Saturday, July 14, 2012

Phone Survey on Hospital Merger

This evening's phone survey call was from Susquehanna polling, and concerned regional health care, more specifically the proposed merger between Abington Memorial Hospital and Holy Redeemer.  The call started off asking what county I lived in and if I was satisfied with health care in the region.  It moved into questions about the merger. 

There was a series of "how convincing would you consider this statement" question, if hearing this would make me view the merger more positively.  This is presumably test driving possible media campaigns.  One was very confusing.  It said the new hospital would not perform abortions but would continue to provide contraception and a list of other services, including terminating a pregnancy.  I asked how abortion differed from terminating a pregnancy but the caller did not know and was only reading the questions.  Another statement said the new hospital system would employ over 10,000 people.  I don't know if this is more than the combined current work force of the two hospitals.  There was one on increased radiology service. There was a statement on high quality service for the elderly.  I think the questioner may have misread or mispronounced one word in a question.  She said the hospital would continue to provide service to the undeserved.  It was pronounced un deserved when I think perhaps it should have been pronounced under served.  I asked who decided which people were deserving.  Again the caller didn't know.

The questioner, who had a lovely voice and was very charming, asked if anyone in my family had ever been hospitalized overnight and if we had ever been to either Abington Memorial Hospital or Holy Redeemer.

She asked where I got my information, what news services, etc. I read.  

The call ended with demographic questions, age, religion, income, etc.

Personal statement:  This merger is a dumb idea.  It is even dumber for the hospital administrators to have started this process without involving the doctors.  People accustomed to medical care based on science are not likely to take well to a change where their medical care is based on religion, especially if it is not their religion.  If Abington Memorial Hospital wants my opinion here it is:  The proposed merger is a big mistake as it is now proposed.  I would not want my family treated there, in case the hospital would not give me complete information or not suggest medical services because it went against the religious views of the hospital board.  One wonders about selective reduction in in vitro fertilization, living wills, contraception.  Some of these Abington Memorial has said it will continue providing, there has been no comment on others.  But you would never really know, would you; you'd never really feel secure in knowing you were getting the best possible medical care.  You'd be getting the best care the church thought it appropriate to provide.  That's a big difference. 

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