Since the assembly . . .

August 1, 2011

By SR. CAROL KEEHAN, DC
CHA president and chief executive officer

It was wonderful to see so many members of our ministry at the Catholic Health Assembly in Atlanta. The speakers were well received by attendees, and we are looking at the evaluations to see how we can make next year's assembly even better.

Since our assembly, I attended the health care task force meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, where the discussion included the canonical status of health care systems that have become public juridic persons. I am happy to report that it seems that the perspective of Rome, the bishops' conference and CHA members are exactly the same on this issue. In addition, the bishops discussed the situation of Catholic hospitals that have become for-profit, and I was able to fill them in on the task force CHA is forming to examine criteria for CHA membership. I promised to keep them informed as that task force completes its work.

Speaking of the CHA task force, letters have gone out to invite a representative group of members to be on it. It will be chaired by Colleen Scanlon, senior vice president of advocacy for Catholic Health Initiatives. She just completed her service on the CHA board and as chair of the board's governance committee. We will bring more information on the task force and its work plan to a future issue of this publication.

CHA's executive committee, along with CHA board members Bishop Kevin Vann and Bishop Robert Lynch had the pleasure of a wonderful meeting with Archbishop Timothy Dolan in New York in late June. We were very grateful to New York Archbishop Dolan, who is president of the bishops' conference, for making so much time for us in his busy schedule. We all agreed on the critical importance of a strong Catholic health care presence in this country. We agreed on the importance of a good two-way communication between ourselves and the bishops' conference, as well as with individual ministries and their bishops. We had a chance to talk about some of the internal and external challenges to Catholic health care. We look forward to continuing this conversation.

Since our assembly report on the $10.1 million that CHA members have pledged to help rebuild Catholic health care in Haiti, an initiative under the leadership of CHA Board Chairman Bob Stanek, we have been hard at work with the staff of Catholic Relief Services. We will have significantly more to report on regarding the work supported by our Campaign for Rebirth and Renewal project in future issues, and our hope is that in the near future, we will be able to break ground for the new hospital in Port-au-Prince.

In the midst of all this, we have been aggressively monitoring the health reform rollout and the extraordinarily contentious discussions over the debt ceiling and its impact on our country, but especially its impact on health care with a particular concern for the most vulnerable. I know you have been following this in the alerts in CHA's Washington Update.

Hopefully this little update helps, and I hope even more that each of you are finding some time this summer for a little rest and relaxation for yourself and your families. May God bless you for all you are doing.

 

Copyright © 2011 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States
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