Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Technical Violation Closes Women's Health Clinic in Montgomery

According to the Montgomery Advertiser the state health department Tuesday suspended the license of a Montgomery abortion facility, according to a press release from U.S. Newswire.

The license for Reproductive Health Services of Montgomery was suspended because of its failure to have "a physician with admitting privileges at a local acute care hospital, or a contractual arrangement with a physician who has such admitting privileges."

An official with Reproductive Health Services said she is working on a response to the news.

Christian Coalition of Alabama President John Giles, a pro-life leader, responded to the news: "The action taken today confirms that the abortion industry is only interested in profits and not the healthcare of women before or after an abortion,” he said in a press release. “In fact, women leave abortion facilities all over this state and report the buildings look as if they are furnished from a second hand store and resemble a third world medical facility."

Giles, along with several pro-life leaders, recently met with Alabama Department of Public Health officials to discuss abortion clinic regulations, inspections and enforcement. Giles further said he is confident that the state has made the upgrading of regulations, inspections and enforcement of standards a priority.

In another story from The Advertiser it gives the following details

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- An abortion clinic has been banned from conducting abortions and the center's license has been suspended because it did not have a backup physician as required by the state, health officials announced Tuesday.

The Alabama Department of Public Health issued an emergency suspension order against Reproductive Health Services on Monday, saying it failed to have its regular doctor backed up by a physician with admitting privileges at a local hospital. The department said that "constitutes a danger to public health and welfare."

Why John Giles expects us to believe that patients talk to him afterward about the interiors of the clinics is a little mind-boggling. Mr. Giles, could you please present us with a patient or two willing to say that publicly? How can it be about the money if the decoration is lacking? I am sure if the clinics were decorated like a Royal Palace Mr. Giles would still say that it was about the money. Hey John, how about diverting some Mississippi casino money to the Womens clinics in Alabama so they can be pretty? We hear you are pretty good at that sort of thing.

All of this seems to me to be a technical violation. If it was a requirement that a back up physician be on call before a license was issued then there must have been one at some time and perhaps the contract has just lapsed and it slipped by the office staff. That seems the most logical explanation. I am fairly certain that any woman experiencing complications after a procedure would not be denied medical care at a hospital emergency room despite there not being a specific physician standing by. That just wouldn't happen. I predict the clinic will be open again soon.

I am very curious about the Health Dept.'s finding that not having a standby physician "constitutes a danger to public health and welfare."

How so? I wouldn't even agree that it constitutes any danger to a woman having complications, as no hospital would refuse to treat her if she sought treatment, so how could not having a doctor on standby constitute a danger to the entire public health and welfare? Sounds like the Christian Coalition has someone working inside the Alabama Department of Public Health.


The Alabama Moderate said...

I disagree. While I'm DEFINITELY no fan of the Christian Coalition and its founder, I do think that having a standby physician is an important thing. I don't know if the purpose of a second physician would be for complications of if it would be to step in for another doctor should he be unable to perform the procedure. Either way, I think that the primary focus should be the health of the woman having the procedure done. Having a physician on standby, while it may seem like a little much, certainly couldn't hurt in such a situation. I think that in the case of any medical procedure, safety for the patient is of the utmost importance, and abortions should be no exception. A doctor should be present.

As for Giles-- he has no credibility as far as I'm concerned.

Loretta Nall said...

I attended the hearing this morning and met with the lady who runs the clinic. They had an agreement with a physician to provide that service since 2003. He called the day before this happened and asked why the health department was calling him and he was told because he was the back-up physician. He then said he would no longer be providing that service.

And what do you know…the next day the Public Health Dept. descended on the clinic and issued this order. The problem, which was already being addressed by the clinic before the HD came in, was corrected in a matter of hours and the next hearing will be in Sept. where I predict the license will be reinstated.

I confirmed with the provider that women would not have been denied medical care at any facility had there been a need to seek it.

I agree with all concerend that there should be regulations. Obviously a place performing any medical service should have regulations. We want the best possible care for everyone.

But, it should be obvious to anyone that the Public Health Dept. is in collusion with the Alabama Christian Coalition and the Roy Moore folks to get their agenda passed. They have even said as much in the media. This little spectacle has nothing to do with providing good medical care.

Why christian fundamentalists are having any say in the healthcare decisions of women is beyond me and should be stopped at once. I have dominion over my body and no one will take that from me.