Community Networks

September-October 1997

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 (see Profile of a Community Partner: Building Networks with Catholic Charities, Catholic Health Association [CHA], 1996). 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.

In its January-February issue, Health Progress began offering a series of case studies of such partnerships, hoping they might serve as models for those creating integrated systems of care.

Here are two more case studies. Health Progress will present others in future issues.

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 or by e-mail at [email protected].

St. Elizabeth of Hungary Clinic
Tucson, AZ

Contacts: Sr. St. Joan Willert, CSJ
Carondelet Health Network

Jack Cotter, CEO
Catholic Community Services

Sr. Barbara Ann Stowasser, CSJ
Executive Director
St. Elizabeth of Hungary Clinic

Organizational Structure
St. Elizabeth of Hungary Clinic is an agency of Catholic Community Services. It has an informal partnership with Carondelet Health Network (CHN), Tucson.

Goals of Affiliation
Since its founding in 1961, the clinic has often received assistance from CHN and its member organizations. For example, many of the clinic's 150 volunteer physicians are based at Carondelet hospitals, Tucson.

In early 1996 St. Elizabeth of Hungary asked CHN specifically for financial aid for the clinic's home health program, which, without help, would have had to close.

Partnership's Projects
CHN provided funds and managerial expertise to continue the home health program. In addition, CHN has, among other things:

  • Helped the clinic operate a parish nurse program for three parishes in a low-income section of Tucson
  • Provided funding, equipment, and educational tools for a program the clinic offers to pregnant women
  • Contributed funds for a planned expansion and renovation of the clinic, scheduled to begin this fall
  • Collaborated with the clinic's Well Women Check program for women over 50

Governance Structure
The relationship between the two organizations is informal, though a member of CHN's board of trustees also sits on the board of St. Elizabeth of Hungary.

Staffing and Budget
More than 200 physicians, dentists, nurses, and other healthcare professionals volunteer their services to the clinic, which also has 35 salaried employees.

The clinic's annual budget is $1.6 million. Fifty-two percent of that comes from client fees, 16 percent is donated by the area United Way, and the rest is contributed by a variety of benefactors. CHN is also paying part of the $1.2 million cost of the clinic's renovation.

Effect on the Community
Every year, the clinic provides care for 8,000 to 12,000 area residents, most of whom are uninsured working people or Medicaid recipients with needs (dentistry, for example) that the program does not cover. Clients usually need the clinic's help for only a brief time. Many later write to thank its staff and volunteers for excellent service.

Practical Advice

Commitment is the key. Regular communication among participants encourages ongoing commitment.

The Archbishop's Commission On Community Health
St. Louis

Contact: Sr. Betty Brucker, FSM
Executive Director

Organizational Structure
The Archbishop's Commission on Community Health (ACCH) is a collaborative effort that involves hospitals, health systems, churches, and agencies that serve the elderly, families, youths, immigrants, unemployed, and working poor throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area. Charter members of ACCH in 1990 included several congregations of religious, St. Louis Catholic hospitals, diocesan agencies, St. Louis city and county health departments, the Catholic Health Association, and the Hospital Association of Metropolitan St. Louis. Membership now includes all St. Louis hospitals and health systems and many health agencies; school districts; churches; social service agencies; community development organizations; businesses; and state, city, and county agencies.

Working with staff from Catholic Community Services, a Catholic Charities agency, ACCH focuses on a variety of health and social service delivery projects, as well as advocacy and educational activities.

Goals of Affiliation
As members of ACCH, individual organizations are part of a larger group providing education, financial resources, and voluntary action in a coordinated response to community health and social problems. Duplication of services is reduced and the numbers of people reached increased.

ACCH Projects
Current ACCH programs include:

  • Ten outreach centers, serving vulnerable groups in rural and urban areas--including Vietnamese and Hispanic populations.
  • A community health nurse outreach program, in which healthcare professionals reach the community through the outreach centers.
  • Community health worker teams, which work to improve access to and use of healthcare and support services.
  • A physician referral service for the medically indigent. Nearly 450 doctors and 19 hospitals participate.
  • Assisted development of church-based health ministries or parish nurses in more than 75 churches; national distribution of a workbook for church-based health ministries.

Governance Structure
Activities and planning are done through a committee structure. There are six committees, for education, health services delivery, development, communications, mission effectiveness, and evaluation. The chairperson of each committee serves on the commission's steering committee, which makes final decisions.

ACCH has two full-time staff members from Catholic Community Services.

Each of the 10 outreach centers has been adopted by a major hospital, which gives financial support, collects supplies, and assists with center projects. Area health systems contribute to fund the community nurse and health worker programs, the physician referral service, and the Vietnamese health center. Other hospitals donate office space and physician services.

Practical Advice

  • Take a holistic approach in addressing the needs of the sick and those at risk.
  • Collaborate with all organizations and communities willing to work with you.
  • Act creatively and deliberatively to address the needs of the isolated and forgotten.

Other Collaborations

Catholic Charities USA and Catholic healthcare organizations are collaborating on a number of projects, which vary in their stages of development. Below are some of these projects, their contact persons, and phone numbers:

Albany, NY
Diocesan Community Health Alliance
James J. McCormack, 518-453-6650

Becky Galloway, 410-644-7100
Robert Adams, 410-368-2102

Buffalo, NY
Partnership for a PACE
Mary Jo Giambelluca, 716-856-4494

Hospice of Peace
Ann Luke, 303-575-8393
Silas Weir, 303-899-5546

Project Capable
Nydia Cortez, 713-671-3704
Kathy Bingham, 713-526-4611

Manchester, NH
New Hampshire Catholic Charities
Msgr. John P. Quinn, 603-669-3030

Massillon, OH
Catholic Community Adult Day Services
Sr. Edwardine Baznik, SJSM, 330-833-8516

Oakland, CA
Community Senior Outreach Program
Greg Kepferle, 510-834-5656
Else Marie Kiefer, 510-534-8540

Oklahoma City
Catholic Charities
Tim O'Connor, 405-523-3000

Catholic Care Options for the Elderly
Rev. Timothy Senior, 215-587-3908

Foundation for Senior Living
Guy Mikkelsen, 602-285-1800

Richmond, VA
Partnership for Families
Rev. Dave Bergner, 804-285-5900

San Jose, CA
Catholic Community Initiative
Marilou Cristina, 408-944-0282

Wilkes Barre, PA
Neighborhood-based Senior Outreach
Ned Delaney, 717-822-7118
Robert Williams, 717-735-9210

This compendium of partnerships between Catholic Charities agencies and Catholic health organizations was prepared by the Catholic Health Association as part of an initiative called New Covenant: A Health Ministry for the 21st Century. The New Covenant process is designed to strengthen and promote the organized expression of the Catholic health ministry through strategies and actions at the national and regional levels. New Covenant is cosponsored by the National Coalition on Catholic Health Care Ministry, CHA, and Consolidated Catholic Health Care. Catholic Charities USA is a member of the National Coalition.


Copyright © 1997 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States
For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3477.

Community Networks-SepOct1997

Copyright © 1997 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States

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