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February 25, 1999


Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua, Archbishop of Philadelphia, has promulgated a "Protocol for Evaluating Catholic Health Care Collaborative Relationships." The protocol, which comes after extensive consultation with local Catholic healthcare providers and their sponsoring religious congregations, will preserve the Catholic identity of health care apostolates operating in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The Protocol formalizes what has already been normal practice. It officially becomes diocesan law March 25, 1999.

"In the increasingly complex world of healthcare, it is important for Catholic providers to clearly define and maintain their Catholic identity," said Cardinal Bevilacqua. "By formalizing collaborative guidelines, we are establishing parameters within which Catholic healthcare providers may effectively and confidently operate."

Under the Protocol, an Archdiocesan Catholic Health Care Review Committee will be established to review proposed affiliations and alliances with secular healthcare providers. "There has been a need on both sides, the Archdiocese and the Catholic health systems, to clarify what that structure is," said Rev. Msgr. Timothy Senior, Archdiocesan Secretary for Catholic Human Services.

The Protocol is the result of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops' Ethical and Religious Directives issued in 1995. The directives allow for Catholic healthcare providers to be aligned with hospitals which do not adhere to Catholic principles, as long as the Catholic institution limits its involvement in accord with those principles. "Our Catholic institutions must maintain and perpetuate Catholic values," said Cardinal Bevilacqua. "This Protocol translates those values into written guidelines. The guidelines will assist Catholic healthcare institutions who have judged that they have no alternative but to enter into collaborative relationships with non-Catholic providers to carry on their mission of providing quality healthcare in a loving and nurturing environment."


Editor's Note: For a copy of the "Protocol for Evaluating Catholic Health Care Collaborative Relationships" please contact Communications Director Cathy Rossi at 215-587-3747

Cathy Rossi
Communications Director

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