November 6, 2020

A Letter to Southern California Caregivers, Medical Staff, Board Members and Donors

Erik G. Wexler, Chief Executive, Providence Southern California and David Kim, MD, Chief Executive, St. Joseph Heritage Healthcare, Southern California Respond to Los Angeles Times Nov. 2, 2020 Opinion Piece.

As some of you are aware, the Los Angeles Times posted an opinion column on Monday, Nov. 2, about Hoag’s desire to disaffiliate from Providence and their ongoing lawsuit. Providence disputes numerous claims made in this column, and we would like to take this time to set the record straight.

First, Providence firmly denies allegations by the unidentified Hoag providers cited in the column that we have caused delays in services related to women’s health care. While there are certain medical procedures our hospitals don’t perform based on our belief that every human life is sacred, we have a long history of providing high-quality care to women thanks to the incredible work of our renowned physicians and staff.

The claims that Providence caused delays in certain services due to our faith-based practices are erroneous. Hoag is not bound by the Ethical and Religious Directives (ERDs) for Catholic Healthcare, and therefore the ERDs have no impact on Hoag’s ability to provide services it chooses to offer. This is a requirement contained in the affiliation agreement between Providence and Hoag, and it is one that we always have honored.

Furthermore, the column falsely accuses Providence of establishing an anonymous hotline to file complaints with the Orange County bishop’s office regarding “immoral procedures.” Not only is this demonstrably false, but the creation of such a hotline would be unnecessary, as the bishop currently has a publicly available phone number that any member of the public can call to make a complaint or inquiry into services being provided at our ministries.

Providence disavows the continued spreading of such falsehoods regarding the affiliation with Hoag, ERDs and women’s services provided at our facilities, as they are irresponsible and potentially harmful to the communities we serve.

Some of you may be wondering why Providence chose not to provide comment on the Los Angeles Times column. The reasoning is simple. As many times as we requested it, we were not provided the underlying alleged complaint behind the column, and the writer, Michael Hiltzik, frequently targets Catholic healthcare and has an established history of covering our issues with Hoag in an unfair and inaccurate manner. As a columnist, his role is to write opinion pieces, not report stories based in truths and facts. As Mr. Hiltzik refused to provide the complaint to Providence when asked, we chose not to comment on something so vague and unfounded.

Providence firmly believes that Mr. Hiltzik’s column was an ill-advised advocacy piece designed to pressure state Attorney General Becerra and the judge overseeing Hoag’s lawsuit in an improper manner. We strongly oppose utilizing the court of public opinion and resorting to slinging salacious allegations and media stories back-and-forth with Hoag. Instead, Providence will continue to honor our legal system and aim to maintain focus on our ultimate goal of serving the common good of the Orange County community.

We thank you all for your continued patience in this ongoing legal matter and for your dedication to providing comprehensive, compassionate care to all we are honored to serve.