To our Mission Partners, living the Mission doesn’t simply happen during their shift or with the patients who come through our door each day – it is engrained in everything they do. It’s a way of treating people as Jesus did. Every interaction, every conversation, is an opportunity to serve in the Spirit of Christ – whether that interaction is with a patient or another Mission Partner. It’s our belief that seizing those opportunities to serve others this way may just change the world.

It was a challenge to the entire Ministry: Find examples of Mission Partners serving in the Spirit of Christ, then share those stories. Each week, we shared a different story. A maintenance worker who was the answer to a patient’s prayer of someone to talk to. An MRI technician who took extra time and care with a patient who has anxiety. A care team that recognized a patient’s needs beyond health – and worked diligently to meet them.

Here’s another example of an OSF HealthCare Mission Partner serving in the Spirit of Christ.

It was a typical Tuesday morning when a member of the OSF HealthCare leadership team started to pull out of his driveway on his way to work.  His wife and son had already left on their way to work and school for the day.

He noticed a young man walking up his street looking in desperate need, wearing nothing on his feet but old T-shirts. 

“I was totally caught off guard by what I saw.” 

He sat in his driveway for a few moments, then he got out of his van, approached the man and invited him to the porch on his home to get him a pair of shoes. 

But after seeing his situation more closely, it became apparent that the man needed far more than just a pair of shoes.

“The man seemed to have been homeless for some time. I invited him into my home to get cleaned up, put together shoes and clothes for him, and got him something to eat.”

But it was something far less tangible that he provided that had perhaps the greatest affect.

“While he ate, we talked and I learned he had been in and out of prison and didn’t seem to have had much support. We talked while he finished up his breakfast and then I told him I would take him to the Peoria Rescue Mission. They could offer him the help he needed. As we pulled up to the building, I was able to pray with him before he left.”

“Everyone comes across moments where you feel the Lord prompting you to do something – to help. I simply listened.”  

This Mission Partner just hopes that his actions that morning presented an opportunity to change a young man’s life.

Last year, OSF HealthCare improved coordination of care for patients by improving communication among all levels of care. From our inpatient and OSF Medical Group care managers, to the OSF Care Management Center of Expertise that helps patients transition from the hospital to a skilled nursing facility, to the many services provided by OSF Home Care Services, they strengthened their commitment to work together for patients. And when what the patient needs is outside the health system, that’s where they go to find it.

Now, when the hospital case management team identifies a patient who could use some extra care after hospitalization, home health is engaged while the patient is still in the hospital. OSF Medical Group physicians and complex case managers know they can reach out to one another to make sure patients’ needs are being met. This collaboration and communication among all levels of care ensure patients are getting the right care, when and where they need it.

“We no longer think of patients as being discharged from the hospital or Home Care,” said Hoa Cooper, Vice President, OSF Care Management. “We don’t discharge them. We transition them to the appropriate level of care. That frames the mindset that they are always in our care, regardless of where they are receiving care.”

In November 2015, OSF HealthCare saw a way to be socially just and recognize the personal worth of its own Mission Partners. The organization voluntarily raised the minimum wage it pays Mission Partners to $10 an hour. The move increased the paychecks of about 3 percent of its workforce, some of whom support families.

That $10 hourly wage is significantly higher than the minimum wage of Illinois, at $8.25 an hour, and Michigan, and $8.15 an hour.

“We have made the decision to increase the minimum wage because it is the right thing to do. The adjustment impacts these Mission Partners the most,” said Sister Judith Ann Duvall, O.S.F., Major Superior and OSF HealthCare Board Chairperson, in announcing the increase. “Our Sisters deeply value all of our employees and the wonderful service they bring to our Sacred Ministry.”

“This socially just wage is consistent with our Values and the Catholic teaching on the dignity of workers and work,” added Kevin Schoeplein, OSF HealthCare CEO. “Each OSF Mission Partner counts; each of us makes a difference in the way we treat our patients, their families and each other.”

The majority of those who benefited from the wage increase serve in food service, housekeeping, gift shops, or are members of the guest services team.

One of those Mission Partners who received the higher wage was Trevor Malatek, who is a Floor Care Technician at OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center in Rockford and is a college student studying to be a nurse. “When employees get paid more, they have more pride in their work, so patients benefit, too. OSF didn’t have to do this, but it will have a lot of benefits in the long run.”

This service doesn’t replace a patient’s primary care physician, but offers an additional option for non-emergency health issues such as sinus infections, rashes, allergies, pink eye and more. OSF OnCall eliminates the need for travel, reduces time spent in a waiting room and offers access any time of the day or night. It also provides the right level of care at the right time, before a condition escalates. The service integrates with our electronic medical record, so information from an online visit is accessible to a patient’s primary care physician for any follow-up needed.