December 2002

Major Findings of the Safety Net Study

The major findings of "A Commitment to Caring: The Role of Catholic Hospitals in the Health Care Safety Net" are listed below. The study, commissioned by the Catholic Health Association, was conducted by the Georgetown University Institute for Health Care Research and Policy.

1. The role of Catholic hospitals in local health care safety nets is as diverse as the communities they serve.

2. Catholic safety net hospitals are a major source of care for uninsured and low-income populations in their communities.

3. As part of their mission, Catholic hospitals provide a multitude of services that go beyond those reflected in traditional measures of charity care.

4. The core values of Catholic hospitals firmly resist the creation of a two-tiered health care system.

5. Like other safety net hospitals, Catholic safety net hospitals are under extreme financial pressure in the current environment, making it difficult for them to sustain their charitable mission.

6. The imperative for Catholic hospitals to care for poor, uninsured and other vulnerable patients is often possible only through significant support garnered through membership in larger Catholic health systems.

7. Any future public policy efforts to shore up the nation’s safety net should recognize the historical commitment, financial vulnerability and current role of individual hospitals within their local communities, regardless of ownership status.