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Catholic Healthcare West Launches Ad Campaign For Healthcare Reform

State's Largest Not-for-Profit Hospital System Urges California Lawmakers to Address Healthcare Crisis

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- 06/28/07 -- Catholic Healthcare West, California's largest not-for-profit hospital provider, today launched a series of advertisements advocating healthcare reform in California and urging lawmakers to pass healthcare legislation this year that will improve the lives of millions of people.

"We view access to healthcare as a fundamental human right," said Lloyd Dean, president/chief executive officer of the San Francisco-based hospital system. "At the state level, we are beginning to see real momentum toward an improvement, and we want to do our part to help make universal access a reality for Californians."

CHW will run a series of print advertisements through mid-September in select national and California publications. The full-page ads, created by Grant, Scott & Hurley will appear in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Sacramento Bee and the San Francisco Chronicle. Additionally, the ads will run in Newsweek, Time and US News & World Report magazines. An example of the first ad can be viewed at www.chwHEALTH.org.

"This is a rare time and a rare opportunity for change," Dean said. "Healthcare has taken center stage at the Capitol. Now all of us must work together and support our state leaders as they work to translate political momentum into results that positively impact people's health and well being."

CHW has long been an advocate for ensuring that healthcare is available to all who need it. In 1992, the Board of Directors took an official position in support of universal access. And in 2003, the organization established its principles for reform.

"We believe that any lasting solution to the crisis in healthcare must be guided by four basic principles: universal access, stable financing, improved quality and improved accountability," said Dean. "If we don't address the flaws in the healthcare system immediately, the consequences will intensify as the need for healthcare services keeps growing," he continued. "I know we can do better as a society."

CHW is a co-founder of Together for Health Care, a diverse coalition of California employers, healthcare providers, health plans, unions and consumer groups, which formed in February to support comprehensive healthcare reform this year.

Together for Health Care also is running ads advocating legislative reform, but Dean said Catholic Healthcare West wants to speak out as well to reinforce the 42-hospital system's commitment to providing compassionate, high-quality affordable healthcare service with special attention to the poor and underserved.

Last year, the cost of health premiums for the 30 million Californians covered by insurance rose at more than twice the rate of inflation. And an estimated 6.5 million state residents, roughly equivalent to the entire population of the San Francisco Bay Area, have no healthcare coverage at all. Meanwhile, in the past five years, more than 10 hospitals in Los Angeles County alone have closed their emergency rooms.

Dean said that public policy must change to fix a health financing system that compels the uninsured to delay cost-effective preventive care and instead seek emergency care when untreated illnesses become life-threatening conditions. The costs of that overburdened emergency care are hidden in the higher insurance premiums that consumers and businesses must bear.

Americans' anxiety about their healthcare is reflected in CHW's recently released Health Security Index, a national survey which found that high costs, fear of losing insurance coverage and concern about managing chronic disease are driving insecurity about health and healthcare. More than one-third (34 percent) of U.S. adults surveyed for the Index indicate they are "not secure" about their healthcare.

About Catholic Healthcare West

Catholic Healthcare West (CHW) is the eighth largest hospital system in the nation and the largest not-for-profit hospital provider in California. Founded in 1986, the CHW network of more than 8,500 physicians and approximately 50,000 employees serves a population spanning 22 million people at 42 hospitals across California, Arizona, and Nevada. CHW is committed to delivering compassionate, high-quality, affordable healthcare services with special attention to the poor and underserved. In 2006, CHW provided $806 million in charity care, community benefits, and unreimbursed patient care. For more information, please visit our website at www.chwHEALTH.org.

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Tricia Griffin
(415) 438-5524

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