Planned Parenthood criticizes MU ending "refer and follow"

4 years 5 months 2 days ago Thursday, September 24 2015 Sep 24, 2015 Thursday, September 24, 2015 6:58:00 PM CDT September 24, 2015 in News
By: Jenna Middaugh, KOMU 8 Digital Producer

COLUMBIA - Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri responded Thursday to the University of Missouri's decision to end "refer and follow" as part of MU Health Care facilities category of privileges.

MU Health Care said the medical staff executive committee reviewed its policies and procedures and voted unanimously to discontinue "refer and follow," which is effective Dec. 1. MU Health Care said the review came after questions from the legislature and public to Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin. 

Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri President and CEO Laura McQuade wrote in a statement, "We are outraged that MU Health Care caved to the political pressure from Senator Kurt Schaefer's 'Sanctity of Life' Committee and has eliminated refer and follow privileges for physicians. This is a continuation of the orchestrated attempt to restrict access to safe, legal abortion in Missouri and to the critical services Planned Parenthood has provided for nearly 100 years."

Steve Whitt is the chief medical officer of MU Health Care and a member of the executive committee. He said in a statement two providers of the 800 medical staff in MU Health Care had refer and follow privileges. 

"Refer and follow privileges only allow physicians to access their own patients' information. This level of access to patient information is already permitted by any referring provider, including those not on MU Health Care's medical staff," he stated. "Therefore, the designation of refer and follow privileges was outdated and unnecessary."

McQuade disagreed.

"The MU Health Care system's claim that refer and follow privileges are ‘outdated and unnecessary' is simply not true," she said. "These privileges are increasingly used in hospitals across the country to allow physicians who seldom or never need to admit patients to a hospital the ability to maintain staff privileges. Referring physicians can then follow their patients' progress if ever needed, but the attending physician at the hospital provides the necessary patient care."

As part of the review, MU Health Care is also proposing changes to its privileging process. The changes will include additional review of the skills applicants would bring to MU Health Care's missions.

The changes have been forwarded to MU Health Care's eligible voting medical staff members for comment. When the comment period is over, the executive committee will consider all the information before voting on the changes.

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