In the currently strained health care environment, Catholic hospitals
and facilities have increasingly looked to partnerships to solve service dilemmas
caused by financial constraints. Joint purchase of technology and services,
co-sponsored integrated delivery networks, and health maintenance organization
sponsorship are just a few ways health care organizations are working together
to solve economic and service delivery problems. At times, these partnerships
involve both Catholic and other-than-Catholic facilities.
The special section in this issue of Health Progress evaluates
the nuances and moral implications of partnerships between Catholic and other-than-Catholic
health care facilities, particularly in light of the United States Conference
of Catholic Bishops' June 1991 revision to the Ethical and Religious Directives
for Catholic Health Care Services. Part Six of the Directives, "Forming
New Partnerships with Health Care Organizations and Providers," contains important
implications for Catholic facilities considering entering into such arrangements.
Ron Hamel, PhD, begins the section with a comparison of the June
2001 revision with the previous 1994 edition, which contained an Appendix on
the principle of cooperation. Fr. Kevin O'Rourke, OP, JCD, STM, continues the
discussion by first explaining the principle of cooperation and then applying
it to a frequently asked question: Is it possible for Catholic health care facilities
to cooperate with health care facilities or individuals that provide contraceptive
Fr. Thomas Kopfensteiner, STD, examines the various
phases that are entailed in analyzing potential partnerships
by analyzing a five-fold process at work behind the structuring
of potential arrangements. Closing out the discussion, Peter
J. Cataldo, PhD, and John M. Haas, PhD, STL, lay a groundwork
of fundamental concepts and present ethical guidelines for evaluating
Letters to the Editor
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Copyright © 2002 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States
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