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Some Catholic hospitals said to censor referrals


Reuters reports that according to interviews with U.S. physicians by a research group, some Roman Catholic hospitals “not only refuse to provide some women’s health services like abortion, but may also prevent doctors from referring women to facilities that would provide them.
“Services including sterilization, contraception and fertility services can be similarly prohibited, according to the small study.”Car

“One thing that did surprise me is that some hospitals really do seem to leave women with little to no information when it comes to abortion care specifically,” said lead author Debra Stulberg of the University of Chicago. “For other services, whether it’s something a Catholic hospital allows or not, they will facilitate getting the appointment, sending records, etc.,” she told Reuters Health.
“But I’m not speaking across the board for everyone, it wasn’t always black and white,” Dr. Stulberg said.
Reuters reported that Catholic healthcare institutions make up 1 percent of U.S. acute-care hospitals,  and their clinicians are bound by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services issued by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. “These directives prohibit some reproductive healthcare services, but some Catholic theologians still believe doctors should openly explain all options to their patients, even ones they are not able to provide.”

To read the Reuters story, please hit this link.

To read the study, please hit this link.

Number of Catholic-linked hospitals rises 22%


MergerWatch reports that the number of Catholic-owned or -affiliated hospitals in the United States has grown 22 percent since 2001, and now 1 in 6 acute-care beds is in a hospital connected to the church.

So 14.5 percent of all  U.S. acute-care hospitals  are now either owned by or affiliated with the Catholic church.  The number of Catholic hospitals is more than 30 percent of the total in some states, MergerWatch says.

FierceHealthcare noted that some observers worry about the increase in Catholic-connected hospitals because they tend to follow directives from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which, for example, bans contraception and of course abortion.

Other observers, of course, applaud what they see as the application of traditional morality and conscience to hospital rules.

“In general, Catholic hospitals provide excellent care,” Lois Uttley, director of MergerWatch and one of the report’s authors told Reuters. “Our concern is with these restrictions with reproductive healthcare.”


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