The Catholic Health Association said last week it will name a replacement for its retiring chief executive officer of the past 18 years, John Curley, by year-end.
A CHA task force will identify candidates this fall and recommend Curley's replacement to the association's board by its December meeting, CHA Chairman Charles Thoele said. The St. Louis-based association then would induct a new leader in January.
Curley, 60, announced his retirement earlier this year (Feb. 24, p. 12). He led the transformation of the CHA from chiefly an educational organization for hospital department heads to a national hospital advocacy group particularly critical of for-profit healthcare companies.
In his final speech last week before the CHA annual assembly in Chicago, Curley said the industry has developed an "unhealthy obsession" with economic considerations. That's driving the acceptance of healthcare as a commodity instead of "an essential service provided to fellow human beings," he said.
"We must reaffirm in a thousand places and a thousand ways our own commitment" to the poor and suffering, he said.
A record 1,400 people attended the CHA's annual assembly last week.
In other news, the CHA laid out a timetable to complete its review of its membership requirements and dues structure. Among the issues, the association is considering:
Revisions to its membership requirements to cover a broader spectrum of providers, such as provider-owned HMOs.
How to handle for-profit affiliates of Roman Catholic systems; current CHA bylaws require members to be not-for-profit.
And, if for-profit companies are allowed in as affiliates of Catholic systems, whether a distinction should be made between privately held for-profits and publicly traded chains.
A final report is due to the board by late 1997 or early 1998.
The association represents about 530 acute-care hospitals and 315 long-term-care facilities.
Also at the meeting, David Lincoln, president and CEO of Covenant Health Systems in Lexington, Mass., was installed as CHA board chairman. Bishop John Leibrecht of Springfield and Cape Girardeau, Mo., and John Lore, president and CEO of Sisters of St. Joseph Health System in Ann Arbor, Mich., were elected to three-year terms on the CHA's 24-member board.