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How Catholic Bishops are shaping health care in rural areas

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In rural America where the only available hospital can be Catholic owned, the local bishop can decide what care you receive based on religious beliefs regardless of medical need. For many people, these hospitals are the only practical choice and there is little the patient can do about it.

 

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/how-catholic-bishops-are-shaping-health-care-in-rural-america/

 

A key paragraph:

"It’s difficult to know what services are and are not available at each of these facilities because interpretation of Catholic doctrine is done locally by individual bishops and decisions are often made on a case-by-case basis. But abortion, birth control, vasectomies, tubal ligations, some types of end-of-life care, emergency contraception and procedures related to gender transition can all be off-limits if your local hospital happens to be Catholic."

 

And a troubling one:

The number of hospitals following Catholic doctrine has grown all over the country, not just in rural areas. Best estimates suggest that one in six hospital beds and many of the nation’s largest nonprofit health systems are Catholic-owned or -affiliated. From 2001 to 2016, the number of Catholic-affiliated hospitals in the U.S. grew by 22 percent, even as the total number of hospitals in the U.S. shrunk, according to research by MergerWatch and the American Civil Liberties Union. And the changes vary by region. In Washington state, more than 40 percent of hospital beds are in Catholic institutions. In several Midwestern states, more than 30 percent of beds are in Catholic hospitals.

 

 

 

 

 

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Being from a rural area myself, with only one hospital to serve the entire county, I do worry about this sort of thing.  I don't think I'm in danger, as we're part of a regional health care system, but with all the religious nutcases around here I don't think it matters.  I just hope I can move somewhere sane before something catastrophic happens.

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