Remember Catholic Healthcare West?
Catholic Healthcare West now Dignity Health; Dominican Hospital to remain Catholic, hospital president says
By JONDI GUMZ – Santa Cruz Sentinel
SANTA CRUZ – Dominican Hospital officials announced Monday that they remain wedded to the Catholic mission, despite an announcement by the hospital’s parent company, Catholic Healthcare West, to split from the Catholic Church and adopt a new name, Dignity Health.
“We will remain a Catholic hospital, sponsored by the Adrian Dominican Sisters, following the ethical and religious directives for Catholic health care services,” Dr. Nanette Mickiewicz, Dominican Hospital president, said in a brief statement Monday. “In the rapidly changing health care environment, this new name and structure position the entire organization for growth and success.”
Beverly Grova, who heads the Dominican Hospital Foundation, reiterated that message.
In mid-December, the privately-run company was designated by Medicare as one of 26 “hospital engagement centers,” accepting a mission to change practices to reduce injuries and complications 40 percent and hospital readmissions 20 percent over three years. That initiative is funded by the federal health care reform legislation.
Catholic Healthcare West had three layers of management. Nuns from six religious orders served as corporate board members who appointed the 18-member board of directors; together they selected the executive management.
Dignity has a single board that retains nine members from Catholic Healthcare West. They include Sister Julie Hyer, a member of the Adrian Sisters who preceded Mickiewicz as Dominican Hospital president. She did not return a call seeking comment Monday.
The Diocese of Monterey had little comment on Catholic Healthcare West’s decision.
“Dignity is an independent organization that operates within the boundaries of the Diocese, but is not a part of the Diocese,” said Dean Warren Hoy, spokesman for the bishop. “Therefore, we can’t appropriately comment on their actions.”
Dignity operates three hospitals in the Diocese, Dominican in Santa Cruz, Arroyo Grande in Arroyo Grande, and French Hospital in San Luis Obispo, he said, adding, “We do not anticipate any significant changes in these three hospitals’ operations as a result of the change to Dignity Health.”
Deck pointed out Dominican’s Catholic affiliation prevents doctors there from doing a tubal ligation, a procedure to prevent future pregnancies, at the time of a Caesarean section, or an abortion.
Those who want a tubal ligation must go to Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center or Watsonville Community Hospital, he said noting abortions usually are performed at a freestanding outpatient center rather than at a hospital.
“I don’t think Dominican Hospital will start doing abortions right away,” Deck said, but he expects there will be pressure to perform that service, perhaps by setting up a separate unit.