"The Coalition to Save Catholic Health Care, in a letter to the Pontiff, pointed out that the sale of the Caritas Christi hospitals could end Catholic health-care in the Boston area. Although the proposed buyer has agreed to retain the “Catholic identity” of the institutions, the Coalition noted that a provision of the sale agreement would allow the purchaser to end that agreement, in exchange for a $25 million additional payment, if the Catholic identity became burdensome."A staff report by Catholic World News for Catholic Culture / Trinity Communications (Catholic; Independent; American; Reports on issues influencing Catholic Special Interests; Conservative)11 / 08 | August / 2010
"I have seen several news reports about the possibility of the $25 billion-dollar investment firm, Cerberus Capital Management, L.P. coming in to rescue Caritas Christi Health Care in Boston by taking it over and turning it into a profitable venture. Writing about the possibility of such a deal being finalized, Yvonne Abraham, columnist for the Boston Globe, voiced many concerns “and not just because the buyer is named for the three-headed dog that guards the gates of hell.” Foremost in her list of concerns are such things as the elimination of services that aren’t profitable—like mental health services, the closing of hospitals that don’t generate enough money and the provision of less free care to those in need.
Caritas Christi’s hospitals and related services have been described as conforming to a religious mission, respecting the sanctity of human life from “the very beginning of life to its natural end.” In an appeal to Massachusetts Attorney General, Martha Coakley, Raymond T. Neary, of Pro-Life Massachusetts (an American Life League Associate group), wrote, “The proposed contract between Caritas Christi and the Steward division of Cerberus should be rejected by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, as it comes with a heavy monetary cost down the road for the citizenry – as well as containing a delayed removal of the Christian ideals on which Caritas Christi rests and has built its reputation.” He then went on to quote the Caritas mission statement which is “…servicing the physical and spiritual needs of our community by delivering the highest quality care with compassion and respect,” and expressed his fears about the hospitals losing their Catholic identities.
But we already know that adherence to Catholic moral standards is unlawful for any hospital that participates in the Massachusetts universal health care insurance program (the model for ObamaCare), because the program requires participants to provide abortion, contraception, sterilization, etc. In fact, the archdiocese’s inability to participate in the Massachusetts program is precisely the reason why Caritas is unprofitable and is being sold. So the termination of Catholic standards is inevitable. Why the charade to mislead the public that Caritas will remain Catholic?"Judie Brown writing for American Life League (Catholic; Independent; American; pro-life) article hosted on Catholic Exchange (Catholic; Independent; American)12 / 07 | July / 2010
"In the wake of the news about the $830 million Caritas Christi deal, some Wall Street analysts speculated that the news suggested that the health-care overhaul, by expanding the number of patients who could pay for services, had raised the value of such hospitals. But Caritas Christi operates in Massachusetts, a state that experienced its own overhaul of health insurance with reform legislation passed in 2006, so it’s difficult to assess whether the proposed deal bears much relevance for out-of-state hospital networks. In fact, over the last two years, Caritas Christi has engaged in a rigorous financial turnaround on operating revenues, say health-care experts, but the network still couldn’t make significant inroads on its debt.
The Boston Archdiocese declined comment on the Caritas Christi sale. But Chris Murphy, a spokesman for the hospital network, said it welcomed the deal because “we needed the capital to fully fund the pensions of our employees and retirees, to eliminate our debt, and to get capital that would allow us to invest in the infrastructure of our facilities. We looked at the options — both for-profit and nonprofit — and the best for us was a for-profit acquisition.”
The Caritas Christi board decided to accept the offer from New York-based Cerberus Capital, one of the country’s largest private equity firms, said Murphy, because “they shared our vision for strong, community-based health care, and they shared our commitment to keeping our facilities Catholic. The ‘Ethical and Religious Directives’ are not affected by the sale.”
The news regarding the proposed sale of the hospital network comes less than a year after Caritas Christi was forced to back out of another deal designed to improve its financial picture — a joint insurance venture with the St. Louis-based Centene Corp. The partnership marked Caritas’ proposed entry into the state’s subsidized health program. However, after it was determined that Caritas could not be in full compliance with state insurance guidelines that mandated access to abortion services or referrals for such services, Caritas walked away from a potentially lucrative partnership. The deal would have increased revenues that could have stabilized its financial future.
Hilliard has not studied the new Caritas deal, but she said that it appears to follow a similar strategy employed by some Catholic hospitals that seek to protect their moral legacy even as they lose financial control over their assets. In such cases, the institution is no longer “Catholic” and is reconfigured as a for-profit entity that still complies with the “Ethical and Religious Directives.”
For Catholic hospitals that are losing the fight to secure their own financial health, the Caritas sale may prefigure their own future. Hilliard declined to speculate, but the Caritas story may well possess increasing relevance as Catholic hospitals navigate an uncertain future in the wake of the health-care overhaul."National Catholic Register (American; Catholic; Independent)01 / 04 | April / 2010
"At a public hearing on the sale of the Caritas Christi hospital system to Cerberus Capital Management, the Catholic Action League protested that the Caritas Christi system “will be rapidly secularized,…will no longer defend the culture of life,… and administrators will lose their conscience protections.”
The $830 million sale—which must be approved by public officials in Massachusetts and by the Vatican—would convert the Catholic health-care system into a secular operation. If the transfer is approved, Caritas Christi might become the largest American non-profit institution ever converted into a for-profit business.
The sale agreement requires the new management to continue adhering to Catholic moral principles in its medical procedures. However the new ownership has the option to terminate that aspect of the agreement by paying an addition $25 million to an approved archdiocesan charity, if it finds that adherence to Catholic moral standards has become “unlawful or materially burdensome.” (That odd proviso of the agreement drew a critical comment from a Wall Street Journal writer, who observed that the Catholic identity of the health-care system seemed to be on sale for 3% of the overall transfer price.) C.J. Doyle of the Catholic Action League expressed alarm that “the future of 150 years of Catholic health care in Boston will be within the discretionary authority of a non-Catholic, for profit, out of state, capitalist corporation.”"A staff report by Catholic World News for Catholic Culture / Trinity Communications (Catholic; Independent; American; Reports on issues influencing Catholic Special Interests; Conservative)25 / 06 | June / 2010
"A Massachusetts Catholic lay group says that the sale of the Caritas Christi Health Care System will likely secularize its hospitals while endangering Catholics’ conscience rights, the practice of Catholic medical ethics, and care for the poor.
Under the proposed plan, a private equity firm would pay $830 million to acquire Caritas Christi. A Thursday hearing last week at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) hall in the neighborhood of Dorchester was the sixth and final public vetting of the deal, the Boston Herald reports.
Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, state health officials and the Massachusetts Supreme Court must also approve the proposal.
The Herald adds that two Teamsters trucks outside the labor hall meeting carried a sign supporting the sale, while Catholic priest Fr. Philip LaPlant sat in a wheelchair outside holding a sign reading “Cerberus supports abortions.” [Note from editor of SACNS: I personally have not been able to find evidence of this claim against the Cerberus firm, if there is, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, the most I found was "Published by: Cerberus
NY, NY, USA 09/22/2009 01:48 PM EST
Nice to see the church at least supports health care. But in the end its not just for catholics, its for everybody, so it won't just reflect catholic values, but a our nation's as a whole." posted as a comments on the page of a Catholic News Agency article on healthcare reform in America http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/health_care_reform_must_recognize_dignity_of_every_person_missouri_bishop_says/ and it could simply be a staff member at the organization, or someone with no relation to them. That does not mean that the priest is wrong, I simply thought to note, that with a very short preliminary search, including scouring of pro-life websites, I have yet to find clear evidence of this, although there may well be]
The Catholic Action League has criticized the proposed acquisition, saying Caritas director James Karam admitted at the public meeting that he cannot guarantee the continuing Catholic identity of the health care network after its sale.
According to the Catholic Action League, the transaction agreement contains a termination clause which allows Steward Health Care System to end the Catholic identity of Caritas “at any time for virtually any reason” if it pays three percent above the purchase price, about $25 million.
For his part, the Boston Herald reports, Karam has said that blocking the network’s sale would guarantee the loss of Catholic identity because otherwise its hospitals would close."Staff for EWTN News (Catholic; Independent; American)06 / 07 | July / 2010
"At a public hearing on the sale of Caritas Christi, the health-care system of the Boston archdiocese, the director of the 6-hospital system admitted that he could not guarantee the continuation of the institution’s Catholic identity after the transfer. James Karam argued in favor of the sale, to the Cerberus capital firm, because he said the only alternative would be closing the hospitals."A staff report by Catholic World News for Catholic Culture / Trinity Communications (Catholic; Independent; American; Reports on issues influencing Catholic Special Interests; Conservative)02 / 07 | July / 2010
"A pro-life group in Massachusetts is writing Pope Benedict XVI to step in and block the sale of a Catholic hospital to a secular healthcare firm. The letter says the multi-million pricetag can only be likened to "pieces of silver" as it will strip away all the Catholic and pro-life ethics in the Caritas Christi Healthcare system in Boston.
The Catholic organization asks the Pope to call for a cessation of all negotiations between the Archdiocese of Boston and Cerberus Capital Management.
His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI
The Apostolic Palace
00120 Vatican City, Italy
Most Holy Father,
As members of the Roman Catholic Church, we are bringing to your attention an issue, one that threatens the mission of the Church in the Archdiocese of Boston in the United States of America.
The spiritual and physical healings of Jesus Christ, Our Founder, as brought to us in the New Testament writings have had an impact in our lives in many positive ways. In our quest to live better lives, the Gospel renditions of these events and of His life here in that earthly stay, are not only edifying in leading our personal lives, but they have formed the core of the approach to health care rendered in Roman Catholic institutions in our area. Caritas Christi, the very name of the Archdiocese's Health Care System, conveys the religious and philosophical basis for this approach to patients and their needs.
The Caritas Christi Health Care System here in Massachusetts is committed to our Roman Catholic Magisterial position respecting the sanctity of all human life from its biological beginning at fertilization to natural death.
In recent decades bioethical issues have expanded enormously. While they are historically centered on the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision in 1973 legalizing abortion through the entire gestational period, there have been other devastating consequences as well. The over 50 million hearts, which have been legally stopped from beating in innocent developing humans since 1973 ranks as the most flagrant and tragic result of this cultural change in our country.
Unfortunately, however, medical and scientific research affecting human life in diverse ways, poses a multitude of new problems, ranging across the entire life spectrum. In-vitro fertilization, embryonic stem cell research, chemical abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide are very much on the cultural scene.
It is imperative that "the loving care of Christ", Caritas Christi, be retained permanently without compromise of any of the principles involved, for those of us who want to avail ourselves and our families of this approach to medical care in the Roman Catholic tradition. Because of a real threat to its very existence, we have undertaken this communication with you.
Under negotiations conducted with a multi-billion dollar venture capital business firm, Cerberus Management L.P., negotiators for the Caritas Christi Health System would allow for the ending of any Catholic identity in these medical facilities, after a century and a half of its presence in Boston and environs. That possibility should never have been allowed.
Specifically, the agreement being negotiated stipulates that for a donation of $25 million dollars, the Catholic identity of these Caritas Christi hospitals would be removed, and they would be secularized. Given the threats to human life across the entire spectrum which we have mentioned, this is anathema. The $25 million dollars can only be likened to 25 pieces of silver.
We, the supporters of the Coalition To Save Catholic Health Care, request that these proceedings with Cerberus cease immediately and permanently. The Coalition opposes all facets of the negotiations, having examined the ethical, moral, religious, and financial aspects of what has been involved in these dealings with Cerberus.
As laity loyal to the Magisterial teachings of the Church, we respectfully are requesting that the disappearance of the historical Roman Catholic approach to patients, both collectively as well as individually, never become a reality in health care in this Archdiocese of Boston.
These proceedings and the acquisition could be completed within months, and we remain available to present any additional information about the proposed transfer.
Prayerfully and with loyalty to the teachings of our Messiah, we ask you from the Chair of Peter to call for the cessation of all negotiations with Cerberus, and to renew our diligent commitment to retain the essence of what we, as laity, have obtained from the true meaning of Caritas Christi.
Caritas Christi must remain in Roman Catholic ownership.
Respectfully and with agape love,
R. T. Neary, Chairman
Coalition To Save Catholic Health Care
Copies: Cardinal Sean O'Malley, Archbishop of Boston
Archbishop Pietro Sambi, Papal Nuncio to the United States of America"Matthew Archbold for Creative Minority Report (Catholic; Independent; American; comments on social interests; Catholic Special Interests supporting organization; Conservative)11 / 08 | August / 2010