May 2006

Continuing the Legacy of Care:
A Message from Kevin Lofton

0506_Lofton Photo

Dear Catholic Health Initiatives Family, While it has been ten years since 12 congregations of women religious combined their health ministries as Catholic Health Initiatives, it has been more than a century since women religious first began to extend the Catholic health ministry across the United States. Their commitment to meeting the needs of their communities was rooted in traditions that, in many cases, date back centuries. Today, Catholic Health Initiatives continues that legacy of care. While the Catholic health care tradition is well established in the United States, it must constantly refresh and renew itself to meet the changing needs and demographics of the populations served; as well as external forces, such as regulations and public perception, that affect our work. Catholic Health Initiatives is no exception to this rule — in fact, as one of the largest Catholic health systems in the nation, it is incumbent on us to lead by example. How can Catholic Health Initiatives best meet its challenges? The same way our foundresses met theirs: with determination. It required an incredible amount of determination for the sisters to create Catholic Health Initiatives, with its precedent-setting model of sponsorship and governance that is right for our times. We proudly say that Catholic Health Initiatives is the first Catholic health system to give laity a sponsorship role in its facilities. These are simple words, but the task was anything but simple. In fact, many people — even those most familiar with Catholic health care traditions — don’t realize what a formidable task it was. With determination and resolve, the sisters who formed the Steering Council that created Catholic Health Initiatives secured approval of the organization’s groundbreaking structure from the Vatican. Now, as a maturing organization, Catholic Health Initiatives is focused on three themes: building the system together; investing in the development of leaders; and creating the safest environment for our patients by reducing avoidable complications. These, too, are simply worded statements that represent highly complex and essential endeavors. I am grateful for the commitment that the entire Catholic Health Initiatives family shows toward achieving these goals together. When the time comes for the 20th anniversary celebration of Catholic Health Initiatives, I hope we will look back at these themes and realize that we accomplished them by following the example set by our foundresses: an example of innovative thinking combined with skill, compassion and determination. That is also the legacy of Catholic Health Initiatives, created by the sisters and shared with all of us. As we celebrate the tenth anniversary of Catholic Health Initiatives together, please accept my heartfelt thanks for all you do each day to advance our mission, vision and core values. Sincerely, Kevin E. Lofton President and Chief Executive Officer