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Professional Decision Making


Organizations are often faced with choices that determine their growth paths. Due to the dynamic nature of the healthcare industry, organizations have to make difficult decisions to ensure their profitability and commitment to society (Shrestha et al., 2019). This analysis focuses on the professional decision-making process concerning St. Vincent Regional Medical Center’s partnership with Christus Health in 2008 and the transfer of ownership by Anchorum to Christus Health that happened in 2023, and evaluating the professional decision-making processes that led up to these critical moments, determining whether the decisions were programmed or non-programmed, rational or intuitive and associating them with some of the models discussed by Kim (2017).

St. Vincent’s Partnership with Christus Health in 2008

In 2008, St. Vincent Regional Medical Center and Christus Health signed a multimillion-dollar partnership, a major achievement for both parties. The choice to merge resulted from a protracted negotiation process that sought to provide significant financial advantages to St Vincent, eliminate debt, and finance new services and expansions. The decision was huge and had to be calculated regarding financial impacts and long-term advantages. At the center of the decision-making process was the CEO of St. Vincent, who was excited about the deal and mentioned the tens of millions of dollars that could flow into the company, debt relief, and growth opportunities (Etre et al., n.d).

Entering into the partnership with Christus Health in 2008 was a non-programmed decision because it was a unique and uncharted territory that needed the evaluation of the pros and cons. St. Vincent’s leadership had to determine the precise manner of the partnership and the impact it would have on the hospital’s financial situation. The decision-making process was more rational, involving a systematic analysis of the financial consequences, debt relief, and the scope for service extension. Leaders of St. Vincent’s Hospital, headed by President and CEO Alex Valdez, weighed the real benefits and the effects on St. Vincent’s operations in the long run. The choice aligns with Kim’s Rational Decision-Making model, where decision-makers analyze the options, acquire relevant information, and evaluate the consequences of each alternative before making a strategic choice.

Evolution of the Partnership – 2023

In 2023, the partnership environment changed drastically as Anchorum, the nonprofit affiliate of St. Vincent Regional Medical Center, sold its 50 percent share to Christus Health. With this decision, the partnership entered a new stage of its development, reflecting a commitment to health disparities and community health needs. Anchorum’s decision to sell its ownership stake in 2023 can be described as a programmed decision. Unlike the first alliance 2008, this was a predetermined plan within the framework of the changing relationship between Anchorum and Christus Health. The decision was a tactical adjustment of priorities and a thoughtfully planned reorganization to align with the organization’s changing purpose.

The Anchorum decision-making process retained the rational element, as it aimed at the organization’s long-term financial sustainability and capacity to address health inequalities. Negotiations were characterized by a thorough analysis of financial deals, focusing on Christus Health providing large payments for community health programs during the following decade (Vitu, 2023). The decision conforms to Kim’s Rational Decision-Making model since it results from a strategic restructuring based on a thorough financial analysis and an organizational commitment to address health disparities.

Reflection on Professional Decision-Making

St. Vincent and its affiliated entities’ decisions show how complicated professional decision-making is in healthcare facilities. The dynamic environment of the healthcare industry requires organizations to continuously change through transformations, partnerships, and reorienting priorities on a need basis. Modifications to partnerships point to a key lesson, as evidenced by Anchorum’s 2023 buyout. This is a strategic move to accommodate the inherent capacity of joint ventures in controlling community health inequalities and financial sustainability.

St. Vincent’s partnership with its partners has a delicate equilibrium between sustainability and community involvement. Its first 2008 joint venture was aimed directly at sustainability. Nevertheless, the 2023 reorganization reflects a wish to use financial assets for public health. This balance is critical for values-based organizations pursuing power and longevity. According to Kim’s Rational Decision-Making Model, the two cases provide examples of the effectiveness of a structured approach to analyzing alternatives and implications for the future. As some preferences keep changing, rational decision-making enables the organization to pay more attention to complexities and select routes that correspond with general objectives (Abubakar et al., 2019). While it is not easy to do, an analytic decision-making process enables leadership to be adaptive while clearly focusing on the main goals and objectives. Hence, this required restructuring business models towards sustainably oriented community health resource management.


The professional decision-making processes associated with St. Vincent Regional Medical Center’s partnership with Christus Health in 2008 and the subsequent transfer of ownership from Anchorum to Christus Health in 2023 emphasize the dynamic nature of healthcare organizations and maintaining a precarious balance between financial viability and community responsibility. Managerial decisions involved a balancing act of financial stability, community health inequities, adaptability, strategic synergy, and fiscal growth versus community impact. Lessons on professional decision-making here focus on key organizational imperatives in the rapidly changing healthcare domain.


Abubakar, A. M., Elrehail, H., Alatailat, M. A., & Elçi, A. (2019). Knowledge management, decision-making style, and organizational performance. Journal of Innovation & Knowledge4(2), 104-114.

Etre, K. A., Maines, T. D., & Wojda, P. J. CHRISTUS St. Vincent Regional Medical Center: Realizing the Common Good in Santa Fe, NM.

Shrestha, Y. R., Ben-Menahem, S. M., & Von Krogh, G. (2019). Organizational decision-making structures in the age of artificial intelligence. California Management Review61(4), 66-83.

Vitu, T. (2023). ‘New direction ‘ for nonprofit hospital. The Santa Fe New Mexican (Santa Fe, NM), 1–1.


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