California's attorney general can't approve a not-for-profit hospital sale if the deal would impose restrictions on the services that may be offered at the hospital in the future, according to a state law signed yesterday by Gov. Gray Davis. The law takes direct aim at the Catholic Church's ethical and religious directives for healthcare, which bar tubal ligations and abortions. To ease acquisitions, for-profit hospital chains have agreed in several instances to continue a hospital's religious mission, including a ban on performing abortions if the facility is Catholic. State Sen. Debra Bowen said she introduced the bill because providers should focus on patients' medical needs instead of the wishes of the previous owner. The Catholic Health Association opposed the law, arguing that it represents an unprecedented interference with property sales as well as hampers a hospital's ability to continue a historic religious mission. -- by Patrick Reilly
Calif. bans service restrictions in hospital sales
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