A statement on access and equity in health care from our president and ceo

In court of law access and equity win over hospital bully tactics

From Aunt Martha's President and CEO

Fighting for Access and Equity

Dear Aunt Martha’s Family, Friends, and Supporters,

On the evening of Friday, February 24, 2023, Aunt Martha’s was abruptly locked out of its health center located within Humboldt Park Health (HPH) hospital. Aunt Martha’s was not locked out because of any breach of the Medical Office Space Agreement. In fact, no such breach exists. Instead, Aunt Martha’s was locked out because of its decision regarding a HPH resident physician – a decision that was necessary to protect our patients.  

So what did we do when faced with the reality of not being able to serve our patients?  We filed a complaint and an emergency motion for a temporary restraining order in the Circuit Court of Cook County. And on Friday, March 3, 2023, after a full week of being unable to serve our patients, Judge Allen Price Walker entered an interim order allowing us temporary access to our clinic to serve our patients. And seeing the writing on the wall, three days later, HPH agreed to the entering of an additional court order allowing us unfettered access to our health clinic through April 30, 2023. It’s not only a win for Aunt Martha’s, but more importantly, it’s a win for our patients and the Humboldt Park community. 

A consistent, steadfast advocate.

I have written a lot over the past few years about Aunt Martha’s willingness to stand up for what is right. From taking on a local municipality for discriminating against our youth to calling out the leadership of associations, statewide advisory committees, and accountable care organizations for their lack of diversity (and in some cases racially inappropriate conduct), Aunt Martha’s is not afraid to stand our ground.  And if you know Aunt Martha’s, you also know that we take the health and safety of those we serve very seriously. While our values are sometimes put to the test, Aunt Martha’s will always choose the right path – the one that’s in the best interests of those we serve.

In the coming months you may hear additional details, some accurate and others not so accurate, regarding the conflict between Aunt Martha’s and HPH. There are some aspects of the conflict that are purely business-related, but those issues bely the bigger issue. What you really need to know is this: Despite enormous pressure to do otherwise, we chose to protect our patients.

Patient-centered. First and always.

While Aunt Martha’s has both serious and justified business concerns, which will continue to play out in the coming months, in the broader context, they are just background noise. At the end of the day, the most important consideration is the safety of our patients. Because Aunt Martha’s knows that all patients have a right to access essential health care services without the threat of a physician attempting to take advantage of them, we refused to allow a HPH resident physician who acted inappropriately with our patient to return to our clinic. And when faced with the reality of divergent approaches to physician misconduct that force us to choose between placing our patients’ safety at risk or walking away from a partnership, Aunt Martha’s will choose to walk away 100% of the time. Aunt Martha’s knows that we cannot directly control the actions another organization may take against us in retaliation for doing what’s right, but rest assured that Aunt Martha’s will not remain silent. We will instead do whatever is necessary to defend our patients, our staff, and our organization.

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