Like other health care organizations in the United States, Catholic health
care facilities are developing new relationships with a wide array of partners
to extend their ministry and to improve efficiency, coordination, and quality
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 health care
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 partnerships between Catholic health
care organizations, Catholic Charities agencies, and other groups 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
If your health care organization is involved in a similar
collaboration, we would like to know about it. Please contact
Julie Trocchio 202-296-3993.
Xavier Medical Clinic
The clinic is cosponsored by Saint Francis Health System (SFHS) and Catholic
Charities of the Diocese of Tulsa.
Goals of Affiliation
To provide access to health care for uninsured and underinsured members of
the Tulsa community.
The clinic project began in 1999, when SFHS's leaders asked themselves what
they might do to:
- Extend the system's mission into the larger community
- Forge links to other local Catholic organizations, especially Catholic
SFHS conducted a needs assessment that showed a great need for improved health
care access among Tulsa's uninsured and underinsured, especially Hispanic and
other minority residents. A pilot clinic program of December 1999 was very successful.
Soon afterward, SFHS and Catholic Charities launched Xavier Medical Clinic.
The clinic is located in a house that Catholic Charities found and renovated
in one of the city's poor neighborhoods. Currently open on Wednesdays from 9
am to 4 pm, it has examination rooms, a small laboratory, and a small pharmacy,
stocked in part by sample pharmaceuticals donated by the area's physicians.
Clinic physicians make many referrals to other providers, some of whom donate
their services. The clinic's leaders are currently discussing the establishment
of a referral fund to help patients with long-range medical problems pay for
their treatment. If the fund is created, they will form a board to screen applicants
according to financial need.
The clinic is managed by its medical director, Phyllis Lauinger, MD; Andrea
Hyatt, SFHS' vice president for mission effectiveness; and Tim Sullivan, executive
director of Catholic Charities of Tulsa.
Staff and Budget
The clinic's medical director is the sole paid staff member. Twenty-one local
physicians (including pediatricians, gynecologists, and internists), 39 registered
nurses, and many licensed practical nurses, lab technicians, and interpreters
volunteer their time.
Catholic Charities maintains the clinic building and provides nonmedical aid
to patients. SFHS provides the volunteer medical staff, equipment, medical supplies,
and technical support, plus laboratory and radiology backup.
Effect on Community
Community response has been very positive, partly because of strong coverage
by the local news media. Local service clubs have donated money and supplies.
The Catholic population is especially pleased to see Catholic organizations
working closely together.
Vice President, Mission Effectiveness
Saint Francis Health System
"Make sure at the start that the need and the project parameters are clear
and that goodwill exists on the part of everyone involved. The clinic has raised
the morale of both organizations."
Copyright © 2002 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States
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