Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Creation of New HHS Division on Conscience and Religious Freedom

Lilly Hummel

Last week the Trump Administration announced that within the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR), a new Conscience and Religious Freedom Division has been established to "restore federal enforcement" of laws that protect the fundamental and unalienable rights of conscience and religious freedom. 
OCR is the law enforcement agency within HHS that enforces federal laws protecting civil rights in HHS. According to the agency, the creation of the new division will provide focus to more vigorously and effectively enforce existing laws protecting the rights of conscience and religious freedom.
A proposed rule is forthcoming that would give OCR more authority to protect workers and impose penalties on organizations that do not allow them to express their religious and moral objections. AHCA/NCAL will closely track new guidance and proposed rules that may impact long-term care providers.

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