Kathleen M Boozang
The market changes sweeping the U.S. health care industry have a distinctive impact on communities that rely on religiously affiliated health care providers. When a sectarian sponsor subsumes multiple providers, its assertion of religious beliefs can preclude the provision of certain health care services to the entire community. In addition, the sectarian provider’s refusal to offer certain services may violate state certificates of need, licensing, Medicaid managed care, or even professional liability law. This situation challenges both the provider and the state: the provider seeks adherence to religious law, and the state seeks compliance with its law and citizens access to health care.
I propose that the state attempt to ameliorate tensions between civil and religious laws through negotiated accommodation. This concept encourages the sectarian institution to reassess its mission in the current market and to identify alternative avenues of health care delivery that will preserve patients’ access to care without excessively diluting religious identity or beliefs.
Boozang KM. Developing Public Policy for Sectarian Providers: Accommodating Religious Beliefs and Obtaining Access to Care. J Law Med Ethics. 1996;24(2):90-98.