The History of Catholic Health Initiatives

Catholic Health Initiatives was formed through the joining together of four national Catholic health care systems. Planning began in 1995, when Catholic health leaders began to explore strengthening community health care for the future.

Their goal: To develop and nurture a national health ministry, sponsored and governed by an equal religious-lay partnership, to transform health care delivery and foster vibrant new ministries across the nation to create healthier communities.

Today, CHI is guided by the same pioneering spirit that led women religious to carry out their healing ministry hundreds of years ago with a commitment to reach new milestones of clinical quality and an agenda of social justice. Here are a few of the historical highlights so far:

February 2019

Two legacies of caring. 
One ministry of change.

CommonSpirit was created by the alignment of Catholic Health Initiatives and Dignity Health as a single ministry in early 2019.

July 2017

With a $2.5 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, CHI creates a new standard of primary care that incorporates attention to the basic human needs of people served. CHI’s Mission and Ministry Fund matches the foundation’s $2.5 million grant.

September 2016

CHI and Dignity Health, San Francisco, launch the Precision Medicine Alliance, LLC, to offer patients faster, more accurate diagnosis and treatment protocols based on their genetic profiles. When fully developed, it will be the largest community-based precision medicine program in the country.

May 2016

CHI celebrates its 20th anniversary.

January 2016

Brazosport Regional Health System, Lake Jackson, Texas, joins CHI St. Luke’s Health, Houston.

January 2015

CHI joins the Health Care Transformation Task Force, an industry partnership of leading payers, providers, purchasers and patient organizations working to provide better care at lower cost.

November 2014

Sylvania Franciscan Health becomes part of CHI, adding St. Joseph Health System in the Brazos Valley region of Texas, Franciscan Living Communities in Kentucky and Ohio, and three hospitals in eastern Ohio to the system. With this addition, there are now 14 representatives from participating and partnering congregations.

October 2014

CHI St. Alexius Health, Bismarck, North Dakota, becomes a direct affiliate of CHI, adding St. Alexius Medical Center and two critical access hospitals to the system.

August 2014

Two CHI organizations-Alegent Creighton Health and CHI Nebraska-become united under the name CHI Health, forming the largest health-care network covering Nebraska and the southwest Iowa region.

July 2014

CHI’s Mission and Ministry Fund tops the $55 million mark in total grants awarded since 1996 toward building healthier communities.

June 2014

CHI St. Luke’s Health Memorial (formerly Memorial Health System), Lufkin, Texas, joins CHI and becomes affiliated with CHI St. Luke’s Health, Houston.

May 2013

St. Luke’s Episcopal Health System, a six-hospital system based in Houston, Texas, joins CHI as St. Luke’s Health System. The organization includes outpatient clinics throughout the Houston metro area, and is affiliated with Baylor College of Medicine, Kelsey-Seybold Clinic, Texas Heart Institute, Texas Children’s Hospital and MD Anderson Cancer Center.

November 2012

The University Medical Center and the University of Louisville announce their partnership bringing together to put University Hospital and the James Graham Brown Cancer Center with under CHI’s KentuckyOne Health. In July 2017, after CHI’s decision to operate with a smaller footprint in Kentucky, management of these facilities returns to the University of Louisville.

November 2012

CHI and Immanuel, which had a partnership in Omaha, NE, under the name Alegent Health, finalize an agreement that makes CHI the sole sponsor of Alegent Creighton Health.

January 2012

Kentucky’s Jewish Hospital and St. Mary's HealthCare and Saint Joseph Health System announce a merger of the two organizations, forming KentuckyOne Health, the state's largest health system.

May 2011

CHI celebrates its 15th Anniversary. 

September 2010

Consolidated Health Services, a home care service provider with 30 locations in Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana, joins CHI as the basis of a national home care business line. Home health is later rebranded as CHI Health at Home.

April 2007

Saint Clare’s Health System, four-hospitals that make up the largest community health system in northwest New Jersey, enter an agreement to join CHI. In October 2015, CHI transfers ownership of Saint Clare’s to Prime Healthcare Services, which has a growing presence in New Jersey.

January 2007

Kevin Lofton, president and CEO of CHI, becomes chair of the Board of Trustees of the American Hospital Association.

October 2006

CHI receives the inaugural Outstanding Organization of the Year Award from the National Association of Health Services Executives.

August 2003

Kevin E. Lofton, FACHE, executive vice president and COO, is named the second president and CEO of CHI upon the retirement of Patricia A. Cahill.

April 2001

CHI receives the 2001 National Quality Health Care Award from the National Committee for Quality Health Care and Modern Healthcare magazine. CHI is the first national health care system to win the award.

October 1998

The Board of Stewardship Trustees adopts a social responsibility investment policy to steward CHI’s financial resources in a manner consistent with its mission, vision and core values.

May 1998

CHI introduces its core values - Reverence, Integrity, Compassion and Excellence - at its first National Leadership Conference.

March 1998

The Sisters of St. Francis of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Hankinson, North Dakota, transfer sponsorship of a hospital and eight clinics to CHI.

September 1997

The Sisters of Charity of Nazareth Health System, Nazareth, Kentucky, consolidate with CHI, adding nine hospitals in three states to the system.

May 1997

CHI’s Mission and Ministry Fund awards its first grants, totaling more than $1.8 million, to programs designed to build healthy communities.

July 1996

CHI begins operation July 1.

May 1, 1996

Leaders from each system sign the documents that officially unite Catholic Health Corporation, Franciscan Health System and Sisters of Charity Health Care System as Catholic Health Initiatives.

January 1996

The first Board of Stewardship Trustees forms, with six lay persons and six members of religious institutes, including three members of congregations that merged their health ministries to form CHI. Patricia A. Cahill, Esq., is named the first president and CEO.

August 1995

Organizers name the new organization Catholic Health Initiatives and approve a mission statement.

From 1994 to 1996

Ten congregations of women religious engage in discussions that continue until 1996 when CHI is formed.

Their vision focuses on a shared model of sponsorship with equal participation by religious and lay members. This precedent-setting structure makes CHI the first Catholic health system to give the laity a sponsorship role in its facilities. 

Today the participating and partnering congregations continue to advocate for CHI, make committee appointments, provide helpful dialogues and take part in key functions.