Baptist Health South Florida is a United States healthcare organization located primarily in the state of Florida. It operates eleven hospitals, with more than 23 000 employees and 4 000 physicians in many medical spheres. Baptist Hospital in Miami is the central facility from which the entire network was born. It has been operating since 1960 and has grown into one of the largest healthcare providers in Florida. As it continues to expand, Baptist Health remains a popular choice among the population. The number of its annual patient visits amounts to no less than 1.5 million.
One of the reasons why Baptist Health has amassed such success and popularity lies in the efforts of the key people, who regulate and control the entire hospital network. There are several ruling boards, including the Board of Trustees and Boards of Directors for each hospital. However, as all hospitals are integral members of a larger network, all of them are subservient to Baptist Hospital in Miami. Subsequently, the decisions of the Board of Directors of Baptist Hospital of Miami are dependent on the Board of Trustees of Baptist Health South Florida. Ascertaining what constitutes the organizational values is essential in understanding the philosophy of its key people.
The most distinguishing part of Baptist Hospital’s leadership is the religious basis at its core. It should be noted that Baptist Health South Florida is a not-for-profit organization, which means earning a profit is not a goal of this entity. The hospital network exists on the charities and fees for service. An integral part of its organizational design is faith. It openly states that its mission is not only health maintenance but also the promotion of sanctity. As it is written in the mission statement: “Baptist Health is a faith-based organization guided by the spirit of Jesus Christ and the Judeo-Christian ethic” (Fulfilling Our Mission, n.d., para. 1). Therefore, the overall organizational philosophy is deeply religious.
An important element of the leadership’s philosophy is the indiscriminate delivery of healthcare services. The most often stated priority is “always putting our patients first whether they can afford to pay for their care or not” (BaptistHealthSF, 2009, 0:58). It is done by means of charity care. In essence, it means that the hospital agrees to treat any patient without direct financial reimbursement. This is why good publicity and public appeal are critical to Baptist Health. The more positive media coverage a hospital receives, the greater its charities will be. This is also a reason why the network is faith-based – Florida is famous for its Baptist communities.
Aside from the appeal to religion and the lack of business profit, Baptist Health incorporates high technology into its distinguishing characteristics. As such, the organization has created an entire institute dedicated to research and implementation of innovations into healthcare practices. Moreover, this is a way for Baptist Health to generate profit. By inventing new solutions, the organization commercializes its property and sells the assets, thus bringing financial returns. As a result, combined with positive publicity, charity care, and faith orientation, the constant lookout for innovations and ways of their implementation are integral components of Baptist Health’s organizational philosophy.
Concerning the style of the top leaders of Baptist Health, it can be argued that they follow a transactional leadership philosophy. The essence of transactional leadership is “motivating followers by calling on their personal interests” (Purwanto et al., 2020). It is important to understand that a transactional leader does not intend to implement any global changes. Their goal is to set up a proper exchange of benefits between the subordinates and themselves. This means working within the existing framework without trying to fundamentally change it. Also, transactional leaders prefer safe solutions over unexplored and risky opportunities.
There are several reasons why the current leadership of Baptist Health follows a transactional approach. First, the organization grows extensively rather than offering new unprecedented healthcare solutions. Baptist Health’s leadership actively expands its structure. Over the years, the number of hospitals under its jurisdiction has increased to eight. Meanwhile, the quantity of urgent care facilities has also substantially grown to over 50 (O’brien, 2018). This is the result of the adversarial conditions in the healthcare market in Florida, which has numerous entities in this field. Therefore, the actions of Baptist Health indicate its reactivity to the changing circumstances. In contrast, transformational philosophy would require Baptist Health to implement new practices in the existing facilities.
One of the examples of Baptist Health’s real intentions is the viewpoint on the implementation of the Internet of Things technology in the hospital setting. It is acknowledged that connecting all equipment and inventory to a single network can potentially boost the speed of delivering treatment and increase the efficiency of monitoring the patients’ life signs. However, the organization is more concerned with the potential costs associated with such innovations. For instance, the risk of technology overload makes the managers of Baptist Health anxious and forces them to wait for a more widespread implementation (Tech on the cutting edge of patient care, n.d.). Once again, transformational philosophy would require the leadership to push for the Internet of Things, which is an example of cutting-edge technology.
Match between Leadership Philosophy and Organizational Design
The actions of Baptist Health’s leadership actually fall in line with the organizational philosophy. The purpose of this hospital network is the indiscriminate delivery of high-quality healthcare (Fulfilling Our Mission, n.d.). The behavior of the leadership accentuates this goal. By choosing to multiply its facilities, personnel, and number of patients, Baptist Health increases its capabilities of delivering patient care. This tendency can be observed in the decision to include Bernie Fernandez, M.D. into the physician leadership team (Baptist Health South Florida expands physician enterprise leadership, n.d.). Dr. Fernandez is a conservative leader who has succeeded in preserving Cleveland Clinic Florida, which is exactly what Baptist Health sought.
Although Baptist Health continues to emphasize its commitment to innovative solutions, it does not actually attempt to integrate them unless there is substantial market evidence that such interventions work. Therefore, it follows the expansive strategy. The gap between leadership approach and philosophy appears when a not-for-profit hospital cannot afford to deliver free healthcare. Lichtenstein et al. (2006) argue that leadership philosophy does not imply ever-present rigidity. Instead, they should adapt to the circumstances, which is accomplished by Baptist Health, when it expands. As a result, it is recommended to view philosophy as the general morality, while it is possible to sidestep when an organization is not capable of fulfilling its function.
Altogether, it should be evident that Baptist Health is governed on a transactional basis. It is a not-for-profit hospital network, yet it has an institute that researches innovations and commercializes them. The real philosophy of Baptist Health is maintaining good publicity and being constantly available. The first is accomplished by not charging the patients who are not financially capable of paying for the services. The second is achieved by constant expansion. Extensive growth is the most viable way for Baptist Health to compete in Florida’s healthcare market. Without these decisions, which contradict the not-for-profit philosophy, the organization would not have survived. As a consequence, it is recommended to adopt a more flexible approach to the short-term goals while following the overall philosophy in the long-term perspective.
BaptistHealthSF. (2009). Baptist Health South Florida [Video]. YouTube.
Baptist Health South Florida expands physician enterprise leadership. (n.d.) 2021, Web.
Fulfilling our mission. (n.d.) 2021, Web.
Lichtenstein, B. B., Uhl-Bien, M., Marion, R., Seers, A., Orton, J. D., & Schreiber, C. (2006). Complexity leadership theory: An interactive perspective on leading in complex adaptive systems, Management Department Faculty Publications, 8(4), 2-12.
O’brien, J. (2018). New CFO Matthew Arsenault enlarges role as Baptist Health expands operations. Web.
Purwanto, A., Bernarto, I., Asbari, M., Wijayanti, L. M., & Hyun, C. C. (2020). Effect of transformational and transactional leadership style on public health center performance. Journal of Research in Business, Economics, and Education, 2(1). 304-314.
Tech on the cutting edge of patient care. (n.d.) 2021, Web.