It’s my understanding that according to Jim Barnhart of PeaceHealth, PeaceHealth provides no maternity services at PeaceIsland Medical Center, so the recent AG Formal Opinion doesn’t apply.
It’s important to remember that the AG opinion said that the average informed voter would “likely have understood “maternity care, services or information” to include a “broad range of prenatal, childbirth, and postpartum services and information.”
And in a recent hospital district meeting, Dr. Michael Edwards made clear that physicians at Peace Island do provide maternity services.
So, unless PeaceHealth has now decided not to treat pregnant women or mothers and their newborn infants, Barnhart’s assertion is completely untrue.
If PeaceHealth has decided that pregnant women and new mothers are not welcome at the PeaceIsland facility, then that’s something that should be of grave concern to everyone, including the hospital district commissioners.
I suspect, of course, that PeaceHealth, in consultation with its lawyers, has decided to abandon pregnant women and new mothers because they think it’s legally defensible, even though morally indefensible.
Now it’s up to the hospital district commissioners to do their jobs. You can’t allocate 95-97 percent of all funds to a single vendor that then refuses to treat pregnant women and new mothers.
If they don’t work to rectify this situation soon, the path forward is likely to be costly and contentious for a long time to come.
Monica Harrington/San Juan Island