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March 13, 1998     The Message
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March 13, 1998

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10 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana St. Louis University hospital sale By BARBARA WATKINS Catholic News Service ST. LOUIS (CNS) -- St. Louis University finalized the $300 million sale of its hospital to Tenet Healthcare Corp. Feb. 24 after obtaining Vatican approval of the deal. To avoid a future conflict over church law like the one that came up in controversy over the hospital sale, the Vatican instructed the Missouri Jesuits "to put in place a mechanism" assuring Jesuit canonical control, when necessary, over actions of the universi- ty's board of trustees. Archbishop Justin Rigali of St. Louis, who had pub- licly opposed selling the Catholic-owned hospital to a for-profit health chain, announced that he accepted the decision under the conditions set out by the Vatican. "It remains my strong preference that St. Louis University Hospital should continue to be owned and operated by a Catholic institution," he said. Tenet is a California-based corporation that owns and operates 124 acute care hospitals and numerous related health care services across the nation. Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon announced Feb. 23 that he would not oppose the sale. He cited Tenet's agreement to commit at least $10 million annually in charity care and communi- ty benefits and to maintain the same level of chari- ty care provided under the university. The university is placing proceeds from the sale into its Health Sciences Fund Endowment to provide student financial aid and other resom:ces to assure the viability of its medical school and other health sci- ence programs. The Vatican ruling was issued Jan. 28 by the Con- gregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Soci- eties of Apostolic Life, which oversees religious orders around the world. Its crucial decision on the underlying controversy in church circles -- how to apply church law to the sale -- was a ruling that the Jesuits did not give up their canonical control over university property when they appointed a self-perpetuating, predominantly lay board of trustees in 1967. "The action was not a transfer of property but a change in structure of the governing body," it said. The Vatican said all university properties there- fore were still "ecclesiastical goods" subject to provi- sions of canon law. One such provision requires prior review and approval by the Vatican before any church-owned property over a specified value -- cur- rently $3 million in the United States -- can be sold, rented or mortgaged. The Vatican conditions for the hospital sale -- spelled out in a letter Jan. 28 but already agreed to by the university and Tenet in their original sale contract before the Vatican stepped in -- included agreements that Tenet will: Adhere to Catholic medical-moral principles, including the U.S. bishops' "Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services" in the practices and policies of the hospital. -- Continue to instruct students, interns, resi- dents and fellows at the hospital in accord with Catholic principles and practices. The hospital is a t is important to realize that the status of St. Louis University as a Catholic and Jesuit university has been clarified by the Holy See teaching hospital for the medical and other health sci- ences schools of the university. -- Adopt the hospital's current charity care poli- cy in perpetuity. -- Assure that the university's existing graduate medical educational programs with other Catholic hospitals in pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology will continue. Jesuit Father Lawrence Biondi, president of the university, said the university's board of trustees will- ingly accepted the Vatican conditions "since the agreement between the university and Tenet had already contained legally binding language to assure Tenet's adherence to these terms." When St. Louis University decided to sell the hospital, Archbishop Rigali sought unsuccessfully to get the university to sell it to a consortium of area Catholic institutions. Their best bid came in more than $100 million lower, however. In a five-page written statement Feb. 24, Arch- bishop Rigali said that "despite the vantages involved in the a for-profit entity," he accepted the conditions set out by the Holy See. He said that in the process sion, another major concern of his had I "that, if the hospital were to tion of the Holy See must be "In this regard," he to realize that the status of St. Catholic and Jesuit university the H01y See. Conditions for the Catholic character have been Louis University is subject to He expressed thanks to the very important issues that concern Catholic institutions and for its integrity and sensitivity a importance to our He also thanked the 1 the dedicated efforts primary role to help maintain the Catholic mission of St. Archbishop Rigali said that permitted the sale of the hospital to out requiring the new Jesuit to be developed first, "the Holy mechanism to be a matter of avoid conflict in the future." The Catholic Health sents some 1,200 Catholic health care the nation, said it joined ting the sale of the hospital It praised the efforts to assure administration the hospital Catholic moral principles in its "CHA's objection to this the conviction that a publicly traded, corporation such as Tenet ently incapable of sustaining St. Louis University Hospital like health care is delivered best it community-oriented said in a news release Feb. 25. Since 1995 the CHA has bylaws explicitly restricting ciation to not-for-profit institutionS. Natural Family Planning has top effectiveness medical side effects while some contraceptives are well known for harmful side effects. Upwards of 200 medical doctors in the United States, Canada and abroad use NFP in caring for infertility, PMS, thyroid imbal- ance, endometriosis, miscarriage, and ovarian cysts. These doctors find that Natural Family Plan- ning promotes healing. Methods of Natural Family Planning have been proven over and over again to be effective, flexible, without side effects and advantageous to women's health. For more information, please call one of the following: St. Mary's Medical Center, Health Matters, Natural Family Method Effectiveness Technique (Perfect Use) Creighton Model of the Ovulation Method Norplant 99.8% Oral Contraception 94.1% - 97% IUD 96.6% - 98% Note: Sterilization vs. Natural Family Planning will Planning Office, Evansville, Jasper, ( (812) 485-4110 852-7295. Memorial Hospital and The Health Care Center, Communi- as, NF/ ty Education Panning Office, (812) meHdcal00hn;n00 .ST M A f, om. Health Ca perspective is a courtesy of Services- tiveness numbers reflect error in use. Use effectiveness numbers show the results of actual use whether it is perfect or not. The ovulation methods of Natural Family Planning (NFP), which monitor the presence or absence of cervical mucus, dearly are among the very top contenders in method effective- ness for avoiding a pregnancy. But that's not all! The NFP methods remain on top in use effectiveness as well. Take into account that the NFP methods are flexible unlike the methods of contraception. NFP methods can be used either for achieving or avoiding a pregnancy. When couples of normal fertility use the method to achieve a pregnancy, 75 per- cent become pregnant within the first ovulatory cycle, accord- ing to Dr. Hilgers. NFP is also flexible because a couple can use it for all of their reproduc- tive life. Further, Natural Family Plan- ning has many positive medical applications in diagnosing and treating reproductive and hor- monal disorders. NFP has no Natural Family Planning is as effective or more effective than contraceptive methods for avoid- ing pregnancy! The adjacent table lists effectiveness rates from the most recent study of the Creighton Model of the Ovula- tion Method to be published this year in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine. The Billings Ovulation News and Commentary By SOOZI SCHELLER Contributing Writer Method and Norplant numbers are compiled in Mercedes Wil- son's Lave and Family published in 1996. The numbers for the con- traceptive methods come from Robert A Hatchet's Contracep- tive Technology, published in 1994 and are cited in Wilson's book. The table provides both method and use effectiveness numbers. Method effectiveness numbers reflect perfect use. For example with oral contracep- fives, the woman who does not skip a dose follows that method perfe(;tly. Whereas use effec-