Government Affairs Expert Gives Trinity Health and Catholic Healthcare Partners a Shared Voice in D.C.

NOVI, Mich., Sept. 13, 2004 (PRIMEZONE) -- Trinity Health and Catholic Healthcare Partners (CHP) have established a joint advocacy office in Washington D.C. and hired Dede Spitznagel as their Government Affairs Advisor. Spitznagel has significant experience in public policy and in legislative and regulatory advocacy.

"Both Catholic systems had an interest in developing productive relationships with members of Congress and their staffs, the Administration, and key executive branch agencies," according to Matt Williams, CHP's Vice President for Advocacy and Government Relations. "Working together, Catholic Healthcare Partners and Trinity Health are creating an active presence with policy makers to influence federal health policy."

Added Tim Eckels, Trinity Health Vice President of Public Policy, "As Catholic systems, we share a common interest in legislative change that leads to better health care and improved lives for the people we serve."

Spitznagel will work closely with the systems' advocacy and public policy offices to pursue opportunities to influence legislation and regulatory policies on such issues as: ensuring access for the uninsured, enhancing Medicare and Medicaid, recruiting and retaining health care professionals, clinical quality, and patient safety, among others.

"We are lucky to have Dede join us in this dual position," said Matt Williams, CHP's Vice President for Advocacy and Government Relations. "She has a wealth of knowledge on health care issues and a breadth of experience with the legislative process in Washington."

Spitznagel has 18 years of health policy and legislative experience in Washington D.C. Most recently she served as Executive Vice President of the Healthcare Leadership Council (HLC), a coalition of chief executives of the nation's leading health care companies and organizations. She helped lead HLC's policy and legislative agenda, which included improving access to health care for the uninsured, preserving Medicare and expanding it to include prescription drugs, supporting adequate payments for the nation's Medicare providers, and increasing the safety of the nation's health care system.

Prior to HLC, Spitznagel held senior health care policy and legislative positions over a period of 13 years with the Senate Committee on Finance, the House Committee on the Budget, the Health Care Financing Administration, and the White House Office of Management and Budget. In her most recent public service position at the Senate Committee on Finance, she helped develop the Medicare provisions of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 as well as the Committee's work plan for comprehensive reform of the Medicare program.

Spitznagel will collaborate with an established team of advocacy professionals at Trinity Health and CHP whose shared mission is to influence public policy to improve the health of the communities they serve. In 2003, both Trinity Health and CHP created new, executive-level positions to lead and coordinate their system-wide government relations activities.

"Dede will also help us work with like-minded organizations in Washington and participate in the efforts of our two national associations, the Catholic Health Association and the American Hospital Association," Eckels added.

Combined, CHP and Trinity Health represent 77 hospitals in 10 states (Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Idaho, Iowa, California, Maryland, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee) with patient revenues of over $8.2 billion. Together they employ more than 76,000 full-time people and provide over $670 million annually in community service benefits.

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