Letters to the Editor

Group Health members have reason for concern

We are members of Group Health Cooperative (GHC) and had been receiving some of our health care here at the island clinic.

The community meeting about the Franciscan “affiliation”(takeover?) of the Vashon Health Center raised concerns that some types of care might be restricted by religious doctrine. To our surprise, this is a statewide problem for members of Group Health.

While Seattle-area Group Health members receive care at secular hospitals (Virginia Mason in Seattle and Evergreen in Bellevue), members in Tacoma, Olympia, Spokane, Bellingham and elsewhere are referred by Group Health to Catholic hospitals. These members face the same concerns we do with our island clinic.

So we are gathering signatures to a petition that will be presented to the GHC Board of Trustees at the Oct. 5 annual meeting. If you are a patient/member/consumer of GHC and wish to add your name to our petition, please contact us at jameshauser@comcast.net

The petition asks:

1. That GHC shall have written policies and procedures to insure that all patients have ready and convenient access to the full range of sound medical practices unrestricted by religious doctrine;

2. That medical staff will have full knowledge of potential restrictions when referring or sending patients to religiously affiliated institutions;

3. That Group Health staff will fully inform patients when referring or sending them to religiously affiliated medical facilities of those potential restrictions, offering ready and convenient options.

— James Hauser and Katharine Hunter

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