Catholic providers rein­vent them­selves as in­dus­try changes

CHA re­port stresses co­op­er­a­tion over con­sol­i­da­tion

Modern Healthcare - - Front Page - Joe Carl­son

Fac­ing a fu­ture of chal­lenges on seem­ingly ev­ery front, Catholic hos­pi­tals and health sys­tems are work­ing to col­lab­o­rate as an in­dus­try to de­velop their own lead­ers for to­mor­row while pro­vid­ing pa­tient-cen­tered care that reaches far be­yond the con­fines of acute care.

The nation’s roughly 600 Catholic hos­pi­tals, which treat one in ev­ery six U.S. in­pa­tients, want to main­tain fi­nan­cial vi­a­bil­ity while not com­pro­mis­ing the faith-based legacy that has driven them to seek out pock­ets of poor and vul­ner­a­ble res­i­dents who need ac­cess to health­care.

Their 10-year plan for Catholic health­care was re­cently laid out in a 46-page re­port that was a year in the mak­ing. The Vi­sion 2020 re­port on the na­tional di­rec­tion of Catholic health­care in the U.S. was pub­lished by the Catholic Health As­so­ci­a­tion in a land­scape of chang­ing pa­tient de­mo­graph­ics, grow­ing lay lead­er­ship and mount­ing fi­nan­cial chal­lenges that would test even sea­soned Catholic health­care lead­ers.

Wit­ness Bos­ton, where the arch­dio­cese has signed an agree­ment with a sec­u­lar pri­vate eq­uity group to sell its six-hos­pi­tal sys­tem, Car­i­tas Christi Health Care, in an $830 mil­lion deal that would al­low the new own­ers to re­move the hos­pi­tals’ Catholic iden­tity for an ad­di­tional $25 mil­lion. Or go to New York City, which saw its last Catholic hos­pi­tal forced to close ear­lier this year be­cause of fi­nan­cial pres­sures.

“Once they’re gone, they’ll never re­turn,” said R.T. Neary, chair­man of the Coali­tion to Save Catholic Health Care, a group op­posed to the Car­i­tas Christi sale. “We want to en­sure that Catholic health­care will con­tinue. We are con­vinced that if it ends in the Bos­ton area, that’s the end of it. It would sim­ply be too dif­fi­cult to start up again.”

The last time Catholic hos­pi­tals fore­saw a set of chal­lenges this daunt- ing, a steer­ing com­mit­tee co­a­lesced in 1986 and is­sued the for­ward-look­ing re­port, A New Vi­sion for a New Cen­tury. The re­port urged Catholic hos­pi­tals to merge to­gether into health sys­tems for strength and sta­bil­ity in the face of a wave of for-profit hos­pi­tal ac­tiv­ity and fi­nan­cial pres­sures. To­day the three largest not-for-profit hos­pi­tal own­ers in the coun­try are all Catholic— Catholic Health Ini­tia­tives, Den­ver, has 78 hos­pi­tals to­day; As­cen­sion Health, St. Louis, has 77 hos­pi­tals; and Catholic Health­care West, San Fran­cisco, has 41, ac­cord­ing to Mod­ern Health­care’s most re­cent sys­tems sur­vey (June 7, p. 18).

This time around, the Vi­sion 2020 steer­ing com­mit­tee saw an­other set of steep chal­lenges fac­ing the in­dus­try and urged a dif­fer­ent tack: in­stead of fur­ther cor­po­rate con­sol­i­da­tion, the com­mit­tee wants Catholic hos­pi­tals to find ways to co­op­er­ate with each other in shar­ing best prac­tices, pi­lot demon­stra­tion pro­grams, and a Catholic lead­er­ship registry.

“In lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties across the coun­try which are for­tu­nate to have more than one Catholic health min­istry, ef­forts should be made to of­fer ser­vices that com­ple­ment one an­other and to work to­gether to pro­vide ser­vices that meet the needs of the vul­ner­a­ble pop­u­la­tions in that mar­ket,” the re­port says.

Mir­ror­ing the buzz in other health­care provider cir­cles, the re­port’s au­thors urge Catholic hos­pi­tals to em­brace the no­tion that

Persichilli: “That’s what a vi­sion is; it’s a hope for the fu­ture.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.