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Catholic healthcare mergers with hospitals have mixed track record

Courier-Journal, August 1, 2011

In Troy, NY, a secular healthcare system now in the process of merging with two Catholic institutions devised a way to keep providing sterilizations banned by Catholic doctrine -- creating a hospital within a hospital. But earlier this year, a similar merger plan fell apart in Sierra Vista, AZ, where doctors were instructed to follow Catholic rules in preparation for the merger and some balked at denying certain services to women – -- including a pregnant patient who had miscarried one twin and was losing the other, yet was sent nearly 80 miles away for a medical procedure to complete the miscarriage. As Louisville's University Hospital prepares for an impending merger that would require the public hospital to follow Catholic doctrine, The Courier-Journal has found that similar secular-Catholic hospital unions have had mixed success -- with some doctors saying they haven't had problems or have found creative solutions, while others complain they were forced to deny needed care.