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FoSBC Opposition to Merger of Catholic Medical Center & Dartmouth-Hitchcock

Public Hearing Testimony


October 12, 2021

My name is C. J. Doyle, and I am the Director of Communications for the Friends of Saint Benedict Center. The Friends of Saint Benedict Center wish to be recorded in opposition to the proposed combination of Granite One Health and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health.

The broad disparity in revenue and resources between the the two entities, the reserved powers of the proposed combination board---including control of budgets, debt, assets, programs and planning---and the authority of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock dominated joint board to veto the appointment of trustees to subsidiary boards, all suggest that this is not a merger between two equal partners, but the acquisition of a smaller corporation by a larger one.

The existential and unbridgeable divide between secular and Catholic medical ethics, Dartmouth-Hitchcock's aggressive promotion of practices---such as the training of physicians to perform abortions---irreconcilable with Catholic morality, its pre-existing relationships with such opponents of Catholic teaching as Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, and its failure to respect the conscience rights of its Catholic employees, all render the implementation of formal guarantees for the preservation of Catholic Medical Center's religious identity profoundly problematic.

The combination will present the employees of Catholic Medical Center with an unavoidable and permanent conflict of interest. Given the moral culture of the corporate parent, career advancement in the combined entity will be contingent upon the willingness of individuals to abandon compliance with Catholic medical ethics.

In any dispute involving Catholic teaching, vigorous advocacy of the Catholic position might be judged to be professionally imprudent. There will be no incentive, career wise, to report violations of the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, which are supposed to be maintained following the acquisition of Catholic Medical Center by Dartmouth-Hitchcock.

This proposed combination will, by any reasonable standard, gravely imperil the foundational charitable purpose of Granite One Health and Catholic Medical Center, and ought therefore, to be rejected by the Charitable Trusts Unit and the Attorney General of the State of New Hampshire.

Thank you.

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