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During the third quarter of 2015 ICHA’s Executive Director continued to meet individually with leadership and is responding to various challenges facing Catholic healthcare in Illinois. The Executive Director also published an article in Health Progress titled, “Speaking in a Unified Voice: The Power of ‘We’” (https://www.chausa.org/docs/default-source/health-progress/speaking-in-a-unified-voice-the-power-of-we.pdf?sfvrsn=0). ICHA is also currently working with the Indiana Catholic Conference on developing their voice around healthcare issues.
ICHA is in the process of surveying the major Catholic healthcare systems in Illinois to determine their policies concerning providing marriage benefits to employees who enter into a same gender marriage. This request was made subsequent to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges that ruled state-level bans on same-sex marriages are unconstitutional. The court said that the denial of marriage licenses to same-sex couples and the refusal to recognize those marriages performed in other jurisdictions violates the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Prior to this ruling, same-sex marriage was already recognized and considered legal in Illinois.
ICHA is currently putting the final plans to the October 22rd Annual Meeting and registration notices went out on September 8th. The keynote speaker is Bishop Timothy Doherty, from the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana. Additional speakers are Marian Jennings, President of M. Jennings Consulting, and Brian Corbin, Senior Vice President for Social Policy of Catholic Charities USA.
There were two changes on ICHA’s Board of Directors. Sr. Anthony Veilleux will be taking the place of Sr. Jeanne Haley. Sr. Anthony will serve a dual role as a Sponsor and Long-Term Care representative on the Board. The second change is that Sr. Jomary Trstensky is retiring from the Board and her Sponsor position will remain vacant for one year until Sr. Maureen O’Connor, the new HSHS Mother Superior, is ready to assume the position. Also, Kevin Schoeplein, CEO of OSF Healthcare, will fill the remaining year of Sandy Bruce’s term. due to her retirement on October 1, 2015.
ICHA will be attending and cosponsoring an ethics conference with Loyola’s Neiswanger Institute for Bioethics and the Catholic Health Association (CHA) on October 9-10 in Chicago. ICHA will be holding its Annual Meeting on October 22nd at the Union League Club in Chicago, IL.
In November, ICHA Executive Director will attend CHA’s advocacy meeting in Washington, D.C.
With the budget battle at a stalemate, HB 1564, the bill to amend Illinois Right of Conscience Act, has stalled in the House for now. ICHA continues to monitor this bill.
Anticipating activity on physician-assisted suicide in Illinois, ICHA is beginning to prepare for the debate and is working jointly with the Catholic Conference of Illinois (CCI) to identify and reach out to potential partners. The ICHA Board of Directors also approved a position statement and talking point on “Opposition to the Legalization of Physician Assisted Suicide” which were adopted from The Supportive Care Coalition.
Finally, ICHA has also joined the Healthy Illinois Campaign. The Healthy Illinois Campaign is working to make quality, affordable health coverage accessible to all people in Illinois, including immigrants regardless of their legal status. On September 28th the Executive Director attended the community launch for Healthy Illinois at Providence of God Catholic Church with Congressman Gutierrez, Commissioner “Chuy” Garcia, Karen Teitelbaum, CEO of Sinai Health System, Dennis Ryan, Holy Cross Hospital and others.
ICHA has developed a small working committee on “Sharing Our Mission Through a Social Media Platform”. The committee met for the first time via conference call on September 10th. The purpose of the committee is to explore new ways developing formation and mission education using the new social media tools. A survey was recently sent to all mission and communications representatives for their input.
As an update on ICHA’s Chaplaincy Education Program with the National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC), ICHA continues to register participants. To date, 151 persons registered for the course; 90 have completed it.
ICHA continues to operate under a balanced budget. ICHA recently developed their FY 15-16 budget which was recommended unanimously by the Finance Committee and approved by the Board on March 27th. Invoices for the FY 15-16 dues were sent out on July 1st. Follow up notices went out in early September for those few who have not yet paid their dues. ICHA is proud to announce two new members, Mercy Hospital in Chicago and Loyola University’s Institute of Pastoral Studies.
ICHA finalized its financial compilation (in place of an annual fiscal audit) and distributed it to the Finance Committee and the Board of Directors. The review was done by the firm Hochfelder & Weber.
Thank you for all you do on behalf of the ministry. We continue to look for better ways to serve you and are always open to new ideas. If ICHA may assist you in any way, please contact me anytime at pcacchione@il-cha.org.

We look forward to welcoming you to ICHA’s Annual Meeting on October 22nd!