In 2002, a Georgetown University study examined the role of Catholic hospitals in the nation's health care safety net. The study, commission by the Catholic Health Association, was conducted by the Georgetown University Institute for Health Care Research and Policy.
Georgetown noted a "conscious culture of commitment" as the hallmark of Catholic health care in the United States evidenced by:
- A centuries-long commitment to providing care for the poor and vulnerable
- A steadfast commitment to preserving and defending human dignity
- A dedication to promoting the common good
- Careful stewardship of declining resources
Flowing from these commitments, Catholic health care facilities are often the provider of last resort for millions of Americans. They often provide necessary medical services that other hospitals won't provide because they are not profitable — such as burn units, neonatal intensive care units, mental health facilities, etc. They continually reassess local needs and create services to benefit the community they serve. Catholic health care is a valuable national resource.
To sustain the Catholic health ministry's capacity to fulfill its commitments to the nation, to its own mission, to Catholic Church teachings, and to communities, Catholic health care organizations work together to advocate necessary public policy changes, train leaders for the future, and preserve their ability to serve in keeping with Catholic values.