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Ashland Partners With Dignity Health

ASHLAND, Ore. – Ashland Community Hospital is just one step closer to its potential partnership with health care giant, Dignity Health.

As part of its deliberations Wednesday, the board agreed to formally ask the Ashland City Council to approve the affiliation, but approval hasn’t been received by all community members.

Dignity Health operates 40 hospitals and 150 care centers in California, Arizona and Nevada. Ashland Community Hospital officials say the merger with such a large organization would help them save money on supplies, allow the sharing of services, and access to capital.

Dignity Health used to be Catholic Healthcare West, a past that some residents feel might impede on patient services, such as abortion rights and death with dignity. Hospital officials said while doctors will not be allowed to sign a lethal prescription, they will still be involved in the process up to that point.

“They are still going to be able to have those personal important conversations with their patients about assisted suicide. They’ll be able to counsel them they’ll be able to give them materials on where to get services,” explained ACH Board Chairman Doug Gentry.

Hospital officials say elective abortions were not performed at the hospital, only under emergency life threatening situations. They say the same policy will be practiced under Dignity Health. The city council is set to hear an informational presentation from representatives of both organizations during a meeting scheduled October 16th at 7 p.m. in the council chambers.