Hospital group says SB 1062 will aggravate Arizona's doctor shortage

2014-02-25T14:04:00Z 2014-02-25T14:18:50Z Hospital group says SB 1062 will aggravate Arizona's doctor shortageStephanie Innes Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

The Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association is asking Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer to veto SB 1062, a proposed law that would allow businesses to deny services to homosexuals.

The organization, which represents 73 hospitals, health systems and affiliated facilities across Arizona, sent a letter to Brewer today, saying the bill undermines, "the welcoming environment that is fundamental to our primary objective — to provide the best possible care to every patient."

In a state with an existing physician shortage, the bill will provide a hurdle in recruiting and retaining the most qualified staff members.

"We do not pick and choose our patients or withhold care based on an individual’s race, sex, religion, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, or other characteristics," the letter says.

"If Arizona’s hospitals and other healthcare facilities are to offer the best possible care, they must have talented teams of nurses and physicians."

The organization says an out-of-state surgical physician who had been considering relocating to Arizona has withdrawn his interest, citing SB 1062 as the reason.

"Our state cannot afford to lose qualified physicians due to unnecessary public policy," the letter states.

Another serious concern the group has is that healthcare providers and employees could cite "sincerely held" religious beliefs when a patient presents to the emergency room, and opt to deny that patient services.

"We understand this legislation was crafted and passed by legislators with good intentions," says the letter, which is signed by Greg Vigdor, president and CEO of the organization.

"But we cannot remain silent in the face of legislation that creates legal liabilities for hospitals, hampers their ability to attract physicians and threatens the bedrock ideal that every patient is entitled to the best possible care."

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About this blog

Stephanie Innes brings you the latest health information. Contact her at sinnes@tucson.com

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