Caritas Hospitals Will Still Follow Catholic Teachings Under Private Ownership

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Caritas Christi Health Care has officially filed papers seeking state approval to sell the Catholic hospital group to a private equity firm, and the health care network says it will continue to follow Catholic teachings under private ownership.

The sale agreement says if Caritas is bought by Cerberus Management, the hospitals will still follow religious and ethical guidelines outlined by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Those include strict limits on abortions and vasectomies, and prohibit many types of fertility treatments.

"What this agreement does is it maintains the longstanding Catholic tradition of the Caritas Christi hospitals," said Christopher Murphy, a Caritas spokesman. "The care people receive in the hospitals and our commitment to the community and all of those things that are relevant to the ethical and religions directives won't change."

Murphy said final approval of the sale will come from the attorney general's office, the Department of Public Health, and the Boston Archdiocese. A series of community hearings on the proposed sale will be held in coming months.

Caritas announced its plan to be acquired by Cerberus in March, and Cerberus has said it has no plans for either layoffs or cuts in wages or benefits.

The six-hospital Caritas network comprises St. Elizabeth's Medical Center in Brighton, Carney Hospital in Dorchester, Good Samaritan Medical Center in Brockton, Norwood Hospital, St. Anne's Hospital in Fall River and Holy Family Hospital in Methuen.

This program aired on May 6, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

Sacha Pfeiffer Twitter Host, All Things Considered
Sacha Pfeiffer was formerly the host of WBUR's All Things Considered.