TO THE EDITOR:
In the wake of the troubling news regarding the St. Joseph Health Services of Rhode Island Pension Plan, it is crucial to acknowledge the Plan participants and their families at this time. Many labored for decades and forged careers in their varied contributions to the mission of healthcare and represent what is truly good and noble in that vocation. They deserved better.
It is natural to want to find someone to blame. But we still need to be accurate and fair.
Some distinctions to consider: St. Joseph Health Services of Rhode Island is not a diocesan entity. The Pension Plan was adopted, sponsored, operated, managed, and funded by SJHSRI, an independent corporation, and not by the Diocese of Providence. Changes over the last decade, including the formation of CharterCARE Health Partners, sharply reduced diocesan involvement in SJHSRI and the hospitals. And upon the 2014 transaction with Prospect, that involvement essentially ended. In fact, within that time, the Diocese’s only role had been a spiritual one, maintaining Catholic identity and presence at the hospital.
As the receivership process continues, rather than pointing fingers, it will be imperative to bear in mind the employees and retirees directly affected by this. Certainly, we pray for them and hope that the receiver will come to a fair arrangement for their sake.
Rev. Timothy Reilly, Chancellor, Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence