By Katie Hafner
One in six hospital patients in the United States is now treated in a Catholic facility, according to the Catholic Health Association, a membership organization that includes 90 percent of the Catholic hospitals in the United States. In a 2016 report, MergerWatch, a nonprofit group in New York that tracks hospital consolidation, found that in 10 states, 30 percent or more of the acute-care hospital beds were under Catholic ownership, or in a hospital affiliated with a Catholic health care system. In a growing number of rural areas, a Catholic hospital is the sole provider of acute care.
Most facilities provide little or no information up front about procedures they won’t perform. The New York Times analyzed 652 websites of Catholic hospitals in the United States, using a list maintained by the Catholic Health Association. On nearly two-thirds of them, it took more than three clicks from the home page to determine that the hospital was Catholic.