July-August 2019 | Volume 100, Number 4
BY: JULIE TROCCHIO, RN, MS
It was April 1988, my second week on the job and first board meeting. Policy expert Larry Lewin (may he rest in peace), was leading the Catholic Health Association board through recent attacks on hospital tax-exemption.
A large nonprofit health system in Utah was being asked to pay state taxes for the first time. In Vermont, Burlington Mayor Bernie Sanders sent a local hospital a $2.9 million tax bill. Rep. Pete Stark, chair of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health, was instrumental in taking away federal tax-exemption of nonprofit health plans.
BY: SR. CAROL KEEHAN, DC
As I finish my time as CHA's president and now 54 years in health care, in positions ranging from nurse aide, staff nurse, nursing supervisor, vice president for nursing, hospital president, board chair and CHA president and chief executive officer, I am more convinced thanever that we in Catholic health care hold a treasure.
BY: FRED ROTTNEK, MD, MAHCM
It's difficult raising young people during an epidemic. Today we are experiencing an epidemic of opioid poisonings and opioid-related deaths. Nothing is normal in an epidemic. And raising young people in the midst of an epidemic — especially one that is intertwined with behavioral health, trauma and the actions associated with risky and youthful audacious behaviors — is not only baffling, it is deeply frightening.
BY: MARK KUCZEWSKI, PhD, JOHANA MEJIAS-BECK, MD, AMY BLAIR, MD, and MATTHEW FITZ, MD
Many Catholics grew up hearing the medieval theological lore about limbo, a place where unbaptized babies go to spend eternity. Because the babies lacked initiation into the Christian community, they were denied the fullness of salvation including a spot in heaven. While we often think of limbo as nothingness and neutral, it is also sometimes theologically postulated as the outer ring of hell. After all, we are created for union with God and others.
BY: JOHN MORRISSEY
Desperate children trudge on a lonely quest for U.S. asylum after fleeing abuse or threats on their life. Limited and dwindling cash buys passage by plane, boat, truck and on foot through as many as 10 countries, where they risk drowning, dense jungle and further abuse to get to the American border. If they can credibly explain the threats that made them run, they are placed in juvenile facilities while their cases play out — until they turn 18.
BY: ROBERT A. BERGAMINI, MD
Approximately 3 million children in the United States are medically complex. The current health care system often fails to provide optimal care for these children just as it fails to provide appropriate support to their families. These are children who have multiple medical problems. They require specialized care from multiple providers. Many times, they and their families also need mental health services. The social needs for the children as well as their families mirror the complexity of the underlying medical issues.
BY: ALLEN SÁNCHEZ, STB, MA
When Maria Medina moved to Albuquerque, N.M., two years ago to get away from an unsafe domestic environment, she was able to briefly stay with a cousin, but she had no home, no transportation and limited options for food. She was 13 weeks pregnant. She felt afraid and hopeless. Through a collaboration with the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, Maria was referred to CHI St. Joseph's Children's Home Visiting Program. The program's staff visits families, encouraging prenatal care and providing education and resources for parents and babies.
BY: SHANNON SENEFELD, PhD, PHILIP GOLDMAN and ANNE SMITH
Board any flight to Uganda this summer and you will find a plane full of enthusiastic, well-meaning tourists eager to volunteer at one of the many "orphanages" scattered throughout the country. They are eager to help a nation full of orphans who have nowhere else to go. Or so they believe.
BY: SUE JOHNSON, RN
The burden of asthma is explained this way:
"It is like breathing through a squished straw."
"It feels like someone is hugging me and squeezing the air out of my body."
"My lungs feel tight but also ready to burst."
Those descriptions are all from school-aged children and shed light on the reality of life living with asthma. Childhood asthma has developed into a major public health concern. Among children ages 5 to 14, the disease prevalence increased 74% between 1980 and 1994, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Asthma affected 26 million Americans and nearly 340 million people worldwide in 2016, according to the Global Burden of Disease study. Asthma can profoundly affect quality of life. …
BY: ERIN ARCHER KELSER, RN
We in Catholic health care are committed to providing high quality and respectful care to all patients who come to us, including those who are experiencing gender dysphoria. There is a great deal we do not know about the transgender reality: few long-term studies exist, and neither the origins of transgenderism nor the outcomes of various treatment options are fully understood. The Catholic Church is carefully and conscientiously considering the clinical, biological and psychological information now available.
BY: SR. ROSEMARY DONLEY, SC, PhD, APRN, FAAN and CARMEN KIRALY, PhD, APRN
Human trafficking is not a 21st-century phenomenon. For centuries, people of every nation have exploited others to show dominance or gain profit. Youth, including those who are poor or from abusive or neglectful homes, are among the most vulnerable. Human trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons by threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, such as abduction, fraud, deception and payments/benefits to family members or guardians who exploit vulnerable persons under their care. Exploitation includes prostitution or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal and sale of organs.
BY: JESSICA M. POLLARD, PhD
At first, Brandon* agreed to meet with an outreach worker to talk about outpatient treatment just because he wanted to get out of the psychiatric hospital. The 20-year-old had gone through a frightening ordeal being picked up by the police and brought to the emergency department. He couldn't recall a lot of what had happened, but he remembered believing people were out to get him and hearing voices warning him about strangers on the street.
BY: STEVE TAPPE, MTS and LAURA TAPPE
On the surface our family seems pretty typical. My wife and I love each other and our four children. We are stable. We live in a safe community and our kids attend good schools. But between three of our four children, there are six diseases. Our 16-year-old daughter, Laura, has three of those: Crohn's disease, rheumatoid arthritis and anxiety.