Posts Tagged ‘health care reform’

ArchCare: An Innovative Approach to Catholic Healthcare

Monday, January 13th, 2014

Healthcare in our country is in a state of turmoil. While there are many areas of concern, what troubles me the most is the inaccurate perception that Catholic healthcare in our country and, especially here in New York, is in retreat.

True, we have seen the closings of numerous Catholic hospitals in our area, and, sadly, just a few weeks ago another Catholic facility, Saint Francis Hospital in Poughkeepsie, filed for bankruptcy after a long financial struggle. While Saint Francis was not affiliated with the archdiocese, the potential loss of yet another Catholic institution is still troubling to us as Catholics. I am sure this is a very difficult time for the wonderful Sisters of St. Francis, who have so ably tended the sick there for nearly a century.

These negative headlines should not obscure all the great things that are happening in Catholic healthcare across the Archdiocese of New York. Our archdiocesan healthcare ministry, ArchCare, today is serving more people than ever, and has grown in ways we never could have imagined just a few years ago, when changing health policy and plummeting government reimbursements made the outlook far from certain.

The genius of the Church is that we have always been able to adapt our ministry to meet the needs of society. In the last two years alone, ArchCare has modernized and expanded its rehabilitation centers and opened two new community-based care centers that deliver all the services needed to keep seniors out of nursing homes. We introduced an array of healthcare plans that coordinate members’ every care need, created a new Assisted Living Program, and took steps to expand our palliative care and hospice services. Through its sponsorship of Empire State Home Care, one of the region’s oldest and most respected home care providers, ArchCare now provides top quality home care for infants through elders throughout the five boroughs and Westchester. As part of our efforts to bring still more of our Catholic services to the northern counties, we have already expressed interest in acquiring Saint Francis’ home care unit.

Our healthcare ministry continues to care for nearly 2,000 elders in five nursing homes. In addition, we care for the elderly in nine religious orders, significantly reducing their financial burden of caring for retired members and freeing funds to reinvest in their Catholic missions. And ArchCare’s renowned centers for people with HIV and Huntington’s disease, children with profound neurological impairments, and developmentally disabled children and adults all were established to fill critical gaps in care in our community. Where others said, “We can’t,” we as Catholics said, “We can, and we will!”

As our society continues to struggle with all the changes taking place in healthcare, I am pleased to tell you that the Catholic health ministry of the Archdiocese of New York is strong. While there have been changes in some of our programs, our creative care of the sick in the name of Jesus, the Divine Physician, will continue in fresh, innovative ways long into the future. I encourage you and your families to explore all that ArchCare has to offer.

Keeping Health Care Universal, Part 2

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

On Monday I posted some thoughts on the health care reform bill being considered by Congress, and the need to make certain that reform is truly universal by not eliminating the protection of the unborn currently found in the Hyde Amendment.

There are a few other pieces that I’d like to bring to your attention.

Cardinal Francis George, the President of the United States Catholic Conference, released an excellent statement, The Cost is too High; the Loss is too Great. Please take the time to read the full statement; I know it’s been linked to elsewhere on the site, but it is so powerful I wanted to bring it to your attention again.  Cardinal George concludes his insightful analysis this way:

Two basic principles, therefore, continue to shape the concerns of the Catholic bishops: health care means taking care of the health needs of all, across the human life span; and the expansion of health care should not involve the expansion of abortion funding and of polices forcing everyone to pay for abortions. Because these principles have not been respected, despite the good that the bill under consideration intends or might achieve, the Catholic bishops regretfully hold that it must be opposed unless and until these serious moral problems are addressed.

Bishop William Murphy, Chairman of the USCCB Domestic Justice and Human Development Committee, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Chairman of the USCCB Pro-Life Activities Committee, and Bishop John Wester, Chairman of the USCCB Migration Committee, published a piece in the Washington Post’s On Faith blog, headlined Health Care for Life and for All. They write:

For decades, the United States Catholic bishops have actively supported universal health care. The Catholic Church teaches that health care is a basic human right, essential for human life and dignity. Our community of faith provides health care to millions, purchases health care for tens of thousands and addresses the failings of our health care system in our parishes, emergency rooms and shelters. This is why we as bishops continue to insist that health care reform which truly protects the life, dignity, consciences and health of all is a moral imperative and urgent national priority….

… The House Democratic leadership is ignoring the pleas of pro-life and Hispanic members of their caucus. Apparently they will not even try to address the serious problems on abortion funding, conscience protection and fair treatment of immigrants. On the other hand, Republicans pledge to do all they can to defeat the legislation by threatening to object to any improvements in the Senate bill, further complicating the process. The White House, admirably concerned for the many millions without insurance and for those who cannot purchase it, seems willing to accept even a bill which leaves immigrants worse off and undermines the President’s pledge to retain existing protections on abortion funding and freedom of conscience.

Finally, yesterday saw another good piece in the same On Faith blog, this time by Sister Mary Ann Walsh, the USCCB’s media relations director, called Why is Senate Hiding from Hyde? Sister Mary Ann gets right to the heart of the matter.

Why would any member of Congress want to use health care reform to promote elective abortion? And why has the Senate designed a system that lets insurance companies force people to pay for abortion services they do not want and find morally repulsive – and gives federal subsidies to those companies to help them do it?

All this and more information on this very crucial matter can be found at the USCCB website.

Important Statements on Health Care Reform

Friday, December 11th, 2009

I would like to draw your attention to what I believe are powerful recent statements on the debate over health care reform legislation, in case you may have missed them.

Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles wrote an op-ed article published in the New York Times that focuses on “the lack of adequate health care for immigrants who live in our midst but who do not yet have legal standing.”  The full text is here.

Also, The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops released a combined statement on the Senate Vote to table the Nelson-Hatch-Casey Amendment.  The statement was from the President of the Conference, Cardinal Francis George, and three committee chairmen: Cardinal Daniel DiNardo (Pro-Life Activities), Bishop William Murphy (Domestic Justice and Human Development), and Bishop John Wester (Migration).  Their statements are on the USCCB website, and can be found here.

Cardinal George on Health Care Reform

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

His Eminence, Francis Cardinal George, Archbishop of Chicago and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued an excellent statement on the current health care reform debate.  It is well worth reading, and I encourage you all to do so.

small image of PDF IconCardinal George’s Health Care Statement

Clear Thinking on Health Care Reform

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

Last Thursday, three of my brother bishops released an excellent and powerful letter on health care reform. The letter, which was addressed to members of Congress, was written on behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops by Justin Cardinal Rigali, Chairman of the Pro-Life Activities committee, Bishop William Murphy, Chairman of the Domestic Justice and Human Development committee, and Bishop John Wester, Chairman of the Migration committee. I’d like to share this letter with you, as well as make the letter’s words my own.

The text of the letter can be found here on the USCCB website.