The Growth of Catholic Hospitals, By the Numbers

ProPublica Staff

United States (ProPublica) – by Nina Martin

The past few years have been a period of unprecedented turmoil for the hospital industry. Now, a new report confirms that Catholic hospitals are emerging as one of the few clear winners – and the study adds its voice to a growing chorus of warnings about how church doctrine could affect women’s reproductive health care.

The report is by MergerWatch, a New York-based nonprofit that tracks hospital consolidations, and the American Civil Liberties Union. It traces the growth of Catholic hospitals across the U.S. from 2001 to 2011, the most recent year for which complete data is available. It focuses on full-service, acute-care hospitals with emergency rooms and maternity units -settings in which Catholic religious teachings are most likely to come into conflict with otherwise accepted standards of reproductive care.

The report’s major finding is illustrated in the chart below: At a time when other types of nonprofit hospitals have been disappearing, the number of Catholic-sponsored hospitals has jumped 16 percent. Over the last decade, only for-profit hospitals have fared better. The gains by Catholic providers are especially striking considering the sharp decline in the number of other religious-owned hospitals during the same period.

– Provided by ProPublica.org

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