New Study on Denial of Services to Patients.
An increasing number of patients are being denied certain kinds of medical care -- such as abortion or contraceptive services -- because of hospital policies based on ideological or religious beliefs, according to a report released last week by the National Health Law Program, the Los Angeles Times' "Booster Shots" reports. The report analyzed policies at hospital systems representing more than 650 medical facilities in the U.S.
Susan Berke Fogel, the lead author of the report, said, "When people go to the doctor, they should be able to expect that the care they receive meets prevailing medical standards." The report "found a disturbing number of case studies where patients ended up far worse off either because their health care providers refused care or because their hospitals prohibited the care they needed for ideological or religious reasons," she added.
According to the report, one in six U.S. residents receives care in hospitals that have some restrictions on services. The report says that the issue is usually portrayed as a moral debate between the conscience rights of health providers and patients' rights to care. However, that debate overlooks evidence-based decisions about determining the best medical practice, according to "Booster Shots" (Roan, "Booster Shots," Los Angeles Times, 5/30).