Find out more →

Get unlimited access. Become a digital member!

Monday, October 22, 2012

What will the pope say? Hospitals and Catholic leadership

Posted by on Mon, Oct 22, 2012 at 8:31 AM

CHURCH AND HEALTH: Catholic authorities express interest in services at blended hospitals in Hot Springs. What about Little Rock, where St. Vincent (pictured) hopes to combine with UAMS?
  • CHURCH AND HEALTH: Catholic authorities express interest in services at blended hospitals in Hot Springs. What about Little Rock, where St. Vincent (pictured) hopes to combine with UAMS?

The story is about the combination of two hospitals in Hot Springs. One of them, Mercy Health, is a Catholic hospital.

Some critics — including Little Rock Bishop Anthony Taylor — call Mercy’s decision to sell its 309-bed hospital in Hot Springs an abandonment of the ministry by the nation’s sixth largest Catholic health system.

Taylor, who leads all of Arkansas’ 137,000 Catholics, will make his case in Rome to Vatican officials against the sale on Tuesday. Mercy’s chief executive, Lynn Britton, has lobbied the Vatican in favor of the sale.

Taylor worries that the hospital buyer’s promise not to provide abortion or sterilization procedures for five years after the sale will be tossed aside in year six, and that the sale will derail the hospital’s commitment to his diocese’s poor.

“Mercy wants to move out of less lucrative markets and into more lucrative markets like the suburbs of St. Louis,” Taylor said in an interview. “The mission of Catholic healthcare is that we ought to seek to be in those less lucrative markets. In a nutshell, that’s the problem with Mercy Health. It has become a business that’s leaving the poor behind.”

The story is interesting in its own right for what the future of health care might be in Hot Springs.

But it is also relevant to those considering the effort by a Catholic hospital in Little Rock, St. Vincent, to join forces with UAMS, a public hospital. Will the Catholic Church really allow a shared partnership and public investment from an institution that has a much broader view of both health care and employee rights than the Pope? Will Bishop Taylor argue for the UAMS/St. Vincent combination if shared employees have union rights, protection from discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation, birth control coverage in their health care, access to morning-after pills in case of rape or other unplanned intercourse, tubal ligations, vasectomies, stem cell research, in vitro fertilization programs?

Tags: , ,

Speaking of...

Comments (6)

Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Connecting the dots

    There's ample reason for ethics, judicial and perhaps even prosecutorial review of the curious creation of a group of political action committees solely funded by contributions from Fort Smith nursing home magnate Michael Morton.
    • Apr 10, 2014
  • The real story about the judicial system in Arkansas

    The big story isn't campaign finance funny business except to the extent that it reflects a much larger story about justice in Arkansas. Gilbert Baker and co. have worked for year in the employ of forces who want to make it harder to sue for damages in Arkansas courts: the so-called "tort reform" campaign of big business.
    • Apr 4, 2014
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

April

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30  

Blogroll

Slideshows

  • As part of Ball State University's BSU at the Games, Arkansas Times photo intern Matt Amaro covered the culture of Sochi during the Winter Olympics.
 

© 2014 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation