APRIL 1, 2017  |  VOLUME 33, NUMBER 6

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.

Insurance allows Baltimore woman to have preventive care and peace of mind



For several years in her 20s and 30s, Baltimore resident Nzinga Rahim went without health insurance because she couldn't afford it. She was "pretty much" healthy, but she says that when she turned 30, "things started to go south."

She didn't have a primary care physician. On the occasions when she felt really poorly, she'd seek care at a hospital emergency room.

Student depends on Medicaid expansion for mental health care



By her late 20s, Jamie Willett had grown accustomed to feeling fretful and blue, but the sadness and stress wore on her.

"I just thought something was wrong with me," she recalls now. By the time she entered graduate school at Arizona State University in mid-2016, she was weary of her struggle and determined to get mental health treatment.


Cardinal Turkson to speak at Catholic Health Assembly

Editors note: Due to a scheduling conflict, Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson will speak on June 13, the final day of the Catholic Health Assembly.


The cardinal who heads the Vatican office over health care ministries will be the opening speaker for the 2017 Catholic Health Assembly. Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson is prefect of the Vatican's Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. He is among the keynote speakers scheduled to address the annual gathering, which this year takes place June 11 to 13 in New Orleans.

Cardinal Turkson has deep roots in the West African Catholic Church. He's held numerous leadership positions throughout the church and had an instrumental role in the church's recent environmental teaching and outreach.


Dell Children's heads off child abuse with parenting advice and big data tools


The color purple can bring to mind a variety of things: a prize-winning book; the hue of royalty; or even the description of some wines. But for the researchers at Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas, it refers to an important program aimed at preventing abusive head trauma in babies.

The Austin hospital's education program is based on what is known as "The Period of PURPLE Crying," when babies are apt to cry for long stretches. These challenging times can lead parents to forcefully shake or strike a child to stop the wailing.


Centura program equips Peruvian and Haitian birth attendants to save newborn lives


It was about a year ago that nursing technician Jaime Rengifo Amasifuen put his fresh training in infant rescue to life-saving use.

He'd been called in as the birth attendant in a late-night delivery in the Peruvian town of Yana Yacu Bombanaje. Laboring mom Janet Memolada Fatma was experiencing complications that endangered her baby's life.

Rengifo Amasifuen made the call to transport her — along with her husband — by motorized canoe through Amazon River tributaries, so she could get to a larger medical center in Peru's Indiana.


Dominican sisters build peace by being neighborly in New Orleans


A former grocery store in New Orleans now serves a more spiritual function: providing a renovated site for those working "to build peace, to preach peace and to be peace."

The Dominican Sisters of Peace, an order of women religious with about 500 members worldwide, opened its Peace Center on the border between the Marlyville-Fontainebleau and Gert Town neighborhoods about two and a half years ago.



GOP health reform proposal jeopardizes health, security of millions

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

We are strongly opposed to the House Republicans' efforts to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act with legislation that requires the most vulnerable in our country, including those with low incomes, to bear the brunt of the cuts to our health care system. In addition to moving away from an effective coverage expansion that has provided health care to more than 20 million working people, this proposal also would take many backward steps in the continual effort to improve our health care system...


Patients choose the art in their rooms at St. Joseph in Bangor, Maine


At St. Joseph Healthcare in Bangor, Maine, patients can customize their hospital room décor by choosing the art that will decorate their walls during their stay.

A volunteer visits patients in inpatient units, asking them whether they would like different art prints in their rooms. The volunteer comes prepared with a dedicated iPad, loaded with photos of all of the artwork that is available, and a cart with a selection of framed prints.


Saint Francis Health System to acquire EASTAR hospitals in Oklahoma


As Catholic Health World went to press, Tulsa, Okla.-based Saint Francis Health System said it would acquire EASTAR Health System's two hospitals in Muskogee, Okla., and affiliated entities such as physician clinics and ambulatory services on April 1.

Jake Henry Jr., president and chief executive of Saint Francis Health System, said in a statement the acquisition is consistent with Saint Francis Health System's strategic plan for increased focus on regionalization, with an expanded footprint in Oklahoma. Muskogee is about 50 miles southeast of Tulsa.

SSM, OU Medicine will not formally unite in Oklahoma

SSM Health's St. Anthony Hospitals and physicians group said on March 6 that they will not formally join with the University of Oklahoma's OU Medicine and the state agency that financially supports OU Medicine, which is the University Hospitals Authority and Trust.

Last fall, St. Louis-based SSM Health, OU Medicine and the University Hospitals Authority and Trust said they were working to form a joint operating company to oversee six of the partners' 23 central Oklahoma hospitals and affiliates. However, the recent announcement explained they were unable to finalize transactions to unite their governance and financial interests.

"Agreements such as these are very complex, especially when they involve the combination of a large public academic hospital and a private Catholic health care organization," the parties said in a news release.



Keeping Up

Rocklon B. "Rocky" Chapin will retire as president and chief executive of Benedictine Health System of Duluth, Minn., around January 2018.

Chris Glenney to president and chief executive of CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Health System of Tyler, Texas, from chief operating officer.