Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thursday (St Hugh of Lincoln)

Still at the conference for bishops of small dioceses in Salt Lake City. The morning was devoted primarily to interacting with representatives of the Episcopal Church Medical Trust. There is a move afoot at a grass-roots level to achieve more pricing parity between the dioceses, which are now divided into ten price bands--rated on demographics (read: age and sex), geography (cost of providers), and prior claims experiences. Springfield is in Band 10, the most expensive. If the pricing were to be distributed evenly across the church, we would see premium reductions of 29%. Of course, dioceses in Band 1 would see increases of a corresponding scale. There was certainly a consensus among the bishops present that, for moral reasons if nothing else, price parity is a wothy goal, but that some reasonable phase in period is probably necessary to cushion the shock for those who will have their rates raised.

The afternoon was given over first to a presentation by Anthony Guillen, the Latino ministry officer at 815. I give him kudos for debunking the notion that Latino ministry means Spanish-speaking ministry. The majority of Latinos in the U.S. (about 75%) either speak only English, primarily English, or some English. So it's not so much a matter of learning a different language as it is learning a different culture. Something I've been saying for at least a decade based on my experience in California. We also heard about an innovate program from the Diocese of Lexington that aims to put very bright new clergy into small rural congregations for three-year internships. It's creative, but it won't work in Springfield, unfortunately.

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