Michael F. Rodgers will retire Feb. 1 as CHA senior vice president of public policy and advocacy. He has been "an absolute pillar of the government relations department at CHA for 18 years," according to CHA President and Chief Executive Officer Sr. Carol Keehan, DC.
Rodgers has been responsible for the execution of the advocacy agenda set by the CHA Board of Trustees. As one of the association's principal spokespeople on public policy initiatives, he has made the case to members of Congress, the administration and health care regulators for expanding health care access, especially for the poor and the vulnerable, and for policies that benefit patients by strengthening Catholic health care.
Michael Slubowski, CHA board chair and president and chief operating officer of Trinity Health, said, "No entity worked harder for passage of the Affordable Care Act than CHA, and Mike orchestrated this impressive work — as well as all the collaborative efforts that followed to protect and preserve coverage."
Lisa Smith, CHA vice president of advocacy and public policy, said of Rodgers, "He really made a name for CHA and our members on Capitol Hill, and he led our work with truth and integrity."
Sr. Carol said Rodgers also has been an unfailing champion of the Children's Health Insurance Program, working to secure its reauthorization. She said he was "absolutely invaluable" in CHA's interactions with the Senate Committee on Finance. She credited his work with advancing an accounting framework developed at CHA that gave nonprofit hospitals a template for proving that their charitable and community benefit activities justify their tax-advantaged status.
Michael Rodgers, left, head of CHA's public policy and advocacy department, chats with Lloyd Dean, president and chief executive of Dignity Health, at the 2017 Catholic Health Assembly in New Orleans.
Julie Trocchio, CHA senior director of community benefit, said of her boss, "On the Hill and in the health association world, Mike is known not only as 'Mr. Nice,' but also as one of the smartest and most effective health policy people."
Diane Rowland, an executive vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, told the audience at the joint meeting of members of CHA's committees held in Chicago last month that Rodgers "has been a real champion for the people you all serve."
Prior to joining CHA, Rodgers was a senior vice president at the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging in Washington, D.C. (The organization is now called Leading Age.) He'd joined that organization in 1986. Prior to that, he was staff director of the Subcommittee on Housing and Consumer Interests for the Select Committee on Aging of the U.S. House of Representatives and, separately, a member of the senior professional staff of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging. Before working on Capitol Hill, Rodgers was the principal policy director for the Bureau of Policy, Planning and Evaluation at the Pennsylvania Department of Aging in Harrisburg, Pa., a cabinet-level department of state government.
For his part, Rodgers considers his time at CHA as "the best years of my career." He said it has been meaningful to be able to live out his Catholic faith through his work.
He said it has been an honor to meet and work closely with people from throughout the ministry supporting Catholic health care, especially the women religious who sponsor and lead ministry organizations. "I will miss the people I have worked with, but I always will support the ministry and the ministry will always have my prayers."
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