19 July 2018 | On July 17, the Tulare Regional Medical Center board of directors faced questions regarding the role of the Adventist faith in medical services as it considered an administration agreement with Adventist Health. The agreement would mean that Adventist Health would take over administration of the Tulare, California-based facility.

“Your actions can not favor one religion over another, and they can not favor religion over non-religion,” said concerned citizen Barry Caplan, addressing the board regarding concerns about how hospital services would be administered after a potential takeover.

Caplan said that he was concerned about the “Christ-centered services” that Adventist Health executives said they would provide.

According to the Visalia Times Delta, Caplan wanted to know how this philosophy would affect issuespm like end-of-life, women’s health care, birth control, LGBT patient care, mental health and social services.

Caplan said that prayer-based meetings should be forbidden because the facility is still a public agency.

He also mentioned financial matters:

“My request is this: before you act on any of the lease-related matters, that you hear from your counsel about their assessment of them … risks in entering into a contract that is mutually beneficial with an entity that is plainly going to operate as a church or otherwise provide non-secular services.”

Board President Kevin Northcraft responded that though the hospital would be administered by Adventist health, services would remain the same.

According to the Visalia Times Delta, Randy Todd, Adventist Health business development vice president, said religion and faith did not figure into how Adventist Health provides medical services. Todd says that Adventist Health simply has a religious foundation.

“We don’t turn people away because they don’t share the faith we have,” he said. “It doesn’t change the services we provide to people who come to our facility.”

A final board vote is expected to take place in August before Adventist Health is allowed to take over the Tulare facility’s administration.

Adventist Health will offer technical assistance to re-open the facility and extend a $10 million line of credit this year.

Adventist Health runs 20 hospitals and over 280 clinics on the West Coast and in Hawaii. It also operates home care and hospice agencies. According to the Sacramento Business Journal, it is the third-largest private company in the Sacramento region with $3.95 billion in 2016 revenue. The system is affiliated with the Adventist Church.

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