Looking back on Health Progress
BY: RON HAMEL, PhD
In its 1920 inaugural issue, Hospital Progress
stated as its mission: "to become the medium through which the best thought and practice in hospital service to the sick will be worked into the lives of those who are consecrated to this service." Despite an ever-changing health care environment over the past 100 years, the journal now named Health Progress
has indeed communicated some of the best thought and practice on numerous facets of health care delivery in Catholic facilities. One of the ongoing areas of focus has been health care ethics. In fact, one of the earliest issues published the "Surgical Code for Catholic Hospitals for the Diocese of Detroit" which outlined acceptable and unacceptable surgical procedures from a Catholic ethical perspective. Since then, there have been hundreds if not thousands of articles and columns devoted to a vast range of ethical issues encountered in Catholic health care. To name just a few, these have included euthanasia and assisted-suicide, end-of-life care, reproductive matters, genetics, transplantation, environmental responsibility, organizational ethics issues, and the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services
(ERDs), the ethical code that provides moral guidance on aspects of health care delivery for Catholic health care facilities.
BY: CLAY O'DELL, PhD
Much has changed since this journal began publishing in 1919. At that time, the then-Catholic Hospital Association was only 5 years old. Based in Milwaukee, Wis., at the time, it was founded as an outlet for the nation's approximately 600 Catholic hospitals to share operational best practices and ideas to help maintain their mission and identity. "Advocacy," or government affairs, was not one of CHA's core activities when Hospital Progress
debuted in 1919. This was hardly surprising given the federal government's small role in the health care industry at that time. But over the course of the next century, the government's role and the role of health care organizations such as CHA would change dramatically, making advocacy one of CHA's top priorities.
BY: JULIE TROCCHIO, RN, MS
It was April 1988, my second week on the job and first board meeting. Policy expert Larry Lewin (may he rest in peace), was leading the Catholic Health Association board through recent attacks on hospital tax-exemption. A large nonprofit health system in Utah was being asked to pay state taxes for the first time. In Vermont, Burlington Mayor Bernie Sanders sent a local hospital a $2.9 million tax bill. Rep. Pete Stark, chair of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health, was instrumental in taking away federal tax-exemption of nonprofit health plans.
BY: FR. CHARLES BOUCHARD, OP, STD
Almost a quarter of a century ago, Health Progress
published several articles on questions of Catholic identity and Catholic institutions by respected leaders in the ministry. Fr. J. Bryan Hehir wrote the first one in which he raised questions about institutional identity and described its three historical stages of institutional identity. Lawrence Singer and Sr. Helen Amos, RSM, echoed some of his concerns and raised questions of their own. We have learned a great deal since 1995, but we are still struggling with many of the questions Fr. Hehir, Singer and Sr. Amos raised. As Health Progress
marks its 100th volume as a publication, I would like to recall some of their observations and suggest that we are now moving into a fourth stage of thinking about institutional identity and sponsorship.