Letters to the Editor: Catholic hospitals and providers do a lot for health care in the US

Rosemary Johnston
San Diego

Perhaps your letter writer is misinformed about the major impact of Catholic healthcare in the United States and around the world. And, yes, I belong to that “radical religious sect,” the Roman Catholic church, which preaches, among other countercultural practices, that we should love our enemies and care for the sick, just like Jesus did.

The Catholic church is the largest nongovernment provider of health services in the world. It has 18,000 clinics, 16,000 homes for the elderly and those with special needs, and 5,500 hospitals on virtually every continent. It is also the largest nongovernmental provider of health care in the U.S. According to a June 2022 annual report from the Catholic Healthcare Association in the United States, there are 600 Catholic hospitals and 1600 long term care and other care facilities in all 50 states.

One in seven patients in the US, more than 4.5 million last year, receive care at a Catholic hospital annually, including 500,000 babies, 94 million outpatient visits and 17 million emergency room visits. They employ almost 504,000 fulltime employees and almost 204,000 part time workers.

Ethics committees in Catholic hospitals include medical professionals, experts in healthcare ethics that are in line with Catholic beliefs, and sometimes priests. Catholic hospitals do not provide abortions, vasectomies or tubal ligations, most of which are done in outpatient care. Of course, they would provide care during and after a miscarriage, but, again, most of those occur at home. They do provide medically required hysterectomies as well as care for patients with ovarian cancer, regardless of their fertility.

I am grateful Summit County is blessed with an excellent Catholic Hospital like Saint Anthony Summit Hospital — and so are thousands of residents here. Where would our community, our country and our planet be without Catholic healthcare?

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