New York State Hospital Review and Planning Council
BURDETT CARE CENTER (RENSSELAER COUNTY) #091172-B
REMARKS by Patricia A. McGeown
November 19, 2009
My name is Patricia McGeown, I am the President and CEO of Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood, which is headquartered here in Albany and operates health centers in Albany, Troy and Hudson. I am here to speak about the proposed establishment of a 15 bed hospital specializing in maternity and some reproductive health care services.
Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood has met several times with representatives of Northeast Health regarding the creation of the Burdett Care Center and the merger of Northeast Health with St. Peter’s Hospital and St. Mary’s- Seton Health Care. At each meeting, we have expressed serious concerns about the proposals. Just one week ago, we convened a public meeting in Troy at which numerous concerns were raised about the impact of these proposals on the people of Rensselaer County, most especially low income women and young women.
Based upon the issues raised at the meetings and our review of the Burdett Care Center application, I offer the following comments:
- With the creation of Burdett Care Center, hospital based abortions will no longer be available in Rensselaer County. Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood provides first trimester abortions at its Troy health center. We provide approximately 1000 abortions in Troy. While first trimester abortions are usually very simple procedures, there are circumstances when a hospital is the more appropriate setting. That will not be an option in Rensselaer County. Women wanting/needing a hospital based procedure will have to travel to Albany to receive it. In general, that is not a big trip, but it could pose a serious obstacle for low income women and young women.
- We have concern about the costs and financial viability of a 15 bed hospital. In this day, when health care dollars are very scarce and are being cut, is the use of $6 million dollars for this service the most appropriate and efficient use of a scarce resource?
- While we recognize the value of consolidating two underutilized maternity units into one, we question whether a 15 bed hospital can attain and maintain financial viability? What will happen if it fails? Will services that it does provide be preserved? If so, how? Are we simply postponing the day when the women’s services will be absorbed by the merged entity, which will follow the Catholic Ethical and Religious Directives, resulting in more significant curtailment of reproductive services?
- Finally, we have concerns about the ease of use of Burdett Care Center; the ability of those working in the merged facility, working under the Ethical and Religious Directives, to refer to Burdett; the visibility and marketing of the Burdett Care Center; and the ability of both facilities to share common support services, such as heating and air conditioning. For example, the Women’s Health Center at Brackenridge Hospital in Austin, Texas, provides reproductive health services prohibited elsewhere in the hospital, because it is managed by a Catholic health system. The Women’s Health Center must use a separate entrance and elevator and employees of the hospital are not even allowed to refer to the Women’s Health Center. So, for example, if a person seeking the services of the Women’s Health Center entered the hospital by mistake and asked for directions at the main reception desk, she would not be given them. This has both cost and access implications.
In conclusion, for most women for most of their lives, the issues around reproductive health are their main health issues. We have serious concerns about the availability, access and costs associated with the proposed Burdett Care Center.
Thank you for providing us with the opportunity to express our concerns.
To read the press release provided jointly by Northeast Health, St. Peter's Health Care Services and Seton Healthon February 25 regarding the merger on their website, click here.