St. Vincent Charity Medical Center expands cardiology department with addition of cardiothoracic surgeon

by Editor Thursday, March 08, 2018


(March 2, 2018) – St. Vincent Charity Medical Center recently announced that Dr. Dale Levy has joined the organization as cardiothoracic surgeon, expanding the St. Vincent Medical Group to include an open heart and thoracic surgery program. 

“St. Vincent Charity has a rich history of cardiac care dating back to 1950 and we remain dedicated to providing high quality cardiovascular care today,” said Dr. David Perse, president and CEO. “I’m extremely pleased to welcome someone of Dr. Levy’s caliber to our organization and I’m confident his expertise in minimally invasive heart surgery and pulmonary screening will complement our highly skilled cardiovascular team.”

Dr. Levy specializes in open heart surgery with a special interest in bypass and valve surgery, as well as minimally invasive surgical procedures. He also has extensive experience in management of pulmonary nodules and lung cancer screening. 

“Throughout the majority of my career I have had the privilege of working at faith-based healthcare organizations and I’m looking forward to continuing on this path at St. Vincent Charity,” Levy said. “I’m especially excited about the opportunity to bring a new specialized service to St. Vincent Charity with the pulmonary nodule clinic and lung cancer screening.” 

A lung nodule is a spot on the lung that is seen on an X-ray or computed tomography (CT) scan. According to, a lung nodule shows up on about one in every 500 chest X-rays. The discovery of a nodule on the lung doesn’t necessarily mean cancer and often lung nodules are benign. When a spot on the lung is identified, patients are typically monitored with follow-up surveillance CT scans over the course of two years.

“The availability of pulmonary nodule clinic at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center gives family medicine physicians, primary care physicians and patients another high-quality lung cancer screening option in the Cleveland-area,” Levy said. 

Dr. Levy joins St. Vincent Charity Medical Center from OhioHealth Doctor’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio where he served as chief of the division of cardiovascular and thoracic surgery since 2006. In addition to this role, Dr. Levy also held positions at Blanchard Valley Hospital and Mt. Carmel Hospital. Prior to his time in Columbus, Dr. Levy spent three years as chief of cardiac surgery at St. John Medical Center. 

Dr. Levy completed residencies in both general surgery and cardiothoracic surgery at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York, New York.

In 1950, Dr. Henry Zimmerman launched the cardiology division at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center. Under Dr. Zimmerman, St. Vincent Charity was at the forefront of innovations in cardiac care. In 1956, Dr. Earl Kaye performed the first open-heart surgery in the Midwest, only the third in the country, at St. Vincent Charity. Shortly after, the hospital opened one of the first diagnostic and evaluation laboratories in the Midwest.

About St. Vincent Charity Medical Center:

St. Vincent Charity Medical Center is Cleveland’s faith-based, high-quality health care provider. Our distinguished doctors and caregivers are devoted to treating every patient with clinical excellence and compassionate care. St. Vincent Charity Medical Center is home to the renowned Spine and Orthopedic Institute and the Center for Bariatric Surgery. Owned by the Sisters of Charity Health System, St. Vincent Charity Medical Center provides Care Beyond Medicine. For more information, visit

Media Contact: Maureen Nagg, 216.363.7440,  


St. Vincent Charity Medical Center mourns passing of ADAMHS CEO Valeria Harper

by Editor Friday, January 12, 2018


St. Vincent Charity Medical Center extends our deepest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Valeria Harper, chief executive officer at the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Board. We are deeply saddened by the passing of Valeria on Wednesday, January 10.

“St. Vincent Charity Medical Center has worked with Valeria Harper for many years in her different roles at the ADAMHS board.  Her contributions to the field of mental health and addiction services are many.  Her leadership will be truly missed,” said Dr. David Perse, CEO of St. Vincent Charity Medical Center. 

Valeria was a tremendous asset to the residents of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County, greatly helping those living with mental illness and recovering from addiction, as well as being an advocate for those whose voices needed to be heard.  She was a remarkable leader and friend,” said Sister Judith Ann Karam, CSA, congregational leader of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine.

Valeria recently said, “When we come together, we can make greatness happen.” She lived this motto every day, and we couldn’t agree with her more.

St. Vincent Charity Establishes Pain Management Clinic to Provide Balanced Treatment for Pain

by Editor Tuesday, October 31, 2017

(OCTOBER 31, 2017) — In a comprehensive effort to improve patient overall health and quality of life, St. Vincent Charity Medical Center has partnered with Pain Management Group to open a new center offering a balanced treatment plan to address chronic and acute pain.

“Living with pain not only affects a patient’s immediate health, but often has lasting impact on a patient’s overall physical and mental well-being, their family life, and their careers,” said Dr. David Perse, president and CEO of St. Vincent Charity Medical Center. “In light of the current opioid epidemic plaguing our community, it is critical that we identify effective pain management treatments as an alternative to relying solely on prescription medications.”

The center, which opened Oct. 16, is a department of the hospital providing comprehensive diagnostic and individualized treatment plans that incorporate a variety of modalities, including physical therapy, nerve blocks, spinal injections, medication management and referral for alternative treatment. Acute and chronic conditions treated at St. Vincent Pain Management Center will include those caused by neck and back pain, headaches, fibromyalgia, chronic pelvic pain, complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), nerve damage, as well as pain associated with arthritis, muscle spasms, and shingles.

“Pain can be caused by a complexity of issues, therefore, our treatment plans need to be just as varied, so we identify the most effective means to provide patients long-term relief,” said John Bookmyer, CEO of PMG. “Through this center, St. Vincent can offer some of today’s most advanced treatments, which are more tolerable and minimally invasive to allow patients to get back to activities of their daily lives.”

It is estimated that more than 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, which exceeds the number in treatment for diabetes, cancer and coronary heart disease combined. Studies show chronic pain in the United States costs as much as $635 billion per year when considering treatment costs and lost wages.

St. Vincent’s Pain Management Center at 6701 Rockside Road, Suite 100, is staffed by Dr. Jay Vyas, a University of Iowa fellowship-trained pain management physician. A graduate of University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Dr. Vyas completed his residency at MetroHealth Medical Center.

“Lack of access to treatment impacts the entire community through increased health care costs, reduction of workforce and community volunteers, and medication abuse,” Dr. Vyas said. “I am thrilled to return to this great city to serve this community that has given me so much.”

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call the St. Vincent Pain Management Center at 216.624.4284.

About St. Vincent Charity Medical Center

St. Vincent Charity Medical Center is Cleveland’s faith-based, high-quality healthcare provider. Our distinguished doctors and caregivers are devoted to treating every patient with clinical excellence and compassionate care. St. Vincent Charity Medical Center’s expertise focuses on addiction and behavioral health, the Center for Bariatric Surgery and the Spine and Orthopedic Institute. Owned by the Sisters of Charity Health System, St. Vincent Charity Medical Center provides Care Beyond Medicine. For more information, visit

About Pain Management Group

Based in Findlay, Ohio, Pain Management Group is a leading developer of balanced, hospital-based, primary care pain management centers. Since 2009, Pain Management Group has successfully established joint-venture partnerships with hospitals to develop, build and operate pain management facilities that provide patients suffering from acute and chronic pain with the highest level of balanced health care. For more information, visit 

Media contact: Rebecca Gallant, 216-696-8408,



St. Vincent Charity Medical Center, Legal Aid Partner to Improve Health of Addiction, Psychiatric Patients

by Editor Monday, October 16, 2017

(OCTOBER 16, 2017) – St. Vincent Charity Medical Center and The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland have launched a medical legal partnership (MLP), providing free, on-site services to resolve civil legal issues that impact the overall health of addiction and psychiatric patients. St. Vincent Charity’s MLP program is the first of its kind in Ohio to focus solely on the needs of those in treatment for behavioral health and addiction diseases.

“At St. Vincent Charity, we are committed to not only treating the current symptoms that bring patients into our hospital, but working to improve their long-term overall health and quality of life,” said Dr. David Perse, president and CEO of St. Vincent Charity.  “This MLP provides an integrated approach to address the legal barriers that negatively impact a person’s health so we can improve the well-being of those in our community.”

Through a two-year $260,000 grant from the Jones Day Foundation, a full-time Legal Aid attorney will partner with St. Vincent Charity clinicians, case workers, patient navigators and other care givers to both prevent and remedy the many health-harming factors that have their roots in legal problems. In the first year alone, it is estimated that the program will assist 175 patients and their family members through 75 legal cases.

“Due to lower incomes and the stigma attached to their disease, so many of our patients face health disparities that create an ongoing cycle of emergent health care needs and hospital stays. Our patients truly suffer from this downward social drift,” said Dr. Albana Dreshaj, medical director, St. Vincent Charity Psychiatric Emergency Department.  “Many don’t know there is help available in the community or where to go to find it. The MLP places an attorney right here in the hospital to work side by side with caregivers and social workers to help our patients break down these barriers.”

To implement the program, Legal Aid conducted thorough training with hospital care givers to effectively screen and identify patients with complicating legal issues and refer them to the Legal Aid attorney, Michael Russell, for assistance. Russell will work two days a week on-site at the hospital to personally meet with patients, and the balance of time working on cases with Legal Aid colleagues to utilize all Legal Aid’s resources to help resolve issues on patients’ behalf.     

“Legal Aid is focused on being available where and when low-income and vulnerable people need help with a legal issue,” said Melanie Shakarian, Esq., spokesperson for Legal Aid.  “Being embedded at St. Vincent Charity will help patients with legal issues related to housing, unsafe family dynamics, with environmental threats, or job and food insecurity.  These people need legal counsel, but without an attorney, health outcomes will be adversely affected.”

An estimated 40 percent of the nearly 4,000 patients – nearly 72 percent of which are low income - treated at St. Vincent Charity’s geriatric and adult psychiatric units are in need of immediate legal help to remove barriers that stand in the way of improved health.  In addition, nearly 60 percent of those patients are diagnosed with co-occurring substance abuse.

The Legal Service Corporation, based in Washington D.C., documents the vast majority of low-income individuals in the United States have 2 to 3 unmet civil legal needs that create barriers to healthy eating, healthy housing, employment and safety.  Studies of other MLP’s across the country demonstrate a reduction in the frequency of hospital admissions for those with chronic diseases, improved compliance by patients related to prescribed medications, decreased patient stress and reduced costs of health care services.

As part of St. Vincent’s MLP, $40,000 of the two-year grant is designated for research conducted by Cleveland State’s Center for Behavioral Health Sciences, to measure program and patient outcomes.


About St. Vincent Charity Medical Center:

St. Vincent Charity Medical Center is Cleveland’s faith-based, high-quality health care provider. Our distinguished doctors and caregivers are devoted to treating every patient with clinical excellence and compassionate care. St. Vincent Charity Medical Center is home to the renowned Spine and Orthopedic Institute and the Center for Bariatric Surgery. Owned by the Sisters of Charity Health System, St. Vincent Charity Medical Center provides Care Beyond Medicine. For more information, visit 

Media Contact: Rebecca Gallant, Office: 216.696.8408, Cell: 216.288.0239, 

Sisters of Charity Health System statement on Graham-Cassidy Legislation on Health Care Reform

by Editor Thursday, September 21, 2017

Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Dean Heller (R-NV), and Ron Johnson (R-WI) recently introduced legislation— the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson legislation—to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The hope of these lawmakers is to hold yet another vote on repeal before October 1, so a simple majority (51 votes) is all that is needed to pass the measure. Unfortunately, the Graham-Cassidy proposal is more extreme than other recent Senate proposals, and would be particularly harmful to individuals and families impacted by chronic health conditions.

Among other issues, Graham-Cassidy will allow states to:

  • Opt out of important protections that exist to protect people with chronic conditions.
  • Waive the essential health benefits requirements, which includes preventative care and screening and mental health parity.
  • Authorize annual and lifetime coverage caps.
  • Eliminate limits on out-of-pocket expenses.

The Sisters of Charity Health System believes families and communities are stronger when everyone has access to quality, affordable health care. Like many in the health care provider community, we stand in opposition to this new “repeal and replace” legislation. Instead, we support bipartisan efforts to improve our health care system focusing on insurance market stabilization, affordability, and coverage access and expansion.

The Graham-Cassidy legislation would eliminate the ACA Medicaid expansion coverage, premium tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies after 2019 and replace them with a seven-year block grant to states. This new block grant is estimated to provide $95 billion less to states from 2020 to 2026 than under current law, after which the grants end. The loss of funding to states in 2027 alone is over $231 billion. The result will be unbearable cost shifting to patients, health providers and states, causing loss of coverage for tens of millions of individuals and families. States that have expanded Medicaid or have high Marketplace costs or enrollment will face the deepest cuts under the state block grant, as funding would no longer be tied to actual coverage costs or the number of individuals enrolled in coverage.

Among other provisions, we are opposed to the broad waiver authority given to states, which could undermine key consumer protections such as restrictions on premium variation; essential health benefit requirements; minimum medical loss ratios; caps on annual and lifetime out-of-pocket charges; and protections keeping those with pre-existing conditions from being charged higher premiums. We also are strongly opposed to this legislation’s complete restructuring and deep funding reductions—estimated to be $164 billion in cuts through 2027—to the traditional Medicaid program. Capping federal Medicaid funding, either with per capita caps or block grants, fundamentally undermines the health care safety net and our ability to serve beneficiaries. As several of our nation’s governors have stated, such proposals simply shift the cost burden onto local and state governments, individual beneficiaries and health providers. None of these could possibly make up for the huge loses in federal funding, in turn causing millions of vulnerable, low-income income individuals and families to lose coverage. Medicaid is already a lean program, with spending per beneficiary considerably lower than private insurance and growth in spending per beneficiary slower than private insurance. 

Medicaid is the foundation of our nation's safety net and provides necessary health care services to low-income children, pregnant women, individuals, seniors, disabled and medically complex individuals in our country. Medicaid provides essential support through a wide variety of services affecting a large segment of the population, including acute care, long-term care and home health, mental health, and substance abuse services, as well as neo-natal programs and maternity care. The program covers nearly 50 percent of all U.S. births and helps reduce unemployment and homelessness by stabilizing individuals’ health. Additionally, Medicaid provides states the ability to design the program to fit their state’s needs, enables innovation and also holds states financially accountable for their proportional share of the costs of the program.

While the ACA is not a perfect law, and should be improved where necessary, no attempt to do so should leave behind millions of people who have obtained meaningful, affordable insurance that was not possible before the ACA. Our health system stands ready to work with all members of Congress to improve the availability, affordability, coverage and quality of our health care system. But above all, we urge our Senators to keep in mind the many millions of vulnerable individuals and families who will be affected by such changes to our health care system.

Act Now to Protect Health Care: Tell Your Senators to Oppose the Graham-Cassidy Legislation on Healthcare Reform

Sisters of Charity Health System statement on proposed Medicaid DSH payment cuts

by Editor Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payment cuts go into effect on October 1 if no action is taken by Congress. The Sisters of Charity Health System joins the Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA) in our belief that Congress should repeal the Medicaid DSH reductions.

President Ronald Reagan and Congress created Medicaid DSH payments to sustain hospitals that serve a disproportionate number of low-income and uninsured patients. In treating those who have nowhere else to turn, these hospitals incur substantial uncompensated costs. Furthermore, these same hospitals typically operate on very narrow, or even negative, margins. Medicaid DSH payments allow them to continue serving those who need the most help. Medicaid DSH payments not only support hospitals in cities across the country—such as St. Vincent Charity Medical Center and Mercy Medical Center—these payments are also especially important to rural hospitals, which often face added financial burdens.

Through bipartisan efforts, Congress has repeatedly recognized the importance of Medicaid DSH payments, and passed legislation to delay cuts to the program:

  • The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 delayed the cuts, scheduled to begin in Fiscal Year (FY) 2014, for two years until FY 2016;
  • The Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 delayed the FY 2016 reduction; and
  • The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) delayed the scheduled FY 2017 cuts by one additional year.

Should Congress fail to delay the cuts scheduled to begin on October 1, safety net hospitals will face a financial shortfall of $2 billion in FY 2018. These cuts will grow to $8 billion by 2024. Our nation’s hospitals cannot sustain losses of this magnitude. Institutions will be forced to shutter, taking away an important safety net.

DSH funding reductions were included in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) because the law was designed to significantly reduce the number of uninsured in the United States, which in turn would reduce hospital uncompensated care costs. Following the Supreme Court decision that the Medicaid expansion must be a state option, a number of states chose not to expand their Medicaid programs resulting in markedly lower uninsured reductions than anticipated. The corresponding reductions in uncompensated care were also not realized to the degree expected.

Tell Congress to postpone Medicaid DSH payment cuts to safety net hospitals

Sisters of Charity Health System statement on administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program

by Editor Friday, September 08, 2017

The Sisters of Charity Health System joins the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) president, vice president and committee chairmen in denouncing the administration's decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and strongly urges Congress to find a legislative solution.

Approximately 800,000 youth have received protection from the DACA program since its inception by the Department of Homeland Security in 2012. This week, the President rescinded the 2012 DACA program. This decision places DACA youth at risk of deportation from the United States—the only country many have ever really known. While DACA provides no legal status, it does provide recipients with a temporary reprieve from deportation and employment authorization for legal work opportunities in the United States. As Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, Chair of the USCCB Migration Committee and Bishop of Austin, Texas noted: "DACA youth are contributors to our economy, veterans of our military, academic standouts in our universities, and leaders in our parishes." He continues, "At the heart of Catholic Social Teaching is the moral obligation to protect the life and dignity of every human being, particularly the most vulnerable, which includes our youth. These young people were brought to the United States by their parents whose desire was to provide their children with hope, opportunity, and safety that they could never hope to find in their countries of birth."

We recognize and proclaim the need to welcome young people: 'Whoever welcomes one of these children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me' (Mark 9:37). Our nation has done the opposite of how Scripture calls us to respond. It is a step back from the progress that we need to make as a country. DACA youth are woven into the fabric of our country and of our Church, and are, by every social and human measure, American youth.

The U.S. Catholic Bishops have long supported DACA youth and continue to do so including a bill recently introduced in the Senate called the S. 1615 Dream Act of 2017. It is important that Congress pass legislation that protects young people who are vital part of our community.

Send a letter to Congress and let your voice be heard.

St. Vincent Charity Offers Free Uber Transportation for Rosary Hall Addiction Patients

by Editor Monday, July 24, 2017

CLEVELAND, OHIO (JULY 24, 2017) – St. Vincent Charity Medical Center has launched a pilot program offering free Uber transportation for addiction patients participating in Rosary Hall’s Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP). The program creates greater access to those seeking treatment for addiction, including opioid and alcohol, and increases a patient’s chances for success.

“We know one thing with certainty – Rosary Hall’s intensive treatment program works. However, it only works if patients are able to make every session and receive the support necessary to continue their journey toward recovery,” said Dr. Ted Parran, associate medical director of Rosary Hall. “For so many of our addiction patients, financial challenges and a means of reliable transportation present major obstacles, which often cause a patient to relapse or drop out of their recovery program.” 

St. Vincent Charity’s new pilot provides individualized transportation utilizing a proprietary HIPAA-compliant, digital platform developed by Circulation that connects Uber with patients and care providers to bring patients to IOP Treatment at Rosary Hall.

“Because of their addiction, whether from alcohol or opioids, many of our patients have lost their driver’s license, their car and even their job. Bus transportation alone to IOP appointments can mean up to $25 per week in bus fare and countless hours in transport time,” said Orlando Howard, Rosary Hall’s manager of outpatient treatment services. “This program removes that hurdle and gets our patients quickly to where they need to be, when they need to be there and at no cost to them.”

On average, 62 percent of patients successfully complete the five-month IOP at St. Vincent’s Rosary Hall.  Lack of access to affordable, reliable, convenient transportation is the most frequent reason cited during patient assessments for those who drop out of the program.

Since launching in mid-June, 11 patients have enrolled in the program and have scheduled 156 rides to St. Vincent Charity for patient assessments and treatment sessions. Patients participating in the program have maintained a 100 percent attendance rate for all assessment and treatment appointments. In the 30 days prior to launching the transportation program, Rosary Hall logged 76% client participation in IOP and 62% client participation in individual counseling sessions.

Providing greater access to mental health and addiction services was targeted as a top priority for St. Vincent Charity in its 2017 Community Benefit Plan. Recognizing the transportation challenges of addiction patients, particularly for those in IOP, St. Vincent Charity analyzed model programs across the country to identify a low-cost, convenient and less time-consuming mode of transportation for patients.  

IOP treatment, which frequently follows a 3 to 5 day in-patient detox, requires patients to attend four weekly, three hour sessions, in addition to individual counseling sessions, during the first five weeks.  After completing the IOP, patients then participate in the non-intensive program for 1.5 hours, one day per week for 8 to 12 weeks.

Rosary Hall is currently collaborating with three area sober living houses to provide transportation to their residents as part of the pilot program, including: the Julie Adams House; Lifehouse; and Back to Basics. 

With the opioid epidemic already claiming 666 lives in the first six months of the year, St. Vincent Charity plans to quickly expand the program to additional sober living houses once the pilot is complete. Additional revenue sources are being sought to support an expanded program.

Founded in 1952, Rosary Hall has been at the forefront of treating alcoholism and drug dependency for more than 64 years. Its founder, Sister Ignatia Gavin CSA, worked hand-in-hand with Dr. Robert Smith, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, to establish St. Vincent Charity as the first religious institution to recognize the rights of alcoholics to receive hospital treatment in Cleveland. Rosary Hall’s innovative efforts are fueled by decades of proven experience in treating more than 60,000 men and women, and by the compassionate care that is the hallmark of St. Vincent Charity.


About St. Vincent Charity Medical Center:

St. Vincent Charity Medical Center is Cleveland’s faith-based, high-quality health care provider. Our distinguished doctors and caregivers are devoted to treating every patient with clinical excellence and compassionate care. St. Vincent Charity Medical Center is home to the renowned Spine and Orthopedic Institute and the Center for Bariatric Surgery. Owned by the Sisters of Charity Health System, St. Vincent Charity Medical Center provides Care Beyond Medicine. For more information, visit 


Media Contact: Rebecca Gallant, Office: 216.696.8408, Cell: 216.288.0239, 

St. Vincent Charity Medical Center mourns passing of Congressman Ralph Regula

by Editor Friday, July 21, 2017

St. Vincent Charity Medical Center extends its deepest condolences to the family and friends of Congressman Ralph Regula, who passed away July 19 at the age of 92. 

Congressman Regula represented residents of Stark County and Northeast Ohio in the U.S. House of Representatives for 36 years before retiring in 2008 as the longest continuous serving congressman in Ohio history. He was a great champion for education, health care and more, playing a key role in starting the Northeastern Ohio Medical University and Stark State College, as well as helping create what is now the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and the Ohio & Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor.

As we remember Congressman Regula, we celebrate his 36 low-profile, high-impact years of public service representing the people of his district and everyone in Ohio, as well as a life lived serving with compassion, dignity and collaboration. 

Sisters of Charity Health System Statement on the Senate's draft health care bill: the Better Care Reconciliation Act

by Editor Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Sisters of Charity Health System believes families and communities are stronger when everyone has access to quality, affordable health care. Like many in the health care provider community, we stand in opposition to the Senate’s draft health care bill, called the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA). The Senate proposal would have a devastating impact on our nation's most vulnerable populations.  According to analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the BCRA would lead to 22 million more uninsured U.S. residents by 2026. 

From the onset of this debate, Catholic hospitals and health systems have been guided by a set of key values that would protect coverage for Americans. An acceptable health care system provides access to all, regardless of their means, and at all stages of life. Such a health care system must protect conscience rights, as well as extend to immigrant families.

BCRA moves in the opposite direction, particularly for our most vulnerable patients including children, cutting $772 billion in Medicaid spending across the next decade. Cuts of this magnitude are unsustainable and will increase costs to individuals with private insurance. Medicaid covers millions of Americans with chronic conditions, along with the elderly and individuals with disabilities who need long-term services and support. 

For example, Medicaid is a vital tool in addressing the opioid addiction crisis. At St. Vincent Charity Medical Center, our center of excellence in addiction medicine – Rosary Hall – is a leading partner in the community in providing a comprehensive, evidence-based approach that has far greater success rates than disparate treatment options for addiction. Medicaid covers millions of Americans and our most vulnerable patients, including those in the crisis of addiction.

Some facts:

  • More than 220,000 Ohioans with addiction or mental health disorders now have coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Repeal would kick those people off of their insurance, potentially disrupting treatment services for hundreds of thousands of Ohioans as they are fighting for their lives.
  • Ohio spent nearly $1 billion dollars to fight the opioid epidemic last year alone, with 70 percent of this investment coming directly from Medicaid. Experts have said even a $45 billion investment won’t work. The money is useless if Ohio doesn’t have a Medicaid program to get people covered.  BCRA would end Medicaid expansion, and replace it with just $2 billion to address the opioid crisis in the entire country over 10 years.

BCRA is a giant step backwards from the goal of accessible and affordable health for all.  We can and must do better on behalf of all those who rely on our nation's health care programs and providers.  Above all, we urge our elected officials always to keep in mind the many millions of poor individuals and vulnerable families who will be affected by any changes to our health care system.  We encourage our elected officials to start over and work together with all the stakeholders for solutions to enhance availability, affordability and quality that will benefit everyone.