Catholic hospital chain cuts official church ties 

A major Catholic hospital chain has severed its official ties with the Roman Catholic Church as it seeks to maintain an unusual business model that includes both Catholic and non-Catholic hospitals.

Catholic Healthcare West said Monday that it also was changing its name to Dignity Health as a part of the overhaul.

The San Francisco-based not-for-profit is seeking to expand beyond its base in California, Nevada and Arizona and wants to signal to potential partners that it is not exclusively a Catholic organization.

At the same time, the chain said its 25 Catholic hospitals would continue to follow the Vatican's official healthcare guidelines, which include restrictions on abortion and birth control.

Its 15 non-Catholic hospitals will continue to follow the chain's "Statement of Common Values," which also limit abortion and fertility treatments.

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