Posted BY: | NwoReport

The Biden administration announced on May 5 that it is stepping back from a previous decision demanding that a Catholic hospital in Oklahoma remove a lit candle from its chapel—a practice and observance sacred to Catholics—or lose its ability to accept Medicare, Medicaid, or Children’s Health (CHIP) patients.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), a division of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), had ruled in April that the candle, which has burned continuously for 15 years at Saint Francis Hospital South in Tulsa, was a safety hazard—even though a local fire marshal cleared the candle and CMS permitted other flames, including pilot lights, in the hospital.

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CMS said its decision was based on the findings of an independent group, The Joint Commission, which reviews hospitals to determine if they meet the standards necessary to be accredited to receive Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP patients.

The 12th largest U.S. healthcare network, Saint Francis Health System is the Catholic owner and operator of Saint Francis Hospital South, eight other hospitals, and 110 clinics in Oklahoma. Saint Francis appealed the CMS decree and sought reasonable accommodation.

CMS denied Saint Francis’ request in a letter dated April 20.

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