According to reports, a newly created division of the Department of Health and Human Service’s Office for Civil Rights will oversee and protect health care workers who decline to partake in certain medical procedures for patients due to moral or religious objections. HHS’ Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a proposed rule on “protecting life” and “conscience rights” that will further protect health-care providers who think they are being punished or discriminated against because of their moral or religious beliefs. Brought on by President Trump’s “Pro-Life” mission, HHS is utilizing actions that will roll back key health-care policies of the Obama administration. According to HHS press release:
The rule will Enforce 25 existing statutory conscience protections for Americans involved in HHS-funded programs, which protect people from being coerced into participating in activities that violate their consciences, such as abortion, sterilization, or assisted suicide.
In the HHS document “Protecting Statutory Conscience Rights in Health Care; Delegations of Authority” HHS states: The Department proposes to revise regulations previously promulgated to ensure that persons or entities are not subjected to certain practices or policies that violate conscience, coerce, or discriminate, in violation of such Federal laws. Through this rulemaking, the Department proposes to grant overall responsibility to its Office for Civil Rights (OCR) for ensuring that the Department, its components, HHS programs and activities, and those who participate in HHS programs or activities comply with Federal laws protecting the rights of conscience and prohibiting associated discriminatory policies and practices in such programs and activities.
The new State Medicaid Directors Letter is here: https://www.medicaid.gov/federal-policy-guidance/downloads/smd18003.pdf – PDF
The conscience regulation can be found in the Federal Register here: https://www.federalregister.gov/public-inspection/2018/01/19