Midwest Catholic hospital system says it will cease discrimination against WHITE patients when offering COVID monoclonal antibody treatment

After conservative law firm threatened to sue

Image Credits: Naeblys / Getty Images.

A Catholic hospital chain in the Midwest has axed a policy which gave white patients lower priority for potentially life-saving COVID treatment after a conservative law firm threatened legal action.

SSM Health, based in St Louis, Missouri, runs 23 hospitals across Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma and Wisconsin, announced the climbdown Friday, hours after the legal warning was filed. 

On Friday, attorneys for the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty wrote to the hospital, asking that they end the ranking system used to determine which patients get priority for monoclonal antibodies – a popular method for reducing the risk of severe COVID symptoms.

The letter cited a December 31 email to physicians by SSM Health, which referenced a risk scoring calculator in which non-white patients received a seven-point head start out of 20 total, when judging whether to administer the antibodies.

‘For example, a 50-year-old white female (15 points) suffering from obesity (1 point), asthma (1 point), and hypertension (1 point) would not be eligible for mAbs because she does not receive the 20-point minimum score under the calculator,’ the letter stated. 

‘On the other hand, an otherwise healthy 50-year-old African-American female (22 points), without any of these health risks, would be eligible.’ 

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