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Dignity Health is a California-based not-for-profit public-benefit corporation that operates hospitals and ancillary care facilities in three states. As such, it is exempt from federal and state income taxes. Dignity Health is the fifth-largest hospital system in the nation and the largest not-for-profit hospital provider in California. Dignity Health was founded in 1986 by the Sisters of Mercy under the name Catholic Healthcare West.
|Catholic Healthcare West (1986–2012)|
|Headquarters||China Basin Landing,|
Number of locations
|39 acute care hospitals|
250 ancillary care sites
|Arizona, California, and Nevada|
|Lloyd H. Dean, President/CEO |
Daniel J. Morissette, CFO
|Revenue||$10,522,568,000 USD (2012)|
|$59,112,000 USD (2012)|
|$132,549,000 USD (2012)|
Number of employees
|Footnotes / references|
2012 Audited Financial Statement
About Dignity Health
From the time of its founding, and until 2012, the company was an official ministry of the Roman Catholic Church. In 2012, the company's corporate governance structure changed, moving it out of the Catholic Church and resulting in a name change to Dignity Health.
Dignity Health is the official health care provider of the San Francisco Giants. It provides services to minor and major league players and has a clinic at AT&T Park that offers urgent care and physical therapy services to fans and the surrounding community.
CHW was founded in 1986, when the Sisters of Mercy Burlingame Regional Community and the Sisters of Mercy Auburn Regional Community merged their health care ministries into one organization.
In 2010, Dignity Health, Blue Shield of California, and Hill Physicians Medical Group formed an Accountable Care Organization that covers 41,000 individuals in the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS). During its first 2 years, this program reduced inpatient use and health care costs significantly.
In 2018, Dignity Health and CHI received approval from the Catholic Church, through the Vatican, to merge. The merger was completed, on February 1, 2019, under a new name, CommonSpirit Health, forming the second-largest nonprofit hospital chain in the United States.
The Board of Directors is responsible for approving major decisions affecting Dignity Health’s health care business, such as long-range strategic plans, the allocation of capital, joint ventures, and major acquisitions and sales. Dignity Health's Board of Directors are:
- Dr. Andrew C. Agwunobi | Berkeley Research Group, LLC
- Judy Carle, RSM (vice chairperson) | Sisters of Mercy of the Americas West Midwest Community
- Caretha Coleman (chairperson) | Principal, Coleman Consulting
- Lloyd H. Dean | President & CEO, Dignity Health
- Mark DeMichele | Urban Realty Partners
- Tessie Guillermo (secretary) | President & CEO, Zero Divide
- Peter Hanelt | Business Consultant
- Dr. Rodney F. Hochman | Group President, Providence Health & Services
- Julie Hyer, OP | Adrian Dominican Sisters
Although Dignity Health is not a Catholic institution, the organization owns and operates 24 Catholic hospitals. While overall fiscal responsibility for these hospitals rests with the Board of Directors, certain reserve rights are still held by the religious orders that founded them. The Sponsorship Council comprises sisters from each of the six Catholic religious communities that first opened each of the Catholic hospitals owned by Dignity Health. Each community selects one woman to act as one of the six members of the Sponsorship Council. The six Catholic religious communities are currently represented by:
- Sheila Browne, RSM, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, West Midwest Community, Burbank, CA
- Lillian Anne Healy, CCVI, Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, Houston, TX
- Maureen McInerney, OP, Dominican Sisters of San Rafael, CA
- Patricia Rayburn, OSF, Sisters of St. Francis of Penance and Christian Charity, Redwood City, CA
- Corinne Sanders, OP, Adrian Dominican Sisters, Adrian, MI
- Susan Snyder, OP, Congregation of Sisters of St. Dominic of St. Catherine of Siena, Taos, NM
On December 21, 2010, Bishop Thomas Olmsted of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix declared that a Catholic Healthcare West hospital, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, could no longer call itself a Catholic institution after a procedure was performed in 2009 to end a pregnancy to save a woman’s life. In a public statement, Bishop Olmsted called the procedure a direct abortion, which is in direct violation of The Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services. In a statement, St. Joseph’s President Linda Hunt said the hospital would comply with Olmsted’s decision, but she defended the actions of the hospital staff, stating, "If we are presented with a situation in which a pregnancy threatens a woman’s life, our first priority is to save both patients. If that is not possible, we will always save the life we can save, and that is what we did in this case. Morally, ethically, and legally, we simply cannot stand by and let someone die whose life we might be able to save." The story made national headlines. Sister Carol Keehan, president of the Catholic Health Association of the United States, defended St. Joseph’s decision to terminate the pregnancy. "They had been confronted with a heartbreaking situation," she said in a formal statement. "They carefully evaluated the patient’s situation and correctly applied the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services to it, saving the only life that was possible to save."
In 2012, trustees of Ashland Community Hospital in Ashland, Oregon, invited Dignity Health to acquire it for debt. Community members raised concerns about the possible takeover, pointing to restrictions in Dignity's Statement of Common Values that might mean that the hospital would no longer offer abortion services, or euthanasia services under Oregon's 1997 Death With Dignity Act. Asked by Ashland mayor John Stromberg if the Statement of Common Values could be modified, Dignity Vice-President for Ethics and Justice Education Carol Bayley told community members, "As far as loosening it, don't hold out hope. We have our feet in Catholic mud, there is no denying it." Facing increasing community opposition, Dignity Health ceased negotiations without explanation on October 30, 2012.
Dignity Health was included by California Attorney General Kamala Harris on the antitrust investigation, launched in September 2012, into whether growing consolidation in the state's hospitals and physician groups was driving up the health care costs.
As of summer 2018, Dignity Health does not provide many services considered routine by non-religious providers, including some emergency procedures. Dignity Health has cited the "Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services" as its guideline in approving or refusing medical procedures. That document is prepared by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, which is not a medical organization. A particular controversy results from Dignity Health's non-Catholic marketing style, and unclear representations of which facilities are and are not considered Catholic.
Dignity Health owns or operates 40 hospitals—24 Catholic and 15 non-Catholic:
- "About Dignity Health" (PDF).
- "Dignity Governance Press Release" (PDF).
- Chandler, Michele. "Merger of Dignity Health and Catholic Health Initiatives is approved". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2020-02-02.
- "Contact Us" Dignity Health. Retrieved on August 2, 2018. "Dignity Health 185 Berry Street, Suite 300 San Francisco, CA 94107"
- "Dignity Health History".
- "Accountable Care Organization Featuring Shared Global Risk Stimulates Development of Initiatives To Improve Care, Reduces Inpatient Use and Costs". Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. 2013-05-08. Retrieved 2013-05-09.
- Dignity Health, Adeptus Health announce joint venture. Shannon Barnet. October 23, 2014. Becker's. December 8, 2015.
- Modern Healthcare
- "DIGNITY HEALTH, CHI FINALIZE $29B COMMONSPIRIT HEALTH MEGAMERGER" by John Commins; Health leaders; February 1, 2019; accessed December 29, 2019.
- "The steep challenge facing Chicago's newest health care giant" by Stephanie Goldberg; Chicago Business; May 3, 2019; accessed December 29, 2019.
- "Dignity Health Board of Directors" (PDF).
- "Dignity Health Sponsors" (PDF).
- "Phoenix diocese strips St. Joseph's Hospital of Catholic status". archive.azcentral.com.
- "Statements from the Diocese of Phoenix and St. Joseph's". archive.azcentral.com.
- "Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, November 2009" (PDF).
- "Ariz. hospital loses Catholic status over abortion case - USATODAY.com". usatoday30.usatoday.com.
- "Hospital Stripped of Catholic Status After Abortion". ABC News.
- Mann, Benjamin; Writer, Staff. "Catholic Health Association defies Phoenix bishop over abortion case". Catholic News Agency.
- "Dignity Health Statement of Common Values" (PDF). Dignity Health. Retrieved December 3, 2012.
- "Abortion, physician-assisted suicide dominate forum". Ashland Daily Tidings. Retrieved December 3, 2012.
- "Dignity Health ends deal with Ashland Community Hospital". Ashland Daily Tidings. Retrieved December 3, 2012.
- Mathews, Anna Wilde (September 18, 2012). "Dignity Health included in AG's inquiry". Ashland Daily Tidings (Reprinted from Wall Street Journal). Retrieved 20 June 2013.
- Hiltzik, Michael (2016-01-11). "Here's another case of a Catholic hospital interfering with patient care". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2018-08-12.
- "Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services" (PDF). usccb.org. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. 2009. Retrieved 2018-08-12.
- Hafner, Katie (2018-08-10). "As Catholic Hospitals Expand, So Do Limits on Some Procedures". New York Times. Retrieved 2018-08-12.
- "Dignity Health Hospital List".
- Chandler Regional, Catholic Healthcare merge complete
- "St. Joseph's Westgate Medical Center - Arizona Hospitals - Dignity Health". www.dignityhealth.org.
- "Two Hospitals Sold to Healthcare Company". 1 April 2004 – via LA Times.
- "Catholic Chain to Buy 2 Southland Hospitals". 22 February 1996 – via LA Times.