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Merger between Highline and Franciscans

The affiliation agreement between the secular Highline Medical Center, which manages our Vashon Health Clinic, and the faith-based Franciscan Health System has been completed.
What does this mean for Vashon?
I understand that the purpose of the affiliation is to improve the finances of the Highline system, which lost millions last year. This in turn could benefit the clinic on Vashon, which struggles to maintain a positive cash flow, according to Rita Cannell, clinic manager.
Franciscan Health Systems must adhere to "Ethical and Religious Directives for Health Care Services" written by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. It is no surprise that the directives forbid certain types of health care: contraception, abortion, some modern fertilization techniques, and some options for terminally ill patients.
Since this is an "affiliation" rather than a "merger", I wonder if Highline will have more flexibility in terms of allowable care? What is the difference between affiliation and merger?
Cannell assured me there will be no change in health care provided at our clinic. The good news, she reports, is that far more charity cases will be seen and a wider range of insurance plans will be accepted. She also believes that the Franciscans will undertake providing the Island with a quality facility that meets the needs of clinic staff.
Come to a community informational meeting to have your questions answered on April 25 from 7 to 9 at McMurray Middle School Multi Purpose Room, 9329 SW Cemetery Road. There will be a presentation by Dianna Kielian, Sr VP of mission for the Franciscans.  Mark Benedum, CEO of Highline Medical Center, will also be be at the meeting making a presentation.
Kate Hunter
Vashon HealthWatch