Sister focused on proper health care
by Emma Bowen Meyer for The Herald Bulletin
Sister Kathleen Reilly has the health of the less fortunate on her mind daily. As the vice president of Mission (at Saint John’s Health System, Anderson, Indiana), she is singularly focused on ensuring that proper health care is available to everyone in the community, regardless of their monetary status.
“The essence of my job is to keep everyone focused on the mission of the hospital that was established by the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross in 1894,” said Reilly. “What makes us different is our emphasis on care for the poor.”
Since she has served in governance, senior management and mission fiduciary responsibilities in many area of the country, she is able to say with authority that some hospitals are resistant to staying mission-focused. She is pleased to say that Saint John’s is not.
“I like seeing that Saint John’s stays faithful to the core values they were founded on,” she added. “I see it all the time in the way the patients are treated and in the way the associates reach out into the community. It gives me great joy that this is a mission-focused organization.”
Originally moving to the area in 1982 from Washington, D.C., Reilly enjoyed this community. She moved west in 1988, but when afforded the opportunity to return in 2001, she was delighted.
“People in Anderson are different than anywhere else,” she said. “People have lived here for generations. I went to a game at the Wigwam and a man next to me told of how his son and his friend’s son were playing basketball together. He and his friend had played together, and their fathers, back to five generations.”
Reilly was instrumental in bringing Saint John’s Health Access Program to the city, linking patients to low-cost or no-cost medication and aiding individuals with enrolling in healthcare programs. She was also influential in establishing the HealthSearch group, which has morphed into the current Madison Health Partners.
Reilly worked diligently in launching the Madison County Covering Kids and Families Coalition alongside the United Way of Madison County as well as leading efforts to initiate the Pathways Community Hub care coordination initiative.
“Sister Kathleen Reilly’s wisdom, discernment and servant leadership in numerous capacities and roles have benefitted our organization and those we serve immeasurably throughout her decades of service with us,” said Tom VanOsdol, president of Saint John’s Hospital.
“We are truly grateful for all she has accomplished, and for the meaningful difference she continues to make at Saint John’s and in partnership with others throughout our community each and every day.”
This article is excerpted from a special supplement of The Herald Bulletin for the 2011 Athena and Community Shining Star Awards. It is used with permission. November 2011