Having Faith in Change 

October 7, 2022

Strategy for benefits and HR tools saves diocese money while also preserving beliefs.

Having Faith in Change 


The Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph includes 103 affiliated entities and employs about 2,000 people. The diocese’s many stakeholders (schools, large charities and parishes) had decentralized decision-making. Multiple locations created a complex set of human resource challenges.



The arrival of the ACA regulations required a move to more strategic and tactical thinking, especially since some regulations directly conflicted with the organization’s Catholic Christian principles and core beliefs. It also raised the need for an integrated payroll and HRIS system.


The diocese was fully-insured with no room in the budget for new tools such as HR automation. Their broker at the time was receiving substantial commissions while still charging for services such as printed benefit brochures.


Each entity within the diocese had its own payroll system and benefits files. Its central office had only a few HR and accounting staff, and they struggled to keep up with everyone’s needs. Timely enrollment and eligibility management suffered.  

To complicate matters, benefits decisions were being made by a committee of multiple stakeholders. All of them had a substantial say in how things should work at their locations – which only furthered the complexity of the plan. The fragmented recordkeeping and various approaches made measuring and driving quality outcomes nearly impossible.


It was clear that the diocese needed a way to work around the ACA regulations to ensure their health benefit offerings did not violate their Catholic beliefs. Additionally, they could benefit greatly from automating the payroll and benefits administration system – if it could get all the stakeholders on board. Such a change would take some creative financing, as well.


The Miller Group began by doing extensive footwork – visiting multiple locations to speak with benefits administrators and build consensus on one, automated system. The best provider for payroll and benefits administration was selected through an RFP facilitated by The Miller Group.

For ACA regulations, The Miller Group compliance team worked to design a health insurance plan that aligned with the organization’s religious beliefs. 

Additionally, plan changes drove significantly higher participation from employees, which provided improved plan performance. This, in turn, allowed for the financing of the new automated benefits administration system.   


The diocese and The Miller Group began using a comprehensive service agreement so the diocese could see exactly where their money was going. The agreement provides a detailed outline of what commissions and fees The Miller Group receives, and how the company uses those funds to provide services for the diocese. It also gives the net surplus from which the diocese can then use to implement new tools, such as an automated benefits administration system.


A common payroll, HRIS and benefits administration system for all 103 locations was implemented with help from The Miller Group. This saved the diocese money and time. It also greatly improved communication throughout the organization.


Since 2014, over $800,000 has been given back to the diocese through their comprehensive service agreement. This money has been used to support their HR functions through payroll and HRIS systems, benefit brochures, FSA administration and much more.

Thanks to this successful partnership, the Diocese has been able to: 

  • Implement a fully centralized payroll system
  • Install an integrated benefits administration system that also provides seamless ACA reporting
  • Implement a fully automated benefits onboarding system at no new cost
  • Integrate online enrollment elections and billing processes
  • Improve the perceived value of the benefits package, with 99% of employees “self-serving” through the new system
  • Increase employee participation with more plan options
  • Generate approximately $1.4 million in plan cash flow savings after moving to a self-insurance model

“The Miller Group has our full and complete trust. They work with our best interests in mind virtually every day, and they have a clear and thorough understanding of the truly unique situation the Catholic Church finds herself in. I can see no other consultant who could serve us this well. Others have tried, The Miller Group has succeeded.”

Bob Roper,
Human Resources Director
Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph