Letters to the Editor

Changes will occur at health center | Letter to the Editor

Count me in as another citizen perplexed by the takeover of the Vashon Health Center by the Franciscan Health System.

About 10 years ago, Vashon Health Center joined up with Highline, keeping its name, while the entire business within its walls, doctors and employees included, was absorbed into the Highline Medical Group. This year the center and all its staff will become part of the Franciscan Medical Group and will be owned, operated and subject to the directives of a religious organization that harbors a number of extreme views when it comes to health care. No one asked Vashon residents how we might feel about that.

With the help of a federal program to help rural health, our Vashon Health Center started as a community-based nonprofit. It has received our substantial financial support thanks to the hard work of Granny’s Attic and its volunteers ever since.

On July 1, the health center will be totally owned by a corporation headquartered in Tacoma, with its parent company in Colorado and a CEO who whose annual salary and perks exceeds $1 million.

How did this happen to us?

The spokesperson for the Franciscans repeatedly says that nothing is going to change at our health center. Don’t you believe it. Let us count the ways. I am starting a list:

1. When the center becomes fully part of the Franciscan Medical Group, the staff will lose health insurance coverage for contraceptives.

2. While Franciscans state they allow advance directives (i.e. living wills, etc.), the Ethical and Religious Directives state that the directives should “be respected and normally complied with, unless it is contrary to Catholic moral teaching.”

Who makes those decisions?

A Vashon patient recently admitted to the Highline Medical Center through the emergency room was told by her doctor, “I am

required to tell you that if you have an event, you will be resuscitated.”

Is this something new?

This is only the beginning. We must all be alert. If you see or encounter something troubling, report it to Vashon HealthWatch at vashonhealthwatch@outlook.com.

— Mary Lynn Buss

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