Patricia Cahill, first president and chief executive of CHI, dies

November 1, 2021

Patricia A. Cahill, founding president and chief executive of Catholic Health Initiatives, died Oct. 2 in East Sandwich, Massachusetts. She was 83.


Cahill led the consolidation of Catholic Health Corp. of Omaha, Nebraska, the Franciscan Health System of Aston, Pennsylvania, and the Sisters of Charity Health Care Systems of Cincinnati into the CHI health system in 1996. A year later, the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth Health System in Nazareth, Kentucky, joined. CHI had facilities in 20 states.

Cahill served as CHI's president and chief executive until her retirement in 2003. CHI, based in suburban Denver, merged with Dignity Health in 2019 to form CommonSpirit Health, now the nation's largest Catholic health system.

Before taking the helm of CHI, Cahill was the director of health and hospitals for the Archdiocese of New York. She developed the Alliance for Catholic Health and Human Services, an affiliation of 43 Catholic hospitals with 15 religious sponsors that worked on collaborative programs. Her work also included a stint as CHA's vice president of government affairs.

CHA named Cahill its Sister Concilia Moran Award recipient in 2006 for her pioneering work. The award honors visionary leaders in Catholic health care.

At the awards ceremony, Cahill was lauded by Kevin E. Lofton, her successor as president and chief executive of CHI and later a chief executive at CommonSpirit.

"Pat's presence to CHI and other health care ministries inspired a group of leaders who followed her to the mountains of Colorado as spiritual pilgrims," he said. "Despite risks, despite obstacles, we knew, as Pat would often say, it was 'something in the stars' that made CHI come together and succeed."

Copyright © 2021 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States

For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3490.