Joshua Stickney, Equality California
Phone: 405-315-4151 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Elliott Kozuch, NARAL Pro-Choice California
Phone: 202-486-3789 Email: email@example.com
WHEN: Wednesday, June 23rd at 9:30 AM PT
WHERE: Livestream on the UC Regents website
WHO: UC Regents will review policy on restrictive contracts that require UC medical providers and students to deny essential health care to their patients. UC students and faculty and UC Health staff, along with representatives from NARAL California, Equality California, and the ACLUs in California will urge UC to uphold California values and draw a firm line: No contracts that permit discriminatory, nonmedical restrictions on UC health care. These organizations will carry with them the comments of thousands of concerned Californians.
WHY: UC Health is the fourth-largest medical care provider in the state, and trains more than half of California’s medical students. Millions of Californians count on UC Health hospitals and clinics to provide high-quality, evidence-based care. As a public institution that receives billions in state funding, UC has a duty to provide comprehensive care that is free from discrimination.
But UC Health leadership continues to defend contracts that require UC medical providers and students to provide discriminatory, substandard care to their patients. Under these contracts, UC Health providers working in non-UC hospitals are unable to provide essential reproductive and LGBTQ-inclusive care, including abortion care, miscarriage management, treatment for ectopic pregnancies, tubal ligation, contraception, and gender-affirming care. These are life-saving treatments, yet every single UC Health center has contracts that impose harmful non-medical restrictions on care. UC practitioners, students, and advocates for inclusive health care have been urging the UC Regents to correct these contracts since discovering them in 2019, but the Regents have failed to take corrective action. This contracting process has been done behind closed doors, with limited public information on the impact of these contracts on basic preventative care and urgent care. The University of California (UC) is a public university system that receives a significant amount of public funds ($9 billion in 2020-2021) from California’s state budget to conduct its mission and is required by the California Constitution to be independent from sectarian influence.
Senator Scott Weiner introduced SB 379 earlier this legislative session to ensure UC Health contracts allow UC staff to provide the full range of appropriate care. That bill will be revisited in the 2022 legislative session, but in the meantime the UC Regents have the opportunity to end restrictive care now. Anything short of this will signal to members of the California legislature that UC Health is unable to sufficiently adhere to California statute and provide essential, Medi-Cal covered services that are free from discrimination, which will thereby necessitate the continued pursuit of SB 379.
Over 85 national and state health equality, reproductive right and LGBTQ+ civil rights groups, the California Democratic Party, and leading California policymakers in Congress and the California Legislature are urging the University of California to end harmful restrictions now. Organizations supporting this call-to-action include: Human Rights Campaign; Black Women for Wellness; Ella Baker Center for Human Rights; Equal Rights Advocates; Health Access California; Voices for Progress; Western Center on Law & Poverty.
NOTE TO MEDIA: Spokespeople — including UC providers, trainees, students and reproductive freedom and LGBTQ+ equality advocates — are available for interviews and background related to this vote. Please reach out to any of the above media contacts.