Saturday, July 14, 2007

Catholics, Capitalism, and the Gold Shovel

Several days ago in Peoria, OSF broke ground for its new $234 million dollar hospital expansion. (The article and comments that appeared in the Journal Star are located at the bottom of this post).

It is interesting to contrast the three paragraphs below from “Ethics of Health Care” by Ashley and O’Rourke with the Journal Star article and the reality of the “ethics of health care at OSF”.

While OSF “looks to the future” to treat “those who need it most”, they are allowing Haitian Hearts patients to suffer and die. OSF’s philosophy of respect for life does not seem to include Haitian lives.

Three quick, important, and potentially threatening ethics paragraphs from Ashley and O'Rourke:

“Many Catholics are under the impression that the Catholic Church, because it opposes communism, favors capitalism. They are unacquainted with the fully developed social teaching of recent popes, which must be considered in any Catholic approach to today’s ethical problems, including those in the medical field. The popes urge us to work for a world community based on spiritual goods or values and economic cooperation. They link human health and world poverty as the most fundamental ethical problems of our time, problems that in the United States are often ignored by ethicists and health care professionals…

“Thus the Kingdom of God begins here on earth with social justice, as modern popes have constantly preached, and no one will gain heaven who has neglected to work for social justice on earth. Jesus said, “I was hungry and you never gave me food…insofar as you neglected to do this to one of the least of these, you neglected to do it to me” (Mt 25:31-46). In the parable of Lazarus and the rich man (Lk 16:19-31), he taught the same lesson.

“Consequently, genuine Christian ethics cannot be conceived from the viewpoint of the status quo, which in a sinful world tends to reflect the materialistic spirit of domination and possessiveness. It must also view the world from the side of the oppressed, whose needs have been ignored and neglected. Thus, Jesus pointed to his preaching of the Gospel to the poor as the best sign of the authenticity of his own mission (Mt 11:5). A Christian politics of health care must then be based on an option for the poor.”

Hospital Looks to Future
OSF Saint Francis Medical Center embarks on largest private building project in Peoria's history with $235 million facility

Friday, July 13, 2007


PEORIA - What started with "humble" origins inside a small house on Southwest Adams Street 130 years ago will blossom in 2010 into what OSF Saint Francis Medical Center officials claim will be one of the premiere facilities for pediatric care in the Midwest.

The $234 million Milestone Project will add an eight-story, 440,000-square-foot building to a hospital complex that is much more than 1 million square feet, further enhancing the mission of the Sisters of the Third Order of Saint Francis to serve people with "the greatest love and care."

"This is simply the largest undertaking we've ever done at OSF," Sister Judith Ann Duvall, chairwoman of OSF Healthcare System, said Thursday during a ceremony to officially begin construction on the largest private building project in Peoria's history. "It's been made for the right reasons . . . so we can be here to help the people who need it most."

Thirty-three dignitaries, including the sisters, local politicians, hospital physicians, patients and administrators, picked up gold shovels outside the future home of the Milestone Project and ceremoniously tossed dirt to officially start what will be a three-year project.

"We really believe this will take health care in Peoria to a whole new level," hospital CEO Keith Steffen said, who, along with other dignitaries, praised the sisters for the hospital's founding and dedication to helping it evolve.
The project, which will be paid for primarily through hospital debt, is a modernization and expansion of the medical center and the Children's Hospital of Illinois.

Three floors of the new building will be solely dedicated to the Children's Hospital, with one floor serving adult cardiac patients. The other four floors will contain services for both adults and children.

Derrick Brown, 13, of Peoria, a longtime Children's Hospital patient, said he looks forward to coming to a much larger facility.
"It's going to be great," said Brown, who has been treated for sickle cell anemia for years and who will be a freshman at Richwoods High School this year.

The St. Jude Midwest Affiliate will also move to the new building. The affiliate's wing will be named in honor of former Peoria Mayor Jim Maloof. Maloof, who still is recovering from the effects of an automobile crash last year, attended the ceremony and praised it as something other communities simply cannot offer.

Though planning for the Milestone Project began about two years ago, Maloof said having a strong St. Jude affiliate was something considered during a June 1966 visit by Danny Thomas, founder of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

"He said, 'someday we should have an affiliate,'" Maloof said. "Little did we dream it would be this facility."

Minneapolis-based M.A. Mortenson Co., a specialist in health-care construction, is the project manager for the Milestone Project. Steffen said the project will attract 600 to 650 construction-related jobs to Peoria for the next three years.

In addition, once the facility is completed, between 250 to 300 new positions will be added at St. Francis, Steffen said. St. Francis already is the largest hospital in downstate Illinois, with approximately 5,200 employees, and is the only Level 1 trauma center in the area.

A private fundraising campaign is expected to begin soon, but there is no timetable or goal set for raising money to help offset hospital debt. Already, the hospital has announced a $5 million donation from Jerry and Helen Stephens and a $500,000 gift from Lynn and Susan McPheeters.

Activities on the hospital campus over the past year have prepared the area for the new building. Those included construction of a new parking deck, a new helipad for LifeFlight and the demolition of a 900-vehicle parking deck.

John Sharp can be reached at 686-3234 or


July 14, 2007 - 07:00

Dear TT
OSF has a for profit and a non-profit interest. The hospital and all these interests are owned by a huge corporation. Do you think their huge insurance industry doesn't have stock holders? The main hospital, which is non-profit, operates at state minimum standards. They are under staffed and their help is over worked. Patients are told they can't find enough employees so how are they going to staff this huge expansion? Go read Dr. John Carroll's web site. He was one of OSF's best emergency room physicians. Disagree all you want but keep a wary eye if you are ever a patient at OSF. I personally know a case of hospital error that killed a young patient. These things never make the paper, settlements are based on the grounds nothing is ever made public. People here telling you the facts are in the profession or have first hand inside knowledge of the situation. OSF depends on the gullible to shovel dollars into their pockets by playing on an image of honesty and charity that no longer contols the organization. The Sisters don't run the place, but their image brings in big bucks. Yes they do good, yes they have saved lives. What good they do is in direct line with the patient's ability to pay or ability to qualify for tax payer funded programs. Too much of their money is funneled back into the for profit portion and into the pockets of people who have had nothing to do with patient care.

Nancy Bovee
July 14, 2007 - 06:35
How lucky Peoria is to have 3 wonderful hospitals! I am sure we Peorians are the envy of many other cities - many residennts of whom come here to use the fine services provided by fine physicians. We should all thank hospitals when they expand and offer us more. Who knows when we might be the ones using ths state-of-the- art facilities?

johnson drake – Peoria
July 14, 2007 - 05:56
I like to know if a venture like this will decrease any future healthcare expenses I have. Will it? Or will it increase them? I'm sure the increased revs will get at least one or two doctors membership into the Country Club of.

July 13, 2007 - 16:54
Monkfellow is living in a dream world. St. Francis and its chain of hospitals is one of the most crooked organizations I have ever been privy regarding. I saw the inside at very high levels. If you look real deep into the background ( go back to Bloomington) of their current leadership you will find deception and crookedness to the extreme. People who give to that organization to perpetuate its modus apparenda have more money than brains.--
care to put any validity to this pack of lies??????????
You have privvy to NOTHING...and you're fortunate you can besmirch this wonderful organization.

July 13, 2007 - 15:51
Congratulations to OSF St. Francis and to Children's Hospital of Central Illinois. My son was very ill when he was born and the wonderful, caring staff at St. Francis and Children's Hospital saved my life and my son's life. I'm thrilled that the Children's Hospital is expanding and their NICU will be able to save even more children -- this is such wonderful news!

Mr. Johnson
July 13, 2007 - 15:30
Why don't we take care of the sick Americans first? I would prefer that we take care of "our" business first before we give foreign people free medical care.

John A. Carroll, MD
July 13, 2007 - 13:19
Subject: Gold Shovels

As OSF looks to the future with their 234 million dollar campus renovation, the largest medical center in downstate Illinois is turning its back on suffering and dying Haitian Hearts patients. Even Haitian patients that have been treated in the past at OSF, and need surgery to stay alive, are being refused further care at OSF with full and partial charges offered for their care.

Why doesn’t OSF’s “respect for life” philosophy include Haitian lives?

Sister Judith Ann said the new project “could help people that need it most”. The hypocrisy in the air as the dignitaries’ gold shovels broke ground must have been stifling.

Cudos to Pat
July 13, 2007 - 08:03
Monkfellow is living in a dream world. St. Francis and its chain of hospitals is one of the most crooked organizations I have ever been privy regarding. I saw the inside at very high levels. If you look real deep into the background ( go back to Bloomington) of their current leadership you will find deception and crookedness to the extreme. People who give to that organization to perpetuate its modus apparenda have more money than brains.

July 13, 2007 - 06:57
Congratulations, again, to the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis, and the members of the health care community at OSF St. Francis for all their hard work and care throughout this area.
I hope the Catholic-haters note patient payment for services WILL NOT be used to build this complex(and the weak complaints about "high-paid" staff or health care executives shows the hidden contempt for the good in this institution-since they have so little to offer themselves they revert to anti-Catholic rhetoric which, in another arena, could be considered hate speech).
We are fortunate to have all our health care institutions. Kudos, too,to Methodist for its expansion plans.

Reply to monkfellow
July 13, 2007 - 07:13
The Sisters have very little to do with OSF, it is ran by a corporation. I've never heard anything about high paid staff, the bulk of their employees are eligible for public assistance programs. The real winners in this expansion will be the stock holders, it should bring in a lot more revenue. I can't help but wonder exactly how they plan to hire so many new people when, by their own admission, they can't find enough applicants to staff the exsisting hospital. The era of "Catholic haters" is past. The ones who criticize OSF actually are those who work in the profession, or have inside knowledge of it's management. This expansion should go a long way to keeping the fund raising portion of their operation non-profit. We do have a lot of good dedicated doctors in the area. As long as they are willing to make money for the corporation they will practice at OSF. There isn't much room at OSF for those who put patient well being over bottom line.

1 comment:

John A. Carroll said...

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for reading and for your comments.

I simply cannot print your comments as they stand. It is not that I disagree with what you are writing about OSF, I just need to be able to substantiate your statements.

I have had over 100 comments that I haven’t placed on my blogs. I think the commenters are probably correct with much of what they write, I just need more proof.

If you would like to get a cup of coffee and discuss your comments, e mail me at