One of the nation’s largest healthcare systems and the operator of two local hospitals is changing its name and distancing itself from the Roman Catholic Church so it can expand its services.
Catholic Healthcare West, which operates Northridge Hospital and Glendale Memorial Hospital among four other Southern California facilities, announced Monday that its name would now be Dignity Health.
The name change will allow the organization to grow nationally by forming diverse partnerships, according to a statement. The not-for-profit organization will still be rooted in Catholic tradition, but will open its governing board to non Catholics and no longer operate exclusively under the ministry of the Roman Catholic Church.
Patients of these hospitals will likely see no difference in services, Dignity Health officials and hospital industry experts said.
“This name and structure reflect who we are and what we stand for,” said Sister Judy Carle, vice chair of the Dignity Health Board of Directors and a Sister of Mercy, in a statement.
“The value of dignity is embedded in our culture,” she said. “Our mission, vision and values were all formed out of the recognition of the inherent dignity of each person. We are confident that our vision for the organization will be achieved.”
Dignity Health now operates 25 Catholic hospitals and 15 non-Catholic hospitals. Catholic hospitals must adhere to the Ethical and Religious Directives for
Catholic Health Care while non-Catholic facilities, such as Northridge Hospital Medical Center and Glendale Memorial, operate under the Statement of Common Values.
Some guidelines under the policies do not permit euthanasia, abortions or artificial reproductive procedures such as donor insemination or in vitro fertilization on hospital property. Some related procedures are allowed, however, because of certain health risks or emergencies.
Dignity Health officials said about $1.8 billion will be invested into the system over the next five years to expand electronic medical records.
Industry experts don’t expect to see service changes at Dignity facilities.
“They’ve made it real clear that their core values will be continued with their hospitals,” said Jim Lott, executive vice president for the Hospital Association of Southern California.
Lott also said the those in the hospital industry do not seem overly concerned because of the name change.
“Catholic Healthcare West and other faith based health systems have been able to operate very competitively in the marketplace,” Lott said. (A name change) isn’t going to change that.”
Source: Daily News, Susan Abram