Here follows the text of a Feb. 14 letter signed by Catholic Bishop Richard Garcia of Monterey, California, about how the dissolution of Catholic Healthcare West how it will affect Catholic hospitals in his diocese.
My dear Brothers and Sisters:
As you probably heard, the Board of Directors of Catholic Healthcare West made the decision to change its name to Dignity Health. With this change, there appears to be some confusion as to whether Dominican Hospital will continue to be a Catholic hospital. The answer to this question is a decided, “yes.”
Under the new governance structure, all of the Catholic hospitals that were originally sponsored by a religious community will continue to be Catholic and will continue to be under the moral authority of the local bishop. In the case of Dominican Hospital, its sponsor is the Adrian Dominican Sisters. The Adrian Dominicans first came to Santa Cruz in 1941 to serve in hospital ministry. They continue to be an active part of Dominican Hospital serving in such diverse roles as vice president, chaplain, physical therapist and hospitality. Dominican Hospital will continue to be a Catholic entity and will follow the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Healthcare Services (“ERDs”) promulgated by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops as it has always done.
On the other hand, those hospitals that were not sponsored by a religious community will not be Catholic entities subject to the ERDs. Rather these hospitals commit themselves to a Statement of Common Values. Under that commitment, Dignity Health Hospitals such as French Hospital in San Luis Obispo and Arroyo Grande Community Hospital will not perform abortions. They also will not employ reproductive technologies in which conception occurs outside a woman’s body including in vitro fertilization.
Since I came to the Diocese of Monterey, I have had open and harmonious relationships with the administration of Dominican Hospital and the Sisters. In the last few weeks, I met with the President and Vice President of Dominican Hospital about the transition to Dignity Health. They assured me that Dominican Hospital will continue to be a Catholic Hospital and follow the ERDs as they have done for so many years.
I am most grateful for the witness of a Catholic hospital that serves our people with dignity and with compassionate care and that it extends itself to the greater community. I pledge to continue to maintain an ongoing and open relationship with Dominican Hospital as well as with French Hospital and Arroyo Grande Community Hospital.