Why should we care whether the huge Dignity Health hospital chain takes over Ashland Community Hospital? Because any outside takeover can have a severe impact on jobs, the quality of care, and the rights of patients and doctors. That doesn’t mean no takeover should ever be considered. But it does mean that any possible acquisition must be done carefully, which requires
1. Meaningful community input with enough time to identify and resolve important issues before a deal is all but done.
2. Community consideration of alternatives, including proposals from other health systems like Asante, rather than just one preselected proposal.
3. Leadership with no potential conflict of interest and that represents the full range of patients’ concerns.
4. Preservation of individual choice and control over our own care.