We represent our community’s citizens who strongly oppose the impending transfer of management control of Exempla Lutheran and Good Samaritan medical centers to the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System.
This means that control over our two Colorado-built and -funded hospitals — whose assets total $300 million to $500 million — will be transferred to the Kansas-based organization. We believe that ownership of these assets could later be transferred to SCLHS.
Although this transfer was proposed in 2007, neither Community First Foundation nor SCLHS has considered the community’s concerns. In addition, neither organization has bothered to explain exactly why this transfer is taking place.
The assets, and the revenue derived from these hospitals, will come under the control of SCLHS. Exempla Healthcare will continue to “manage” its health-care facilities, but it will do so following new bylaws that were recently changed when many new Exempla board members were appointed by CFF.
Our Citizens’ Volunteer Group has been the only group to consistently provide any information to the public about what could happen to our hospitals. Through our small ads, 13 local community meetings and facts provided to the media, we have been able to collect 9,383 signatures of individuals who oppose the transfer of the hospitals to SCLHS. More can be obtained.
The ethical and religious directives of the Catholic Church will be implemented at both hospitals, which means your highly personal and private health care choices will be controlled by a religious body whose beliefs may not be your own.
• Reproductive choices and services for both women and men will be taken away.
• The freedoms of end-of-life health care choices will be taken away. Recently, the U.S. Council of Bishops overwhelmingly voted to strengthen its requirement that Roman Catholic hospitals insert and maintain nutrition and hydration tubes for patients in persistent vegetative states. The bishops’ directives also direct Catholic hospitals to disregard the wishes of patients if they are contrary to Catholic moral teaching.
With the 2010 opening of St Anthony Hospital in Lakewood, you, as citizens of Jefferson County and foothills communities, will have only Catholic hospitals nearby to provide your health care needs.
Be informed, not surprised, by what will happen to the health care services available to you or your loved ones if there is a change in the management control of these two hospitals. Visit the citizen-sponsored website www.SaveLutheranMedicalCenter.org
to obtain additional information about this transfer.
Our country was formed out of the desire to have freedom of religious choice. Do you want religion to control the health care you receive? Contact your state and federal elected representatives and senators, and share your views with them.
We believe now is the time to strongly support choice in health care.
Carl Worster and the Citizens Volunteer Group authored this opinion.