Religious Beliefs Figure in Work of Health Facilities
Health facilities in California are promoting interfaith cooperation as they provide services to a diverse mix of patients.
A clinic in South Los Angeles founded by Muslim medical students provides health care services to low-income residents, the majority of whom are non-Muslim, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The UMMA clinic was founded in 1996 with an operating grant from the city. Since then, it has been funded by a combination of donations, grants, and state and county reimbursements for indigent care.
Only 2% of patients are Muslim. Among the clinic's patients:
- 70% are Hispanic;
- 25% are black; and
- The remainder are Caucasian or Asian.
Clinic staff contend that the facility is a model of interfaith cooperation.
The clinic used to have difficulty obtaining financial support from the Muslim community, which was more inclined to support services directly affecting Muslims, according to the Times. However, the Muslim community in recent years has helped raise money to keep the clinic open (Trounson, Los Angeles Times, 11/3).
The San Ramon Regional Medical Center provides a program intended to help Jehovah's Witnesses and patients who refuse blood transfusions undergo needed surgeries, the East Bay Business Times reports.
The bloodless medicine program is run by a Jehovah's Witness minister, who serves as a link between patients and the hospital, according to the Business Times.
The program, less than two years old, serves eight patients monthly and receives referrals from throughout Northern California.
Michael Nixon, the program's coordinator, said 20% of the patients are not Jehovah's Witnesses. Nixon said he always asks if patients are refusing blood for health or for religious reasons.
The program is working with the Joint Commission to develop an accreditation system for bloodless medicine.
Richard Spence, president of the Society for the Advancement of Blood Management, said there are about 20 to 30 functioning bloodless medicine programs nationwide (Hogarth, East Bay Business Times, 11/2).