Community Networks

November-December 1999

Partnerships between Catholic Charities and Catholic Healthcare Organizations

Like other healthcare organizations in the United States, Catholic healthcare facilities are developing new relationships with a wide array of partners to extend their ministry and to improve efficiency, coordination, and quality of care.

In forming these partnerships, Catholic-sponsored organizations may have an advantage over others. Through Catholic Charities and other social service programs, the Catholic Church in the United States is the largest provider of human services. In addition, the Church's network of almost 20,000 parishes enables healthcare organizations to reach into communities where little infrastructure exists. The current movement toward integration of community-based health and social services creates opportunities for Church-sponsored organizations to work together as never before.

Health Progress publishes an ongoing series of case studies of such partnerships, hoping they might serve as models for those creating integrated systems of care. These case studies of Catholic Charities agencies and Catholic health organizations were prepared by the Catholic Health Association as part of New Covenant, an initiative designed to promote collaborative efforts of the Catholic health ministry at the national and regional levels.

Here is another case study. Health Progress will present others in future issues.

Catholic Community Care

Organizational Structure
Catholic Community Care (CCC) is an alliance of 15 Catholic long-term care organizations in the Cleveland diocese and Catholic Charities of Cleveland.

Goals of Affiliation
CCC has three primary goals:

  • To increase access to a seamless continuum of care for the aging and chronically ill
  • To preserve Catholic identity in a consolidating marketplace
  • To effect cost-savings through group purchasing

The Project
In February 1998, at the urging of Bp. Anthony M. Pilla, the Catholic long-term care providers of the eight-county Cleveland diocese joined Catholic Charities in forming CCC.

CCC's founders acted in the belief that the Cleveland area's healthcare system, like that of the United States as a whole, is currently incapable of meeting the full continuum of needs of aging and chronically ill people, especially the poor and vulnerable. Eventually, the founders believe, managed care plans like PACE and Medicare+Choice will address such needs in a comprehensive manner; CCC will then be positioned to provide long-term care services for those plans on a risk basis. Until then, CCC must fund those services itself.

In September 1998 CCC hired Sergei Shvetzoff and Jade Gong of the Health Dimensions Consulting Group to get the project started and draft a business plan. (The consultants' services were funded by a grant from the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland.) The consultants convened a series of meetings in which CCC's partners developed a collective vision, ultimately deciding that they wanted to create a healthcare project in the spirit of New Covenant, an initiative to encourage collaboration. The partners approved the business plan in July 1999.

CCC will establish a home care agency to provide skilled care for the elderly and the chronically ill, and move toward providing unfunded supportive home care services. This initiative will be funded by profits earned by a CCC-sponsored purchasing entity serving diocesan institutions (e.g., schools, hospitals, and long-term care facilities) and by member dues and fund-raising efforts. CCC will also create a leadership training program, a staff training program, and a central intake for all CCC programs.

The target date for launching CCC is the first quarter of 2000.

Governance Structure
CCC is governed by a board representing each of the 16 partners.

Staff and Budget
CCC is currently recruiting a director and staff for its central office (the home care agency and purchasing entity will have separate staffs). For the first year the staff will comprise three or four people, but will grow as programs and services are added.

CCC's annual budget is approximately $250,000.


Pat Gareau
Chairman, Catholic Community Care

Sergei Shvetzoff
Health Dimensions Consulting Group

Practical Advice
Building an alliance is like starting a marriage or a family. Focus on the vision and the needs, not bylaws. Everyone should ask: What does this mean to me, to our organization, and to the community? Success will be contagious.

If your healthcare organization is collaborating with a Catholic Charities agency in your area, we would like to know about it. Please contact Julie Trocchio by phone at 202-296-3993.


Copyright © 1999 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States
For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3477.

Community Networks, November-December 1999

Copyright © 1999 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States

For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3490.