Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Updated Conscience Rights in Health Care

Lilly Hummel

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) finalized regulations updating conscience requirements affecting recipients of federal funds, including Medicaid and Medicare dollars. Specific to long term and post acute care providers, this rule affects conscience protections related: to assisted suicide and related counseling; performance of advanced directives; specified programs such as hearing screening, occupational illness testing, vaccination, and mental health treatment; and religious nonmedical health care providers and their patients from certain requirements under Medicare and Medicaid that may burden their exercise of their religious beliefs regarding medical treatment. Providers are encouraged to consult with legal counsel to determine the applicability of the rule to their organization and any new policies or actions required. The rule will go into effect in approximately 60 days.

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