June 2005

Advocacy Agenda Set Through 2006

The Catholic Health Initiatives Board of Stewardship Trustees has endorsed the organization’s advocacy priorities for 2005–2006.

“While our complete advocacy agenda includes more than two dozen issues, four emerged as priorities during a process that included input from participants at CHI’s 2004 National Leadership Conference; surveys of market-based leaders and the National Leadership Team; and consideration by the Advocacy Advisory Committee,” said Colleen Scanlon, RN, JD, senior vice president of advocacy for Catholic Health Initiatives. “Each of the priority issues involves all three dimensions of our advocacy commitment: advocacy for the individuals and communities we serve, advocacy within our organization and advocacy for overall social justice.” The priority advocacy issues are:
  • Access and Coverage for All: Preserve existing coverage and expand coverage to every person in the United States, beginning with children.
  • Charitable Purpose: Promote and live out our charitable purpose by providing and demonstrating measurable community benefit.
  • Fair Payment to Providers: Seek fair and equitable payments under Medicare and Medicaid that preserve beneficiary access and avoid undue provider harm.
  • Non-Violence: Pursue efforts to improve safety and reduce violence to foster the building of healthy communities.
Two additional issues identified for special attention this year are medical liability reform and physician-owned, limited-service hospitals. “These issues have varied impact throughout Catholic Health Initiatives, but are very significant in the national health policy landscape,” said Marcia Desmond, director of public policy for Catholic Health Initiatives. Scanlon stressed that Catholic Health Initiatives’ advocacy efforts are not limited to the issues on the agenda. “While we want to focus our work on important issues, we have the flexibility to address other issues as they arise and work with new and established partners in advocacy,” she said. “We monitor and respond to changes in political, social and health care realities.” Employees can see the full advocacy agenda on the Catholic Health Initiatives Web site at www.catholic healthinitiatives.org and the E-Advocacy site accessible from the Web site. “Employees can register and use the E-Advocacy site to identify their legislators and customize letters to them about the issues that are important in health care,” said Desmond. “Catholic Health Initiatives’ success in advocacy is absolutely due to the efforts of our market-based employees. Our facilities and employees extend our influence across the United States and give us a strong voice with political leaders from all the states we serve.”

Lofton on Access and Coverage for All “Most Americans care for their fellow citizens, and I believe that if universal health care coverage could be accomplished with existing funding, no one would oppose it. But, people perceive that to achieve universal coverage, they would have to give something: to pay additional taxes or pay more for their own health care. Until more of us view health care as a significant public good with positive implications for the strength of our communities and our own quality of life, universal coverage will remain an elusive goal. Still, that is the solution that Catholic Health Initiatives champions. Care of the vulnerable will always be at the heart of our mission.” Kevin Lofton, President and Chief Executive Officer, Catholic Health Initiatives