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Catholic Health Association meets in closed-door session to discuss Affordable Care Act

 | 
Nashville, Tenn.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with a statement from Sr. Carol Keehan.

The largest group of nonprofit health care providers in the nation met Tuesday to discuss the future under the Affordable Care Act.

The Catholic Health Association of the United States comprises more than 600 hospitals and 1,400 long-term care and other health facilities across the country. Officials gathered here to get an update on what mandates -- and accommodations -- they will have as the federal Department of Health and Human Services prepares the next set of regulations the group will have to operate under.

The invitation-only meeting preceded the Leadership Conference of Women Religious' annual assembly, a four-day gathering of the largest leadership organization for U.S. women religious. Many Catholic health care providers are owned by religious communities.

CHA conference attendees were to hear from CHA Public Policy Senior Director Kathy Curran on what the law means for organizations with a Catholic identity. Many Catholic institutions have argued that the law's requirement that insurance cover contraceptives violates their rights as a religious organization.

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CHA Chief of Staff Jeff Tieman was to address the group on what is happening in Washington and what might be happening next.

Daughter of Charity Sr. Carol Keehan, CHA's president and CEO, said the gathering was an opportunity to discuss challenges and opportunities with sponsors of Catholic health ministries.

"We covered a range of topics including the Affordable Care Act, with an emphasis on results of the first open enrollment period and how to prepare for the next one. We also discussed community benefit and legal issues affecting Catholic health care providers," Keehan said in a statement released later. "The dialogue was productive and insightful -- both for CHA and those in attendance. We always appreciate the time we can spend with this group of important and influential leaders."

According to the CHA's website, the health care providers of CHA have more than $107 billion in expenses a year.

[Dan Stockman is national correspondent for Global Sisters Report. His email address is dstockman@ncronline.org. Follow him on Twitter: @DanStockman.]

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