Rev. Kathie Bender Schwich is the Senior Vice President of Mission and Spiritual Care at Advocate Health Care, an LSA member that serves three million patients annually through its healthcare system. Kathie is responsible for overseeing the Spiritual Care Services, Clinical Pastoral Education, Music Therapy, Clinical Ethics and Volunteer Services.
Advocate Health Care has been a member of LSA since its inception and has been in the news lately – they've just announced their merger with NorthShore University HealthSystem. The new entity, Advocate NorthShore Health Partners, will be the largest integrated health care delivery system in Illinois and the 11th largest not-for-profit health care system in the US. Kathie is excited about the opportunities resulting from the new partnership. "Partnering with Northshore will help us provide quality care at a lower cost with higher efficiency." she said.
In a changing landscape, Advocate has embraced being an accountable care organization that provides a seamless continuum of care to its constituents. Under the new paradigm of the Affordable Care Act, they have become an exemplary pillar of effective transformation within the LSA network. As the merger is finalized, Advocate is looking towards the future. "We will continue to uphold our faith-based, holistic approach to healthcare and will take advantage of opportunities to expand research and education to prepare our clinicians for the future," Kathie said.
"Having come to this role from the presiding Bishop's staff at the ELCA, I’m familiar with the importance of networks and coming together for shared learning," Kathie said. She further utilizes her expertise as an active member of the Health Care Mission Leaders, a group of senior mission and spiritual care leaders from hospitals and aging services programs, many of which are members of LSA. "As our healthcare organizations have changed and grown to keep up with new and changing landscapes, we come together to share stories and learn from each other as well as discuss what it means to lift up our faith-based connection and how to articulate our message to others," she said.
The Health Care Mission Leaders will host a meeting at LSA's 2015 Lutheran Leadership Summit at the Safety Harbor Resort and Spa in Safety Harbor, FL. Kathie will accompany the Health Care Mission Leaders and join dozens of other senior executives at the event this February 22-25. "This year, I’m most excited about LSA's new Lutheran Leadership Summit and how it’s been restructured. I’m looking forward to attending because I think it will meet my needs as well as present opportunities to engage in meaningful conversations with my colleagues."
Kathie is also a participant of the LSA Annual Conference; "I found the Annual Conference very enriching and rewarding because of the diverse areas of topics it covers. It equips me with the tools I need to succeed at my organization but it also educates me on what my peers are accomplishing at theirs." This year's annual conference will convene members from organizations that serve people across the social ministry spectrum – from disaster response to senior services and much more. You can plan to join the Advocate Health Care team and hundreds of others at the Annual Conference in San Antonio from April 20-23.
We’re excited to recognize the growth of the LSA community of faith and we offer prayers to Kathie and her team during their exciting but busy transition period.
LSA would also like to thank Advocate Health Care for their support as a participant in the LSA 20-500 Fund.