On July 10, 1972, the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth (SCLs) Community Council adopted a resolution to establish a corporation for the direction and management of hospitals in the healthcare apostolate. The resolution supported a model, which included a healthcare corporation, separate incorporation for each hospital, and a system of management coordination. On Dec. 19, 1972, the Articles of Incorporation of the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health Services Corporation (SCL/HSC) were filed in the state of Kansas.
With the creation of the new corporation, the elected officers of the SCL religious community were the corporate members and board of directors of the Health Services Corporation and corporate members of each hospital. The day-to-day leadership of the hospital corporation was delegated to the newly created Health Services Corporation. The hospitals were encouraged to develop their own governing boards of directors, but 51 percent of each board was required to be Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth.
Through discussions with the hospital administrators, the need to change was identified as critical for a sense of direction, to enhance services offered, and to maintain continuity and stability. The declining number of SCLs was also an expressed concern. But the commitment to the health ministry remained as did the recognition of the increasing importance of lay partners in carrying out this ministry.
Changes in Governance Structure
With the increasing complexities of healthcare delivery, there was a growing recognition of the need for a Board structure change at the Health Services Corporation and for an intense examination of system direction. An extensive study was undertaken by SCL/HSC, including review of canon and civil law. Changes were made in the articles of incorporation and bylaws to facilitate a shared governance of the health system by laypersons, including representatives of other healthcare systems, along with members of the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth. Just as the creation of SCL/HSC had involved a shift in delegation of authority, this was yet another major development in the history of the religious community and its health apostolate.
The first combined lay and religious Health Services Corporation Board was appointed in September 1994. The SCL Community Council remains the corporate member with specific reserved powers, but the governance role of the corporation rests with shared leadership.
In May 2000, the Corporation changed its name to the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System to more accurately reflect the way in which we are working together to strengthen our healthcare ministry.
In 2011, the sisters transferred sponsorship of SCL Health System to Leaven Ministries, a new entity (public juridic person) recognized by the Catholic Church. As they are available, SCLs remain involved on Boards of Directors and on staffs of the hospitals, clinics and system services.
Our organization’s rich heritage and enduring legacy serve as the foundation for our health ministry today, and our mission, vision and values serve as the framework for our success.