The MergerWatch Project
We believe that in medical care,
the patient's rights must come first.
Across the United States, community hospitals are merging with other hospitals or health systems to relieve financial stress. When the merger is with a religiously-sponsored health system that uses doctrine to restrict care, the consequences can be serious for patients.
In rural Sierra Vista, AZ, pregnant women having c - sections were denied tubal ligations needed to prevent future pregnancies that could threaten their health. Why? Their local hospital had just joined a Catholic health system that prohibits some reproductive health services. The same hospital refused emergency care to a woman suffering a miscarriage, forcing her to travel 80 miles away, in distress, to another hospital.
We work directly with communities to find ways of protecting patients’ rights and access to care when non-religious hospitals are proposing mergers with religious health systems. Here is how we help:
- Providing expert analysis of the potential impact of a religious/secular hospital merger on community access to reproductive health services and on patients’ ability to have their end-of-life wishes honored.
- Helping form community coalitions to speak on behalf of patients’ concerns and educate the public.
- Pressing hospital officials for changes in the terms of the proposed merger, so that patients’ rights and access to care will be protected.
- Intervening in state hospital oversight proceedings to urge changes in merger plans.
An activist talks about her experience working with MergerWatch while fighting a hospital merger in her community.