Catholic Hospital Mergers

Yes, I know that phrases like “the implications of hospital mergers” probably drive traffic away from the site, but I find this disturbing. Via a site called Mergerwatch, I find that a local hospital is merging with a Catholic hospital system, and one result is a restriction on the types of services the hospital can perform:

Northeast Health has agreed to abide by Catholic health restrictions upon completion of its affiliation with two Catholic systems, St. Peter’s Hospital (part of Catholic Health East) and Seton Health (part of the Catholic Ascension Health system). That change in hospital policy means an end to abortions, tubal ligations, contraceptive counseling and other services at Northeast Health’s Samaritan Hospital in Troy and Memorial Hospital in Albany. The impact would be particularly severe in Troy, where the only other hospital is St. Mary’s, part of the Seton Health with which Northeast Health is affiliating.

Ugh. While this won’t directly affect me, it’s going to be bad news for the greater Albany region if most of our hospitals can’t offer contraceptives, particularly with the cuts to Planned Parenthood. There’s a compromise of sorts, but it’s marginal:

The solution is the Burdett Care Center, a 20-bed maternity facility on the second floor of Samaritan Hospital. It is separately incorporated to insulate the center from the Catholic restrictions that now prevails in the rest of the hospital. As part of the state approval, the center had to be completed prior to the secular hospital’s merger with the two Catholic health systems. The Burdett Care Center consolidates all maternity services from both Troy hospitals and allows women delivering babies to have post-partum tubal ligations

“insulate the center from the Catholic restrictions” That makes it sound like Catholic teachings are some kind of EM field.

The regional Planned Parenthood is keeping an eye on things. I like and respect the people who run PP, but I don’t know how much they can do in this situation.

Is this happening in any other parts of the world? Does the Catholic Church have an out-sized role in hospital care everywhere, or is it just here?

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