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8th Annual Retirement Conference
Dominicans Directors Consider HIPAA regulations,
Transition Concerns

Springfield, Ill. – Representatives of 13 Dominican congregations discussed the impact of laws regulating health information and privacy procedures in community nursing facilities during the 8th annual Visioning Dominican Retirement conference, held at Sacred Heart Convent, The meeting took pplace at he motherhouse of the Dominican Sisters of Springfield, Ill., Sept. 16-18, 2006.

Mary Hopkins, OP (Sinsinawa) led a discussion about the responsibility of religious congregations to safeguard retired members’ health privacy in compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, which became federal law in 2003. “It is essential that our congregations institute procedures to keep sisters’ health information private,” said Sister Regina Marie Bernet, OP, (Springfield).

The annual gatherings are an opportunity for those in ministry with retired community members to share their wisdom and learn new strategies for improving the quality of life for their senior sisters.

One highlight of the meeting was a demonstration by the Springfield Dominican Sisters of the exercise program called “Body Recall.” This series of stretching and range-of-motion exercises is performed sitting down and has contributed to significant improvement in the health and stamina of those who participate. Sister Margaret Rose Aultz, OP (Springfield),who leads the exercises for a group of about 30 sisters at the Springfield motherhouse twice a week, uses a recording of familiar religious hymns that sets a rhythmic tempo for the exercises and contributes to a prayerful experience.

Other discussions centered around determining the right time for sisters to stop driving, easing the transition from active ministry to retirement, and addressing the concerns of senior community members of congregations involved in reconfiguration processes.

The 2007 Visioning Dominican Retirement conference is already scheduled for September 15-17 at the motherhouse of the Mission San Jose Dominicans in Freemont, Calif.


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Since the time of St Dominic, more than 800 years ago, Dominicans have been living and sharing
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