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Pope's focus on the poor: Ascension CEO answers the call

Pope Francis meets with Gerard Gubatan of Brooklyn during his arrival at John F. Kennedy International Airport September 24, 2015 in New York City.
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Pope Francis' unwavering message to the U.S. this week was how to best provide more care to "all those people around us who are trapped in a cycle of poverty."

Answering the pontiff's call, was the ceo of Ascension, the largest non-profit U.S. health system and the world's largest Catholic health system.

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Dr. Anthony Tersigni, president and ceo of Ascension, told CNBC's "Power Lunch" Friday that Pope Francis' visit will motivate more health care providers into further action to help impoverished members of society.

"The Pope's visit serves as a reminder to keep in mind those around us trapped in a cycle of poverty. They too need to be given hope. As the world's largest Catholic healthcare system we are dedicated to serving those most in need. This is our mission, and it really is at the heart of all we do."

Specifically, Tersigni points out the need to provide preventative, primary and end-of-life care that is both compassionate and personalized.

"The Pope's determination to help impoverished members of society is dramatically changing how we think about healthcare, said Tersigni."

Last year, Ascension alone contributed nearly two billion dollars in charity care and programs to benefit communities in the United State. That is a more than seven percent increase from the prior year and approximately ten percent of patient revenue. Ascension Health includes 131 hospitals plus 1,900 outpatient centers, and senior, home health and long-term care facilities.

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"We hope to continue to grow that care," said Tersigni. "That's our mission, It always has been, and it's inspiring to have it reaffirmed by Pope Francis."

But Tersigni is mindful of the hard work ahead.

"Health care in America remains a complicated, fragmented and inefficient system, more focused on the bottom line than coverage, care or wellness. We're hoping to help redesign the system to better meet the needs of all walks of society."

Tersigni chairs the International Association of Catholic Hospitals and plans to meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican next month.