Pacific Medical Centers said Monday it plans to team with Providence Health and Services, the latest example of health care providers aligning with religious organizations.
The partners have proposed a plan that would allow PacMed to stay secular.
In its first step toward making the partnership happen, Providence has created a secular organization, called Western HealthConnect.
The new organization allows physicians and staff to stay independent and not be subject to the ethical and religious directives for Catholic health services. This is the same model that allowed Swedish Health Services to stay secular when it partnered with Providence in 2011.
In recent years, such hospital partnerships with Catholic organizations have raised objections from critics like the ACLU, who worry the affiliations with religious organizations could hamper patients’ ability to get services that run counter to Catholic directives, such as abortion or end-of-life care.
PacMed and Providence are still working on an agreement. Once that’s reached, their next goal is to develop a plan for working together.