Upstate NY Hospital Merger Could Impact End-of-Life Care Options
Wednesday, October 20, 2021
SCHENECTADY, N.Y. -- A proposed merger between two hospital systems in upstate New York has some residents and health-care advocates concerned about the potential loss of certain types of medical care, including end-of-life options.
Albany's St. Peter's Health Partners and Ellis Medicine in Schenectady first announced their intent to merge a year ago. Ellis Medicine posted a $33 million loss last year.
Because St. Peter's is owned by Catholic system Trinity Health and is governed by certain ethical and religious directives, the merger could affect care options for people facing terminal illnesses.
Kim Callinan, president and CEO of Compassion and Choices, a group which advocates for medical aid in dying, worries about the impact of the merger on patients and their families.
"The fundamental principle is that they should preserve life at all costs," Callinan explained. "For some people, this may not be an issue at all; it may be in line with their values and priorities. But we know a large portion of people do not want to suffer at the end of life, and want to have the full breadth of options that are available."
Callinan pointed out the merger could limit choices for families of people with dementia or on ventilators. In a statement, the St. Peter's Health Partners system said it helps "countless patients and families navigate end-of-life decisions," but did not specifically address medical aid in dying.
Michelle Ostrelich, Schenectady County legislator and founding member of the Schenectady Coalition for Healthcare Access, which was created as a result of the proposed health-system merger, said the coalition has had private conversations about the merger with the health systems, but the groups have not welcomed public talks.
"Our community has supported Ellis for 100 years," Ostrelich emphasized. "Volunteers, taxpayer funds have all gone to support our community hospital. And they are obligated, frankly, to answer the questions from the public directly. They've refused to do that."
St. Peter's Health Partners said the New York State Department of Health is reviewing the Management Services Agreement for the merger, a two-year non-binding pact which allows the two systems to start working together. It said the two companies plan to update the community and share specifics in coming weeks, pending approval of the agreement.
get more stories like this via email
LOS ANGELES -- California-based facilities are refining half of all the oil drilled in the Amazon rain forests, according to a new report by the …
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- People who live on the Navajo Nation near the San Juan Basin are closely following work by the Environmental Protection Agency (…
PHOENIX -- A new report shows, despite getting billions of dollars from the federal government under the American Rescue Plan, many airlines continue …
NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- Connecticut is among several states working on what its new recreational marijuana industry will look like, and a new coalition …
PRAIRIE DU SAC, Wis. -- Broadband gaps affect many facets of life, including education. The new federal infrastructure plan includes money to expand …
HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. -- One of the major takeaways from last month's big climate conference in Scotland is, all levels of government need to …
ALBANY, N.Y. -- New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) has released a new report this week, with recommendations from educators about how best to …
BALTIMORE, Md. -- Maryland civil rights groups are proposing a lawsuit against Baltimore County if it adopts its current redistricting plan, claiming …