The Superiority of Christian Hospitals
Acton Institute Powerblog

The Superiority of Christian Hospitals

Thomson Reuters has issued a new report that shows church-run hospitals provide better quality care more efficiently than other secular hospitals.

Jean Chenoweth, senior vice president for performance improvement and 100 Top Hospitals programs at Thomson Reuters, says, “Our data suggest that the leadership of health systems owned by churches may be the most active in aligning quality goals and monitoring achievement of mission across the system.”

It is certainly true that Christian engagement of issues surrounding health care are essential for renewing our system of care. Dr. Donald P. Condit makes this case in his book, A Prescription for Health Care Reform.

If the report accurately reflects the superiority of religious hospitals as opposed to “secular” counterparts, we might speculate a bit at the reasons behind this. It may well be due, in part at least, to the comprehensive view of the human person informed by a religious, and specifically Christian, anthropology.

That is, we are not simply physical beings, but exist with both material and spiritual aspects, body and soul.

Here’s a link to the study in PDF.

Below the break is the story from ENI/RNS.

US study says religious hospitals more efficient, provide better care
By Daniel Burke

New York, 17 August (ENI/RNS)—Roman Catholic and other church-run health care systems in the U.S. are more efficient and provide higher quality care than their secular counterparts, according to a new Thomson Reuters study.

The study looked at 255 health care systems and found that Catholic and other church-owned systems are “significantly more likely to provide higher quality care and efficiency” than both investor-owned and nonprofit health systems, Religion News Service reports.

There was no statistical difference between Catholic and other church-run health systems, according to the study, which built on information gleaned from Reuters’ “Top 100 Hospitals” report.

“Our data suggest that the leadership teams … of health systems owned by churches may be the most active in aligning quality goals and monitoring achievement across the system,” the report stated.

The report was short on specific reasons for religious hospitals’ success, saying that further study will be required to understand the differences. The performance measures included mortality rates, the number of medical complications, readmission rates, lengths of stay, profitability, and other factors.

The Catholic Church in the United States runs 624 hospitals and 499 long-term health care facilities, according to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“When your mission is rooted in Jesus who healed the sick, only top quality care will do,” said Sister Mary Ann Walsh, a spokesperson for the U.S. bishops. “This study confirms what many take for granted. The church leads in providing quality health care efficiently.”

Thomson Reuters provides “information solutions” and data to businesses and executives in the health care, finance, legal and media industries.

Jordan J. Ballor

Jordan J. Ballor (Dr. theol., University of Zurich; Ph.D., Calvin Theological Seminary) is director of research at the Center for Religion, Culture & Democracy, an initiative of the First Liberty Institute. He has previously held research positions at the Acton Institute and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and has authored multiple books, including a forthcoming introduction to the public theology of Abraham Kuyper. Working with Lexham Press, he served as a general editor for the 12 volume Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology series, and his research can be found in publications including Journal of Markets & Morality, Journal of Religion, Scottish Journal of Theology, Reformation & Renaissance Review, Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Faith & Economics, and Calvin Theological Journal. He is also associate director of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research at Calvin Theological Seminary and the Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity & Politics at Calvin University.