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Healthcare Access

The ACLU of Washington believes that everyone should have access to lawful best care medical treatment. Yet in Washington state religious health systems, and even public hospital districts, are denying Washington residents access to important health care services. The ACLU of Washington is enforcing our state laws and fighting back against the use of religion to discriminate in order to ensure Washington residents have access to reproductive, end-of-life and LGBT related health care services, referrals and information.

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Topic Resources

News Release, Published: 
Tuesday, December 31, 2013
New Certificate of Need review requirements are a step forward in holding merging hospitals accountable, but more changes are needed.
Published: 
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
I walked through Town Hall Seattle’s doors last week for the forum on “Hospital Mergers and Religious Restrictions on Health Care” ready to work at the ACLU-WA booth. Handing out information and answering general questions. I watched as articles about mergers between secular and religious hospitals flew off the table into the hands of worried people. As more and more people flowed into the lobby, I was struck by the community’s concern about the situation. More than 400 people attended the event.
Published: 
Friday, October 25, 2013
On this coming Wednesday, October 30th from 7-9 pm the ACLU-WA and four allies are presenting an important Community Forum at Town Hall Seattle (1119 8th Ave.).  “Hospital Mergers & Religious Restrictions on Health Care” will explore how mergers of religiously affiliated and secular health care systems  can affect patient access to lawful and medically appropriate care.
Published: 
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
The health care market in Washington looks very different today than it did a few years ago, and the pace of change will only accelerate as the Affordable Care Act – aka Obamacare – is implemented. One notable phenomenon is a spate of mergers, often involving religious health care corporations taking control of secular health institutions.  Indeed, if all proposed mergers go through this year, nearly half of all hospital beds in Washington will be in religiously affiliated facilities.
News Release, Published: 
Thursday, August 22, 2013

We welcome and commend today’s Attorney General Opinion 2013-No. 3, which reaffirms that hospitals supported by taxpayer dollars have important obligations under Washington law to maintain access to services for Washington’s residents.

News Release, Published: 
Tuesday, July 2, 2013
On May 21, 2013, the ACLU of Washington and a group of concerned organizations called on Governor Jay Inslee to address the rapidly accelerating pace of religious hospital mergers in our state and their impact on patient access to lawful health care services, consistent with best medical practices and patients’ needs or interests and regardless of religious directives. In response, Governor Inslee today announced that he is issuing a directive to the Washington state Department of Health (DOH) to initiate rulemaking to modernize the Certificate of Need (CON) process, which he acknowledged "has not kept current with the changes in the health care delivery system."
Published: 
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Health care facilities open to the general public should provide access to a full range of health care services. Religious ideology should not determine what health care services are available to patients.
News Release, Published: 
Thursday, February 28, 2013

The ACLU of Washington believes that everyone in our state has the right to receive health care that is not restricted by the religious beliefs of others. As more and more hospitals merge with religiously affiliated hospitals, the ACLU is concerned that reproductive health care, end-of-life services, and services to LGBT individuals are being limited based on religious doctrine.

Published: 
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
The study of psychology and addiction behaviors has lost a true pioneer. The recent passing of Professor G. Alan Marlatt has reverberated across the addiction research and drug policy communities. As a Professor of Psychology and Director of the Addictive Behaviors Research Center at the University of Washington, Dr. Marlatt broke new ground in the areas of harm reduction, relapse prevention, and evidence based treatment techniques.

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