Letters received December 3, 2012 at the Washington State Department of Health request an expedited certificate of need in order for Peace Health and Catholic Health Services to form a new health care system. Control of Peace Island Medical Center on San Juan Island would transfer to the partnership according to the documents.
Last year, PeaceHealth Peace Island Medical Center (PIMC) Administrative Officer Jim Barnhart said, "The change PeaceHealth is contemplating is not a merger but an association."
The letter states:
Peace Health which owns and operates four hospitals in Washington and Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) which through Franciscan Health Systems (FHS) owns and operates four hospitals in Washington are creating a new, not for profit health care system ("the Partnership"). As currently envisioned, the control of each hospital owned or operated by the two entities will transfer to the Partnership.
The Department of Health has indicated that the proposed Partnership requires expedited Certificate of Need review and approval for previously approved acute care CNs as a change in control. As such, and in accordance with WAC 246-310-080 please accept this correspondence as our letter of intent related to PeaceHealth Peace Island Medical Center.
PeaceHealth Peace Island Medical Center, located in Friday Harbor San Juan County proposes to transfer control to the partnership. PeaceHealth Peace Island Medical Center is a 10 bed critical access care hospital. No change in licensed beds or services is proposed as a result of this transfer. No diminishment in access, services or charity care is contemplated by this proposed change in control. All requirements stipulated in previously issued acute care CNs for this facility will remain unchanged and will therefore continue to be met.
System Director Planning and Strategy Peace Health
Senior Vice President Strategic Planning and Business Development Franciscan Health Systems.
Peter Adler, SVP, Strategy, Innovation and Development, Peace Health
Stu Hennessey, General Counsel, Peace Health
Terri Rambosek, Corporate Counsel CHI;
When the Partnership process began, leaders of Catholic Health Initiatives and PeaceHealth estimated the system would be formed before June 30, 2013.
Community members raised concerns when news of the Partnership arose last fall. The Coalition for Healthcare Transparency and Equity drew attention to the fact the Catholic Health Initiatives follows the Bishops' Ethical and Religious Directives.
The bishops' directives prohibit many types of medical procedures and require others and according to one of the directives, all employees are required to follow all of the directives as a condition of employment. Among the forbidden services/activities/procedures:
• Abortion under any circumstance, including in the case of extrauterine (ectopic) pregancies, rape, or incest
• All contraception, including IUDs, The Pill, and emergency contraception (Plan B)
• Sterilization, including tubal ligation and vasectomies
• Participation by physicians and other health care providers in the Washington Death with Dignity Act (DWDA), which was approved by 72% of the voters in San Juan County, including providing information about the DWDA to patients, as well as referrals to organizations that provide counseling and support to patients who want the option to use the law
The directives also require employees to disregard patient health advance directives if they conflict with the bishops' directives. Among other things, patients in persistent, vegetative states must be given artificial nutrition even if the patient has expressly directed otherwise through an Advance Directive.
Barnhardt's repeated assurances that women don't need to worry about access to healthcare - during an August 24, 2012 phone interview; and May,2012 and August, 2012 San Juan County Hospital District Board meetings - are based on his word, PeaceHealth's record of the past 20 years and the PeaceHealth Board of Director's intent.