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.”