Tuesday, July 3, 2012

How are we to believe that "Holy Redeemer's Catholic identity" will be preserved in its merger with Abington Health System?

William R. Sasso, Chair of Holy Redeemer Health System
Michael B. Laign, President and CEO of Holy Redeemer Health System
Sr Anne Marie Haas, Provincial Superior of the Sisters of the Holy Redeemer

 
Dear Mr. Sasso, Mr. Laign, and Sister,

 
How are we to believe Mr. Sasso's contention that "Holy Redeemer's Catholic identity" will be preserved in a merger with Abington Health System?  As you must be aware, the sixth part of the USCCB's Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services is entitled: "Forming New Partnerships with Health Care Organizations and Providers."
    "On the one hand, new partnerships can be viewed as opportunities for Catholic health care institutions and services to witness to their religious and ethical commitments and so influence the healing profession....On the other hand, new partnerships can pose serious challenges to the viability of the identity of Catholic health care institutions and services, and their ability to implement these Directives in a consistent way, especially when partnerships are formed with those who do not share Catholic moral principles. The risk of scandal cannot be underestimated when partnerships are not built upon common values and moral principles. Partnership opportunities for some Catholic health care providers may even threaten the continued existence of other Catholic institutions and services, particularly when partnerships are driven by financial considerations alone. Because of the potential dangers involved in the new partnerships that are emerging, an increased collaboration among Catholic-sponsored health care institutions is essential and should be sought before other forms of partnerships....The following directives are offered to assist institutionally based Catholic health care services....as a rule, Catholic partners should avoid entering into partnerships that would involve them in cooperation with the wrongdoing of other providers....
     
    "68....The diocesan bishop’s approval is required for partnerships sponsored by institutions subject to his governing authority; for partnerships sponsored by religious institutes of pontifical right, his nihil obstat should be obtained....
     
    "71. The possibility of scandal must be considered when applying the principles governing cooperation. Cooperation, which in all other respects is morally licit, may need to be refused because of the scandal that might be caused....The diocesan bishop has final responsibility for assessing and addressing issues of scandal, considering not only the circumstances in his local diocese but also the regional and national implications of his decision."
When it comes to "Women's Health Care," it would be generous, in my opinion, to say that Holy Redeemer Health System is already doing an awful job of preserving Catholic identity.  Holy Redeemer works with 48 physicians in various areas of obstetrics and gynecology.  Of those 48, a simple cross checking shows that NOT A SINGLE ONE is also found in a directory of NFP-only physicians!  A little bit of googling reveals that there are, among Holy Redeemer physicians, multiple practitioners of such prohibited practices as IVF (as well as the IVF-associated practice of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis) and third-party reproduction (Please advise of any updates or inadvertent inaccuracies.).  Doesn't it strain credibility to believe that these physicians - whose philosophies are such polar opposites to genuine Catholic health care ethics - are able to embrace the USCCB's Ethical and Religious Directives, when they are at Holy Redeemer?  Our Lord told us to be "shrewd as serpents and simple as doves" (Matthew 10: 16).  He did not counsel us to be gullible.  As per the 6/27/12 posting on Holy Redeemer's web site, 
    "Abington Health and Holy Redeemer Health System today are announcing their intention to create a new regional health system. The announcement is being made after the boards of both organizations, led by Robert M. Infarinato, chair of Abington Health, and William R. Sasso, chair of Holy Redeemer Health System, authorized the signing of a letter of intent at their respective meetings of the boards of trustees....
    "Said Sasso, 'We believe both organizations have a fiduciary responsibility to ensure that we are meeting the needs of the communities we serve in the most efficient and effective way possible. Accomplishing this will require health systems to actively reach beyond their own walls to keep pace with the evolving health care environment. By aligning these two reputable health systems, we will form a new parent company that will provide oversight and direction to enable both organizations to fulfill their mission and goals while respecting each other’s values and preserving Abington’s long-standing heritage and Holy Redeemer’s Catholic identity'....
    “This is the first of many steps toward creating a new parent organization that will bring opportunities for quality enhancements and greater efficiencies,' said Abington Health president and chief executive officer, Laurence M. Merlis....
      
    "Merlis will serve as the chief executive officer of the new organization" [Note: Abington's Merlis is to be the CEO of the new organization.]."
According to today's Bucks County Courier Times, "As part of the agreement, Abington Memorial will no longer be performing abortions."  Oh?  Frank J. Craparo is the Chief of Maternal Fetal Medicine and Director of the Fetal Diagnostic Center at Abington (Not that long ago, Dr. Craparo was listed among physicians in one or more Philadelphia Catholic hospitals.).  As per posters at FertileThoughts.com, Dr. Craparo is a practitioner of "reduction."  Most people would call that procedure, "abortion."
  • "For the women who are considering reduction and might read this, the dr. who will be doing my reduction, Dr. Craparo, questioned one of the commonly cited facts about selective reduction. I asked him about the often-heard statistic that the babies remaining after a reduction tend to be born early. He said that this comes only from a well-known doctor in England (so there was exactly one study) and that it is questionable because the clinic the doctor runs were basing their findings on reductions where the pregnant women then didn't stay with that particular clinic......so there was no control over what kind of care they were receiving (could go on to midwives, practices where they aren't familiar with high-risk pregnancies, etc.). Dr. Craparo said he was actually getting ready to study his own practice's results where the women stay with the practice for the duration of their pregnancy" (8/9/10).
  • "I was really hoping to have had my reduction by now, but Dr. Craparo apparently prefers to wait a bit. I was scheduled for it at 13 weeks (ugh), but managed to get it rescheduled to tomorrow (Friday, the 20th) when I'll be 11w3d. I have been steeling myself against this with the mantra of 'Get two babies safely here.' That is my focus. But of course I'm still saddened at the thought that we'll be arbitrarily getting rid of one (all three were doing great at my last appt.) and so far on when it's so developed. DH is coming with me. I'm going to do my best not to look at the ultrasound while they're doing it, but it's going to be hard not to" (8/19/10).
  • "For the women who are considering reduction and might read this, the dr. who will be doing my reduction, Dr. Craparo, questioned one of the commonly cited facts about selective reduction. I asked him about the often-heard statistic that the babies remaining after a reduction tend to be born early. He said that this comes only from a well-known doctor in England (so there was exactly one study) and that it is questionable because the clinic the doctor runs were basing their findings on reductions where the pregnant women then didn't stay with that particular clinic......so there was no control over what kind of care they were receiving (could go on to midwives, practices where they aren't familiar with high-risk pregnancies, etc.). Dr. Craparo said he was actually getting ready to study his own practice's results where the women stay with the practice for the duration of their pregnancy" (8/19/10).
  • "May I ask who is doing the CVS/Reduction? I'm from South NJ, have had 3 high risk pgs (my first triplet pg, my singleton son [spent 14 weeks on hospital bed bedrest] and my reduced pg). I interviewed just about every perinatologist from Cooper, U or PA, Abington, Virtua, etc" (9/30/10).
  • "I had my consult with Dr. Craparo in Abington, PA today (referred by my RE in Philly, but thank you, momto3angels, as your positive words about him helped so much). I have my CVS scheduled for 2 weeks from today (I will be 10w3days) and the SR scheduled for 2 weeks after that (12w3days). Is it common for it to be this late? I guess I was really hoping that the reduction could be done sooner (even a week sooner, if possible), but it does take 10 days for the CVS to come back, he said. Also, Dr. Craparo said that he would only CVS one fetus, and then if that one is healthy, reduce the other, or vice-versa. This makes me a little nervous -what if both are not healthy? Have any of you had experience with this, or can comment on the timing?" (3/10/11).
This brings me back to my original question.  How are we to believe Mr. Sasso's contention that "Holy Redeemer's Catholic identity" will be preserved in a merger with Abington Health System?  Speaking for myself, I do not.  I pray that Bishop McIntyre, Archbishop Chaput and/or Cardinal Levada will stop this merger and insist on a resurgence of orthodoxy at our Catholic hospitals.  

 
Sincerely,

 
(Click these images to enlarge.)

 (Click the below image to enlarge. 
Note that none of these Holy Redeemer physicians is to be found in an NFP-only physician directory.)

  
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

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I am an enormously blessed husband and dad. In regard to my Catholic theological background, I have a certificate in social ministry & a master's degree (moral theology concentration), as well as a catechetical diploma from the Vatican's Sacred Congregation for the Clergy (Nope, I am not now - nor have I have ever been - a seminarian, deacon, or priest.). I feel particularly proud to have a mandatum. I also have a doctorate in Christian counseling psychology.

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