Tag Archives: Providence

Why the Walgreens Providence Alliance is Very, Very Bad News

Recently the Seattle Times reported that nineteen groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, had signed a letter asking questions about a new deal under which Providence Health Systems would provide health services in Walgreen clinics.

What was not included in that report is the fact that Walgreens recently announced that it is taking over Rite-Aid in an all-cash deal worth more than $17 billion, a deal which would make it the largest pharmacy in the country.

So now we have the largest pharmacy chain in the country linking up with a Catholic health care ministry that systematically deprives patients of medically appropriate services, including contraception.

What could go wrong?

There are more than 130 Rite-Aid stores in Washington State, which is also home to the highest percentage of health systems under Catholic ownership/control.

A linkage between the hundreds of Walgreen/Rite-Aid pharmacies in Washington State and Providence Health, which follows the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care, has potential to dramatically limit access to legal, medically appropriate care.

Who will stand up to protect patients and physicians from the increasing power of religiously-directed health care ministries and their expansion into pharmacy-based services?



Catholic Bishops Clamp Down on Tubal Ligations; Swedish is Likely Target

In the Seattle area, Swedish Medical Center, which was taken over by Providence a few years ago, currently says it does tubal ligations. However, according to a new article posted in ProPublica, the Catholic bishops are clamping down on tubal ligations in situations where a formerly secular medical facility has come under Catholic control.  Prior to its takeover by Providence, Swedish was the largest independent nonprofit health system in the Seattle area and still claims to be “the most popular” place in Western Washington to give birth.

The likely implication for Swedish (and other health systems in Washington now under the control of the Catholic bishops) is that tubal ligations will no longer be allowed.

This means that a woman who delivers at a Swedish facility and who is committed to getting a tubal ligation (which is the most popular contraception method for women who have completed their families)  will have to undergo the unnecessary pain and expense of an additional separate surgery at a separate facility after her body has healed from childbirth.

For Seattle-area employers who provide comprehensive health care benefits, this means they’ll be footing the bill not just for the additional surgery but also for the additional recovery time associated with a completely separate surgical procedure.

Will Seattle-area employers, including private employers like Microsoft, Starbucks, Amazon, Costco, Nordstroms, Google, and Facebook, stand by while access to important health care services is systematically cut off throughout the largest maternity health care sytem in the state?  Will they willingly pay the extra costs of additional surgery and recovery times for their employees who deliver at Swedish and then decide to undergo a tubal ligation elsewhere?

Will the taxpayers who are subsidizing Medicaid births willingly pay for an additional surgery and recovery for Medicaid patients who choose to deliver at Swedish simply because the Catholic bishops have decided the procedure can’t be performed at the largest maternity network in the state?

Will anyone anywhere be able to stop Catholic bishops from using our tax dollars and private health dollars to impose their will on patients across the state?