RCCH, Diocese sign Catholic Identity Covenant
October 23, 2017
A couple of years ago, conversations were held among and/or between Ascension Health, St. Joseph Regional Medical Center, Capella Healthcare (aka RCCH) and Bishop Peter Christensen as to the future of St. Joe’s and its desire to remain a Catholic Hospital. Could that happen? If so, what would it take to make it happen? Was it really possible for a Catholic Hospital to belong to a for-profit health system? Had it been done before? If so, was there a model to follow?
Pictured from left to right are: Sister Pat Rosholt, VP Mission, St. Joseph Regional Medical Center; RCCH Group President Mark Medley; Bishop Peter Christensen; and Chancellor Mark Raper.
With the openness of Capella Healthcare (now RCCH) and Bishop Peter Christensen, a Catholic Identity Covenant was created and agreed upon. This document lays out the requirements that would enable Bishop Peter to continue to identify St. Joseph Regional Medical Center as a ministry of the Church and for St. Joseph Regional Medical Center to continue operating as a Catholic hospital as it has been doing for 115 years.
The mission of the Medical Center is to remain the same and its operations will continue to be conducted in a way that is consistent with the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Services (ERDs). In addition to adherence to the ERDs, the hospital will continue to follow the tenets, practices and key principles of the moral teachings of the Catholic Church.
The hospital will also continue to provide pastoral and spiritual care through its Pastoral Care Department. It will continue to have a V.P. for Mission Integration and the Bishop has the opportunity to appoint a member to the Board of Directors and to the Ethics Committee of the Medical Center.
Catholic healthcare organizations have special obligations and responsibilities for acting in communion with the Roman Catholic Church, in particular with the Bishop of the diocese in which they are located. The agreement signed on September 13, 2017, by Bishop Peter Christensen on behalf of the Diocese of Boise, and Mark Medley on behalf of RCCH Health will enable St. Joseph Regional Medical Center to continue its legacy as a Catholic ministry in Lewiston for the benefit of all those it serves in the region.
It is interesting to note that the original hospital in Lewiston – which opened in 1902 in a seven-room framed house on Snake River Avenue — was the result of the efforts of Father Hubert Post, SJ, to have a public hospital where all people could be served. Bishop Alphonse Glorieux, the first Bishop of Boise, supported his efforts in finding women from religious orders (Sisters of St. Joseph) to own and operate the hospital. The hospital has enjoyed a positive relationship with the Bishops of the Diocese of Boise since that time.