DEI Dashboards and Self Reporting
In today’s world, data drives decisions and change. We are working to collect more specific race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity data for both Baystate Health employees and patients. This data helps us learn where we need to improve and track the progress of the changes we are making. Baystate Health has also signed on to a Health Equity Partnership with Press Ganey, the organizational partner for patient experience and employee experience measurement.
Baystate Health has strategic objectives focused on analyzing data and adapting policies and practices to increase the number of Black and Latinx leaders, providers, and nurses. Teams focus on data and reporting about workforce trends, the review of policies and practices through an equity lens, recruitment and talent management practices and more.
Baystate Health adopted the Dignity Model, created by Donna Hicks, PhD to foster inclusion and improve team communication and engagement. We have adopted dignity language into Baystate Health’s values through the definition of Respect as honoring the dignity of all people. Baystate Health provides supportive programming in response to societal tensions due to race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, religious beliefs, or other dimensions of diversity. We offer educational programming and coaching based on the Dignity Model throughout the year.
In partnership with O’Grady Peyton in 2019, Baystate Health placed 43 International nurses in Baystate Health hospitals representing 13 countries worldwide. Special efforts to prepare units and integrate nurses resulted in exceeding national averages in every category, including 100% retention rate of nurses compared with like-sized organization with an average of 70% retention rate. International nurses are highly skilled and bring diverse perspectives to the care of patients, also helping reduce the impact of the national nursing shortage.
Business Resource Groups (BRGs)
Baystate Health’s BRGs meet regularly to set and accomplish goals aligned with Baystate Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) strategic objectives and current needs, and are invited to provide insights and feedback on health system efforts. BRGs elevate the voices of employee groups in the organization. The current BRGs are: LGBTQ+ Pride, Black Employees Connecting, Hispanic/Latinx Employees, Military, Veterans & Honor Guard, Women Empowered, Young Professionals, Cultural Responsive Care, and Women in Medicine and Science.
Baystate Health relaunched its Inclusion Council in 2020, bringing together leaders of the Business Resources Groups. With the Chief Human Resource Officer and Health System Chief Executive Officer serving as co-sponsors, this council provides time and space for discussion and synthesis of strategies.
Gender Identity & Transition Support
Baystate Health developed and adopted a plan supporting Gender Identity and Gender Transition in the workplace. This guidance assists employees who identify as transgender and gender non-conforming, their coworkers, managers, human resource professionals, LGBTQIA++ business resource group leaders and others. The plan provides best practices and guidelines.
Throughout the year, Baystate’s Business Resource Groups plan and encourage participation in celebrations for Martin Luther King Day, Northampton’s Pride Parade, Springfield’s Puerto Rican Parade and more. In 2021, at the request of employees, Baystate Health first commemorated the Juneteenth holiday with a week-long employee and community celebration including virtual lectures on social determinants of health, COVID-19, mental health, substance use, faith and culture. The week featured the Baystate Health Wellness on Wheels Bus, a virtual opportunity for career exploration at Baystate Health, and a Springfield history walk.
English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Program
Through the Lyman and Leslie Wood Language Fund of the Baystate Health Foundation, Baystate Health established an English language training program for employees to help improve their English communication skills. Improving language skills enhances patient and co-worker communication and potentially lead to higher paying jobs in the organization. Five participants have already been promoted to roles in Financial Counseling, Interpreter Services and CNA programs at Baystate Health. This pilot program may be expanded in the future.
Minimum Wage Upgrade
Baystate Health has taken a leadership role in the region by moving to increase the minimum wage paid at Baystate Health from the current $14.11 per hour to $15 per hour, ahead of the state legislated mandate for 2023. This is part of Baystate Health’s effort to provide equitable and competitive wages and a commitment to regular equity reviews based on roles and gender.
COVID-19 Health Equity Efforts
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Baystate Health stepped up as a community resource for education, testing and vaccination. A COVID-19 Mitigation Team of providers and leaders at Baystate worked to educate the community about prevention and vaccination, with specific focus on Black and Latinx populations who were affected by higher infection rates. Baystate Health providers and leaders participated on Springfield’s Vax Force. Baystate Reference Labs expanded testing capacity and public vaccine clinics at Baystate’s Whitney Avenue Education facility and Baystate Franklin Medical Center provided vaccine to hundreds of people each day over several months. A special employee vaccination effort focused on maximizing vaccination of Black and Latinx employees, upon recognizing lower vaccination rates for these employee groups as compared to White and Asian colleagues.
Family Prosperity Grant from the Aspen Institute
Baystate Medical Center and the Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council were jointly awarded $125,000 from Ascend at the Aspen Institute’s Family Prosperity Innovation Community. The funds will help to identify and address institutional practices and policies that will support the growth and development of low-wage, entry-level employees and provide better access to career pathways. The project will also provide ready access to employment for residents from surrounding limited-opportunity neighborhoods. Work is underway in the first phase of effort.
Wellness on Wheels Community Bus
As the largest health system in western Massachusetts, Baystate Health has a responsibility to improve the health of people in the community. High rates of obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, asthma, and mental health and substance use disorders are priority health needs across all three counties served by Baystate Health. The WoW bus deploys a multi-disciplinary healthcare team to deliver health screenings, education, and referrals or other services directly to traditionally underserved urban and rural communities. The WoW bus team collaborates with community partners to prioritize health needs and identify communities for the health bus to visit. An added benefit is that the WoW bus is also Baystate Health’s interprofessional mobile health classroom training health professions and medical students to see themselves as community partners by engaging and learning from patients where they live and gather.
BeHealthy Partnership to Reduce Health Disparities
Baystate Health began intensive and targeted interventions on the Social Determinants of Health in 2018 for 44,000 patients in Springfield’s highest risk neighborhoods through our BeHealthy Partnership. The partnership is a Medicaid Accountable Care Organization for patients at Baystate’s three community health centers and Caring Health, in partnership with Health New England. Addressing housing insecurity, food insecurity, transportation, mental health, legal services, and other social supports has had a direct and demonstrable effect on the need for healthcare services and improved the overall health of this vulnerable group of patients. Knowing the social situations of these patients also led to more rapid interventions to deal with COVID-19 and to encourage vaccine acceptance.
Supplier Diversity Pledge
Baystate is one of 40 hospital systems partnering together to make a $1 billion Supplier Diversity Commitment over five years, supporting minority and women-owned businesses. One of the initial pillars of DEI within Baystate, the Supplier Diversity Program recently received recognition from Premier, Inc. for its longstanding efforts supporting minority, women and veteran-owned businesses with procurement opportunities at Baystate Health.
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