By Everdeen Mason, staff writer

SPRINGFIELD — The new Springfield Regional Medical Center is actually a composite of two separate medical organizations: the hospital and Community Health Foundation.

Community Health Foundation, which provides reproductive services a Catholic hospital such as Springfield Regional cannot, has its own building that is connected to the hospital at key junctures. The building, called the Health Services Pavilion, will be opened to the public Nov. 4, said Faye Flack, executive director of CHF.

The $3.7 million, 10,000-square-foot building will be the site of three procedures: vasectomies, tubal ligations or contraceptive injections after a birth, Flack said. No other kind of contraceptive besides the Depo-Provera shot will be provided by the foundation.

“This was part of the negotiated agreement for the merger (of Community Hospital and Mercy Medical Center),” Flack said. “What had to be solved was how to provide reproductive health services once provided at Community at a Catholic hospital.”

Flack said back in 2004 when the hospitals merged, they worked with an ethicist at Catholic Health Partners and the archdiocese to come up with an agreement on what services they could provide.

Flack emphasized that while they can do sterilizations, they do not perform abortions. The agreement to never perform abortions or euthanasia is even written in the deed to the land the Pavilion resides on so that whoever owns it cannot provide abortions.

And to make sure that the Catholic hospital in no way provides for reproductive services, Community Mercy Health Partners and Catholic Health Partners must run their administrations completely separate.

“We coordinate and are cooperative but we’re two separate entities and we have to keep everything separate,” Flack said. While the entities share certain facilities, they have separate payrolls, boards, operating expenses and more.

The line of separation seems thin in the physical building. The Pavilion connects to the hospital at important junctures: the emergency room, the surgical center and the birthing center. That way, patients can be quickly and easily moved from one section to the other to gain services without interruption.

If a patient has issues in the emergency room, they are wheeled across the hall and up the elevator to the Pavilion’s surgery room, which is across from the hospital’s surgery section. The Pavilion’s surgery facility is identical to the hospital’s, and can even be used as a ninth surgery suite if the hospital needs it, Flack said.

Every time the hospital uses a Pavilion room, they technically lease it for their use, Flack added. And if a CMHP employee performs a service provided by the health foundation at the Pavilion, the foundation leases that employee.

The goal of the health foundation is to improve the well-being of the community by providing family health programs, adolescent health programs and reproductive health programs they can’t get at the hospital or anywhere else.

“We want to fill the niche of whatever is not happening in the community, whether we have to temporarily fulfill the need and hand it off or keep the program,” Flack said.

All services provided by the health foundation are free. Hours of operation will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

Reprinted through the courtesy of the Springfield News-Sun.