For Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), returning sick people to good health is more than a business -- it's a mission. Formed in 1996 through the merger of three Catholic hospital systems, the giant not-for-profit organization is one of the largest Catholic hospital operators in the US. It operates more than 70 hospitals and 40 long-term care, assisted-living, and senior residential facilities in 20 states from Washington to Maryland. Its hospitals range from large urban medical centers (many with strong educational and research programs) to small critical-access hospitals in rural areas. All told, the health system has more than 14,000 acute-care beds. It is sponsored by a dozen different congregations of nuns.