The organization has made a shift from a very utilitarian Mission to one that, while focused on health and well-being, also has a casual feel to it? Why change the Mission at all? What was wrong with the old one?
I’m not sure I would call our former mission statement utilitarian. I consider it to have been a descriptive one. It described who we were, a behavioral health provider, and what our services strived to be: effective, affordable and accessible.
We needed to change the mission because we are more than just a behavioral health provider. We are a fully integrated health system that addresses all aspects of health, including primary care, behavioral health, and the social determinants of health such as housing and employment.
While our story is complex, we wanted our mission to be simple. Everything we do is about making health and well-being a reality!
Aspire also adopted a formal Vision and formal Values? What is behind the journey from the old Mission to the new Mission, Vision, and Values?
Our journey into integrated care started about a dozen years ago when we became the very first community mental health center in the nation to receive grant funds from HRSA. Up until that time, SAMHSA funded CMHCs and HRSA funded FQHCs.
Back then, the National Council for Behavioral Health was instrumental in The Center for Mental Health’s* understanding of the future of health care. The problem is that none of the major state-level stakeholders, including payers, government, and trade associations in Indiana understood that vision. It wasn’t until the advent of the Affordable Care Act and Healthcare Reform that the state and the nation started taking action on integrated care.
Now, Aspire no longer has to wait for opportunity. We are finding our way forward as we look to become an FQHC (Federally Qualified Health Center). We don’t see ourselves as merely opening up a health center; we see ourselves as becoming a large integrated care entity that includes all the aspects of healthcare mentioned above.
The Vision and Values incorporate the idea of Aspire as a place where people would want to work? Why? Why not just keep the Vision and Values about the people served by the agency?
We are a business of people. We provide services to people by people. Without the strong partnership with our employees, we could accomplish nothing. We want our employees to have healthy lives as well. This includes a job that pays well, a culture that supports work-life balance, a supportive daily experience, and opportunities for career growth and community service. We are looking at making this a reality for our employees. We have a long way to go and challenges as a not-for-profit to make this happen. But, we are committed to this. Engaging our employees is one of the three top priorities we have. The other two are integrating our services and delighting our customers.
Our values were not made up. They actually describe what we live out each day. We not only listed the values themselves, which spell out the acronym “PILLAR,” we defined which each of the values means to us – how we demonstrate them daily.
How does the new Mission, Vision, and Values propel Aspire into the future?
Aspire has been branded as innovative among its peers. That’s not good enough for us. We want to be disruptive! That means leaping into the future, defining it. Not merely doing what we do better, but doing things differently!
Our new Vision and Mission statements take us out of the niche market of behavioral health, bypasses Primary Care as know it, and plops us right at the forefront of Integrated Care. Very few health systems are doing Integrated Care. Heck, it doesn’t even have fully defined criteria. We want to set the standards, set the bar. Our Values describe how we intend to function as individuals and as a corporation along this journey.
*Note: The Center for Mental Health was one of two organizations that merged to form Aspire Indiana.