Ethics Overview

Catholic health care carries out the healing ministry of Jesus in a complex environment — a fragmented health care system, millions of Americans uninsured or underinsured, enormous competition, challenges in reimbursement, proliferating technologies, and numerous biomedical and scientific advances. Reflecting on what we ought to do and who we ought to become, as individuals and as organizations, whether in the clinical, business, or social realms, is the work of ethics.

The theology and ethics function at the Catholic Health Association assists its members in navigating the many complex ethical realities in health care today. We do this through consultations, presentations, collaborations with colleagues, developing and sharing resources, webinars, educational programs, research and writing.

Decision Making Informed by Discernment

Upcoming Events

Be sure to check our Calendar of Events for a full listing of upcoming events.

Ethics Mobile App for Members!

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New CHA Video Case Study

CHA has developed a third ethics case study on Length of Stay and Code Status, joining the two video case studies and accompanying guides already available to lead mission leaders, ethicists and other care, management and executive teams through discussions on Competing Service Lines and a Critical Clinical Case.
» Learn more

Ethics Information and Resources for COVID-19

Code Status and COVID-19 Patients (posted March 27)
The Catholic Health Association and the Supportive Care Coalition offer this document with gratitude to our colleagues at the University of Washington recognizing that the clinical indicia for decision-making about any medical intervention are the same as they have always been. Although this decision-making model is put forth as a response to COVID-19, it is merely an application and implementation of best-practices applied to the current setting.
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Catholic Ethics and the Challenge of COVID-19, a complimentary webinar series addressing critical ethical issues in caring for patients, families, coworkers and the community during the pandemic.

Catholic Clinical Ethics Program

Catholic Clinical Ethics

CHA announces a new online master's degree program and graduate certificate in Catholic Clinical Ethics for leaders in Catholic health institutions starting fall 2018.

The innovative academic program is offered through a partnership with Georgetown University Medical Center, The Catholic University of America and the Catholic Health Association of the United States.

Catholic Clinical Ethics will advance Catholic health care's leadership in the nation's health and well-being by preparing highly skilled professionals who can address complex changes in biotechnology, clinical treatments and health policy within the framework of human dignity and the Church's moral teachings. It is particularly timely in light of rapid technological change and the transformed health environment. To learn more, visit or email

» Download the brochure

Living Well with Serious Illness
The Catholic Health Association developed this updated and refreshed guide to learn about the range of support that is available to patients and families to help them live as well as possible during serious illness. It is part of a series of publications that was created in collaboration with physicians, nurses, theologians, and ethicists within Catholic health care to help people of all ages, backgrounds, religious traditions and beliefs make important decisions about serious illness and end-of-life care.

Order in the CHA Store
» Download PDF: English  |  Spanish

CHA_SupportiveCare_CatholicTeachings_lowres_cover Teachings of the Catholic Church on Caring for People at the End of Life
The Catholic Health Association has developed this guide in collaboration with physicians, nurses, theologians and ethicists within Catholic health care. It is based on frequently asked questions to help patients, families and clinicians think about end-of-life decisions regarding medical treatments and care. Although the guide reflects the perspective of Catholic tradition, the information is helpful to people from any religious tradition.

Order in the CHA Store
» Download the PDF (English | Spanish)

Understanding the ERDs

Understanding and Applying the Ethical and Religious Directives

Based on the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, this resource is designed to help educate ministry health care professionals about important aspects of the Directives in a readily accessible and engaging new format.

Access the online version (member login required)


Understanding the ERDs - Physicians

Understanding and Applying the Ethical and Religious Directives for Physicians

Designed for individual and group learning, this resource contains video and supporting educational materials to provide physicians with an understanding of the meaning and application of the ERDs in Catholic health care.

Access the online version (member login required)