Catholic Health Association

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An organization founded in Milwaukee, Wis., in 1915 as the Catholic Hospital Association, "for the promotion and realization of progressively higher ideals in the religious, moral, medical, nursing, educational, social, and all other phases of hospital and nursing endeavor and other consistent purposes especially relating to the Catholic hospitals and schools of nursing in the United States and Canada." Because the national health system of Canada differs from that of the United States, Canadian Catholic hospitals in 1945 formed their own hospital council that, in 1954, became the Catholic Hospital Association of Canada.

By 1914, the American College of Surgeons was establishing minimum standards for the practice of surgery in hospitals and the American Medical Association was beginning to insist that only hospitals with adequate facilities should be entrusted with internships and residencies. Aware of these developments, Charles B. Moulinier, SJ, regent of the Marquette University Medical School (Wis.), took the occasion of a retreat that he had given to the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in St. Paul, Minn., to discuss with the hospital sisters of that order how Catholic hospitals should best meet these new standards. They agreed that an effective means would be the formation of an association of Catholic hospitals.

With the encouragement of Sebastian G. Messmer, archbishop of Milwaukee, Moulinier took the initiative for forming such an association and prepared a constitution for it. The association's first convention, held in Milwaukee in 1915, adopted the constitution and elected Moulinier president, a position he held until 1928. Moulinier worked assiduously at the CHA's immediate objectivepreparing Catholic hospitals for standardization. The existence of the CHA and its cooperation with the American College of Surgeons contributed significantly to the success of his efforts.

The association became the Catholic Health Association in 1979 and today represents the combined strength of its members, more than 2,000 Catholic health care sponsors, systems, facilities, and related organizations. CHA unites members to advance selected strategic issues that are best addressed together rather than as individual organizations. It strengthens the Church's healing ministry in the United States by advocating for a just health care system, convening leaders to share ideas and foster collaboration, and uniting the ministry voice on critical issues. In 2001, the association issued a "Shared Statement of Identity for the Catholic Health Ministry."

In 2001, Catholic health care in the United States included 61 health care systems, 637 hospitals, 518 long-term care nursing facilities, 122 home health agencies plus hospital based home care, 36 hospice organizations, and 694 other services along the care continuum (e.g., adult day care, assisted living, and senior housing).

The association is governed by 25 elected members of its Board of Trustees. Its national office has been in St. Louis, MO, since 1929. It also has an office in Washington, DC, which is dedicated in part to advocacy, public policy, and governmental relations.

[r. t. shanahan/

r. stephens]

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Catholic Health Association

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