Rise in Catholic-Sponsored Hospitals Threatens Women’s Health, New Report Finds
Wednesday, December 18, 2013 at 11:45PM
MW Editor in CMS, Catholic health systems, Medicaid, acute-care hospitals, charity care, patients' rights, pregnancy emergency, reproductive health

MergerWatch and the ACLU have released a report, Miscarriage of Medicine: The Growth of Catholic Hospitals and the Threat to Reproductive Health Care

The report looks at the increasing number of acute-care hospitals that are Catholic-sponsored or -affiliated and the expansion of Catholic-sponsored health systems in the United States between 2001 and 2011. It discusses the threat this growth poses to patient access to reproductive health services, including information and referrals.

The report further shows the degree to which these institutions rely on tax dollars, even as they limit medical care based on religious doctrine. At the same time, data also indicate that, despite their claims of service to the poor, Catholic-sponsored and -affiliated facilities actually provide only an average amount of charity care and a lower percentage of care to Medicaid patients than any other type of hospital.   

Among its key findings:

In short, this report reveals how Catholic hospitals have left far behind their humble beginnings as facilities established by orders of nuns and brothers to serve the faithful and the poor. They have organized into large systems that behave like businesses – aggressively expanding to capture greater market share – but rely on public funding and use religious doctrine to compromise women’s health care.

The report also includes a number of recommendations, including to call on CMS to enforce requirements that all hospitals, regardless of religious affiliation, provide complete information about all treatment options and emergency care.

Please feel free to share the report. We hope this will advance our work for education and policy reform to ensure that patients’ health and rights are respected.

Article originally appeared on MergerWatch.org (http://www.mergerwatch.org/).
See website for complete article licensing information.