Publications


October 1, 2016  |  VOLUME 32, NUMBER 17


Current Issue

Dozens of faith-based providers targeted in pension lawsuits

Ministry organizations among defendants

By JULIE MINDA

Much is at stake if plaintiffs prevail in a spate of lawsuits that class action law firms have filed over the past several years against faith-based health care providers, according to attorneys for CHA. The suits claim the providers are not "churches" and thus should not be allowed a church-based exemption from the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

CHA in-house and outside counsel told Catholic Health World if the plaintiffs prevail, faith-based providers may be subject to a costly revamp of their employee pension plans and they also may lose ground in their ongoing struggle to maintain their religious exemption in other legal matters.

Mark E. Chopko is CHA's counsel of record in an amicus brief CHA filed Aug. 15 in support of petitions to the Supreme Court to hear appeals in two church plan suits. The cases involve Advocate Health Care Network of the Chicago area and Saint Peter's Healthcare System of New Brunswick, N.J. The systems are asking the Supreme Court to overturn rulings by two federal courts of appeals that their respective plans are not church plans and are thus not exempt from ERISA regulations.

Chopko said the position of the challengers bringing the suits is "that no religious exemption is permissible. None."

Chopko said the plaintiffs' challenges get at the heart of the question: What is "the church?"
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CHRISTUS Health works with vendors to champion supplier diversity

By BETSY TAYLOR

Timothy Martin, who has procured goods and services for CHRISTUS Health for 12 years, took on a newly created role about a year ago for the Irving, Texas-based health care system: manager of supplier diversity, contracting and resource utilization. To advance CHRISTUS Health's commitment to supplier diversity, Martin actively reaches out to minority-, women- and veteran-led companies and others, helping them understand the blueprint for doing business with CHRISTUS Health.
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FMOL staff rallies as waters rise; health system comes through for staff in aftermath

By JULIE MINDA

With about 18 percent of its workforce directly impacted by a historic summer flood in southern Louisiana, the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health Systemhas been focused for weeks on meeting the needs of those staff members at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, La.; Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center in Lafayette, La.; St. Elizabeth Hospital in Gonzales, La.; and numerous clinics and corporate offices.
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Presence-sponsored training spreads the word about mental health issues

By NANCY FRAZIER O'BRIEN

Sandra C. Candelaria remembers the moment when she became convinced of the importance of training in mental health issues through the Mental Health First Aid program.

Now a program coordinator at the Puerto Rican Cultural Center in Chicago, Candelaria was working for another agency a year and a half ago when a woman receiving counseling for a substance abuse problem mentioned that she was considering taking her own life.
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Assessment tool helps communities prepare for aging members' needs

By JULIE MINDA

The median age of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Brentwood, N.Y., is 81.

"So, health issues along with the dynamics of healthy aging are a major concern for us," said Sr. Helen Marie Kearney, CSJ, president of the congregation of 481 sisters.
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St. Anthony completes project that helped revitalize Midtown Oklahoma City

By JULIE MINDA

St. Anthony Hospital of Oklahoma City has completed a 12-year, $220 million campus renovation and expansion that spurred economic recovery in the facility's formerly depressed downtown community. "We revitalized a dying hospital and helped revitalize a neighborhood," said Joe Hodges, regional president of hospital operations for SSM Health of Oklahoma, which is the regional parent of the hospital.
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Avera Health's telemedicine reaches patients in South Dakota prisons

By BETSY TAYLOR

Avera eCARE, which offers telehealth in many remote, rural communities in South Dakota, also provides care to another geographically isolated population: inmates at four of the state's penitentiaries.
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Neonatologist offers 'prayer points' to allay parental anxiety

By BETSY TAYLOR

Andrea Mullenmeister got a harrowing introduction to motherhood. While on vacation and 23 weeks pregnant, she went into labor. She was airlifted to St. Cloud Hospital in St. Cloud, Minn., where her son Jaxson was born four months early, weighing 1 pound, 8 ounces.
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CHRISTUS forms joint operating company with East Texas hospital board

CHRISTUS Health of Irving, Texas, has formed a joint operating company with the Hopkins County Hospital District of Sulphur Springs, Texas, which owned a 96-bed public hospital and nine clinics.
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Keeping Up

ADMINISTRATIVE CHANGES
St. Louis' Ascension and its facilities have made these changes: Dr. Kevin O'Neil to chief medical officer of St. Louis' Ascension Senior Living. Scott Smith to president of the St. John Providence Foundations, Warren, Mich. Bob Murphy to president of the Sacred Heart/Providence Medical Group of Pensacola, Fla. Paul E. Cleckner to chief operating officer of Saint Thomas Health, Nashville, Tenn. And, at Seton Healthcare Family of Austin, Texas: Robert "Scott" Herndon to chief financial officer, Dr. David Martin to chief medical officer and Yvonne VanDyke to chief nursing officer. 
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