Current Issue

June 1, 2015  |  VOLUME 31, NUMBER 10

Bon Secours aims to improve health in West Baltimore


Coalition working to address some of the issues raised in demonstrations

Bon Secours Hospital is just about two miles from an intersection in West Baltimore where protesters took to the streets in April and May in reaction to the death of a black man allegedly catastrophically injured while being arrested and transported by Baltimore city police. (The hospital treated some community members injured in the protests.)

Many commenters lamenting the death of Freddie Gray, 25, have decried the poor socioeconomic conditions that prevail in West Baltimore. For several years, Bon Secours Hospital and its partners in the West Baltimore Primary Care Access Collaborative have been chipping away at some of those socioeconomic issues and at the related health care disparity in West Baltimore. They've been increasing the number of primary care providers, helping community members more effectively access health care, improving coordination among care providers and offering preventive services to help people better their cardiovascular health.

While the challenges are daunting, there is power in numbers. "The greatest benefit (of the coalition's work) has been the opportunity to have 15 institutions aligned in purpose to address health disparities in the West Baltimore community," explained Dr. Samuel Ross, chief executive of Bon Secours Baltimore Health System, which includes the 88-bed Bon Secours Hospital and a network of ambulatory and community services.

Drug abusing teens find sobriety through Our Lady of Peace program

Austin resolved to be drunk in school on his 17th birthday. In class, he sipped steadily from a spiked water bottle. Friends in the know told inquiring teachers he just wasn't feeling well.

But a daylong bender is hard to hide, even in a suburban high school of nearly 1,200 students. The principal and police got involved. It ended badly, of course. He tested above the legal limit for intoxication in Kentucky and was cited under the juvenile code.

Realistic care goals, strong communication key in treatment of dying


Catholic moral theology has a long tradition of wrestling with the ethical issues surrounding death and dying, but one area that remains a particular challenge is how to proceed when patients and families seek care that health care providers consider medically inappropriate.

In an April 29 CHA webinar called Medically Inappropriate Treatment: Can We Do Better? Nick Kockler, senior ethicist and director of ethics education at the Providence Center for Health Care Ethics in Portland, Ore., and Dr. Kelly Stuart, medical ethicist at Bon Secours Health System in Richmond, Va., talked about why requests for medically inappropriate treatment, sometimes called futile treatment, continue to be a challenge.

Mercy Care keeps its focus on Atlanta's most vulnerable


Dr. Richard Hansen, 62, medical director for Emory Specialty Associates Primary Care Division, describes himself as having been educated at George Washington University medical school, trained at Emory University Hospital, and reeducated at Mercy Care, a clinic system that operates Atlanta's only health care for the homeless program.

That's because 20 years ago, when he first began volunteering at Mercy Care as a Saint Joseph's Hospital internist, he says he thought of the homeless as "mainly crazy, disheveled, unkempt people who had been released too soon from psychiatric facilities."

Staying true to Catholic values, PeaceHealth weathers a crisis


Josiah S. "Sy" Johnson was settling into his new position as chief executive of the PeaceHealth Columbia Network, in Longview, Wash., when a major crisis unfolded: a caregiver at a network hospital was suspected of diverting narcotics in ways that could have exposed a number of patients over two years to Hepatitis C infection.

"It was very scary," Johnson said. He learned, in February 2014, that a caregiver in direct patient care at a network hospital might be working under the influence of drugs. Fourteen months earlier, one of the caregiver's patients at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver, Wash., had tested positive for Hepatitis C.

"A wave of worry" descended on Johnson. Johnson left PeaceHealth in April, but as the crisis was unfolding, he wore two hats in its Columbia Network. In addition to being the top executive, he was chief mission officer. As such, he determined to stay true to the core value that every person is a treasure.

Proposed bylaws would allow CHA membership to be more inclusive

CHA members will vote in Washington, D.C., at the June 8 Membership Assembly meeting at the Catholic Health Assembly on whether to adopt new bylaws that would expand the criteria for association membership.

Under the proposed bylaws modifications, voting members of CHA can be either not-for-profit or for-profit. Currently members must be not-for-profit organizations.

Both Catholic and non-Catholic organizations would be eligible to join CHA as voting members.

CHI rural hospital boasts close ties among its staff


It's all relative in Little Falls, Minn.

When Drs. Heather and Christopher Bell joined the medical staff at CHI St. Gabriel's Hospital in Little Falls, Minn., three years ago, their status as a young married couple practicing medicine together was not unique, or even out of the ordinary in this small farming community.

That in itself is something out of the ordinary.

Oncologist to deliver a Catholic Health Assembly keynote address

Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee, author of the Pulitzer Prize winning The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, has been added as a keynote speaker at the 2015 Catholic Health Assembly, June 7-9 in Washington, D.C.

One in three women and one in two men in the U.S. will develop cancer during their lives, according to Mukherjee. In an interview published as an afterword in the book, Mukherjee said he wrote it after a patient with recurrent abdominal cancer told him, "I am willing to go on (with treatment), but I need to know what it is I am battling."

CHA's history book chronicles association's first century of caring, advocacy

On July 1, CHA will make available A Passionate Voice for Compassionate Care, a book tracing CHA's evolution from an April 1915 Milwaukee meeting of 35 sisters involved in Catholic hospitals to what the organization is today: a national association representing more than 600 hospitals and 1,400 long-term care and other health facilities in all 50 states.

Voices from the Journey provides insights on ministry from staff, clinicians, patients

CHA to debut book by Sr. Juliana Casey, IHM, this month

A new book by Sr. Juliana Casey, IHM, captures insights about Catholic health care from caregivers and associates who serve in the ministry as well as from patients and their loved ones who benefit from that care.

The 120-page book, Voices from the Journey, celebrates the people of Catholic health care by revealing what it's like to be a part of the healing ministry, from the perspective of a housekeeper, a nurse, a physician, a mission leader, an executive, a sponsor, a mother, a patient and others.

CHA develops e-learning module on Catholic commitment to care for immigrants

CHA has created an e-learning module for ministry members to provide an overview of the position of the church and the Catholic health ministry on caring for immigrants. "Welcoming the Stranger" is available by logging into the CHA Knowledge Center. Participants can complete the online learning by themselves or use a facilitator's guide to take part in the learning and a discussion as a group.

Keeping Up

St. Mary's Health Care System in Athens, Ga., will complete its acquisition of Ty Cobb Regional Medical Center of Lavonia, Ga., around June 1; the system will rename the facility St. Mary's Sacred Heart Hospital. Jeff English, St. Mary's vice president of human resources and support services, will be the hospital's interim president. English will succeed Ty Cobb Regional Medical Center Chief Executive Greg Hearn, who will continue to serve as chief executive of Ty Cobb Healthcare System.

Search the Catholic Health World Archives