As the University of California’s health system renews contracts with hundreds of outside hospitals and clinics — many with religious affiliations — some of its doctors and faculty want stronger language to ensure that physicians can perform the treatments they deem appropriate, including abortions for women or hysterectomies for transgender patients.
University of California Health is in the middle of a two-year process to renew contracts with affiliate hospitals and clinics that help the university deliver care in underserved parts of the state. Many of the agreements are with faith-based facilities, including prominent hospitals operated by Dignity Health, Providence, or Adventist Health. Such arrangements generate more than $20 million a year for the UC system and help the public university approach its goal of improving public health.
The current policy, adopted in 2021, states that UC physicians have the freedom to advise, refer, prescribe, or provide emergency care, covering cases in which moving a patient “would risk material deterioration to the patient’s condition.” But some UC doctors and faculty worry that physicians would be allowed to perform certain surgeries only in an emergency.
They want to add a clause stating that physicians have the right to perform procedures in a manner they deem advisable or necessary without w …