224954 Protecting access to reproductive health services in religious/secular hospital mergers

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 : 9:10 AM - 9:30 AM

Lois J. Uttley, MPP , Community Catalyst, Raising Women's Voices, New York, NY
Community access to reproductive health care is threatened when secular community hospitals propose mergers or affiliations with nearby religiously-sponsored hospitals. Unless local health advocates intervene, secular hospital officials often agree to ban abortion, sterilizations and contraception, at the request of the religious hospital. Because of the recession, the numbers of hospital mergers (including those which are religious/secular) has increased dramatically over the last two years. In this presentation, the MergerWatch Project will present case examples from Santa Fe, NM; Kingston, NY; Troy, NY; Prince George's County, MD; and other communities of how reproductive health advocates have worked with MergerWatch to protect access to services. The presenter, who has directed the MergerWatch Project since 1997, will provide highlights of a new briefing paper for reproductive health advocates on successful approaches to protecting patients' rights and access to care when religious/secular hospital mergers are proposed.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Ethics, professional and legal requirements
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Participants will be able to identify the threats to reproductive health services posed by mergers of secular community hospitals with religiously-sponsored hospitals that have policies prohibiting the delivery of abortion, sterilization or contraceptive services. Participants will be able to explain the impact of anti-choice religious health care doctrine, and educate communities about what is at stake for them in religious/secular hospital mergers. Finally, participants will be able to evaluate and assess the potential for creative solutions to protect community access to reproductive health services when religious/secular hospital mergers are proposed.

Keywords: Community Health Planning, Reproductive Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the director of the MergerWatch Project, a national initiative working since 1997 to protect access to reproductive health services when religious and secular hospitals merge.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.