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Report: Abington Docs Meet to Oppose Proposed Merger

According to a report on Philly.com, doctors spoke today to express their opposition to the proposed Abington-Holy Redeemer regional health system.

 

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported earlier today that hundreds of doctors affiliated with Abington Health met Wednesday morning to express opposition to the proposed Abington-Holy Redeemer Merger.

From the story:

“It was clear that the outrage and betrayal was felt unanimously throughout the hospital,” wrote the 20 residents in Abington’s OB-GYN program, in a letter they released after the meeting. “There is strong opposition to having our medical practice dictated by Catholic doctrine rather than our patients’ best interests and standard of care.”

The story cited a doctor who is in her final year of a 4-year OB-GYN residency training at Abington; she said she would not have applied to Abington Memorial Hospital had abortions been banned. 

According to the story, the hospital performs fewer than 100 abortions per year and "many involve women carrying defective fetuses ..."

See the Philly.com story here.

Abington Health and Holy Redeemer Health System on June 27 announced a letter of intent to form a new regional health system. Abington Health President and CEO Laurence Merlis and Holy Redeemer President and CEO Michael Laign made the announcement at the Abington Township building, which is across from Abington Memorial Hospital.

Merlis said he had a “great and deep respect” for Holy Redeemer’s religious traditions; he said Holy Redeemer would continue to comply with the religious directives for a Catholic health care system, and Abington, which he called a secular organization, will continue to offer women’s and reproductive health services, but will stop offering abortions.

A patient at Abington OB-GYN, who wishes to remain anonymous, said she is now considering finding a new doctor because of the proposed "restrictions on care."

"Right now they're proposing a ban on abortions and they say that nothing else we'll be affected, but the Catholic Church doesn't believe in birth control either, so I don't believe them when they say it will only affect the hospital's abortion policy," the patient said. "If I wanted the Catholic Church to tell me how to handle my health, I'd talk to them about it in church. Also, how dare they impose their religious beliefs on someone who goes to a hospital?"

Of course, the issue is polarizing. The Philly.com article said Merlis is being "deluged" with correspondence on the issue. Locally, there is a petition to stop the Abington-Holy Redeemer merger, created by Elkins Park resident Lisa Kelley.

See the petition here.

How do you feel about the issue? , and feel free to leave a comment.

Abington Memorial, Holy Redeemer and Lansdale hospitals will continue to serve their respective communities, according to Laign, and each will continue to have its own staff.

Talks were in the works for about a year. The yet-to-be-named regional health system will now enter a “due diligence period,” which will last up to three months. Then, the boards of each health system will enter into a definitive agreement. Laign said the new regional health system will likely have federal and state approvals to move forward by next spring.

Merlis will be the regional health system's CEO; Laign will be its COO.

Holy Redeemer Hospital dates back to 1924; Abington Memorial Hospital is ten years older.

AnnetteRF July 13, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Imagine how a person with Down Syndrome, or a woman conceived by rape (like my friend C.) would feel reading your comments.
Parentfirst July 14, 2012 at 01:35 PM
I agree with Annette on one thing, patients do have rights to see out whatever care they want, whether it is birth control related or quality of life. If you are on the pro-choice side then you should be able to get the care that you are looking for. If you are pro-life, then you should be able to seek out a doctor or facility who meets your needs. My argument is not about the abortion part of it, as I do not have any role in that. But a concern that I would have, a Catholic hospital merging with a secular one, that I saw play out personally. A relative had been given a terminal diagnosis with very little time left due to its progression. Rather than letting my relative live out her days in peace, they "bullied" her (I put that in quotes because it would have been one thing to make a recommendation, but it was another to keep pushing it until she gave in). They convinced her that she should still go through treatments which could, not would, but could give her slightly more time. I have always resented that hospital for making her go through that emotional anquish. Fortunately, she passed before being subjected to the horrible treatments that would have greatly reduced her quality of life in her end of days. But she was clearly tortured mentally over the suffering she would endure with the medications. The hospital had the right to do that given that it was a Catholic hospital. But I will forever hate them for it, and regret that she chose to go there.
TommyA July 16, 2012 at 08:43 AM
Everyone had a choice before when you could decide to go to Holy Redeemer or Abington. Now that choice will be taken away. Patients and the doctors who work there will now more than likely choose to go somewhere else if they so desire .... and some will. It's just a shame that if both were co-existing fine before, why did the Administrations handle this on their backhand? How well was this thought through? Too many bean counters today work on a bottom line basis and have no idea of operational ramifications when they do so.
TommyA July 16, 2012 at 08:54 AM
Agreed ... choice is being taken away ... and it's being taken away by bean counters. The merger is financially driven and not logically thought out. I see several lawsuits in the future for their merger. Especially when individuals start going back to bad doctors willing to perform unsafe abortions. Wasn't it not too long ago Philly arrested a doctor who did just this? Just like K Senegeto stated, think about it .... "If we allow abortions not to happen in hospitals and clinics as such, then what?"
TommyA July 16, 2012 at 08:58 AM
PS. Choice is being taken away between going to either of these 2hospitals ... and it's being taken away by bean counters. The merger is financially driven and not logically thought out. I see several lawsuits in the future for their merger. Especially when individuals start going back to bad doctors willing to perform unsafe abortions. Wasn't it not too long ago Philly arrested a doctor who did just this? He even did unnecessary abortions and lost a few patients along the way too ... in the name of greed. Just like K Senegeto stated, think about it .... "If we allow abortions not to happen in hospitals and clinics as such, then what?"

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