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July 3, 1998     The Message
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July 3, 1998

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10 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Jut ,'t Catholic health care mission: Serve the NEW ORLEANS (CNS) -- The heads of two urban Catholic hospitals told participants at the Catholic Health Association's annual assembly in New Orleans that staying true to their mission of serving the poor has strengthened their own operations. Sister Carol Keehan, a Daughter of Charity who is president of Providence Hospital in Washington, said her hospital was able to turn itself around after making a "conscious decision to try to do our mission well." Not too long ago, her hospital was seen as the "poster child" for ailing urban hospitals across the country with its large financial losses, a lack of reserves, and an out- moded physical plant located in a city with a dwin- dling tax base, too many hospitals, and an underserved population of poor people. However, today the hospital is thriving and accord- ing to Sister Keehan the turnaround came when she and other hospital officials "made a conscious decision to try to do our mission well." One of the first steps in a reorganizing effort was removing the cap on the number of women it cared for through its cliric for those with low incomes. "We committed to taking all who needed us, picking them up in vans and offering bilingual services," she said, adding that its obstetrics patients "soared and we were able to help the city reduce its infant mortality rate and offer a clear alternative to abortion." When Providence resisted giving deep, below-cost discounts to health maintenance operations, it saw con- siderable business leave the hospital, Sister Keehan said. "Had we not expanded our service to the poor, we would have been left trying to support (obstetrics) ser- vice with 500 deliveries instead of 1,500," she said. But she pointed out that those hospitals that gave such deep discounts to HMOs saw their business diminish anyway because of the middle-and upper- class exodus from the city. The hospital's mission to serve the poor also guided its relationships with employees. The executive team publicly promised that layoffs would be a final resort and that staff would be given advance notice of such action. The staff's appreciation of that commitment cannot be overemphasized, said Sister Keehan, recalling how staff members worked to strengthen the hospital's posi- tion in the market "rather than watch- ing their backs" worrying about the competition. Providence Hospital also became the only hospital in the city without a layoff. "Those behaviors that flow from our mission are our greatest strength and do more than anything to assure our continued viability," she said. Brenita Crawford had a similar story. Until recently she was president and CEO of Mercy Hospital-Detroit, located in an area with deteriorating housing. When Crawford took the job six years ago, she turned the hospital's mission to the poor into the basis for every decision made. "That's what most successful businesses do," she said. "The problem was that in our facility, mission had become synonymous with losing money." Mercy rewrote its mission statement to convey the idea of "financially responsible" service. Under Craw- ford's leadership, Mercy has learned to business. Transportation was an issue in hospital, so Crawford upped the trans get from $200,000 to $600,000 in two margins increase. "You have to invest to get a return, Mercy staff re-examined its values vice as a partnership with patients ty. A series of community focus groups for staff how the hospital would need "We thought people would want )': thought people free services, but they they wanted information and they told us they wanted information and Crawford said. "That was a turning Instead of focusing on sick care, the ed a health assistance model. In that, expected to spend at least 50 hours a service that is unrelated to their job mitment has paid off in new Nearly half of Mercy's new initiat gested by community leaders, and they'Ve grant money with them, she said. "We've learned that it's important to poor," Crawford said July 4 Message: What would TR say today? Our great presidents launched reveals his moral approach to al immorality. After much strug- marital sexual intimacy and contraceptives, pope themselves into public debate, many social problems. Reflect- gle and debate, other denomina- other practices that undermine issued his famous most notably Abraham Lincoln ing on his own experience, he tions also allowed contraception. Christian marriage and family ops, Humanae into the debate on slavery, wrote after his presidency: After roughly 1600-1900 years of ideals. Planned Parenthood has Life). Humanae Vitae Wouldn't it be interesting to con- "There are those who believe unity on the issue, today only the become the world's largest pro- age old teaching: sult our past presidents on that a new modernity demands Catholic Church remains an offi- moter and provider of contra- treat our bodies, today's issues? As we approach a new morality. What they fail to cial Christian opponent against ception, surgical abortion, abor- fertility, has thenew millennium, we canlook consider is the harsh reality that contraception, tificients and permissive sex quences on our 'back to the last turn of the centu- there is no such thing as a new Early documents, like the education, with others and ry President Theodore Roosevelt morality. There is only one Didache (c. 90 A.D.),. provide Would Theodore Roosevelt we find ways who served from 1901-1909. morality. All else is immorality, evidence for the root of Christian have grouped Margaret Sanger and solve our ...........  ..................................  ............. There is only one true Christian unity on issues of family plan- among those who "believe a new treating our NEWS AND COMMENTARY ethics over against which stands ning. They provide very clear modernity demands a new instead of a disease, we By SOOZI SCHELLER the whole of paganism. Ifweare statements against the use of morality?" Would Margaret more love betweenUS" Contribulingwdter to fulfill our great destiny as a herbs or other harmful sub- Sanger's agenda have caused her this July marks the ..... ;:;.;.,.;.;: ;,,..,...,;.:?.. people, then we must return to stances for ending a pregnancy, to be a "foe of our own house- anniversar Though very ill with asthma as the old morality, the sole morali- Later documents clarify the hold" in Roosevelt's eyes? Thirty a child, Theodore Roosevelt ty." Theodore Roosevelt in The Christian view on the immorali- years ago this month  on July document (18.58-1919) became a great pres- Foes of Our Own Household, 1917. ty of contraception. The Christ- 25, 1968  when some Catholics ty ident known for his strength and Over and over again in this ian Church from its early times thought the Catholic Church last two vigor. "He wore many hats book, Roosevelt puts his focus on until 1930 stood unified in a might also approve the use of draw attention throughout his life: Ha'ard Christianity. He talks about stand against abortion and con- graduate, author, politician, Christian charity, ethics and traception. The Christian voice FOr more information father, widower, cowboy, U.S. morality. But does his concept of influenced the state laws across For more information please call q naval leader, Rough Rider hero, a "sole morality" strike us as odd our own country barring the U. S. president and explorer. He today with all the arguments trade of materials designed for was 42 years old when he about morality between and contraception. Ironically in the became President after William within Christian denominations? same year that Theodore Roo- McKinley was shot. Heandhis Bear in mind that for family plan- sevelt published The Foes of Our second wife Edith raised six chil- ning in Theodore Roosevelt's Own Household, Margaret Sanger drerL The second Mrs. Roosevelt day, there was one Christian began the political fight to allow Evarknle; please ca[ made the White House a home morality. Not one denomination the trade of contraceptives by in which children played and of Christian believers gave organizing the Birth Control which friends were warmly approval to contraceptive means League, now known as Planned received. His domestic and social for family planning while he was Parenthood-. - Sanger prom6ted reforms were the first federal aliv4. However in 1930, 11 years promiscuity in marriage, pre- ...... oye- , :: attempts to deal with the prob- after his death, the Anglican lems created by a modern indus-denomination -- represented by ST.MA trial society. President Roo- its bishops at the Lambeth Con- Health and sevelt's reform work led to laws ference of the Church of England medical news ensuring a merit system for gov- -- officially granted married cou- eminent-appointed positions, ples in extreme circumstances . pure food and drugs for the mar- permission to use contraceptives frollr a C,,ho||c Health Ca ketplace and federal power to to avoid pregnancy. The leaders perspective is r{3 00oa,00y o, 00=mo,oo Services for the economy, wamed the ofco0000a00ti,,es a courtesy of Theodore Roosevelt's writing could become the cause of sexu-.