Expanding Central Health

Agreement with Seton concerns some women's health advocates

Expanding Central Health

The Central Health Board of Managers will meet for the third time tomorrow night, Wednesday, May 22, for a final presentation before voting next week on the "master agreement" with Seton Healthcare Family, pursuant to voter approval in November to expand the health care district.

The vote on Proposition 1 covered approval for the new medical school at UT, a teaching hospital, and the partnership of Central Health and Seton aimed at integrating and strengthening the county healthcare safety net. Central Health's board has met two previous times this month to discuss a dense master agreement governing that relationship, and will do so again tomorrow night – the last time they will meet before a vote on the agreement, planned for next week.

But as the work nears culmination, some women's health advocates have expressed concern that the partnership between the local health district and the Catholic-run hospital system may pose challenges to providing a full spectrum of women's health services to poor women in need. Among those groups expressing reservations are members of Catholics for Choice, a progressive Catholic organization that advocates for a woman's right to direct her own healthcare choices. The group has asked its members to speak in favor of maintaining access to the full range of healthcare options available through Central Health for women in need.

Indeed, Central Health has said that it is committed to doing just that and that its partnership with Seton will not make it beholden to any religious doctrine. Under the new arrangement "women's health services will be fortified and expanded," reads a statement on Central Health's commitment to women's health. "We remain resolute in our commitment to ensuring that all women have access to the complete range of women's health services [and] that those services remain available to women who need or want those services."

Tomorrow's meeting will be held at the Central Health offices at 1111 E. Cesar Chavez Street, starting at 5:30pm.

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Reproductive Rights, Central Health, Seton Healthcare Family, family planning, Catholics for Choice, health care safety net, family planning, women's health

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