For-Profit Hospital with Religious Ties Planned In Connecticut 
Friday, June 22, 2012 at 01:59PM
Sheila Reynertson in ambulatory surgery center, contraception, for-profit, joint venture, tubal ligation, vasectomies

Officials of Waterbury, CT, couldn’t believe their luck last summer when for-profit LHP Hospital Group came to town with a promise to partner with the town’s two struggling hospitals and replace both with a new medical center. LHP would own 80% of the joint venture, while non-sectarian Waterbury Hospital and Catholic-affiliated St. Mary’s Hospital would each own a 10% share. However, an agreement with St. Mary’s that the new $400 million hospital operate under the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Service would mean a ban on key reproductive services like tubal ligations, vasectomies and contraceptive counseling and services, putting local access to these health services in jeopardy.

MergerWatch Advocacy Coordinator Sheila Reynertson has been consulting with Connecticut women’s health advocates and Connecticut Permanent Commission on the Status of Women for months about possible ways to preserve access to reproductive health services in Waterbury. Last week, she testified at a public forum informing Connecticut state officials that in order to fully support this hospital transaction, they must protect Waterbury patients’ access to timely, affordable reproductive health services. One solution being proposed is an ambulatory surgery center that would provide sterilization and contraceptive counseling and services. However, this type of facility cannot accommodate women in need of a tubal ligation at the time of childbirth, and hospital officials have been suggested that they could arrange to transport a woman to a hospital in other community for that service. “No woman should have to be shuttled out of her community to receive the care she needs. Especially not in a community like Waterbury, where there is to be a brand-new state of the art medical center supported by city and state funds,” she stated.

Working with local women’s health advocates and community activists, MergerWatch continues to meet with state officials and the leadership of Waterbury Hospital to advocate for a more workable creative solution.

Update on Monday, June 25, 2012 at 09:17AM by Registered CommenterMW Editor

More press explores the various creative solutions that have been considered by drawing on MergerWatch's expertise.

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