The New York Civil Liberties Union is joining a coalition seeking transparency in the merger of Schenectady’s Ellis Medicine and Albany’s St. Peter’s Health Partners.
“We are really interested, as the entire coalition is, in the preservation of healthcare,” said Allie Bohm, policy counsel for the NYCLU.
Bohm said a couple of people from the coalition reached out to the non-profit civil rights organization regarding the forum and what was happening with the hospital merger. Bohm said the NYCLU will join tomorrow’s community forum on the merger, but will mainly be working in the background answering questions, forwarding questions and listening to what participants have to say.
The forum will have a number of speakers and a question and answer session.
Since 2003, more than 40 community hospitals in the state have closed, according to the NYCLU.
“We’re also familiar around the country with mergers between religious and secular hospitals and the restrictions in care that are often not rooted in medical science that end up being put in place,” Bohm said.
She said the NYCLU is concerned about access to services like reproductive care, end of life care, certain kinds of organ transplants and gender-affirming care.
“I think our role has really been in making connections in what’s happening in Schenectady and what’s happening nationwide because there is a real sort of trend of hospital mergers and these really big hospital systems in New York State,” Bohm said.
The announcement from the NYCLU comes as Sen. Michelle Hinchey’s office confirmed Wednesday that Hinchey, D-Saugerties, is working on a bill regarding hospital transparency with Assemblywoman Nily Rozic, D-Fresh Meadows (Queens). Hinchey’s Communications Director Bianca Coppola said the Senator is proud to be bringing the bill forth and a press release would be sent with information on the bill when it is introduced on the legislative floor.
“Both Ellis Medicine and St. Peter’s Health Partners look forward to hearing the perspectives shared by our patients and community members at the online forum (Thursday) evening hosted by the Schenectady citizens group,” said an emailed statement Wednesday from Ellis Medicine. “We are grateful for opportunities like this to hear from the public at this early stage in our discussions, and look forward to continuing to engage the community as our affiliation process unfolds.”
Attend the forum
WHEN: 6:30 p.m.- 8:30 p.m. Thursday (today)