Health and health care

SSM Health among Catholic institutions shunning fossil fuel investments

WASHINGTON — Citing Pope Francis' encyclical "Laudato Si'" on humanity's relationship with the earth and each other, seven Catholic institutions from around the world plan to divest from fossil fuel corporations.

SSM Health announces plans for replacement SLU Hospital

SSM Health has unveiled its plans for a new $550 million academic medical center in St. Louis to replace SSM Health St. Louis University Hospital.

The facility will be located north of the existing hospital's location on Grand Avenue and will better integrate the hospital with neighboring St. Louis University School of Medicine and SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital.

Catholic identity key in St. Louis University Hospital partnership with SSM Health

A view of St. Louis University Hospital from the walkway of the Edward A. Doisey Research Center. As part of a long-term agreement, SSM Health will acquire the 365-bed hospital and become part of SSM Health St. Louis. The university is purchasing SLU Hospital back from Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare and will contribute it to SSM Health St. Louis, in exchange for a minority membership interest — which includes a financial interest and governance rights. The transaction between SSM Health and SLU is expected to be finalized by late summer, subject to regulatory approvals.

When St. Louis University sold its teaching hospital to Tenet Healthcare Corp. in 1998, the contract required that the facility maintain its Catholic identity.

Under a new partnership announced this week between SSM Health and St. Louis University, the hospital's Catholic identity will continue — but this time, it'll be out of an appreciation for being part of a Catholic culture, as opposed to a contractual obligation.

The Matriarch of caregivers

Mary Ann Huber was called to open Twin Oaks Estates in 1981 after working in a skilled care facility. "I just wanted to take them home and love them and care for them," she said of the elderly residents in skilled care. Faith is strong at Twin Oaks, where Huber gave Holy Communion to resident Tony Campisi in April. 

On a cool spring morning, almost two dozen residents lined the pews in the tiny chapel at Twin Oaks Estate in O'Fallon. The weekly Rosary was about to begin, but the regular leader was a no-show. So, Mary Ann Huber jumped right in and started the group in praying the Joyful Mysteries.

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Mary Ann Huber distributes the Eucharist every Wednesday and Sunday at Twin Oaks Estate. She gave Tony Campisi Eucharist while he was in his bed. Huber began her mission to serve the elderly in 1981 and with the help of her husband, Bill, she began Twin Oaks Estate with 12 elderly residents. Located on seven wooded acres in O’Fallon, the site now has room for 149 residents.

SLU panel addresses ethical, medical, legal aspects of vaccinating children

John Jones comforted his daughter, Semaj Jones, 1, after a round of vaccination shots at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center.

A recent measles outbreak has reignited a discussion about the use of vaccines.

The outbreak, which has been linked to Disneyland in California and has spread to 17 states, was the subject of a panel discussion Feb. 20 at St. Louis University. Hosted by the College for Public Health and Social Justice, the panel consisted of SLU experts from medical, ethical, legal and communications fields.

Doctors prescribe a healthy dose of Church beliefs through support of Catholic Medical Association

Doctors from the St. Louis Guild of the Catholic Medical Association prayed the Rosary in their white medical coats outside Planned Parenthood for an end to abortion, for the families affected, and for the workers at Planned Parenthood. They then processed to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis for the annual White Mass, celebrated by Archbishop Robert J. Carlson.

When Dr. David Stansfield joined the Catholic Medical Association about eight years ago, he was prescribing birth-control pills to patients in his private family medicine practice in Hillsboro.

His desire to join the association's local guild was fueled in part by his Catholic upbringing and the chance to connect with other Catholic doctors.

It also opened his heart in a new way.

"It was because of my involvement that I stopped prescribing" the pill, he said. "Sometimes, a physician comes into the Catholic Medical Association, and they learn that it's OK to be Catholic."

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