Oct. 30, 2018 — Sr. Carol Keehan, an influential voice for increasing health care access for all and a lifetime advocate for the poor, today announced her retirement as president and chief executive officer of the Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA) effective June 30, 2019. Sr. Carol is the ninth president and CEO of CHA, the largest group of nonprofit health care providers in the nation, serving in the role since 2005.
“Serving as president of CHA has been an incredible privilege for which I will always be grateful. The opportunity to get to know the entire Catholic health ministry across our nation and work with the wonderful staff at CHA and our committed board was an honor for me. It is an inspiration to see the genuine commitment of the members of the Catholic health ministry in the United States to providing people with the health care they need, not just the health care they can afford,” said Sr. Carol. “The efforts to do this as a ministry of the Church, both in our daily actions as well as in raising a voice for them in the public square, characterizes the members of CHA even in the most challenging times.
Having been able to represent them in many forums is a privilege I will always treasure.”
During her tenure at CHA, Sr. Carol has been a leading voice in promoting access to health care for all, especially for the vulnerable and those burdened by poverty. She was instrumental in gathering political support for passage of the Affordable Care Act. In 2010, she was named one of TIME magazine's "100 Most Influential People in the World” and "Person of the Year" by the National Catholic Reporter. Sr. Carol has been named to Modern Healthcare's list of "100 Most Influential People in Healthcare" for several years, topping the list at number one in 2007.
"Sister Carol has provided superb leadership to CHA. Because of her relentless energy and passion for Catholic health care and the people we serve, CHA and its members are key influencers for improving and standardizing community benefit reporting standards and increasing access to high quality health care for all Americans. She leaves an incredible legacy for Catholic health care that has greatly benefited the people and communities we serve across the nation," said Michael A. Slubowski, president and chief operating officer, Trinity Health, and chairperson, CHA Board of Trustees.
"Sister Carol has led the Catholic Health Association with distinction during a critical time for Catholic health care and for health care generally in the United States. She has always focused first and foremost on our values, and as a result, has had an outsized impact on U.S. health care policy to the benefit of those most in need. Her impact will be felt for generations," said Kevin J. Sexton, vice-chairperson, CHA Board of Trustees.
Prior to joining CHA, Sr. Carol served in various administrative and governance positions at hospitals sponsored by the Daughters of Charity, including 15 years as president and chief executive officer of Providence Hospital in Washington, D.C. She has served as board chair of Ascension Health's Sacred Heart Health System, Pensacola, Fla; on the boards of Catholic Relief Services, Baltimore, Md.; the Catholic Health Association of the United States; Catholic Healthcare Partners (now Bon Secours Mercy
Health), Cincinnati; St. Agnes Hospital, Baltimore; Mercy Health System, Miami; Catholic Healthcare Audit Network, Clayton, Mo.; and SOAR! (Support Our Aging Religious), Silver Spring, Md.
During her career, Sr. Carol has furthered Catholic teaching around social justice with her tireless advocacy for the poor and vulnerable. These efforts have been celebrated with numerous awards and honors including the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice (Cross for the Church and Pontiff), bestowed by Pope Benedict XVI; the Cardinal Joseph Bernardin Award from Catholic Common Ground Initiative; the American Cardinals' Encouragement Award; LCWR 2011 Outstanding Leadership Award from the Leadership Conference of Women Religious; and Commonweal magazine’s 2018 Catholic in the Public Square Award.
The CHA Board of Trustees will conduct a national search for a new president and chief executive officer during the next several months with the goal of having a successor named by June 2019. A search committee made up CHA board members and representatives from the CHA membership will lead the recruitment process.
“Sr. Carol did so much to strengthen Catholic health care during the past 13 years. While we will miss her outstanding leadership, the CHA Board of Trustees recognizes that we have a talented and dedicated staff and that our members remain committed to advancing the important work of ensuring that health care is a basic human right. Sr. Carol leaves big shoes to fill, but we as a ministry are up to the challenge and will continue to march forward on the path that she blazed,” added Slubowski.
The Catholic Health Association of the United States is the national leadership organization of the Catholic health ministry, representing the largest nonprofit provider of health care services in the nation.
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