Six Health Systems Form Workforce-Focused Alliance

March 22, 2022
Evolve will pool the human capital know-how of organizations home to more than 330,000 people and create shared leadership development programs.

Prominent health systems with operations in about 20 states and more than 330,000 workers in their organizations are joining forces to share best practices and build programs focused on workforce well-being, staffing and leadership development.

Behind the formation of Evolve Health Alliance are:

• AdventHealth, which is headquartered in Florida and does business in eight other states, employing more than 80,000 people,

• Charlotte-headquartered Atrium Health, which is active in four states and runs 40 hospitals,

• Henry Ford Health System, which operates five hospitals in the Detroit area,

• Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Healthcare, which runs 24 hospitals and has a workforce of about 42,000,

• Northwell Health in New York, which employs about 77,000 people across a system anchored by 22 hospitals,

• OhioHealth, which runs 12 hospitals and has operations in nearly 50 Ohio counties.

The organizations’ human resources alliance has its roots in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the virus’ spread was putting a crushing toll on the New York area’s health care infrastructure. Heather Brace, Intermountain’s chief people officer, told Healthcare Innovation that she was in touch at the time with former colleague Joe Moscola, then Northwell’s HR leader and now its executive vice president of enterprise services, about how her team could help. That led to a call for Intermountain employees to volunteer their services in New York – and nearly 1,000 people raising a hand.

Intermountain eventually sent about 50 providers to both Northwell and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and the Northwell team returned the favor later in 2020 when Intermountain was facing a COVID surge. Brace said the employees found the exchange to be “an incredible learning experience” both in terms of fulfilling health care’s mission and in learning new skills. That led to more conversations and information-sharing – about flexible work arrangements, the use of agency labor and more – between the systems’ leaders as well as a desire to broaden the cooperation.

In addition to reciprocal agreements focused on staffing needs, Evolve is pooling best practices about employee well-being and diversity and inclusion programs as well as data and analytics insights on human capital initiatives. The main goals: Enhance employees’ ability to thrive in their jobs, create more opportunities to upskill and cross-skill and, ultimately, provide better patient care.

“We’re all facing essentially similar issues,” said Brace, who is a co-chair of the alliance. “And the big question is really, ‘How do make health care a more attractive place to work?’ We talk about the mobility of talent but have been slow to change when it comes to moving people around. The pandemic forced us to change.”

Brace said Evolve could add to its network organizations in parts of the country where its members aren’t active. And a leadership development programs that is starting with five executive leaders from Intermountain and Northwell traveling to the other could grow in scope and to other leadership levels over time if the health systems show that they can replicate the project and maintain its quality.

“We knew clinically that we were stronger together in advancing patient care, but we also recognized the benefit of collaborating with innovative and like-minded health systems to better prepare our workforces for the future,” Northwell Chief People Officer Maxine Carrington, who is Evolve’s other co-chair, said in a statement. “We are eager to work with our colleagues to push health care boundaries to meet our goals.”

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