Choosing the wrong hospital
To read Rob Stein’s front-page story, “Reproductive-care restrictions at Catholic hospitals spark conflict, scrutiny” at 8 a.m. on Jan. 20 and, then, watch the Maryland Health Care Commission in action that afternoon was to experience parallel universes.
In the first, real people, both patients and providers, are suffering real harm because of real restrictions imposed by Catholic Church directives. In the other — the world of the MHCC as it awarded Holy Cross Hospital rather than Adventist HealthCare the right to build a new hospital in northern Montgomery County — the story’s account, or any account, of suffering was a non-issue, present only tangentially save for the moment that Maryland NOW president Linda Mahoney ran a bureaucratic gantlet and attempted to describe it.
Despite the problems documented in Mr. Stein’s article and a flood of letters to the commission expressing concern with the restrictions of Catholic-affiliated hospitals, the MHCC commissioners were hardly able to muster even a question in the less than 15 minutes it took them to decide for Holy Cross. One had to conclude that something is wrong with the system by which government constructs boards when an issue of this importance goes for all practical purposes undebated.
The Maryland legislature needs to craft legislation to ensure state boards that offer genuinely divergent points of view.
The writer is a vice president of the Montgomery County NOW chapter, which is a founding member of the Montgomery County Complete Care Coalition.
Jill Brantley, Silver Spring
| January 25, 2011; 10:27 PM ET
Categories: Maryland, Montgomery County, faith, health care
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