August 11, 2015 — The sole abortion clinic in Toledo has partnered with the University of Toledo Medical Center to train physicians in how to perform abortions and related care, the AP/Idaho Statesman reports.
According to the AP/Statesman, the arrangement allows the clinic, Capital Care Network, to help the university meet its curriculum requirements. However, state law still prohibits the university from partnering with the clinic on a required patient-transfer agreement (Franko, AP/Idaho Statesman, 8/9).
Under Ohio's 2014-2015 budget (HB 59), signed in 2013, abortion clinics in the state are required to have a patient transfer agreement with a hospital. Clinics are prohibited from making such arrangements with public hospitals. Further, Gov. John Kasich (R) recently signed into law a state budget (HB 64) that requires abortion clinics to arrange a patient transfer agreement with a hospital no more than 30 miles away (Women's Health Policy Report, 8/5).
Last year, Lance Himes, then-interim director at the Ohio Department of Health, signed an adjudication order revoking the license for Capital Care Network. The order was based on a recommendation from a state hearing examiner that the clinic be closed because it does not have a valid emergency transfer agreement with a nearby hospital, which is required by state law. The clinic currently has a transfer agreement with a hospital 50 miles away.
The order was deemed unconstitutional in June, a decision that is being appealed by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine (R) (Women's Health Policy Report, 7/15).
David Burkons, a doctor at Capital Care Network, and UTMC signed the training agreement in the spring.
According to the AP/Statesman, an accreditation council requires the medical school to provide abortion training, although residents can opt out of the program if they have studied how to provide pre-procedure counseling and assessments, as well as pertinent law. Meanwhile, Burkons, who also works with several other abortion clinics, said he has had similar training arrangements in the past with other northeast Ohio providers, including at least one hospital that would not provide the clinic with a transfer agreement.
Under the agreement, residents will work in one-month rotations for two to three days each week to learn about assessments, counseling, surgical procedures and follow-up services. The university pays the residents, and the clinic and the university did not make any financial arrangements beyond providing certain insurance coverage.
Burkons said, "I enjoy teaching, and I think that's how you're going to get people, you know, interested in maybe doing this."
Meanwhile, UT spokesperson Jon Strunk said that the absence of a patient-transfer agreement would not bar the hospital from providing care if needed. "UTMC will in every circumstance provide medical care to any patient regardless of the reason that care is needed or the choices a patient makes prior to his or her arrival at [the] hospital," he said (AP/Idaho Statesman, 8/9).