Wednesday, September 17, 2014

In the interest of truth in advertising, please stop calling your hospitals "Catholic."


Rev. Mark G. Swope, Coordinator of Ethics Program and Ethicist 
Holy Redeemer Health System
1648 Huntingdon Pike
Meadowbrook, Pa 19046 
mswope@holyredeemer.com 

Philip Boyle, Ph.D., VP of Mission and Ethics
Catholic Health East
3805 West Chester Pike, Suite 100
Newtown Square, Pa 19073 

pboyle@che.org

Mr. Richard Brochu, Chair of Ethics Resource Team 
Ms. Terri Rivera, VP for Mission and Community Health
St. Mary Medical Center
Langhorne, Pa 
rbrochu@stmaryhealthcare.org
TRivera@stmaryhealthcare.org


Nancy H. Oetinger, Chief Compliance and Privacy Officer 
Mercy Health Systems of SE Pennsylvania
One West Elm Street, Suite 100
Conshohocken, Pa 19428 
noetinger@mercyhealth.org


Dear Father Swope, Dr. Boyle, Mr. Brochu, Ms. Rivera, and Ms. Oetinger,

I have previously shared my concerns about six "Catholic" hospitals located in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia (most recently on 8/16/14):

1) Holy Redeemer

While the physician directory includes one OB/GYN who can be found on an NFP-only list, 20 others cannot be found.  It still lists five "Reproductive Endocrinologists," each of whom is an IVF specialist (i.e., Drs Arthur Castelbaum, Martin Freedman, Benjamin Gocial, Jacqueline Gutmann, and Stephen G. Somkuti are with Reproductive Medicine Associates of Philadelphia.).  In addition, Dr. Jennifer Nichols is with Abington Reproductive Medicine.  While "Holy Redeemer expects that all health care practitioners adhere to the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services at health system locations," the directory provides contact information for these same individuals at RMA and ARM!


Holy Redeemer's Advance Directive form fails to clearly specify:
  • Catholic teaching with regard to nutrition and hydration, and
  • that health care services cannot honor non-specific directives to forego nutrition and hydration.

2) St. Mary Medical Center (Catholic Health East)

While the directory includes one OB/GYN who can be found on an NFP-only list, 27 others cannot be found on that listWhile Drs. Richard Latta, Marc Rosenn, and Stephen Smith are on the list, each is from Abington Perinatal Associates - a practice reported to be involved with fetal "reduction" – a euphemism for abortion (See # 1, # 2, and # 3.).

Saint Mary's Advanced Directives and Living Wills fails to clearly specify:
  • Catholic teaching with regard to nutrition and hydration, and
  • that health care services cannot honor non-specific directives to forego nutrition and hydration.

3) Mercy Fitzgerald, 4) Mercy Philadelphia, 5) Mercy Suburban, 6) Nazareth (Catholic Health East/Mercy Health Systems of SE Pennsylvania)

There is No OBGYN in the Mercy Health System of Southeast Pennsylvania, who can be identified on One More Soul's list of NFP only OBGYNs.

Could all this possibly be attributable to simple ignorance on the part of top executives?  Nah!  Most of us were not born yesterday.

With the Archdiocese of Philadelphia being home to Catholic Health East, the Catholic Medical Association, the Institute of Catholic Bioethics at St. Joseph's University, the John Cardinal Kroll Chair of Moral Theology at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, and the National Catholic Bioethics Center, how do these situations continue at "Catholic" hospitals?  I believe that at least part of the answer is that we have underestimated the principal players' intelligence and overlooked the extraordinary monies involved. 

As per Deuteronomy 30,  "this command which I am giving you today is not too wondrous or remote for you" (11).  "Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live" (19).  Why do we act as though exorbitantly paid "Catholic" hospital executive are too dense to fully grasp Catholic medical ethics?  If ignorance helps maintain astronomical levels of financial compensation, it pays to be ignorant of Catholic medical ethics!
Holy Redeemer: The president/ceo recently had $767, 949 in total compensation (http://pdfs.citizenaudit.org/2013_05_EO/23-1534300_990_201206.pdf).

Catholic Health East: For 2012, the president/ceo had $3,890,553 in "reportable compensation from the organization," as well as $17,510 in "estimated...other compensation from the organization and related organizations" (http://www.che.org/about/pdf/2012CHE99signed_filed.pdf).
St Mary Medical Center: For 2012, the CEO had $705,458 in "reportable compensation from related organizations," as well as $39,905 in "estimated...other compensation from the organization and related organizations" (http://www.che.org/about/pdf/2012CHE99signed_filed.pdf).

Mercy Health Systems of SE Pennsylvania: For 2012, the CEO had $401,992 in "reportable compensation from related organizations," as well as $29,859 in "estimated...other compensation from the organization and related organizations" (http://www.che.org/about/pdf/2012CHE99signed_filed.pdf).



I believe that the archbishop should refuse to allow these institutions to continue to identify themselves as "Catholic." 

Sincerely,

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About Me

I am an enormously blessed husband and dad. In regard to my Catholic theological background, I have a certificate in social ministry & a master's degree (moral theology concentration), as well as a catechetical diploma from the Vatican's Sacred Congregation for the Clergy (Nope, I am not now - nor have I have ever been - a seminarian, deacon, or priest.). I feel particularly proud to have a mandatum. I also have a doctorate in Christian counseling psychology.

And yup, that's me!

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12/12/08 Interview with Rev. Tad Pacholczyk, Ph.D. of the National Catholic Bioethics Center

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