Current Issue

Catholic Health World

SEPTEMBER 15, 2014  |  VOLUME 30, NUMBER 16

Mercy Eye Care Ministry puts clear sight in reach of low-income patients


A good deed changed James J. Rooney's career. Co-workers at Mercy Neighborhood Ministry in St. Louis were preparing several homeless people for job interviews in 2010. One man needed eyeglasses. They asked Rooney, manager of Mercy Eye Care, part of Mercy Hospital St. Louis, what he could do. Rooney provided the eye exam and glasses free of charge.

Co-workers at Mercy Neighborhood Ministry, an off-site department of Mercy Hospital St. Louis that focuses on community health and access, then suggested Rooney think larger: develop and operate a new outreach program. Armed with a business plan and $15,000 from Mercy Health Foundation of St. Louis, the philanthropic organization supporting many Mercy outreach programs, Rooney dug in and started Mercy Eye Care Ministry.

Today, Rooney is the director of Mercy Eye Care Ministry in addition to running the three Mercy retail eye care shops with 22 employees. With an annual budget of $65,000, Mercy Eye Care Ministry helps up to 600 low-income, uninsured or underinsured people every year at three Missouri locations receive eye exams and prescription glasses. Some are non-English speaking immigrants without insurance like Sedigheh Baghi.

Baghi calls Mercy Eye Care Ministry "a blessing. I'm very happy to be under their care," she said through her daughter, Mariam, who translated. A Persian émigré, Baghi, 66, had been referred by the Mercy JFK Clinic, at Mercy Hospital St. Louis, seven years ago.

Tech-savvy new nurses swap expertise with patient-care veterans

A hospital is a high-pressure workplace. Throw in a major new computer program, with its multiple screens and mysterious sequences, and the result can try the most composed veteran nurse.

Mentors expose students to hard work of hospital medicine

At his first knee-replacement surgery, Kevin Anderson was surprised to see tools as basic as hammer and saw put to blunt use with a force that launched a small bone chip into his plastic face shield.

Anderson was thrilled to be within what he called the surgical "splash zone." Recalling the operation from two years ago, Anderson said, "I absolutely want to be a part of this. Doctors help people. To me, it's pretty simple."

That's a good attitude for an aspiring future medical student.

Transitions Coaches support patient self-care after hospitalization


Barbara Narduzzi was frightened when she had to be hospitalized at St. Mary Mercy Livonia twice in March due to several health problems, including a heart attack followed weeks later by pulmonary edema. Just one thing upset her more than being in the hospital — the idea of going home. After an episode when she struggled to breathe while hospitalized, Narduzzi, 74, broke into tears as she contemplated how she and her husband would manage her care on their own.

She credits her work with certified Transitions Coach Catherine Ponder with helping in her early days back home from the hospital. A Transitions Coach is a relatively new type of health care professional, often a nurse or social worker. Transitions Coaches complete a branded training program to learn to help patients take care of themselves when they move between care settings, such as returning home after a hospital stay.

Health coaches encourage patients in behavioral changes


In the past, patients who needed to improve their health might have expected to receive some stern advice from a care provider: eliminate the bad habits, exercise more, eat more sensibly to lose weight. Leave the doctor's office, and it was anyone's guess if the patient would make the behavioral changes.

Queen of the Valley rallies to treat people injured in Napa quake

After a 6.0-magnitude earthquake hit Napa, Calif., Aug. 24, staff of Napa's St. Joseph Health – Queen of the Valley quickly set up a command center and triage tents to aid the dozens of community members who had flocked to the medical center seeking treatment for injuries.

Children's Hospital of San Antonio cooks up anti-obesity campaign

Children's Hospital of San Antonio plans to fight obesity by teaching children and families how to prepare healthy meals and by demonstrating firsthand that the freshest ingredients come from the ground, not bags or boxes. The heart of the hospital's program will be a demonstration kitchen and a 2.4-acre garden installed as part of a $145 million reconstruction of the hospital's downtown campus.

Keeping Up


Hospital Sisters Health System of Springfield, Ill., has made these changes: 

Patricia L. Fischer to president and chief executive of St. Francis Hospital, Litchfield, Ill., from vice president, physician services, Saint Anthony's Health Center, in Alton, Ill. She succeeds Daniel Perryman, who now is president and chief executive of St. Mary's Hospital in Decatur, Ill. Also, Dr. Raymond Gensinger to chief information officer of Hospital Sisters Health System.

Marcel Loh to chief executive of Providence Saint John's Health Center and the John Wayne Cancer Institute, both of Santa Monica, Calif., from chief executive for the suburban hospitals of Swedish Health Services and chief executive for the Swedish Health Network, a partnership between Swedish and hospitals on Washington state's Olympic Peninsula.

CHI forms Nebraska-Iowa network and names leaders

Alegent Creighton Health of Omaha, Neb., has formed the CHI Health network by combining with the other Nebraska hospitals and their affiliated networks within Catholic Health Initiatives. Englewood, Colo.-based CHI is the parent of Alegent Creighton.

CDC seeks urgent response to Ebola epidemic

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called on Sept. 2 for a heightened and accelerated international response to combat the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.

Two Chicago-area ministries set store by spiritual formation programs

Presence convenes inaugural class in new formation program

This month, Chicago-based Presence Health is launching its first formal formation program since the system began operations in November 2011. As Catholic Health World went to press, 24 executive leaders from throughout the 12-hospital system were scheduled to convene at a retreat center in Woodstock, Ill., Sept. 9 and 10 for the first of six in-person intensive meetings over a two-year period.

Dougal Hewitt, Presence chief officer for mission and external affairs, said a principal aim of the program is "building a community that has had shared learnings in shaping our culture. As we're a relatively new system, it is important to get a cadre of leaders who have that shared formation experience to move us through times of extraordinary change."

Group 'graduates' from Franciscan system formation program

Ten executives are the first to complete a formation program launched in 2011 by the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago Service Corporation. The program guides the health system's executive leaders in developing a thorough understanding of Catholic and Franciscan tradition so they can ground their work in the Catholic health mission.

"Taking more time for reflection and more clearly identifying the relationship between our decisions and our identity is one significant outcome from this opportunity," Jeanette Lindish, vice president of mission integration and pastoral care for the Homewood, Ill.-based senior living system, said of the leaders who completed the inaugural program in the spring, herself included.

Search the Catholic Health World Archives