Community Groups Set Deadline for St. Vincent Response

Affiliate: ACLU of New Mexico
February 29, 2008 12:00 am

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Coalition Wants the Hospital to Make a Commitment to the Community that They Will Share Details of Partnership Agreement with the Public

In a letter sent to the St. Vincent Hospital Board of Directors on Wednesday, a coalition of community groups called on board members to tell the public by March 4th whether the hospital will share details of its proposed partnership agreement with Catholic-run CHRISTUS Health and how that partnership would affect the provision of family planning, reproductive health services, and end-of-life care at the hospital.

“We have recommended specific contractual language, have requested an opportunity to review the relevant documents, and have asked when the Board will be asked to approve the final agreement and have gotten no answers from St. Vincent. The community has a right to know what healthcare will be available after this Partnership is finalized.” Jane Wishner, Executive Director of the Southwest Women’s Law Center, who signed the letter with the ACLU of New Mexico, submitted to the St. Vincent Board on Wednesday.

The coalition of community groups last week held a town hall meeting at which more than 100 people expressed their concerns about the partnership. On Tuesday, coalition group leaders met with the board and presented them with a petition signed by more than 500 community members calling on the hospital to share the details of the partnership agreement.

“We’re asking St. Vincent, as a community hospital, to make a commitment to the community they serve that they will be open and transparent and that they will share the details of the partnership agreement with the public so that everyone can be sure that quality family planning, reproductive health services, and end-of-life care will be available at St. Vincent Hospital,” said Heather Brewer Executive Director of NARAL Pro Choice New Mexico. “We’re not saying this is a bad deal. We’re saying we need it in writing.”

Members of the coalition include: American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico, Southwest Women’s Law Center, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist – New Mexico Section, Compassion & Choices, Equality New Mexico, NARAL Pro-Choice New Mexico, Planned Parenthood of New Mexico, Inc., New Mexico Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, and The MergerWatch Project.

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