Saturday, June 27, 2009

Prolife Community Calls for Representation at a Table of Transparency

The prolife community wants to examine the deal more carefully as there are statements of record that raise concerns and is also calling for representation at a new table of transparency in this arrangement.

A lot happened under the radar to bring about this end and we still have some goals to accomplish in the post-mortem of this scandal.

There is definite reasons for optimism. If the representations made by Caritas and the Cardinal are accurate - Catholics have conscience protections they did not have yesterday and we have the abilities to tweak the dynamics of what happens to a woman asking about pregnancy, to our satisfaction.


I'm going to continue to pursue communications between Caritas and the Commonwealth with the Freedom of Information Act and I believe we must push to send a prolife delegation at a new table of transparency.

Cataloging the conduct of all the characters in this debacle and putting those complaints formally on the record is critical as I believe the intentional deceptions and other behaviors reveal a very serious situation in Boston that has got to be uprooted. Something stinks up at the Chancery and until we get to the bottom of the rotting flesh guiding the discretion of the Cardinal - I'm actually not satisfied on the whole.

With respect to the Caritas debacle as today's article in the Boston Globe is more clear in revealing, in trying to balance the teachings of the Church with money concerns the Cardinal took "an interest" in servicing the poor with abortions and sterilizations and other moral evils by creating an insurance company to carry them out and pay for them. Both the Cardinal and Mr. de la Torre repeatedly stated that this arrangement was absolutely the same policy they have always had in their commitments to the sanctity of life.

As one commenter put it on the website: Until I read this article, I hadn't understood that Caritas was thinking of getting into the *insurance* business...*now* I get what the fuss was about.

There was willful deception. That is a problem that isn't going away - even if this deal is on the up and up. I digress.

The archdiocese said that O’Malley sought the withdrawal after weeks of consultation with the National Catholic Bioethics Center, a church-related think tank, following harsh criticism by antiabortion groups for not blocking the Caritas venture. O’Malley is a long-time and staunch opponent of abortion, but also has an interest in serving the poor and protecting the viability of Catholic hospitals. The controversy over the Caritas-Centene venture reflects the tension inherent in balancing those concerns in the heavily regulated healthcare industry.

This balancing act reveals a fatal flaw in the discretion of the administration that demands follow-up with Church officials. Forgive me, but we can't just walk away from the reality that this balancing act is that of J Bryan Hehir, who lacks the fidelity and discretion necessary to be the Cardinal's representative on anything. There is an unknown about not only these arrangements but, what other arrangements are going on in this balancing act that are dangerous to poor, people and the deposit of faith?

Further, with respect to abortion referrals, I'm actually still unclear about exactly what is going on inside of our Catholic hospitals when a woman comes in and asks about abortions.

In keeping with the ethical directives that bind Catholic hospitals, Caritas facilities will continue the practice of not providing abortion or sterilizations. Caritas refers privately insured patients who seek such services to their insurance providers and will do the same with state-insured patients who seek treatment via Commonwealth Care.

Four months ago, Caritas had announced plans with Centene to create a new company, now named CeltiCare, to provide health insurance to thousands of low-income Massachusetts residents under Commonwealth Care. Until Caritas withdrew yesterday, CeltiCare was 49 percent owned by the Catholic hospital system, and 51 percent owned by a Centene subsidiary.

Because Caritas will no longer be a joint owner of the insurance venture, the archdiocese is hoping that there will no longer be any question that Caritas will not financially profit from abortions, sterilizations, or other services provided by non-Catholic hospitals.

That remains questionable. We have more questions. What are the arrangements, what is the deal, who is involved, what money is changing hands and what happens to the women and children?

It absolutely incumbent upon the prolife community to find out what exactly is happening to women when they come into a Catholic hospital and asks about abortions historically, and going forward. According to Mr. de la Torre, it appears that instead of taking proactive steps to guide the discretion and giving them referrals to the many apostolates and missions that will support the mother and the life of the child, procedurally - women are referred back to the insurance companies.

We've got to change those policies and procedures.

In keeping with the ethical directives that bind Catholic hospitals, Caritas facilities will continue the practice of not providing abortion or sterilizations. Caritas refers privately insured patients who seek such services to their insurance providers and will do the same with state-insured patients who seek treatment via Commonwealth Care.

Not good enough. We want new policies in place - we want them referred to prolife apostolates.

The below is a yellow flag:

“Caritas Christi will continue to participate as a key part of the CeltiCare provider network,’’ said Richard Lynch, chief executive of CeltiCare Health Plan of Massachusetts. “The arrangement in no way affects the operations of CeltiCare Health, and we look forward to delivering quality healthcare services to our members starting on July 1.’’

Caritas spokeswoman Teresa Prego declined to say what the financial impact of the development would be.

But she said that Caritas would benefit financially by being an official provider of health services to patients in the Commonwealth Care program.

“It simplifies the process for payment now and ensures that we are paid for the procedures performed in our facility,’’ she said.

And Prego said of the decision to end the joint venture, “This is the right way to move the distraction of the debate of ownership and allow us to be a provider.’’

Is this a paper shuffle?

When will the official recommendation from the National Catholic Bioethics Center be released and published?

We want to see the deal.

Those inclined - please give thanks to that recognizable fellow above wearing the hat.

In addition to the American Life League --John O'Gorman, Father Tom DiLorenzo, Phil Lawler - any many unsung heroes all worked hard under the radar.
More later...


Anonymous said...


I don't know if you saw the following comment on but I wholeheartedly agree:

"Cardinal O'Malley's efforts to construct a legalistic subterfuge that would allow Caritas to enmesh itself in the Culture of Death seems to have failed. Thanks to all the Catholic bloggers out there who exposed this cynical effort by the Archdiocese."

Thanks for all your work on this. I'm delighted and energized by the victory.

Anonymous said...

God bless you for you work and your fidelity.