging religious community, its reputation in the community, its relationship with a major health system, and a desire to serve all aging persons with both home and community based services as well as institutional care.