Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - April 26, 2018 


President Trump’s lawyer due in court today. Also on our rundown: HUD Secretary Ben Carson proposes raising the rent on low-income families; plus we will look at efforts to address addiction in Ohio: what’s working, and what’s not.

Daily Newscasts

Hospital Merger Could Be Bad Medicine for Michigan

PHOTO: Would you receive the same care at a Catholic hospital as at an independent one? It's a question advocates for patients' rights want to make sure Michiganders think about, as a potential merger between Crittenton Hospital and Ascension Health is in the works. Photo credit: Click/Morguefile.
PHOTO: Would you receive the same care at a Catholic hospital as at an independent one? It's a question advocates for patients' rights want to make sure Michiganders think about, as a potential merger between Crittenton Hospital and Ascension Health is in the works. Photo credit: Click/Morguefile.
June 23, 2015

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. – As another Michigan hospital plans to merge with a Catholic healthcare provider, health advocates are hoping to raise awareness about the repercussions the deals can have on the health and well-being of the entire community.

Oakland County's Crittenton Hospital is one of the last independent hospitals in Southeast Michigan, but a proposed merger with St. Louis-based Ascension Health would change that. Merissa Kovach, field organizer with the ACLU of Michigan, says many hospital services would no longer be available once the hospital became obliged to follow Catholic health directives.

"Abortions and contraception, tubal ligations and vasectomies, end-of-life care, sometimes emergency contraception for rape victims, and treatment for reproductive health emergencies," says Kovach.

Under the longstanding policy of the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops, when Catholic and secular health organizations merge or affiliate, the non-Catholic entity must agree to "respect church teaching and discipline."

Crittenton, which is the largest employer in Rochester Hills, had suffered operating losses for several years, but according to financial reports had stabilized by early 2014.

Lois Uttley, director of the national MergerWatch Project, says it's in the area of women's health that Catholic doctrines and medical practice are most frequently in conflict. She says a common example is when emergency terminations of pregnancies are indicated to save the mother.

"We often see this, in which a woman who is not promptly and appropriately treated acquires an infection," she says. "It can endanger her future fertility. So here she is losing a pregnancy, and she's worried about not getting the treatment she needs."

Uttley says while hospital officials often present a merger like the one between Crittenton and Ascension Health as the only way to stay afloat, community members have successfully spoken out against similar deals in dozens of cases around the country, in which they argued hospital boards are ultimately accountable to the public.

"It's not very American to require the rules of one religion to apply to everybody else," she says. "It's actually pretty un-American to do that. It violates the religious freedom and freedom of conscience of non-Catholics."

Uttley adds that there have been cases of compromise in which mergers resulted in a "hospital within a hospital," which preserves access to some services.

The ACLU of Michigan is hosting a community education event about the proposed merger Wednesday at the Auburn Hills Public Library at 6:30 p.m.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - MI