Maryam Guiahi, MDAssociate Professor, Ob/GynSchool of MedicineUniversity of Colorado

Catholic Hospitals Often Not Transparent About Health Care Restrictions In Their Institutions

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Maryam Guiahi, MDAssociate Professor, Ob/GynSchool of MedicineUniversity of Colorado

Dr. Guiahi

Maryam Guiahi, MD
Associate Professor, Ob/Gyn
School of Medicine
University of Colorado 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops expects providers in Catholic Health Care Facilities to follow the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, which places limits on reproductive and end-of-life care.

Prior research has demonstrated that many patients do not anticipate religious health care restrictions, yet often face conflicts in care. We were interested in whether Catholic hospitals disclose their religious affiliation and explain to patients how this affiliation may impact the care they are offered.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? 

Response: One in five hospitals did not explicitly say they were Catholic. More concerning, less than one-third explained to patients what Catholic affiliation means with respect to their health care. Without efforts towards transparency, on websites or in other ways, many patients may face unexpected restrictions to care, which compromises their ability to act as informed consumers.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: One in five hospitals did not explicitly say they were Catholic. More concerning, less than one-third explained to patients what Catholic affiliation means with respect to their health care. Without efforts towards transparency, on websites or in other ways, many patients may face unexpected restrictions to care, which compromises their ability to act as informed consumers.  

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: We need to understand how parents prefer to learn about potential religious institutional restrictions to care and the best ways to disseminate this information. In Washington State, hospitals must provide polices on reproductive and end of life care on their websites.  More research on the effect of this initiative on patient satisfaction and health care choices is warranted.     

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: Patient autonomy is a cornerstone of medical ethics.  We know that communication and transparency promote better patient outcomes and improved satisfaction.  As informed consumers make better decisions, withholding this type of information is bad medicine.  

Disclosures: The senior author’s time was supported by a junior career grant from the Society of Family Planning.  The view expressed in the article are of Dr. Maryam Guiahi and do not necessarily represent the view of the Society of Family Planning.

Citation:

Takahashi J, Cher A, Sheeder J, Teal S, Guiahi M. Disclosure of Religious Identity and Health Care Practices on Catholic Hospital Websites. JAMA. 2019;321(11):1103–1104. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.0133

Mar 24, 2019 @ 10:22 pm

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