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

  • Jackson T. Stephens Jr. says judicial recall is on his agenda

    Steve Stephens says he's thinking of putting his inherited wealth to work to allow judicial recall under Arkansas law. That's how mad he is about losing his case to take the minimum wage increase off the ballot.
    • Oct 31, 2014
  • State Election board admonishes Jefferson County clerk

    Jefferson County Clerk Patricia Royal Johnson has accepted a letter of warning from the state Board of Election Commissioners to settle a complaint that she violated numerous election laws during the 2014 primary/judicial elections.
    • Oct 31, 2014
  • More »

Most Shared

  • Mental health system in crisis in Arkansas

    The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) has been sounding the alarm of a nationwide crisis in mental health services since 2011. On the other side of the Atlantic, the National Health Service in the United Kingdom is struggling to provide adequate mental health services. For us mental health professionals in Arkansas, these jeremiads ring a familiar bell.
  • Stacy Hurst gets a wrong number — retired judge — with fake poll

    The fake polling operation by Republican Stacy Hurst's campaign for state House barked up the wrong tree today. Retired Justice Jack Holt said he was voting for Clarke Tucker no matter what information they were putting out.
  • The demagogues must be crazy

    As Election Day in Arkansas gets closer, the demagoguery is going into high gear. A few lowlights from those seeking votes by playing to the worst in us.
  • Election decisions

    The Democratic Party candidates for top offices in Arkansas are centrists, with records of bipartisanship in public life. In each race, Republican opponents are from the extreme right end of the spectrum.
  • Leslie Rutledge is not fit to be attorney general

    Seven reasons why.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

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