Groups seek moratorium on Washington hospital mergers

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The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington wants a moratorium on hospital mergers.

The ACLU and other advocacy organizations said Friday they have asked Gov. Jay Inslee to study the impact of the mergers on the ability of patients to access health services. The groups are concerned about the number of medical facilities that are considering mergers with religious health organizations, which could lead more secular hospitals to follow religious rules.

Advocates want a six-month moratorium on merger decisions issued by the Washington Department of Health.

Inslee spokesman David Postman says the governor is concerned about the impact mergers could have for women’s health care coverage and is open to hearing ideas on how to ensure that coverage is protected.