Prov­i­dence agrees to lift Catholic re­stric­tions at clinic

Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS - —Har­ris Meyer

Re­spond­ing to pres­sure from the Amer­i­can Civil Lib­er­ties Union, Prov­i­dence Health & Ser­vices, Ren­ton, Wash., has agreed to mod­ify pro­vi­sions of its part­ner­ship agree­ment with Wash­ing­ton State Univer­sity and lift re­stric­tions on health­care ser­vices that are con­trary to Catholic re­li­gious doc­trine at a new teach­ing clinic in Spokane.

The ACLU of Wash­ing­ton had urged the WSU Board of Re­gents not to al­low Catholic re­li­gious pol­icy to limit ser­vices of­fered at the new teach­ing clinic that will be a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the pub­lic univer­sity, Catholic-af­fil­i­ated Prov­i­dence and Em­pire Health Foun­da­tion.

The ACLU asked the board to en­sure that health­care and med­i­cal train­ing at the Spokane Teach­ing Health Cen­ter not be re­stricted by re­li­gious doc­trine, or else WSU should with­draw from the part­ner­ship. The ACLU cited lan­guage in the health cen­ter’s by­laws stat­ing that the cen­ter “shall not un­der­take any ac­tiv­ity, nor shall it per­form or per­mit any med­i­cal pro­ce­dure, that of­fends the moral or eth­i­cal val­ues or di­rec­tives of Prov­i­dence, in­clud­ing but not limited to, the Eth­i­cal and Re­li­gious Di­rec­tives for Catholic Health Care Ser­vices.”

The di­rec­tives, is­sued by the U.S. Con­fer­ence of Catholic Bishops, pro­hibit con­tra­cep­tive ser­vices, tubal lig­a­tions and other ster­il­iza­tion pro­ce­dures, fer­til­ity treat­ments, ad­vance di­rec­tives con­trary to Catholic doc­trine, and physi­cian-as­sisted sui­cide, which is le­gal for ter­mi­nally ill pa­tients in Wash­ing­ton un­der that state’s Death with Dig­nity Act. Catholic poli­cies also limit clin­i­cians’ dis­cre­tion in

in­sert­ing or re­mov­ing feed­ing and hy­dra­tion tubes in se­verely ill pa­tients.

Colleen Wad­den, a spokes­woman for Prov­i­dence, said the scope of ser­vices pro­vided at the cen­ter will not be limited by the Catholic di­rec­tives. The new cen­ter “is a sec­u­lar (non­re­li­gious) or­ga­ni­za­tion and is not bound by the Eth­i­cal and Re­li­gious Di­rec­tives,” she said.

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