December 1, 2018  |  VOLUME 34, NUMBER 21


Tulsa's Women in Recovery provides alternative to prison

Ascension's St. John gives the women a medical home


In spring 2017, prospects looked bleak for Julianne Harman of Tulsa, Okla. In jail awaiting trial on driving under the influence of alcohol and methamphetamine possession charges — and having violated the conditions that had earned her a deferred sentence for a 2011 felony methamphetamine manufacturing charge — she was facing a possible sentence of seven years to life.

Harman jumped at a chance to again defer her sentence by taking part in Women in Recovery, a comprehensive prison diversion and rehabilitation program. She is participating in the program's mental health and addiction counseling and building life skills while living under close supervision.

Proposed revisions to 'public charge' test strike fear among immigrants

Changes expected to place billions of dollars in hospital Medicaid payments at risk


A Los Angeles family of four had Medi-Cal benefits only for a couple of months this year when the mother heard rumblings about the Department of Homeland Security's new "public charge" proposal that would subject green card applicants to tougher scrutiny based on their historical or expected use of certain public benefits.

The woman and her husband, both Mexican nationals, recently had been granted permanent residency status in the U.S, a step on the ladder to citizenship. (Their children were born in the U.S. and are U.S. citizens.) Jen Rodriguez, supervisor of community health for Providence Health & Services, Los Angeles, said the woman feared that the benefit — California's version of Medicaid — could count against their citizenship applications. Rather than take the risk, the mother terminated the family's coverage under Medi-Cal.

Executive CHI leaders reveal chemistry for success in dyad management


Health care is pioneering a leadership model that brings together executives with disparate backgrounds and skills to direct a short-term project or an entire department, according to two Catholic health system leaders who are champions of the approach.

Kathleen D. Sanford, senior vice president and chief nursing officer, and Dr. Robert J. Weil, senior vice president and chief medical officer, work as a dyad team to lead the Clinical Enterprise division of Catholic Health Initiatives, an Englewood, Colo.-based health system that operates more than 100 hospitals in 18 states.

Three Tampa-area Trinity hospitals undertake expansions

Three Trinity Health hospitals in the Tampa, Fla., area are expanding to accommodate rapid population growth and related increased demand for health care services along the central west coast of Florida.


St. Vincent's support powers free mental health clinic


Caylee Spencer's now 3-year-old daughter suffered a stroke in utero, which left her severely disabled. For Spencer, 26, who lives on the outskirts of Billings, Mont., it has been a long and lonely road navigating the medical landscape and learning just how much mettle it takes to parent a child with special needs.


SSM Health in Wisconsin rolls to front lines of emergency care, strengthens first response


On July 10, Dr. Kacey Kronenfeld was called early on to the scene of a deadly gas leak explosion in downtown Sun Prairie, Wis., a suburb of Madison. The regional EMS medical director for SSM Health in Wisconsin arrived in a Ford Police Interceptor outfitted with emergency lights, sirens and supplies to treat patients in the field.

CHI, Dignity Health to combine under the name CommonSpirit Health

More than 1,200 names considered for new nonprofit

Poised to combine their health ministries by the end of this year, Catholic Health Initiatives and Dignity Health have selected a new name for the new $28 billion, nonprofit system: CommonSpirit Health.


HARK! Mercy puts mental health and social service providers on the same channel


A homeless veteran struggling with substance dependence may not have the energy or resources to coordinate social and medical services that could open a path back to mental health, economic stability and sobriety. Likewise, the parents of a child with mental illness or developmental delays may be confounded by a lack of coordination among schools, social service providers and medical providers.


Mercy Health Network whips up frozen entrées for patients


To help build healthier communities in Iowa and Nebraska, Mercy Health Network decided to chill out. The health system, run under a joint operating agreement between Trinity Health and Catholic Health Initiatives, has created a line of frozen meals called Healthy Variety.

Sr. Lowry was ministry leader in Philadelphia and at CHA

Sr. Maureen Lowry, RSM, died Nov. 7 in Merion Station, Pa., at age 83. She was a health ministry leader in the 1980s and 1990s.


Keeping Up

Preston M. Simmons to chief executive of Providence Health & Services Alaska in Anchorage, from chief operating and administrative officer. The change is effective Jan. 1. The organization's current chief executive, Bruce Lamoureux, plans to retire by June 2019.