Center for Ethics

Saint Joseph's Center for Ethics in Health Care was established to support Saint Joseph's in its mission to further the healing ministry of the church and the sisters of Mercy. In support of this mission, the center provides education, pursues research and promotes forums for discourse and reflection on ethics in health care. Over the years, the center has staffed the hospital's ethics committee, provided case consultations, and collaborated in the development of a mission and values based compliance program.

Center ethicists are knowledgeable in clinical, organizational and business ethics, as well as public policy issues related to health care. They also have extensive practical experience working with organizations. The center's three principal services -- education, research /publication and consultation -- are directed toward helping providers, payers, public officials and the people served by these groups to understand the ethical implications of the choices they make.

Strengthening the Mission
The center is prepared to collaborate with other health-care executives responsible for the mission of the organization, management teams and boards of trustees to develop a mission assessment program that identifies strengths and weaknesses of the mission effectiveness of their organization.

Such assessments provide important information for board members and sponsors; they also identify appropriate areas for mission development.

Models for Decision-Making
During this critical time in American health care, it is important that the mission and core values of an organization be fully integrated into corporate strategic and operational decisions.

As physicians are invited to accept new roles within hospitals, and as they assume administrative positions, shared assumptions and values need to be identified that will enable effective collaboration. Decision-making tools assist both administrative staff and physicians to find the common ground needed for success.

Educational Programs for Ethics Committees
From time to time, hospital ethics committees can benefit from the assistance of an outside consultant. Educational programs on the goals of ethics committees, on specific ethical issues, or the tools for restructuring and reorganizing a committee, can bring new life and vitality to the work of a committee. Some hospital-based ethics committees simply may need some assistance with policy development or staff and physician education.

The important ethical issues in today's health care are as likely to arise in the boardroom as in the clinical setting. The shift from the clinic to the boardroom reflects changes in both the funding of health care and its regulatory environment.

The center's educational services also reflect these changes. We continue to work with clinicians of all types, while simultaneously working with board members and managers to address financing, administrative and regulatory issues.

Topics typically addressed are listed below and can be presented in seminar format or as part of a systematic ethics and compliance training engagement:

  • Advance Directives
  • Ethical issues at the beginning of life
  • Business Ethics
  • Corporate/Organizational Culture
  • Ethical issues at the end of life
  • Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health
  • Ethical Leadership
  • Institutional Review Board (IRB) Training
  • Organ Transplantation
  • Organizational Ethics
  • Palliative Care
  • Principles of Bioethics
  • Research Ethics
  • Ethical theory
  • Roman Catholic Moral Theology

The center's research provides clients with the most current developments in health care and helps them anticipate future developments. The doctoral-trained researchers provide decision-makers with critical distance from which to view proposed choices. At the same time, the center's base in a large, East Coast health system (Catholic Health East) permits researchers to work "closer to the ground" than many university-based researchers.

Consultation Services
Center staff consult on a broad range of ethics and compliance issues and, when necessary to address a client's needs, will utilize the expertise of our business and academic associates. Focused on the creation and maintenance of an ethical corporate culture, the center's consultation services are premised on the belief that "doing the right thing" in terms of ethics and compliance also serves the business interests of organizations.

To this end, the center's consultation services engage board members, managers, and employees to:

  • Create and maintain a corporate culture that fosters ethical clinical and business decisions, elevates employee morale and pride and reduces the risks commonly associated with compliance requirements.
  • Maximize value by linking ethics/compliance initiatives to the enhancement of corporate identity, marketability, and profitability.

Call 678-843-5723 for more information about Saint Joseph's Center for Ethics in Health Care.