Our Mission Gives Our Work Meaning

An

Power of Ideas

Our Mission Gives Our Work Meaning

Author(s)
Alyssa Rieder
Alyssa Rieder
(Chief Investment Officer, CommonSpirit Health)

The global pandemic and human tragedy we are living through reinforces the importance of connecting deeply with our organization’s mission and goals. Having meaning in our work and ensuring that everyone on our teams understands how his or her work fits into and supports the broader organizational goals and mission are always important, but even more so during a crisis such as this. 
 
I’m fortunate to be the chief investment officer at CommonSpirit Health, one of the largest nonprofit health systems in the country with $29 billion in revenue, over 700 care sites, and 137 hospitals across 21 states. Together, it is our mission to make the healing presence of God known in our world by improving the health of the people we serve, especially those who are vulnerable, while we advance social justice for all. Last fiscal year, we served 20 million patients and provided approximately $4.5 billion in charity care, community benefit, and unreimbursed government programs. 
 
While we cannot yet fully know the extent to which COVID-19 will impact our communities, the CommonSpirit family remains vigilant in treating people who come to us for care with dignity. Epidemic and pandemic preparedness is something our staff and physicians have been trained on for decades. As an organization, we also have leveraged technology to provide complimentary virtual care, scaling our ability to reach patients while reducing transmission risk. We have engaged in public-private partnerships to expand access and increase our capacity to serve. With efforts such as these, we continue to be very focused on ensuring everyone’s safety, and most importantly, delivering high-quality, affordable, and compassionate care. 

Having meaning in our work and ensuring that everyone on our teams understands how his or her work fits into and supports the broader organizational goals and mission are always important, but even more so during a crisis such as this.

Our investment team is honored to manage over $20 billion—including long-term operating, retirement, self-insurance, and foundation assets. It is because of times like these that we commit to thoughtful asset allocation and risk management practices, which keep our program well diversified across asset classes and managers. We have a sizable allocation to diversifying strategies such as hedge funds, which generally have demonstrated promised resilience, provided some cushion to the vagaries of the market, and offered return and risk between those of fixed income and equities. We continue to ascertain and understand business models and drivers, identifying managers who we expect to continue to deliver differentiated and sustainable sources of returns. Across asset classes, but particularly in private equity and real assets, we have been working to find niche managers who are able to leverage their knowledge, relationships, and experience to find opportunities and generate alpha. 
 
Despite the market gyrations and intense news cycles, we are continuing to focus on the long term. Our team appraises how different managers operate in different economic environments and regimes and assesses the up and downside capture of the strategies we have and that we are considering. While crises are rarely the same, it is important to evaluate how managers act relative to our expectations and hopes, and determine if they are seeing and leveraging opportunities or if they are being beset by unforeseen challenges. 
 
On the investment team, we all know that our work is important to fulfilling our mission—that in some small way, we are making a difference and making the world a better place. Unlike many of our other brave, skilled, and kind colleagues, we are not on the front lines of this epidemic. But our work still matters, and we are thoughtfully managing employee retirement assets so that doctors, nurses, and janitors can be less anxious about whether they will receive their promised retirement benefits and can be present to serve patients. We are thoughtfully managing the long-term corporate assets of the organization so surgeons and caregivers have the equipment they need to provide skilled and compassionate care, and so that overall, the corporate promises we made to suspend patient billing for testing and treatment of COVID-19 can be financially managed as well. Understanding the impact of our work has brought us some measure of satisfaction, joy, and inner peace.
 
I am so grateful to and impressed by the many CommonSpirit Health physicians, nurses, and caregivers who work tirelessly and heroically to keep our communities healthy, spreading human kindness at this difficult time. Together, we will get through this.

Published April 15, 2020