The UC Board of Regents is once again voting on the very bad idea of UC Health contracting with discriminatory religious hospitals. Urgent email! They vote on Wednesday!

We say “NO” (AGAIN!) to discrimination in UC health care, and “YES” to the high-quality, evidence-based care that all patients expect and deserve.

A mechanical voice but a good, short overview.

A little more than a year ago, we asked people to email the University of California Board of Regents, as they were planning to partner up the UC San Francisco Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading teaching hospitals, with Dignity Health, a Catholic hospital chain that uses religious directives to openly discriminate against women, disproportionately affecting women of color, LGBTQ patients, and those seeking end-of-life care, in order to help resolve a bedspace problem. We, the people who demand the separation of church and state in our health care, said “NO!,” and the Board backed off, then. But since then, the ACLU has discovered that every single UC Health center has contracts that impose harmful non-medical restrictions on care.

On Wednesday, the regents are going to vote on a policy which would allow UC Health, the university division that oversees six health centers 20 health professional schools, and the medical education more than fifty percent of our state’s doctors, to normalize the process of affiliating with Catholic or other entities with discriminatory religious restrictions, despite the fact that contracting with such organizations is in clear violation of CA’s constitution and state laws.

The Regent’s draft policy being voted on has guidelines that would prevent these affiliate hospitals from actually gagging UC professionals’ from counseling their patients and prescribing treatments they feel are in the patients’ best interest, at least for now… However, they are absolutely unable to ensure that those professionals can actually perform those treatments at these facilities, as hard experience shows that the Conference of Catholic Bishops will place their Ethical and Reigious Directives (ERDs) over doctor/patient decisions, even at the cost of human life.

Reading between the lines of Point #3 of the draft policy, the authors anticipate the bewilderment, humiliation and possible endangerment that people will face upon being denied legal health care on the grounds that what they need is considered “intrinsically evil.” This includes women seeking abortions, miscarriage treatment, contraception or sterilization, LGBTQ+ patients seeking gender-affirming surgeries and the terminally ill seeking euthanasia (legal since 2016).

Each University location contracting with healthcare organizations that have adopted policy-based restrictions on care must develop and implement a process to inform UC patients, faculty, staff, and trainees: (i) about such restrictions at sites to which they may be referred or assigned; (ii) that such referrals or assignments are voluntary; and (iii) and that information about alternative sites for care, practice, and training will be provided upon request.

The paragraph ends on how to relocate people who need such “restricted services,” resulting in a “stigma inconsistent with the history and dynamics of civil rights laws that ensure equal access to goods, services, and public accommodations.”

Each location must also develop a process to transfer patients who need restricted services to a UC or other location where the services can be provided.

It’s also a dry reminder of how dangerous their religious strictures are, as these facilities have to “relocate” women suffering from miscarriage emergencies, because the best practices to save their lives would be construed as an abortion by their ERD rules. The is modern “separate, but definitely not equal accommodation,” and we don’t accept it.

Action #1 – EMAIL the UC Board of Regents to oppose any UC-system health care affiliation with any religious, anti-choice, anti-LGBTQ hospital. 

Write them an email to tell them that this discussion of whether or not to allow this trojan horse of discrimination into our health system should be an easy “NO”. Use whatever of the attached sample script makes sense to you. Make it as personal as you can, by adding any stories how this type of discrimination could have or did affect you, family member or an acquaintance.

Sample email script:

(Put in “Subject” line): DRAFT Regents Policy on Affiliations with Healthcare Organizations that Have Adopted Policy-Based Restrictions on Care

Continue reading “The UC Board of Regents is once again voting on the very bad idea of UC Health contracting with discriminatory religious hospitals. Urgent email! They vote on Wednesday!”

Wed 5/29: Update on the unsuccessful “side door” incursion of a Catholic hospital into our UC medical system. Thanks to all who called and emailed!

We won! This time.  

(Original post from 5/15/19 hereYesterday, we got news that the University of California Board of Regents put aside 3 years of planning and abandoned their proposal for UCSF Medical Center to “expand their relationship” with Catholic-based Dignity Health. If the proposed partnership had passed, the health needs of women, LGBTQ people and the dying would placed in the crosshairs of religious directives from the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops. Resistance in the form of protests from UCSF faculty and staffers, a record 147 speakers at the Regent’s board meeting, a lawsuit threat from the ACLU and calls and letters from people like us, convinced the board to stop the process.

Action  –  Call/email Governor Newsom to stop all taxpayer-funded religiously-based discrimination by hospitals. All hospitals. Full stop.

We’ve heard a growing chorus of concern from multiple stakeholders over the last several weeks particularly in light of the passage of very severe anti-abortion legislation in many states and the stripping down of transgender anti-discrimination protections by the [Trump] administration.”- Vanessa Jacoby, an associate OB-GYN professor at UCSF, regarding the proposed “partnership”.

Minimal script: I’m calling from [zip code] and in light of the recent UCSF/Dignity Health issue, I want to know what Governor Newsom is going to do about Covered CA and other taxpayer-funder support to our 49 Catholic hospitals, one of which is a “sole community provider”. These hospitals systemically discriminate against the legal and common medical needs of women, the poor, minorities and our LGBTQ community.

Continue reading “Wed 5/29: Update on the unsuccessful “side door” incursion of a Catholic hospital into our UC medical system. Thanks to all who called and emailed!”

Wed 5/15: CA is not immune from forced-birther madness & LGBTQ discrimination. It’s just taking the “side door” into our UC medical campuses. Urgent call/email!

Action – Write an email/letter opposing any UC-system university affiliation with any religious, anti-choice, anti-LGBTQ hospital. 

The University of California regents are deciding if they should solve a bed-space issue at UC San Francisco Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading teaching hospitals, by “affiliating” with Dignity Health, a Catholic hospital chain that uses religious directives to openly discriminate against women and LGBTQ patients. If this goes through, it could be the beginning of other UC-Catholic hospital “affiliations,” spreading intolerance into our public hospitals with our own tax dollars as fuel. All the rights and values Californians are rightly proud of mean nothing if, in our most vulnerable moment as a patient, they are not respected.

The regents are meeting May 14-16. Our Governor, Lt. Governor and Assembly Speaker are voting members. This issue is NOT on the agenda but they will be voting on it soon. Call them, and write them an email or letter to tell them that this discussion of whether or not to allow this trojan horse into our health system should be an easy “NO”. Make it as personal as you can.

Minimal script: I’m calling from [zip code] and I want [__] to know that it would be unforgivable to tie UCSF Medical Center or any taxpayer-supported hospital with Dignity Health, or any other system that discriminates and harms women, the poor, minorities and our LGBTQ community.

More script if you want it: If religious hospitals refused to treat non-white people, we would shut them down. Why do we tolerate the verifiable harm these hospitals cause women and LGBTQ people?

Continue reading “Wed 5/15: CA is not immune from forced-birther madness & LGBTQ discrimination. It’s just taking the “side door” into our UC medical campuses. Urgent call/email!”