Posts Tagged ‘ pregnancy help medical clinic

Standardization, Accountability, Measurability, Continuous Improvement

CompassCare has been committed to serving the Pregnancy Center movement since 2006 by identifying standards, structuring client/patient care plans around those standards, providing real tools to maintain accountability of roles for those serving the women as well as creating and maintaining key measures that help each center know how well they are performing. This empowers the executive to make the targeted changes they need to make with their marketing or services that will keep them on the cutting of reaching and effectively serving that woman who says, “I need to have an abortion.” CompassCare is the only organization in the nation with a proven track record of helping pregnancy centers accomplish their mission in a way they have dreamed of doing for years (See CompassCare Case Histories). In fact, you can even watch interviews of executives that have experienced the difference by clicking here. But the real difference is in hearing about the experiences of the abortion-minded women we are all trying to reach.

CompassCare Is the National Pioneer in PRC Standardization, Accountability, Measurability, and Continuous Improvement

As a pioneer CompassCare led the charge to develop the first repeatable medical model in challenging New York State while most PRCs were under investigation by the then Attorney General, Eliot Spitzer. Out of that travail CompassCare birthed the first repeatable Linear Service Model of a medical PRC. CompassCare was the first to apply the terminology Global Services Model (GSM) and Linear Service Model (LSM) in an effort to teach executives at NIFLA about the distinct differences between the two paradigms. To read a history of the Linear Service Model in the PRC movement click here.

In fact, CompassCare has been fortunate enough to grow in such an adverse climate that we are often in a position to identify early what the abortion industry’s strategies will be and help pregnancy centers prepare for them. Many of the new allegations being leveled against pregnancy centers and how to avoid them were first taught by the CompassCare team. Listen to a list of free podcasts published in 2008 teaching PRC executives about the threats we as a movement are now facing and how to safeguard our organizations against them through standardization and accountability.

CompassCare is committed to helping pregnancy centers and executives in tangible ways to increase their effectiveness on the mission. We understand executives need answers from other executives who walk in their shoes day in and day out running pregnancy centers. For more information about the first and only comprehensive Linear Service Model (LSM), CompassCare’s Optimization Training program, click here. If you would like to contact a coach click here.

More Abortion-minded Women: Making Your Dream a Reality

An issue came up in a Pregnancy Center Leadership discussion group recently that we as executives think about all the time: “How can we reach more pregnant women truly at risk for abortion?” and its sister question, “How can we serve those women in a way that more consistently helps them have their babies?” The particular conversation centered around an executive of a Pregnancy Center in a Midwestern college town feeling like they are not reaching enough abortion-minded women compared to the number of abortions taking place there.

“What exactly leads you to conclude that you actually have a problem?” I asked. “You have made some logical assumptions but your logic is hidden to the rest of us. I am sure you have already figured this out but it would be helpful for the rest of us to get a really good handle on how you arrived at your concern and more importantly what to do about it. Would you be willing to be a little case study for us by answering the following questions for us to chew on? I believe the old adage is true: What gets measured gets fixed. Perhaps we can analyze this as a group of PRC executives in an effort to not only help you but help each other.

1. How many abortions occur in your area annually? 1000

2. How many abortion providers are in your county? 3

3. What is the primary ethnic, age and educational demographic of those women getting abortions? 18-24 Caucasian with 13 years of completed education (sophomore in college)

4. How many appointments did your organization schedule in 2009? 250

5. How many pregnancy tests were performed in 2009? 125

6. How many of those pregnancy tests were positive? 75

7. How many of those positive test patients did you consider to be ‘at risk for an abortion?’ 60

8. How many pregnant, at risk clients can you serve this year? Maybe 460

9. How many of the pregnant at risk patients received an ultrasound their fist visit? 45

10. How many of those said that they were going to continue the pregnancy at the end of their initial appointment? 38

The dream of this executive is to reach 460 pregnant women seriously considering abortion this year. Her initial impression was that all she needed to do was increase her advertising budget. Based on the information she provided if she wanted to reach all 460 women seriously considering abortion in her area using the organization’s current client trends and percentages she would need to filter through 12,000 client appoints per year!

We have found this scenario to represent the typical pregnancy center. What about your pregnancy center? This executive thought that the answer to her low client volume was more advertising. But there is a deeper issue at play. More advertising will only result in more of the same. The approach the center is taking in order to serve the right women in the right way needs  to be streamlined so they can accomplish their goal. (See Case Study of Omaha, NE Pregnancy Center) Otherwise they will be spending precious resources on women who are either not pregnant or not really at risk for abortion. The solution to this service problem lies at the philosophy of ministry that has been adopted. This pregnancy center while using an ultrasound machine is still in the old paradigm of pregnancy center ministry CompassCare coined the Global Service Model or Client-centered approach. In order for them to reach their goal of serving 460 pregnant at risk women they will need to adopt a new paradigm of ministry CompassCare coined the Linear Service Model (LSM).

For information about how to create a linear service model (LSM) to reach and effectively serve abortion-minded women go to prcoptimizationtool.com.

Virtuous Leadership and a Linear Service Model Part 1

Virtuous Leadership and a Linear Service Model (LSM) Part 1: As goes the Executive so goes the organization.

Virtuous Leadership=Focused Organization

In the process of both running a medical PRC and helping others to develop and operate their medical PRCs it occurred to me that there are certain questions all of us PRC Executives need to have answered.  Questions like:
-How can we get more abortion-minded women to call our center?
-How can we get more abortion-minded women who call to schedule an appointment?
-How can we get more of those who schedule an appointment to show?
-How can we get more of the women we see to have their babies?
-How can I as an executive get more control over the organization and out of the daily grind of wondering just how effective our counseling methods really are and know for sure?
These questions are linked to each other and often if you answer one you solve another.  The good news is that the answers to these questions are available.  Even better than that many center executives are experiencing the freedom and comfort that comes with knowing that their organization is accomplishing the mission of reaching and effectively serving women at risk for abortion better than they ever dreamed they could right now.  The next few posts are written to address these questions.  It is my hope they will help propel you as an executive as well as the organization which you lead to a higher level of effectiveness than you ever let yourself believe was possible.

In the process of thinking through how to convey the answers to the most pressing questions every PRC executive seems to share, something occurred to me; there is only one guarantee for success.  I have seen many organizations face the difficult questions, make difficult decisions about how to answer those questions, and go on to greater effectiveness at reaching and serving women facing unplanned pregnancies, while others do not.  At first glance the organization that ultimately succeeds at that worthiest of all goals versus the one that does appear the same.  But after having observed and worked with both types of PRCs over the years, a key difference began to emerge between them.  But that key difference was not manifesting as the usual suspects such as a specific type of operation.  It was not that one offered a specific service like ultrasound technology and the other did not. Nor was it dependant on access to money.  It was not even that the successful organizations had developed a strategic plan, because unsuccessful ones had too.  What we began to notice was that while the organizations that were effective and gained greater effectiveness at reaching and serving women at risk for abortion were the ones that were committed to sticking to their strategic plan and creating systems of service to intentionally improve (LSM), there seemed to be an underlying driving force to that commitment.  These organizations had the fortitude to do the really, really hard work of facing their brutal reality and creating a new reality through focused action.  Incidentally it is difficult to have consistently focused activity without a strategic plan driving the development of the approaches that are taken to accomplish the mission. But the specifics of a strategic plan seem to be secondary.

Admittedly, I was a little surprised at the revelation that the specific details of a strategic plan were secondary to just simply having and religiously sticking to that plan.  The end result is almost always some level of a step by step Linear Service Model. You must forgive my bias toward the value of the CompassCare LSM.  However, once my proverbial eyes adjusted to the light of this new revelation we started asking ourselves:  “What made some organizations able to pursue a strategic plan while others seemed content to let their strategic plan, if they had one, sit on the shelf?”

Over time we began to observe a common element in pregnancy centers that continued to get better and better at their mission.  At the heart of the organizations that were able to purse a strategic plan and enjoy the resulting benefits of a more or less linear service process for reaching and serving the high risk abortion-minded woman was the activity of a particular person; the executive.

We began to realize that the activity of a PRC, over the course of time, reflected the behavior and expectations of the person who occupied the  executive director position.  In fact this realization became so obvious that we began using the following phrase in all our PRC Linear Service training:  “As goes the executive so goes the organization.”

In part 2 we will discuss the role of personal virtue in executive leadership and what its practical implications are for developing and implementing an effective linear service model (LSM).

Check out the results of a pregnancy center in Omaha, NE after their executive, Michelle Sullivan, decided to implement a Linear Service Model by clicking here.

CompassCare Pregnancy Center Optimization Conference

CompassCare has trained many medical pregnancy centers in several States to “Optimize” their services in order to reach more women seriously considering abortion and help them have their babies more effectively. The results have been staggering. For last couple years the Executives of those pregnancy centers have been requesting CompassCare to host a conference just for them in Rochester, NY where it all started. This year we gave in and said yes. We decided to open it up to other Executives so that they could get a glimpse of the inside of the CompassCare network of high-performing medical pregnancy centers. The conference will be held on April 20-22.

If you are interested in more information go to www.compasscaretraining.org

Part IV: Ethical Standards for Serving Abortion-minded Women

Transparency, Integrity, and Full Disclosure:

Due to the political, passionate and divisive nature of abortion women facing unplanned pregnancy are often the

Every woman has 3 Choices

victims of biased information and sales tactics at abortion clinics and elsewhere. It is our belief based on serving thousands of abortion-minded women across the country every year that women need to be insulated from these added agenda driven pressures. Furthermore, if they are insulated and at the same time given all the information and about all their options (abortion, adoption, and parenting) as well as the medical support needed at the moment more often than not she will choose to have her baby. Not a sane woman alive actually wants to have an abortion. They feel trapped, like abortion is their only way out. It is the job of the pregnancy center to provide support and security such that she realizes that she can actually pursue other options, a real choice.

So, in the interests of fairness and the desire to avoid non-exploitative behavior, organizations should:

1. Fully disclose the financial profit they stand to gain if the woman chooses one option over another.

2. Refrain from manipulation and coercive tactics such as inflaming irrational fear and panic.

3. Ask and obtain permission at each stage of the consultation process.

4. Conduct anonymous paper-and-pencil exit surveys to assess client/patient satisfaction with the organization. (See Attached Sample Exit Survey Here Client/Patient Exit Survey)

Part II: Ethical Standards for Serving Abortion-minded Women

The only way to ensure that your pregnancy help medical clinic’s good intentions actually are provided in a way that is consistent and ethical requires that we as Executives know what our ethical standards are and that those ethics are applied with every step of a client/patient interaction. Just because we believe in the good intentions of our volunteers and staff does not necessarily mean that they are interacting with our clients in an ethical manner. Being a Christian is not enough for ethically delivering services medical or otherwise to women facing unintended pregnancy.

Upholding Ethical Standards of Care

Sadly, you and I know that a woman’s decision about the outcome of her pregnancy is so often fraught with irrational fear, inadequate information, little to no counseling, sales tactics from financially vested interests, and coercive pressure from self-interested others that a woman does not feel like she has any other choice. In a 2004 study published in the Medical Science Monitor 84% of the American sample of women said that they did not receive adequate counseling before receiving an abortion. Additionally 64% felt pressured by others which would include boyfriends, parents, spouses, etc (Medical Science Monitor, 2004; 10 (10): SR5-16, Induced abortion and traumatic stress: A preliminary comparison of American and Russian women; Vincent M. Rue, Priscilla K. Coleman, James J. Rue, David C. Reardon).

Given these considerations and the importance of insulating women facing an unplanned pregnancy from intentional or unintentional negative influence, all organizations seeking to assist these women should employ 3 categories of ethical standards in their delivery of services: A) Supportive Decision-making, B) Informed Decision-making, and C) Transparency.

A.  Supportive Decision-making:

To respect and enhance a woman’s ability to make decisions regarding pregnancy outcomes, organizations should help by using these important pregnancy decision-making tasks:

Assessment of woman’s current social situation including relationship support structures (i.e. father of the baby, parental involvement, etc)

  1. Assessment of woman’s current social situation including relationship support structures (i.e. father of the baby, parental involvement, etc)
  2. Identification of circumstantial pressures (i.e. finances, education, unsupportive relationships, medical care, child care, age, long-term goals, etc)
  3. Careful exploration of the full range of available options including abortion, birth, and adoption.
  4. Careful consideration of potential short and long-term physical, social, and emotional outcomes of each available alternative.
  5. Maintain a safe environment that helps a woman firmly resist pressure from self-interested parties.

Update:  See Part III:  Ethical Standards for Serving Abortion Minded Women

Part I: Ethical Standards for Organizations Serving At-Risk Women

You and I know that the abortion industry has not identified nor do they use proper ethical standards of care when serving women facing unplanned pregnancy. Not necessarily news to you is it? Because of that the likelihood of a woman being victimized by the political and financial interests of those providers is drastically increased. It is unjust and upsetting and reveals an opportunity.

Are You Following Your Standards?

And what about the Pregnancy Resource Center movement? Have we clearly identified proper ethical standards of care for medical services and counseling? For example, let’s say that your Pregnancy Help Clinic provides pregnancy testing. And let’s say a woman comes in who is seriously considering an abortion and your organization provides her with one. Assuming that it takes just 4 minutes for you to get a result on the pregnancy test you decide to ‘counsel’ the woman for 30 or more minutes about the negative aspects of abortion. This could be considered an unethical use of the trust a woman is giving you by withholding critical decision-making information while you offer her what could be considered ‘your agenda’ about what she should do. This is a grey area but could be interpreted as ‘moral entrapment.’ What is the ethical standard you are using to defend the particular way your organization delivers pregnancy tests?

Anytime a group of people interacts with a person or another group of people that interaction should be governed by practical, ethical standards of care. Those standards which could be called ‘normative ethics’ are designed to insure the person or people receiving the service from you because of their distinct need are protected from any harm that could from exposure to the selfish intentions or personal agendas of the people providing the service. You may say, “Since we are Christians and mean only to help a woman considering abortion this is not a problem for us.” To that it must be said, “Abortion providers could also say they have only the best of intentions.” And it is because of the abortion industry’s lack of ethical standards of care we have an opportunity to set a national standard for all organizations serving women facing unintended pregnancy.

But first we must identify them, agree to them, and prove that we follow them in the pregnancy resource center movement. We are not talking about ‘Commitment of Care’ documents. We are talking about something much more specific.

To learn more about developing a system that will help to insure and optimize ethical standards in your Pregnancy Center go to www.compasscaretraining.org.

Update:  See Part II:  Ethical Standards for Organizations Serving Abortion Minded Women.

Dodging the Bullet of State Legislation

Its coming . . . more and more attempts to regulate pregnancy centers with State legislation. So far most of them have failed but the abortion industry is getting better at figuring out our internal weaknesses in an effort to limit women’s access to pregnancy centers. Some think that negative regulatory legislation aimed at Pregnancy Centers may happen as early as next year!

All the abortion industry needs is one State to pass restrictive legislation and it could pave the way for other States to follow in their steps. The last thing we want is for the State to begin regulating what Pregnancy Centers do. What we really need is to show the States that we follow standards of our own.

Up until last week Washington State was one of those States. From what I understand the legislation would have made it possible for a woman to sue a pregnancy center ‘for damages’ if she simply did not like what she was told while there. Also, if the Pregnancy Center for some reason were to win the lawsuit it would have made it illegal for them to recover their legal costs from the plaintiff. So not only could they be sued but if they won they would still have to pay for the cost of an expensive lawsuit themselves.

New York Pregnancy Centers have been the target of several pieces of legislation designed to hinder their ability to free speech in marketing as well as limiting their ability to provide limited medical services like ultrasound. In 2006 New York’s Representative Carolyn Maloney introduced a federal bill restricting the free speech of ‘Crisis Pregnancy Centers’ that was actually backed by the ACLU, an organization committed to the broadest interpretation of free speech.

Virginia just a few days ago let a bill die as the legislative session ended for the year without a vote. The idea was to set standards for pregnancy centers to follow informed by the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL). They even performed an undercover investigation and wrote a report on it (click here to see that report). See their YouTube video about it below.

What is the solution? We need a return to excellence. We need documented ethical standards of our own. Furthermore, we need documented processes outlining the way we serve every pregnant woman including what we say as well as when it is said and by whom. We need to show that the way we provide medical services to women facing unintended pregnancy is the highest and only standard of care and that even abortion-providers should follow our protocols . . . because they are right, they don’t just feel right. Do you know what is being said to each woman when the door to the counseling room is shut? Do you know for sure that your nurses are not using medical tools to intentionally manipulate women’s emotions. Do you know for sure that your counselors are not dispensing any type of information that could be considered medical in nature? Do have people without a medical license running pregnancy tests? What exactly is being said to women when they are scheduled for an appointment? If all you have to go on is one person who says something like, “We have good counselors . . . they would never say anything they are not supposed to say” then you as an executive can be fairly certain you’ve got problem.

Here is the Acid Test to know if your organization is doing the right things in the right way: Everything you do is written down in a book that everyone follows, parts of which are even memorized as scripts. If you can’t point to that book, and I’m NOT talking about a Policy manual, then it is impossible for your organization to consistently meet any ethical standard. If by some stretch of the imagination your organization is so well run that you hit the bull’s eye let’s say for 1 ethical standard you could not prove it in a court of law without that book and the documentation that each person was trained in doing their job exactly according to the book AND that you have documentation that they followed their training with each and every patient. That is standardization.

“But abortionists don’t do that why should we?” you might ask. It is because they don’t regulate themselves that it is imperative we do. Once we have a clear, well thought out, ethical application of information and medical services aimed at helping women facing unplanned pregnancy to make a truly informed decision then we will have the high ground, then we can begin to see legislation drafted and passed regulating the irresponsible, self-interested, unethical abortion industry. But this will take commitment on the part of the executive, a commitment to applying a linear services model, to changing the way things are done. To learn more about implementing a written, linear service model click on the new CompassCare Training Website here: www.compasscaretraining.org

Eliminate 90% of Board Dysfunction: 5 Simple Steps

Have you ever experienced difficulties interacting with your Board of Directors? If the answer is no then you should read this post to keep it that way. If the answer is yes then this post will help put your relationship with the board back on a healthy path.
Tension between the board and the executive occurs for lots of reasons.  But that tension reflects a dysfunction and thankfully paves the way for a solution. Dysfunction between the board and executive reveals the need for your board to establish a process for how to interact with you the Executive in a healthy way. It is extremely important for the board to establish a process of how to interact with the Executive in a healthy way because the future health of the organization depends on it. Too many organizations have been badly damaged because boards and executives simply did not follow a healthy process or misunderstood their role. A healthy executive/board relationship should be moderated by what is called an ‘Executive Review Committee’ or ERC. The ERC is usually populated by the Executive Director, the board chair, and at least one other person of the Executive’s choosing. The primary function of the ERC is to review the Executive’s performance annually as well as determine a compensation package to recommend to the board. The performance evaluation along with the compensation package serves as an annual contract with objectives to be measured for the coming year. Compensation should include 1) pay, 2) outline of health and other benefits, and 3) determination of vacation and time off which includes a list of paid holidays. I always recommend to the organizations with which we work for their ERCs to meet at least monthly so that the ERC can develop a strong rapport with the executive, know the executive’s mind so that the ERC can not only hold the Executive accountable better but also so that the ERC can advocate on behalf of the executive to the board at large.
If you do not have an ERC or if you do not have an annual performance review that outlines benefits now is the perfect time to do that. It will serve to keep the relationship an executive has with the board healthy as well as fulfill one of the primary fiduciary responsibilities of the board; to hold the executive accountable. If you develop the ERC it has been my experience that 90% of your unhealthy board/executive dynamics dissolve.

What to do next? Follow these 5 simple steps and it will safeguard your organization’s future:

1.  Make sure the board understands their role. Click the following document that defines the primary duties of a Pregnancy Center Board:  Governing Board Requirements and Agenda Template

2.  Make sure you understand the Executive role:  Executive Job Functions Self-Evaluation

3.  Have the Board commission an Executive Review Committee:  Board Resolution to Start Executive Review Committee

4.  Set ERC meeting schedule (I suggest 1 time per month but if your board meets monthly then have the ERC meet 1 time per quarter.

5.  Begin the annual review process by scheduling the review date and agreeing on the document that will be used to evaluate the Executive’s performance.  The following document is my recommended template:  Annual Executive Review Template

For more information on how CompassCare Training has positively impacted the executive leadership of other Pregnancy Centers go to www.compasscaretraining.org.

Solving Most PRC Vulnerablities: Moving from Global to Linear

Now that we have identified the most common and most damaging vulnerabilities in the medical pregnancy resource center (PRC) what should we do?  What is the next best step?  Listen to Jim Harden teach PRC executives about the paradigm shift required to move from our current global services format to a step by step linear service platform.  It is the best way to reach and serve women seriously considering abortion. 

NOTE:  Before listening to this podcast it is strongly recommended that you first listen to the podcasts dealing with the specific PRC vulnerabilities related to misinformation, misrepresentation, moral entrapment, lack of accountabilty and mission focus.