Saturday, July 6, 2019

FLORIDA: AdventHealth Uses Circumcision as Incentive for Heart of Florida Maternity Patients

Come for the birth, stay for the circumcision!

Up until recently, Heart of Florida Health Center maternity patients on Medicaid had to travel 40 miles to Gainsville to have their babies. But now, according to an article published on Ocala Star Banner, they can deliver at AdventHealth Ocala starting in August.

The article reads almost like a paid advertisement put out by AdventHealth, a healthcare system spanning 10 states. They have recently acquired the lease for the Ocala facility from another group called Community Health Systems and are using circumcision as an incentive to attract customers.

"The deal also will bring in-house circumcision services back to AdventHealth Ocala, which the hospital's previous operator stopped providing several years ago," reads the article. No question as to why the previous operator stopped providing circumcision in the first place.
 According to AdventHealth Ocala spokeswoman. Richelle Hoenes-Ahearn, "This procedure was not offered prior to AdventHealth acquiring the hospital. However, we have plans for our medical teams to provide circumcision at AdventHealth Ocala within the next several weeks." 
The article goes on:
Heart of Florida CEO Jamie Ulmer said he only recently learned circumcision was not available at AdventHealth Ocala. Those with private insurance were able to get the procedure done outside of the hospital, but no local doctors will accept Medicaid for circumcision services. That left mothers scrambling to find a provider outside the area before the Medicaid cut-off time for the procedure, which is 27 days after birth. After that, babies have to wait for months before Medicaid will cover the procedure.

"As part of the collaboration we worked out, all babies will be able to get circumcisions at the hospital before they leave," he said.

Which raises the question; shouldn't public health coffers be used only for medically necessary procedures? Why aren't doctors accepting medicaid for circumcisions, and how is the Heart of Florida/AdventHealth deal getting around this?
"No one is saying your baby has to have a circumcision, but having the choice is first and foremost. How can you make a decision if you don't even have a choice?" Ulmer says, but here again, questions arise.

In any other case, reaping profit from non-medical surgery on healthy, non-consenting individuals constitutes medical fraud.

Without medical or clinical indication, can doctors even be performing surgery on healthy, non-consenting minors, let alone be giving parents any kind of "choice?"

Ignored here is the fact that a child is being deprived of his choice on a permanent, non-therapeutic surgical alteration on his body.

If "religious freedom" and "parental choice" are going to be cited here, does the CEO intend on extending similar services for parents who want their daughters to be circumcised?

As if it weren't bad enough that the circumcision of infants is being use as an incentive for maternity patients, inaccurate numbers are being cited to do it.
At the end of the author, Carlos E. Medina writes:
"A majority of baby boys, about 77 percent, in the United States get circumcised, but the rate has fallen from more than 80 percent since the 1960s, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC recommends circumcision for a number of reasons, including the reduced incidence of contracting HIV infection from an HIV-infected woman."
He, either inadvertently, or quite deliberately quotes an inaccurate circumcision rate. This information contrasts with figures released by the CDC, which are actually much lower.

According to Reuter’s:

“In one survey, newborn male circumcision rates fell to 56.9 percent in 2008 from 62.9 percent in 1999. In another, rates of circumcision fell to 54.7 percent in 2010 from 58.4 percent in 2001. In a third, rates fell to 56.3 percent in 2008 from 63.5 percent in 1999.”

A stark difference from the quoted 77%.

Regarding HIV transmission, the CDC recommends circumcision for *adults* who are at high risk. It did *not* issue a recommendation for male infant circumcision, instead mirroring the AAP, which said in their 2012 circumcision policy statement that parents ought to weigh the evidence.
The AAP said in their 2012 Circumcision Policy Statement that “The benefits of circumcision are not great enough to recommend it.” The statement has expired, by the way, which leaves the AAP currently without a statement, so there is no actual recommendation from any respected medical organization that male infants ought to be circumcised. 
I wonder; was this information given to him by AdventHealth? Or does the author have ulterior motives? 
Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he just didn’t do his homework; the information is still incorrect and needs to be updated.

I have written a letter to the editor, but haven't yet heard back from them, and the information remains the same as of today. (July 6, 2019)

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