Rule Shields Health Workers Who Withhold Care Based on Beliefs
December 23, 2008
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced broad new protections for health workers who refuse to participate in care they find ethically, morally or religiously objectionable. The ruling takes effect in 30 days, just before the change in administrations. It cuts federal funding to any entity that does not accommodate those exercising their "right of conscience." Certification verifying compliance is required of more than 584,000 health care organizations by Oct. 1, 2009. Implementing the rule will cost more than $44 million.
Officials at hospitals and clinics predict the rule will cause service disruptions and force family planning and fertility clinics, for example, to hire employees even if they would refuse to provide services.
"Doctors and other health care providers should not be forced to choose between good professional standing and violating their conscience," said HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt. The regulation was championed by Concerned Women for America, the Catholic Health Association, abortion opponents, and other conservative groups.
For more information, visit http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2008/E8-30134.htm.
12.19.2008; Rob Stein
New Orleans Officials Should Ensure That "Glitch" in Ryan White Process Will Not Create "Problem" With 2009 Grants, Editorial Says
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.