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June 2, 2020

Around the nation: SCOTUS rejects California church's challenge to Covid-19 restrictions

Daily Briefing

    The church claimed that California's restriction on the number of people permitted to attend religious services at one time, which is intended to curb the new coronavirus' spread, is more harmful to places of worship than other businesses, in today’s bite-sized hospital and health industry news from California, Michigan, and Texas.

    • California: The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday in 5-4 decision issued Friday rejected a California church's motion to overturn Gov. Gavin Newsom's (D) social distancing measure that restricts capacity at places of worship to 25% of a facility's typical capacity or no more than 100 people. The church in the lawsuit claimed that restrictions on public gatherings, which are intended to curb the new coronavirus' spread, are more harmful to places of worship than other businesses. However, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who voted to reject the church's challenge, said, "Although California's guidelines place restrictions on places of worship, those restrictions appear consistent with the free exercise clause of the First Amendment." He added, "Similar or more severe restrictions apply to comparable secular gatherings, including lectures, concerts, movie showings, spectator sports, and theatrical performances, where large groups of people gather in close proximity for extended periods of time" (Liptak, New York Times, 5/30). 

    • Michigan: Beaumont Health will no longer move forward with a deal to acquire Summa Health, the health systems announced on Friday. Summa Health CEO Cliff Deveny said Beaumont last week informed Summa last week that it was calling off the deal, which had been slated to close in April. According to Modern Healthcare, the decision comes as Beaumont has faced significant drops in revenue amid United States' new coronavirus epidemic. The deal would have created a $6.1 billion, 12-hospital system (Kacik/Bannow, Modern Healthcare, 5/29). 

    • Texas: CVS Health and vehicle delivery company Nuro on Thursday announced they will test a driverless prescription delivery service in the Houston area starting this month. As part of the service, unmanned vehicles will drop off prescriptions and other essential products to customers at no additional charge. CVS said the new home delivery service could help provide essential items to customers who are unable to visit stores due to the coronavirus epidemic (Baertlein, Reuters, 5/28; AP/Modern Healthcare, 5/29).

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