BY: DAVID WARREN, PhD
Why pay attention to CHAusa, the website of the Catholic Health Association? What real value does CHAusa bring to CHA members and the Catholic health ministry? I can think of many good reasons.
Three in particular come to mind.
New Developments in the Ministry
If you are an executive in a Catholic healthcare organization, you need to stay informed about the latest developments in the ministry and the challenges other Catholic healthcare organizations are facing — challenges that may well be yours tomorrow.
To get this information, you could (a) read dozens of newspapers and other publications every day, (b) assign a staff member to digest this information and summarize it for you, or (c) use the Daily News feature of CHAusa.
Only option c saves time and money. The Daily News provides you with a high-quality summary of important events and developments and the option to link to complete stories about them. It also guarantees a high degree of reliability because the Daily News is compiled by CHA staffers whose years of experience in the Catholic health ministry enable them to collect the information with a knowledgeable eye.
Discussions of Theology and Ethics
You may be the mission leader of a Catholic hospital currently focusing on organizational integrity making sure that the values espoused by the organization are practiced by it as well.
To help accomplish this essential goal, you could (a) spend months reading discussions of theology and ethics, all the while keeping meticulous notes that you will eventually transform into a focused program for your organization, (b) forget about the rest of your work and instead travel all around the country speaking with theologians and ethicists and observing other programs, or (c) use
Organizational Integrity in Catholic Healthcare Ministry
— an excellent course in the foundation necessary for any corporate compliance program — and "Corporate Compliance and Organizational Integrity," both in CHAusa's Mission Services section.
Only option c is realistic. And only option c gives you the structure to use these resources programmatically and in conjunction with the other teaching materials in organizational integrity that CHA is publishing in a variety of media.
In addition, you will discover that examples of ethics policy, position, and information statements are all posted on CHAusa. Because CHA has brought this material together for you, you can avoid reinventing the proverbial wheel. And if you have more particular questions on theology or ethics, CHAusa directories can quickly help you find specialists.
Trends in Public Policy
Perhaps you are an advocacy coordinator for a Catholic healthcare institution. You have just heard that the Health Care Financing Administration has issued a final ruling on solvency standards and waiver requirements for provider-sponsored organizations. Your boss wants a summary of the matter on her desk by the end of the day. You could (a) spend hours making phone calls to Washington, DC, hoping to talk to a live human being who can tell you the phone number of the office that actually has the information you need, (b) use one of many Internet search engines, trying combinations of key words that might yield a list of fewer than 100 possibly relevant documents, or (c) go to the Public Policy section of CHAusa and, with a click of your mouse, find the complete text of the Federal Register notice.
That is just one example of the advocacy materials literally at your fingertips on CHAusa. If you need information about an issue that affects the Catholic health ministry, you will find it on CHAusa. You will find it there because CHAusa is more than an electronic bulletin board. It is an active tool used constantly by CHA staff to provide members with advocacy leadership.
And Many Other Information Resources
If I had the space and time, I could cite many more examples of CHAusa's resources, including the long-term care area, spiritual guidance and inspiration for mission leaders, and forums where sponsors can talk about their future roles. Even a service as small as routing a specific question via e-mail to the "webmaster" (me) can make a difference to you. It's far more economical — and surprisingly quicker — than a phone call.
CHAusa is a nexus for everything CHA does. It is the online library of CHA resources. Not a static enterprise, it changes, grows, and evolves. And it is very much member driven, because CHAusa is about what you do: working for a vital Catholic health ministry.
CHA's website can be found at www.chausa.org. For more information, contact David Warren at 314-253-3464; e-mail: [email protected].
Dr. Warren is CHAusa editor, Catholic Health Association, St. Louis.
Copyright © 1998 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States
For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3477.