Check Your Privilege -- Dispelling Misconceptions About Abortion Care and Hospital Admitting Privileges

Rebecca E. Cooney, PhD


March 22, 2016

Editorial Collaboration

Medscape &

3. Admitting Privileges for Physicians Who Specialize in Outpatient Procedures With Low Incidence of Postprocedure Complications, Such as Abortion, Serve No Medical Function

Of note, there may be a fundamental misconception that admission privileges might somehow indicate easier access to care during an emergency—an assumption that SHM is quick to dismiss. The brief underscores that "admitting privileges are not required in order to have a patient in need admitted to a hospital."

A woman who suffers complications stemming from an abortion should be treated in the emergency department regardless of whether her physician has admitting privileges. Further, she is likely to be treated by an emergency medicine physician who also does not possess admitting privileges. Why then should doctors performing outpatient procedures be held to an entirely different standard?

As Dr Greeno concludes, "It is just not the way that the American healthcare system is structured at this point in time. It is not something that is brand new—the system has evolved over the last 30 years. We fully expect this to be a trend that continues where fewer and fewer outpatient physicians will be going to the hospital, and they will not have admitting privileges in those hospitals. That in no way should reflect on their ability to care for patients very appropriately and with a high quality of care in outpatient settings."


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