November 12 Meeting
A community forum on the proposed Rensselaer County Hospital Mergers met on Thursday, November 12, 2009, at the Kalles Commons in Sage Hall at Emma Willard School, Troy NY.
Northeast Health has filed a certificate of need to create the Burdett Care Center. This is one of the early steps on the road to a desired merger with St. Peter’s and Seton Health, creating a single provider hospital system in Rensselaer County that will be bound by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (ERDs). Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood organized the forum to give the public an opportunity to learn what impact the merger could have on the availability of vital health services in Rensselaer County.
- What are the ERDs and how do they affect health care?
- What services that are currently offered in Samaritan and Albany Memorial would be banned?
- Will hospital rooms be required to display Catholic ritual symbols?
- Will victims of sexual assault be offered Emergency Contraception?
- Will primary care offices (e.g., Family Medical Group) be required to adhere to the ERDs?
- Will end of life decisions be honored and respected?
- Will providers provide full information to lesbian, gay and transgender individuals and families about related health care concerns?
- Will contraceptives be considered and prescribed for reasons other than birth control?
Jim Reed, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Northeast Health discussed the merger and responded to questions from a panel of concerned professionals, followed by questions from the audience. Patricia McGeown, President/CEO of Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood moderated. More detailed notes on these proceedings will be posted soon.
For a more extensive discussion of the above questions and concerns, click here, or follow the links above and below to "Questions That Need Answers."
Below find a summary of the Troy Hospital Merger Study Group's first meeting.
May 5 Meeting Summary
The original meeting of the group was organized and hosted by Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood on May 5, 2009 at the UHPP health center in Troy. Presentations were made by Patricia McGeown, President/CEO of Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood, Tracey Brooks, President/CEO of Family Planning Advocates of New York State, Ronnie Pawelko, Policy Analyst for Family Planning Advocates and Lois Utley, President of Merger Watch .
Information presented included details of the proposed merger as presented in hospital press releases and in private meetings requested by hospital representatives with both UHPP and FPA; pertinent information from a law suit brought by UHPP and FPA against the proposed merger in the 1990s of Leonard Hospital with St. Mary’s Hospital, and anecdotal and research-based information gathered by Merger Watch from cases of mergers involving secular hospitals and hospitals owned and managed by religious institutions across the country.
Several Merger Watch documents were made available to attendees, as well as an Op Ed, published in the Times Union, by McGeown and Brooks. (see attachments.)
After a lengthy question and answer period, members present determined the following next steps:
- Research and raise questions in the community in order to fully understand potential implications of the proposed Troy hospital merger on access to medical care, cost of care and medical decision making;
- Identify resources to help members and their friends, colleagues and allies better understand the implications of the proposed Troy hospital merger;
- Build a base of support for communication and activism;
- Create a separate new “members only” website for posting and reading of important information and resources regarding the issue;
- Post on that site a comprehensive list of questions regarding the proposed Troy hospital merger;
- Collect and post on the web site facts collected in answer to the questions raised.
- Collect and post personal stories about problems encountered or barriers experienced in gaining access to health care services at local health care institutions under religious-based management;
- Provide website links on the site to appropriate background resources;
- Plan future discussions and meetings, including meetings with the institutions who plan to merge, in order to better inform and educate the community and all interested parties about the proposed merger.