July 30, 2018

‘Every single day is a gift’: This dying man openly opposed assisted suicide in his last days

There was a time — several months after J.J. Hanson was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, but several years before he died from it — when, he once said, he might have considered ending it all.

The husband and father said in 2015 that the previous year, he learned that he had a Grade 4 brain tumor called glioblastoma multiforme and was given four months to live. (more…)

July 2, 2018

With Medicaid under siege, CHA trumpets program’s critical importance

Millions of people who rely on Medicaid for their care including many with complex medical needs could lose their coverage if the program’s opponents have their way. By telling the stories of people who have benefitted from Medicaid, CHA hopes to grow public support for the insurance program and stave off threats to its reach and solvency. (more…)

June 26, 2018

USCCB publishes new edition of Ethical and Religious Directives

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is publishing the sixth edition of the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, a revision that implements modifications regarding collaborating with non-Catholic partners. (more…)
May 24, 2018

Dayton Vetos Bill

On Wednesday, May 23 2018, Gov. Mark Dayton followed through on his promise to veto the major work of this year’s legislative session, taking down a tax bill with money for public schools as well as the omnibus supplemental spending bill. (more…)

May 15, 2018

AHA Award to Sr. Carol Keehan

The American Hospital Association (AHA) today announced that a 2018 Award of Honor will be awarded to Sister Carol Keehan, president and chief executive officer (CEO) at Catholic Health Association (CHA). The award, presented on May 7 at the AHA’s Annual Meeting, is given to individuals or organizations in recognition of exemplary contributions to the health and well-being of our nation through leadership on major health policy or social initiatives.

Sister Keehan has served as president and CEO of CHA for 13 years and is the Association’s ninth president and CEO. Prior to this role, she served in leadership and administrative roles for more than 35 years. This includes serving as board chair of Ascension Health’s Sacred Heart Health System in Pensacola, Florida and 15 years as president and CEO of Providence Hospital in Washington, D.C.

“Sister Keehan has been a steadfast leader and advocate for health care equity, and her leadership helped to ensure that all patients would have access to health coverage,” said Rick Pollack, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association. “As a caregiver she has committed her life to lifting up the vulnerable, the poor and the ill, and this work has made our communities more just and fair. Her decades of leadership and role as president and CEO at Catholic Health Association continues to strengthen hospitals and health systems across the nation.”

Sister Keehan’s contributions to the health care field has spanned both nationally and internationally. In 2014, she was elected as a member of the National Academy of Medicine, which advises the nation and international community on issues of vital importance to public health. Nationally, she played an integral role in advancing the Affordable Care Act and ensuring that it continues to effectively provide health coverage to vulnerable people and working families.

Sister Keehan earned a diploma in nursing from DePaul Hospital School of Nursing in Norfolk, Virginia, a bachelor of science degree in nursing from St. Joseph’s College in Emmitsburg, Md., where she graduated magna cum laude, and a master of science degree in business administration from the University of South Carolina, from which she received the School of Business Distinguished Alumna Award in 2000 and was honored in 2009 as an outstanding alumna. She has also received numerous honorary doctorate degrees.

In 2010, TIME magazine named Sister Keehan one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World.”

Previous Award of Honor winners include organizations such as the Kaiser Family Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Ohio Hospital Association’s Energy and Sustainability Program, Reach Out and Read, Ronald McDonald House Charities®, the Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare, the Institute for Safe Medication Practices and Habitat for Humanity. Individuals such as Spencer Johnson, past president of the Michigan Health & Hospital Association in Okemos, Mich.; Rhonda Anderson, R.N., DNSc, chief executive officer, Cardon Children’s Medical Center; George Halvorson, chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente; and Donald M. Berwick, M.D., former administrator of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and former president and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement have also been honored.

April 27, 2018

Alfie Evans and Our Moral Crossroads

Physicians have many ways of influencing medical decisions made by the parents of children in their care.

Certain studies can be cited in support of what the physician desires, and studies pointing in a different direction can be ignored. Directive, emotive, and exaggerated language can be used to manipulate, especially when the likely outcomes of various options are under discussion. Numbers can be used in a similar way: Should a consult focus on the two-thirds of patients who have poor outcomes—or on the one-third who have good ones? (more…)

April 12, 2018

Palliative Care Advisory Council Report

In 2017, the legislature established a Palliative Care Advisory Council for the State of Minnesota. By law, the Council must assess the availability of palliative care in the state of Minnesota, analyze barriers to greater access to palliative care, and make recommendations for legislative action. By February 15 of each year, the Council is required to report on its progress. This report provides an introduction to palliative care, updates the status of the Council, provides preliminary reporting on the availability of palliative care in Minnesota, and outlines the Council’s next steps.  (more…)

March 7, 2018

Minnesota Budget Forecast

Good News for Minnesota Budget—On Wednesday, February 28, Minnesota Management and Budget released the February Forecast, which is the forecast that the current biennium spending bills must be balanced. The forecast stated that Minnesota’s budget and economic outlook has improved since November.
(more…)
March 7, 2018

Palliative care is a pro-life response to euthanasia, panelists say

ROME (CNS) — Intentionally causing a patient’s death is different from accepting that a patient is dying, then providing emotional and spiritual support and pain relief, said a doctor who practices and promotes palliative care.

Dr. Eduardo Bruera, medical director of the Department of Supportive Care Center at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, was one of the speakers at a Feb. 28-March 1 international congress on palliative care sponsored by the Pontifical Academy for Life.

“The reality is that, in medicine, we have focused much more on disease than on patients,” Bruera said. For example, he said, patients who report a “high-symptom burden” may be suffering from their cancer or from the toxicity of their treatment, but their situation also may be approaching the unbearable because they lost their job or are worrying about the impact of their illness on their families.

Palliative care, Bruera said, asks the medical team, the patient and the family to work together to alleviate suffering, whether it is physical, emotional or spiritual.

(more…)

January 21, 2018

CHI, Dignity Heath to combine in new Catholic nonprofit system

Catholic Health Initiatives and Dignity Health have signed a definitive agreement to combine their ministries to create the largest Catholic health system in the nation, based on projected combined revenues. The organizations, which operate primarily in the Midwest and Western United States, said they expect to complete the transaction in the second half of this year. (more…)