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Catholic Health East Honors Two Board Members with 2010 Excellence in Governance Award

Newtown Square, Pa., Friday, October 29, 2010 – At its recent board of directors meeting, Catholic Health East (CHE) announced the award winners for one of its most esteemed honors: the Excellence in Governance Award.

Each year, the Excellence in Governance Award honors an individual who serves on the board of a CHE regional health corporation or joint operating agreement. The recipient must distinguish himself/herself as a visionary leader, collaborator and strategic thinker. As part of this award, a $10,000 grant is presented to a program of the recipient’s choosing. For the first time in the history of this award, two winners were chosen: Sister Christine McCann, R.S.M., Mercy Health System of Southeastern Pennsylvania and Nelson Toner, Mercy Health System of Maine.

Sister Christine McCann, R.S.M., is president of the Mid-Atlantic Community of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas. A member of the CHE Board of Directors for the past nine years, she also serves as chairperson of the Board of Trustees of Mercy Health System (MHS) of Southeastern Pennsylvania (with whom she has served as a member for 18 years) and is the former CHE Sponsors Council coordinator. Sister Christine has broad experience in education ministries both as an administrator and as a board member. She recently concluded her tenure on the Gwynedd Mercy College Board of Trustees in Gwynedd Valley, Pa.

“I applaud CHE for its recognition of Sister Christine for the Excellence in Governance Award,” states H. Ray Welch, Jr., Mercy’s president and CEO who also serves as EVP, ministry operations for CHE. “She inspires leaders to commit to the mission of Mercy as a primary focus of governance, assuring that all persons we serve receive the highest quality and compassionate care.”

“I am honored to receive this award and stand in the company of so many governance leaders in CHE,” stated Sister Christine. “Mercy Health System’s mission ‘to be a leading provider of compassionate care and community access to quality health services that improve the health of individuals and communities’ motivates our local board to think strategically and to be creative and courageous in the decisions that we make, focusing always on the communities served. I have selected the Community Outreach Program of Mercy Suburban Hospital to be the recipient of the $10,000 award.

Mercy Suburban Hospital sits on the edge of Norristown, Pa., a community with significant needs, particularly, basic health care services for women and children and a growing immigrant population. The Community Outreach Program provides a variety of clinic, family and social services to meet these needs. In addition, these services reflect the critical issues that the Sisters of Mercy take as our particular focus.”

Nelson Toner, chair of the Mercy Health System of Maine’s Board of Trustees, has worked in service to Mercy for 20 years in various capacities. He also serves as chair of the compliance committee and is the past chair of the strategic planning and governance committees.

Under Toner’s leadership, during the period 2003-2008, Mercy completed the program planning and construction of Phase I ($85M) of its replacement hospital project, expanded its primary care network and added and grew a number of clinical programs and outpatient services.

Toner, an attorney with the Portland, Maine law firm of Bernstein Shur chose the H.O.M.E. Team, a program designed to help Portland’s homeless as the recipient for his $10,000 grant because of its direct impact on the city and on those helped by the team members. “I chose to make a gift to the H.O.M.E. team because I believe in its mission to connect the in-town homeless population with services and shelter”, said Mr. Toner. “Portland has a growing need to take care of the homeless population. The H.O.M.E. team provides a valuable resource.”

“I know of no more deserving individual than Nelson Toner to receive this governance recognition,” said Eileen Skinner, CEO of Mercy Hospital. “During his time on our board, Nelson has made significant contributions to advancing Mercy’s mission in Maine. We are pleased that this has been recognized at the Catholic Health East Board level.”

Catholic Health East (CHE) is a multi-institutional Catholic health system, co-sponsored by nine religious congregations and Hope Ministries, a Public Juridic Person within Catholic Health East. Based in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, the System provides the means to ensure the continuation of the Catholic identity and operational strength of the sponsors’ health ministries, which are located in 11 eastern states from Maine to Florida. The CHE system includes 34 acute care hospitals, four long-term acute care hospitals, 25 freestanding and hospital-based long-term care facilities, 14 assisted-living facilities, four continuing care retirement communities, eight behavioral health and rehabilitation facilities, 37 home health/hospice agencies, and numerous ambulatory and community-based health agencies. Catholic Health East facilities employ more than 54,000 full-time employees as partners in ministry. More information about CHE is available at