May 15, 2017  |  VOLUME 33, NUMBER 9

Catholic Health World Current Issue


Editor's note: With Republicans laying the groundwork to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, CHA is urging legislators to put people above politics and proceed in a way that preserves and ultimately broadens health care access. Catholic Health World is publishing profiles of individuals whose lives have been improved by ACA-enabled health insurance coverage. We invite ministry members to contribute patient profiles of their own to this project and to use the stories to reach out to legislators with the message that health insurance matters to the dignity, quality of life and well-being of individuals and families. To contribute profiles, or suggest individuals for profiles, please email To see a collection of profiles, click here.

Marketplace insurance essential for two-time cancer survivor



In late 2001, at age 44, Toni Bannister received two life-altering diagnoses: In November that year she learned she had Stage 3 colon cancer; and in December she learned she had Stage 3 breast cancer. Both cancers had moved into her lymph nodes, and the breast cancer was a particularly aggressive strain.

Hotel housekeeper's insurance covers lifesaving surgery


Toni Deluca doesn't mince words when she describes herself as "the working poor." She labors 25 to 30 hours a week cleaning rooms and assisting with banquets at a hotel in Boonville, Mo., about 25 miles west of Columbia, Mo.

In January of 2016, she got health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. Deluca, a 57-year-old resident of Bunceton, Mo., a town of fewer than 400, said she hadn't tried to buy health insurance before then, figuring there was no way she could afford it. But she developed a sharp, chronic pain in her left side, and it motivated her to investigate the cost of coverage on (Missouri did not expand Medicaid under the ACA.)


Mental health institute will draw on population health’s community playbook


Providence St. Joseph Health has set out to ignite transformative change in mental health and wellness in the United States. The system recently funded the Institute for Mental Health and Wellness as an independent foundation dedicated to advancing mental, social and spiritual well-being in the nation.

The choice of Tyler Norris as the institute's first chief executive is an indication that principles of population health, social justice and community wellness will be integral to Providence St. Joseph Health's and the institute's strategy to improve access to quality mental health services, and to support upstream initiatives that can reduce the incidence of mental illness, homelessness and addiction.

CHI report: Climate change impacts health in United States


Laura Krausa, system director of advocacy for Catholic Health Initiatives, boiled down reams of research on climate change and its effect on health to underscore the importance of taking action.

"I had attended a clean-air conference presentation by pediatricians on the impact of climate change on children's health in the United States. It had never occurred to me that it was impacting health in the U.S.," Krausa said. "There was something for me in bringing that message closer to home."

Given Englewood, Colo.-based CHI's network of 104 hospitals in 17 states, Krausa's message had the potential to influence more than 100,000 employees.


Catholic organizations respond amid catastrophic flooding in Peru


Torrential rainfall has caused widespread and devastating flooding in Peru, killing over 100 people, injuring more than 100,000 and rendering 700,000 people homeless. Destruction of roads and bridges has isolated villages and hampered deliveries of food and drinking water. Catholic organizations are among the responders attempting to provide emergency aid and to lay the groundwork for a longer-term response.

The ministry experts who spoke to Catholic Health World said the needs of the Peruvian people are extensive, and the global response to their needs has been slow so far. They said rebuilding from the devastation will take years.


Systems pay just wages in line with Catholic social teaching


When she was applying for her position as a teacher's aide at the employee child care center at Bon Secours St. Francis Medical Center in Midlothian, Va., five months ago, Jennifer Poulston was really surprised when her human resources contact told her that her hourly wage would be $11.


St. Vincent Indiana counters food insecurity in schoolchildren's homes


Almost half of public school students in Indiana, 47 percent, qualify for free or reduced-price lunches, according to the state's education department.

That means those students receive through the National School Lunch Program at least one nutritionally balanced meal each day, and often two, Monday through Friday. But that leaves two days during which some of those children may not have enough to eat.


Dignity Health survey sure to bring a smile to the lips of caregivers

Smiling makes the vast majority of people feel healthier, less stressed and more pleased with their day — that is according to results from a survey conducted by San Francisco-based Dignity Health.

One thousand fifty U.S. adults aged 18 and older completed the online survey in December. According to the results released by Dignity Health in January, about 89 percent of respondents said smiling has a direct impact on their physical or mental health; 84 percent said smiling makes them feel less stressed; 96 percent said seeing a smile has improved their day.

Senator Collins has praise for Catholic health care

w170515_SenatorCollins-ci2Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, shown center right in red jacket, praised the contributions of Catholic health care in the U.S. when she joined members of the CHA Board of Trustees at a reception at the Florida House on Capitol Hill, April 4.

Avera Health to start construction of new campus in Sioux Falls, S.D., in fall

w170515_AveraHealth-ciAvera Health will begin construction this fall on $174 million in health care projects in Sioux Falls, S.D., the city where the system is headquartered.

About 75 percent of the money — roughly $134 million — will be spent for a new health campus, located on about 80 acres of land in a high-visibility area off an interstate at 69th Street and Louise Avenue.


Keeping Up


Organizations within Cincinnati-based Mercy Health have made these changes:

  • Jeffrey Dempsey to president for Mercy Health — St. Vincent Medical Center and Children's Hospital, part of Mercy Health's Toledo, Ohio, region. He was president and chief operating officer of Mercy Health — St. Charles Hospital in Oregon, Ohio.