242419 Promoting innovative local solutions for protecting reproductive health services threatened by religious/secular hospital mergers

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 4:30 PM

Lois J. Uttley, MPP , Community Catalyst, Raising Women's Voices, New York, NY
Sheila Reynertson, MHA , MergerWatch Project, Community Catalyst, New York, NY
Because of economic conditions, hospital mergers and acquisitions in the U.S. have increased dramatically in recent years. When a merger is proposed between a secular community hospital and a religiously-affiliated hospital or health system, continued provision of comprehensive reproductive health care can be threatened at the secular facility. This presentation will describe how advocates have preserved access to reproductive health services when secular hospitals merge with religious hospitals that prohibit those services. In the absence of strong federal or state laws protecting community access to comprehensive reproductive health care, advocates have devised innovative approaches to achieve their goals. As a result, some secular hospitals have maintained provision of most reproductive health services by utilizing looser forms of business partnerships with religious hospitals, such as joint ventures and affiliations. In other places, separately-incorporated “hospitals-within-hospitals” and ambulatory surgery centers have been created to take over provision of threatened reproductive health services.

Drawing on 14 years experience directly assisting local advocates, staff of the MergerWatch Project will present case examples of successful solutions and best practices for achieving positive outcomes. Topics to be covered will include: public education campaigns to rally support for protecting local access to reproductive health care; the role of physicians in urging continued patient access to care; strategies for working with secular hospital officials to achieve innovative solutions; the role of state hospital oversight officials in supporting such solutions; pros and cons of the various types of innovative approaches; and the conditions necessary for achieving a positive outcome.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Ethics, professional and legal requirements
Provision of health care to the public

Learning Objectives:
By the end of the session, the participants will be able to: 1. Identify the threats to provision of reproductive health services posed by mergers of secular community hospitals with religious hospitals that prohibit those services; 2. Describe, compare and contrast innovative approaches that can be used to preserve community access to reproductive health services when secular hospitals merger with religiously-sponsored hospitals that prohibit those services. 3. Describe effective strategies and best practices that reproductive health advocates can use to urge hospital officials to adopt innovative approaches to protecting access to reproductive services threatened by religious/secular hospital mergers.

Keywords: Community Health Planning, Reproductive Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have more than 14 years professional experience working on the topic of my proposed presentation. I received the Felicia Stewart Advocacy Award from the Population Section in 2008 in recognition of my work in this area.
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.