On December 17, Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix will declare that St. Joseph’s Hospital is no longer a Catholic institution unless its parent company recognizes that the abortion that took place there violated the US bishops’ ethical directives and pledges it “will never occur again.”
The bishop’s November 22 letter to Lloyd H. Dean, president of Catholic Healthcare West (CHW), followed earlier correspondence in which Catholic Healthcare West, relying on the analysis of M. Therese Lysaught, attempted to justify the killing of the unborn child that took place at the hospital in late 2009. Lysaught is associate professor of theology and director of graduate studies at Marquette University.
In response, Bishop Olmsted wrote that as bishop, it was his task to interpret the moral law and the bishops’ ethical norms authoritatively within the diocese.
Bishop Olmstead also stated that if St. Joseph’s Hospital wished to remain a Catholic hospital, it must consent to a review by the diocesan medical ethics board and training of its staff by the medical ethics board or the National Catholic Bioethics Center.
Going beyond the issue of St. Joseph’s Hospital, Bishop Olmsted blasted Catholic Healthcare West for operating some hospitals that do not abide by the US bishops’ ethical directives. Citing the example of a hospital within diocesan boundaries, he spoke of his
"absolute objection to CHW operating hospitals without following the ERDs [Ethical and Religious Directives]; namely my objections to your administration of Chandler Regional Hospital, where as an organization calling itself “Catholic,” CHW authorizes sterilizations and I know not what other immoral acts. I continue to find this arrangement deeply troubling."With 53,000 employees, Catholic Healthcare West is the nation’s eighth-largest nonprofit hospital chain.
In September 2009, Dean, Catholic Healthcare West’s president and CEO, lauded a speech by President Obama on healthcare reform. According to Federal Election Commission records, Mr. Dean made $10,000 in contributions to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee over a ten-day period earlier that summer and donated an additional $250 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. An early supporter of Obama’s presidential campaign, Mr. Dean gave $2,300 to Obama for America in September 2007.
Catholic Healthcare West, California’s largest nonprofit hospital provider, has 41 hospitals, more than 10,000 physicians, and 53,000 employees. In an article examining the salaries of nonprofit hospital CEOs, The Wall Street Journal reported in 2008 that “Catholic Healthcare West, a hospital system based in San Francisco, forgave a $782,541 housing loan it made to its CEO, Lloyd Dean. Counting the forgiven loan, Mr. Dean’s total accrued compensation in 2005 was $5.8 million. Catholic Healthcare West says his compensation reflects his skill in turning the hospital system around financially.” Dean also serves as a Wells Fargo director.