D.C.-area Catholic Hospitals Seek to End Discrimination for Gay Patients

Two Catholic health systems participated in a campaign to end LGBT discrimination in healthcare.

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Two Catholic health systems say they won't tolerate discrimination against gay patients and their families, according to a report released Thursday.

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital in Washington D.C. and Bon Secours Health System in Marriottsville, Md., – both Catholic healthcare facilities – were commended in the "Healthcare Equality Index 2013," which was published by the Human Rights Campaign, the largest gay rights group in America.

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"Religiously affiliated institutions say... 'I get that this is about health care, and that it's not about politics or morality or religion'," says HRC Health and Aging Director Shane Snowdon. "Next year, to make a fearless prediction, I think we're going to see a lot more."

Washington Adventist Hospital, a healthcare provider in Takoma Park, Md., established by the Seventh-day Adventist church, was also named in the report.

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Both the Catholic and Seventh-day Adventist faiths teach that homosexuality is a violation of natural law or of God's commandments.

The HRC report measures hospitals on four criteria: patient non-discrimination, a visitation policy that includes same-sex spouses and partners, employment non-discrimination and a staff training on LGBT patient-centered care that includes five senior hospital administrators.

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This year, a record 718 hospitals in all 50 states met those criteria.

In a release, Bon Secours Health System, which is sponsored by Bon Secours Catholic Ministries, said it was "very proud" to be recognized in the report.

Peggy Moseley, a spokeswoman for Bons Secours, said the health system's "tradition is to honor the inherent dignity of each person, and to demonstrate respect for all."

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