Well, it is clearly the end of the semester, as I am being invited for interviews with many graduate students who are finishing term papers. Even more interesting is that the papers seem to be centering around mergers, as indicated yesterday and repeated today in a conversation with three graduate students at the Harvard School of Public Health. Here they are: Marianne Jurasic, Katie Sullivan, and Ryota Konishi.
Perhaps the topic is of interest because people feel that Accountable Care Organizations are likely to result in consolidation of hospitals over the coming years. These students were investigating the impact of hospital mergers on organizational culture, using the merger of New England Deaconess Hospital and Beth Israel Hospital as an example. They interviewed me after having heard from HR organizational development specialist Joanne Ayoub and RN Mary Ellis.
As I have noted before, the late doctor Richard Gaintner used to refer to the Deaconess as, "A place where science and kindliness unite in combating disease." That could just as well have been applied to the BI. Given that commonality of values, it is ironic that there were some difficult years immediately following the merger in 1996. The job of the CEO in such a situation is to reinforce mutually held underlying values and help build a new sense of community in the newly combined organization. At BIDMC, the underlying culture of the two antecedent institutions ultimately prevailed, with a clear consensus around a purpose -- caring for patients the way we want members of our own families to be treated, while advancing humanity's ability to alleviate human suffering caused by disease.