Tag Archives: Catholic Healthcare

St. Joseph's Hospital/Medical Center

Phoenix Bishop Revokes St. Joseph’s Catholic Endorsement

Phoenix Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted revoked his endorsement of St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center as a Catholic hospital today following a heated debate over an abortion performed at the Catholic Healthcare West (CHW) hospital.

“Though we are deeply disappointed, we will be steadfast in fulfilling our mission,” said Linda Hunt, president of St. Joseph’s. “St. Joseph’s Hospital will remain faithful to our mission of care, as we have for the last 115 years. Our caregivers deliver extraordinary medical care and share an unmatched commitment to the well-being of the communities they serve. Nothing has or will change in that regard.”

Olmsted, of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, said in a statement that the decision was made after months of discussions between CHW, St. Joseph’s and the Phoenix Diocese.

At issue was the termination of an 11-week pregnancy to save the mother’s life in November 2009. Hunt said it was not possible to save both the lives, and the decision was made to terminate the pregnancy.

“We continue to stand by the decision, which was made in collaboration with the patient, her family, her caregivers, and our Ethics Committee. Morally, ethically, and legally, we simply cannot stand by and let someone die whose life we might be able to save,” Hunt said.

The Phoenix Diocese viewed the situation differently.

“When I met with officials of the hospital to learn more of the details of what had occurred, it became clear that, in the decision to abort, the equal dignity of mother and her baby were not both upheld; but that the baby was directly killed, which is a clear violation of ERD #45,” Olmsted said in his statement.

ERD stands for the Ethical and Religious Directives of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, which are the moral guides for Catholic hospital and health care institutions.

The nurse who terminated the pregnancy was excommunicated privately, but Olmsted said St. Joseph’s had “not addressed in an adequate manner the scandal caused by the abortion.”

This “only eroded [his] confidence” in St. Joseph’s commitment to the church’s ERDs, he added.

Olmsted said the hospital’s Mercy Care Plan, which includes “voluntary sterilization,” contraceptive counseling and abortions due to the mental or physical health of the mother, or when the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest, helped him come to the conclusion that St. Joseph’s was not complying with the church’s standards.

“In light of all these failures to comply with the Ethical and Religious Directives of the church, it is my duty to decree that, in the Diocese of Phoenix, at St. Joseph’s Hospital, CHW is not committed to following the teaching of the Catholic Church and therefore this hospital cannot be considered Catholic,” he said in his statement.

Although St. Joseph’s will not change its name or its mission, the Blessed Sacrament has been removed from the hospital’s chapel, and Mass will no longer be held there.

“St. Joseph’s will continue through our words and deeds to carry out the healing ministry of Jesus,” Hunt said. “Our operations, policies, and procedures will not change.”

A 697-bed hospital in Phoenix, St. Joseph’s is a part of CHW, a Catholic network of hospitals and medical centers. St. Joseph’s is a not-for-profit hospital that provides a wide range of health, social and support services.

St. Joseph’s And Phoenix Children’s Announce A Strategic Alliance - AZ Business Magazine June 2010

St. Joseph’s And Phoenix Children’s Announce A Strategic Alliance

Two major forces in the Valley’s health care industry are joining together to ensure the future of quality pediatric care in Arizona. St Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center and Phoenix Children’s Hospital are in the process of negotiating a strategic alliance that will make Arizona a medical destination for young patients with complex and acute health care needs.

“Phoenix is the fifth-largest city in the country and it deserves to have a children’s hospital that is top tier in the country with the same breadth of programs, depth of resources and reputational scores for quality as children’s hospitals in other major markets,” says Robert Meyer, president and CEO of Phoenix Children’s Hospital (PCH).

Under the proposed alliance, St. Joseph’s will transfer a substantial portion of its pediatric service line to PCH. The collaboration will result in a full-service pediatric hospital, bringing together the best both hospitals have to offer. If an alliance is reached, much of the two hospitals’ pediatric medical staff, nurses and other staff will be united by mid-2011. At that time, the construction on PCH’s new 11-story hospital tower is expected to be complete, making Phoenix home to the second largest children’s hospital in the nation.

Under a current, non-binding memorandum of understanding, St. Joseph’s would continue to operate its neonatal intensive care unit and treat pediatric patients in its trauma unit, as well as patients age 15 and older. In addition, St. Joseph’s would be a minority member of Phoenix Children’s, with limited representation on PCH’s board of directors.

“When we brought our strengths to the table we became a tremendous force in the care of kids in this country,” says Linda Hunt, service area president of Catholic Healthcare West Arizona and president of St. Joseph’s Hospital & Medical Center. “We have leaders in pediatric care, advocacy and research that we can bring together to make this incredible force and improve kids’ care in the Southwest.”

Along with creating a powerhouse pediatric hospital, the shifting of services will enable St. Joseph’s to fulfill its strategic plan to become a destination hospital for patients from across the nation and around the world. To that end, Hunt says St. Joseph’s is expanding specialty programs such as neurosurgery, neurology, cardiology and pulmonology.

The two entities already have collaborated on specific programs, including physician cross-coverage for the Children’s Heart Center and a National Institute of Health grant that’s part of PCH’s Heart Center, housed at the Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s. In spite of the various joint programs, no large-scale alliance had ever been attempted. PCH initially approached St. Joseph’s about a wider-ranging alliance, and the timing proved to be just right. Due to state budget issues, capacity constraints St. Joseph’s is facing, and the expansion already underway at PCH, the collaboration seemed like the natural progression.

“When I approached Linda Hunt in 2008 about revisiting a formal collaboration, we agreed to discard the baggage of failed collaborations of the past and brought fresh thinking to the discussion,” Meyer says. “What we found is that we are more alike than different. We share a common vision and very similar values. We are equally committed to excellent medical care, (and) both need to grow.”

The challenges facing these two health care leaders are daunting. Phoenix is one of the fastest-growing regions in the nation, and medical centers and hospitals must be prepared to face a large influx of young patients in the future. However, with both noted hospitals banding together, incredible progress can be made.

“By combining our pediatric programs, we can achieve a level that would be on par with the leading children’s hospitals in the country more quickly and efficiently than doing so alone,” Meyer says.

Among other things, the alliance will improve access to higher quality pediatric health care services in a cost-effective manner, enhance recruitment and resources for services and programs, accelerate the development of research programs, maintain and improve medical services for the under-served and more, Meyer adds.

The process of finalizing the proposed alliance is ongoing. At this time, presentations outlining the plans for the alliance have been made to physicians and staff at both hospitals. In addition, feedback programs have been created to field any questions or concerns employees may have. The process of assembling work groups with representatives from both hospitals participating in the integration plans also has begun.

“We believe this strategic alliance with CHW/St. Joseph’s will enable us to achieve our bold vision to be recognized as a national leader in pediatric health care,” Meyer says. “This community benefits from the strength of two of the leading providers of children’s medical care, because we’re better together than alone.”

www.phoenixchildrens.com | www.stjosephs-phx.org

Arizona Business Magazine June 2010

Woman standing over a desk

First Job: Linda Hunt, Service Area President, Catholic Healthcare West Arizona And St. Joseph’s Hospital & Medical Center

Linda Hunt
Service Area President, Catholic Healthcare West Arizona and St. Joseph’s Hospital & Medical Center

Describe your very first job and what lessons you learned from it.
During the day, I was a secretary for a construction company. I answered phones, coordinated job assignments and oversaw payroll. In the evening, I worked at Walgreens stocking shelves and cashiering. I learned making a living without a college degree was very hard work. It was tough holding down two jobs and trying to have a life, especially as a college student. I had a lot of fun, but knew I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life in either position.

Describe your first job in your industry and what you learned from it.
When I finished my nursing training, I took a position as a staff nurse at Ochsner Foundation Hospital in New Orleans. My first assignment was in labor and delivery. I took the 3 to 11 p.m. shift because it paid more money. It was very exciting and frightening to be responsible for the lives of mothers and babies. As a new graduate, I learned a lot about life, experienced situations that brought people great happiness and overwhelming sadness, and I sometimes saw the violent side of humanity. I had a tremendous passion for being a nurse. It was fun working with people, hearing their stories, and witnessing new life come into the world. I would get teary-eyed every time I saw a birth — it’s so miraculous.

What were your salaries at both of these jobs?
I netted $250 a month working as both a construction company secretary and a Walgreens sales clerk. I spent eight months earning enough money to buy a used Buick. My first nursing paycheck netted $534 for two weeks of work.

Who is your biggest mentor and what role did he or she play?
Dr. Jodi Alphin was a great mentor to me. I reported to her when I was director of nursing at St. Luke’s Hospital in Colorado. She mentored me in decision making, relationship building, and the art and science of leadership. Jodi molded my career in a variety of ways and helped me grow into a health care leader.

What advice would you give to a person just entering your industry?
Proposed budget cuts at the state and federal level have made this an extremely difficult time for health care. If you are entering health care today, you will need to be innovative and able to envision a different delivery system for care — a system that incorporates personal accountability, evidence-based medicine and prevention. This is a time in health care when you can make great contributions to mankind.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing instead?
I would be an executive chef and owner of a world-class restaurant in a major metropolitan area. I would have won a prestigious James Beard Foundation Award for my food and wine.


Arizona Business Magazine

March 2010

The Valley’s Health Care Industry Held Its Own During The Recession And Looks Toward Expansion In The Recovery

In an economic downturn that has plunged Arizona into its worst financial crisis in decades, one sector of the state’s economy that remains vibrant and growing is the health care industry. Consider recent developments driven primarily by population growth: the Creighton University partnership with St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center; the newly opened Cardon Children’s Medical Center, a Banner Health facility in Mesa; the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center scheduled to open in Gilbert in late 2011; and a major expansion of Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

The academic affiliation between Omaha-based Creighton and St. Joseph’s will bring nearly 30 percent of Creighton’s medical students to Phoenix for two years of clinical studies. Since 2005, Creighton has sent relatively few medical school students to St. Joseph’s for one-month rotations. Under the new agreement, 42, third-year Creighton students will arrive at St. Joseph’s in 2012 and in 2013, for a total of 84 students on the new campus, to be known as the Creighton University School of Medicine at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center. Creighton will provide an associate dean and several administrative support staff, but faculty instructors will be St. Joseph’s doctors and other medical personnel.

Linda Hunt, service area president of Catholic Healthcare West Arizona, president of St. Joseph’s and chair of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council’s Healthcare Leadership Council, says the goal is to retain many of the students in Arizona for residency and eventually have them set up practices here.

“We’re a large population and when you compare us to the rest of the country we have to import our physicians,” Hunt says. “We need the capacity to educate and to care for more of the population.”

The Cardon Children’s Medical Center, which opened Nov. 9, provides comprehensive pediatric care for children. The facility has 248 beds and works with 225 physicians. Top specialties include cancer, neurology, emergency services, surgery, and a level-III neonatal intensive care unit.

“Children often need special help coping with acute and chronic illness,” says Peter Fine, Banner Health president and CEO. “We know Cardon Children’s Medical Center will make a difference in the lives of countless children and their families. Its opening will offer a new option for outstanding pediatric care that is clearly needed by the Valley’s growing population.”

Meanwhile, the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center joined forces with Banner Health on Dec. 1, launching construction of a facility intended to deliver an unprecedented level of cancer care to patients in Arizona. Along with treating cancer patients, M. D. Anderson, based in Houston, also offers access to therapeutic clinical research exploring novel treatments.

Fine calls the relationship with M.D. Anderson “a major milestone in the vision of our two organizations to provide access to a new level of cancer care in Arizona.”

The $107 million, 76-bed center will be a 120,000 square foot, three-story building focusing on outpatient services, including physician clinics, medical imaging, radiation oncology, infusion therapy and many support services. Inpatients will be treated on two floors inside Banner Gateway Medical Center.

“M.D. Anderson is not and will not be something similar to what exists in the Phoenix market today,” Fine says. “We are bringing the No. 1 cancer center in the country to Arizona and to have them run it as closely as is possible. There will be significant amounts of automation tying in all their clinicians in this marketplace to clinicians in their Houston campus. For research purposes, protocol purposes, they will in essence be one clinical business on two campuses.”

In 2008, Phoenix Children’s Hospital broke ground on a $588-million expansion that includes an 11-story patient tower scheduled for completion by 2012. As of December 2009, Phase I marked its halfway point, was on-budget and on-schedule. The project will increase the number of its licensed beds to 626 from 345.

Bob Meyer, president and CEO of Phoenix Children’s Hospital, says research indicates Maricopa County has more than 1 million children today and by 2025, an additional 500,000 to 700,000 youngsters will be living in the Greater Phoenix area.

“If you believe those numbers,” Meyer says, “deficits in pediatric capacity are astounding. Estimates are that we will be short 800 pediatric beds by 2025, and short about 400 pediatric specialists.”

Another key reason for the expansion, Meyer says, is that the existing hospital building, which was built in the late 1960s, does not have the floor-to-ceiling height to accommodate today’s newer technology.

Dr. William Crist, vice president of health affairs at the University of Arizona, says the ongoing expansion projects in Greater Phoenix really are thoughtful plans for growth and development of service for a city that’s expanding markedly — even though that growth has leveled off because of the recession.

Crist cites the aging baby boomer generation as the reason for an increasing need in expanded adult medical care.

“Potentially, most cancer occurs in older individuals,” Crist says. “The aging of our population is made possible by advances in health care. It keeps you alive long enough to develop chronic illnesses.”

www.creighton.edu | www.stjosephs-phx.org | www.bannerhealth.com | www.mdanderson.org | www.phoenixchildrens.com | www.arizona.edu


Arizona Business Magazine

February 2010