Methodist Health SystemsPosted: July 9, 2019
Over a hundred years ago, John H. Sherard, Sr., a Delta planter and layperson from Clarksdale, MS, had a vision for a hospital in the city of Memphis that would offer quality care for persons from all walks of life. He was inspired to do so because his pastor had been hospitalized in Memphis and had received inadequate care. Now, for more than one hundred years, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare (MLH) has faithfully fulfilled that mission. We give thanks that excellent care is accessible for all persons as MLH has provided care across the years.
Recently, a Memphis news outlet reported unfavorably regarding collection practices at MLH. This report has been troubling to many of us. In the midst of balancing ministry and fiscal responsibility, the mission of the hospital does not change:
The mission: MLH, in partnership with its medical staffs, will collaborate with patients and their families to be the leader in providing high quality, cost-effective patient- and family-centered care. Services will be provided in a manner which supports the health ministries and Social Principles of The United Methodist Church to benefit the communities we serve.
Our office has been in regular contact over the last week with Dr. Michael Ugwueke and The Reverend Dr. Albert Mosely seeking to understand the nature of the allegations as well as the practices which led to the content of the report. The Administration is taking appropriate steps to examine its policies and procedures regarding collection practices and has suspended any legal action while this review is underway. In an institution that seeks to do good always, MLH must also strive to do no harm. I will continue to urge the leadership of the hospital to ensure that policies and procedures are aligned with the Social Principles of the United Methodist Church and our Wesleyan Heritage.
However, this report does not tell the whole story of MLH and the amazing work the hospital does on behalf of those on the margins in the Midsouth and in particular the city of Memphis. MLH serves a diverse population in a region that historically has experienced high levels of poverty. Annually, MLH invests over $220 million to assist with care for those in need. MLH has remained committed to the city of Memphis as it seeks to offer care to those on their doorstep. In 2018, MLH established “My Sister’s Keeper” to care for women of color to support their ongoing health concerns. Dr. Albert Mosley, SVP and Chief Mission Integration Officer at Methodist discovered that through MLH’s Community Health Needs Assessment that black women make up more than a quarter of the population in the Mid-South. Furthermore, “they are impacted disproportionately by many health conditions,” said Mosely.
I trust that you join me in praying for those whose lives are in need of care.
I trust that you will pray for those healing professionals who provide care.
I trust you will pray for the entire MLH team that undergirds quality care, and for the administration as they seek to bring peace and justice for all.