I used to think that when his tenure as Archbishop of San Francisco ended this year, that the greatest harm done to the Roman Catholic Church by George Niederauer would have been caused by his years as Rector at St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo.
In that capacity, he oversaw the indoctrination of an untold number of priests, albeit while in formation. The most serious forms of heresy have always had their origins with ill-trained or disobedient clergy. One has only to think of Audius, Arius, Donatus Magnus, Lucifer Calaritanus, Montanus, Pelagius, Priscillian, Valentinus, Apollonaris, Macedonius, Nestorius, Henry of Lausanne, Jan Hus, John Wycliffe, Martin Luther, John Calvin (seminarian), jansen, Zwingli, Knox, Loisy, Tyrrell, Hans Kung, etc…..
Nonetheless, with his 75th birthday fast approaching and his departure as Archbishop of Babylon by the Bay imminent, George Niederauer has undertaken a decision of truly MOMENTOUS proportions.
(Hat tip to Cal Catholic Daily)
Catholic Healthcare West becomes Dignity Health
By Andrew S. Ross
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
You may have noticed in Tuesday's Chronicle three large display ads on separate pages headlined "Dignity is."
It's "something you are born with," one ad says. "Taking care of your body, mind and spirit," says another. And in the last one: "60,000 people committed to delivering superior care."
Those 60,000 people used to work for San Francisco-based Catholic Healthcare West, but as of Tuesday are employed by Dignity Health.
The new name is just one of the changes occurring at the not-for-profit hospital chain, the fifth largest in the country, with 40 full-service hospitals in California, Arizona and Nevada, and 150 ancillary clinics.
While continuing to focus on the needs of poor and underserved communities, the changes are intended to "position ourselves for growth in a changing health care environment," said a statement announcing the name change. "Growth plans anticipate expanded partnerships, which will include both Catholic and non-Catholic care centers.
Significantly, the new entity, which describes itself as nondenominational, is loosening its traditional ties to the Catholic Church.
A more secular board of directors - just two of the nine members are sisters of religious orders - replaces the more heavily Catholic layers of management under which CHW operated since its founding in 1986. Fifteen of its 40 hospitals are non-Catholic, a number likely to increase as the network expands.
"The new structure and name enable us to grow into a national system, welcoming both Catholic and non-Catholic care centers into the system, while respecting the identity and integrity of each," the statement said.
While the changes were made in consultation with the Catholic Church and approved by San Francisco Archbishop George Niederauer(above), the Catholic affiliation has in the past been an obstacle to making deals with potential partners.
Lloyd Dean, CEO of Catholic Healthcare West, and now Dignity Health, told Kaiser Health News: "One of the things when we get down to what I'll call the real discussions as they confer with their boards is, 'What does the future mean if we're a non-Catholic entity? Will we have to become Catholic? What will be the Catholic influence?' "
One thing that will not change: some of the services that are off-limits to both Catholic and non-Catholic facilities in the network. According to Dignity Health's Statement of Common Values, "direct abortion is not performed. Reproductive technologies in which conception occurs outside a woman's body will not be part of (the) services. This includes in vitro fertilization."
Given the major changes occurring in the U.S. health care system, however, we can expect to hear a lot more about Dignity Health's plans "for more integrated care to enhance quality and reduce costs."
"There's a lot of consolidation going on, both for efficiency gains, which the announcement emphasizes, but also to get more market power," said Colin Cameron, who teaches health economics at UC Davis. "It's not clear yet what going national does for them, but there should be some economies of scale."
Dignity Health, which as CHW recorded $10.6 billion in revenue in 2011 - has three hospitals in the Bay Area - St. Francis Memorial and St. Mary's Medical Center in San Francisco and Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City - and Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz. It did not provide details of its expansion plans, except, in the words of a spokeswoman, "like many organizations nationwide, we are talking to a number of potential partners."
Dignity did announce a $1.8 million investment in electronic medical records over the next five years. Before the name change, it was one of 26 hospitals chosen by Medicare for a pilot program, funded by the Affordable Health Care Act, aimed at reducing the high rate of health complications and hospital readmissions among elderly patients.
While profitable, its "overall operations have been burdened" by the amount of Medicaid reimbursements it depends on, plus the low-cost or free medical services it provides, according to a recent Standard & Poor's report.
"CHW is an excellent hospital-operating company," said Walter Kopp, president of Medical Management Services, a consultancy in San Anselmo that works with hospitals and medical groups. "The changes could help it serve more people, and open doors to working with more doctors, which is just what the health care reform act wants hospitals to do."
"The manner in which health care is delivered and organized in the United States is changing," Dean said. "It is our intent to be a solution to the nation's health care crisis - regardless of the eventual outcome for the Affordable Care Act."
And the name, Dignity? "It reflects who we are and what we stand for," said Sister Judy Carle (pic above), vice chairwoman of Dignity Health's board of directors. "The value of dignity is embedded in our culture. Our mission, vision and values were all formed out of the recognition of the inherent integrity of each person."
The paragraph to “zero” in on is this:
"A more secular board of directors - just two of the nine members are sisters of religious orders - replaces the more heavily Catholic layers of management under which CHW operated since its founding in 1986. Fifteen of its 40 hospitals are non-Catholic, a number likely to increase as the network expands."
The question that must be asked is WHY? Why would a Board of Directors with “heavy Catholic layers of management” give up their power, or more properly delve their authority to a less catholic Board of Directors?
The news media has reported this as a business decision, claiming that money is the root of this evil.
I don’t know. This is all strangely reminiscent of the devolution of catholic universities in the late 1960s from real control by respective Catholic Religious orders to real control by lay boards of directors!
A news release from Dignity claims that:
“Under the new governance structure, Dignity Health is a not-for-profit organization, rooted in the Catholic tradition, but is not an official ministry of the Catholic Church…”
Their use of the phrase “rooted in catholic tradition” is the same newspeak you will find in the mission statements of many “Catholic” colleges and universities.
The late Jesuit Father Vincent Miceli (pic above) once opined that the purposefully changed corporate nature of most Catholic Universities from control by religious orders to effectual secular control in the 1960s was the largest transfer of Church property to secular usage since the dissolution of monasteries in England under Tudor King Henry VIII in 1536.
If the transference of authority happening with Catholic Hospitals is in reality the first step to a much broader secularization effort,
then Archbishop Niederauer (pic above) will be remembered not as a
St. John Fisher or a St. Thomas More,
but rather like the heretic Thomas Cranmer.
(figuratively speaking of course.)