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Arkansas Healthcare Freedom of Conscience Act (HB 1628)

This law was last updated on Oct 25, 2017


This law is Anti–Choice Anti–LGBTQ

State

Arkansas

Number

HB 1628

Status

Failed to Pass

Proposed

Feb 21, 2017

Topics

Anti-Transgender, Conscience and Refusal Clauses, LGBTQ, Religious Freedom, Restrictions on Funding for Hormone Therapy and Gender Reassignment Surgery

Full Bill Text

www.arkleg.state.ar.us

HB 1628 would allow health-care providers and institutions to refuse to participate in a health-care service that violates the conscience of the provider or institution. The bill would also allow health-care payers to to decline to pay for a health-care service that violates the conscience of the health-care payer.

The bill defines “healthcare services” to mean a phase of patient medical care, treatment, or procedure, including:

  • Patient referral;
  • Counseling;
  • Therapy;
  • Testing;
  • Research;
  • Instruction;
  • Prescribing, dispensing, or administering of any drug, medication, or device;
  • Surgery; or
  • Other care of treatment provided by a health-care provider or institution.

Providers

The bill would grant a health-provider the right to not participate in a health-care service that violates his or her conscience. Such provider would not be required to participate in a health-care service that violates his or her conscience.

The bill prohibits a provider from being held civilly, criminally, or administratively liable for declining to participate in a healthcare service that violates his or her conscience.

The bill would prohibit a person, public institution, private institution, or public official from discriminating against a health-care provider in any manner based upon declining to provide or participate in such services.

However, the bill does not prohibit an employer or potential employer of a health-care provider from designating the participation in a health-care service as a fundamental requirement for a position by providing a written certification that the health-care service is directly related and essential to a core purpose of the employer.

Institutions

The bill would grant a health-care institution the right to not participate in a health-care service that violates the conscience of the healthcare institution. Such institution would not be required to participate in a health-care service that violates the conscience of the health-care institution.

The bill prohibits an institution from being held civilly, criminally, or administratively liable for declining to participate in a health-care service that violates the conscience of the health-care institution.

The bill would prohibit a person, public institution, private institution, or public official from discriminating against a health-care institution in any manner based upon declining to provide or participate in such services.

The bill would prohibit a person, public institution, private institution, or public official from denying any form of aid, assistance, grant, or benefit in any manner to coerce, disqualify, or discriminate against a health-care institution in any manner based upon declining to provide or participate in such services.

A health-care institution would be required to promptly inform the patient or an individual authorized to make health-care decisions for the patient that the health-care institution will not provide such services for reasons of conscience.

If a request for transfer is made by the patient, the institution would be required to make all reasonable efforts to assist in a prompt transfer of the patient and provide continuing care to the patient until a transfer can be made. If a transfer cannot be made, the health-care institution would not be compelled to provide or participate in a health-care service that violates the conscience of the health-care institution.

Payers

The bill would grant a health-care payer the right to decline to pay for a health-care service that violates the conscience of the health-care payer.

The bill would prohibit a payer from being required to pay or arrange for payment of a health-care service that violates the conscience of the health-care payer.

The bill would prohibit a payer from being held civilly, criminally, or administratively liable for declining to pay or arrange for payment of such services.

The bill would prohibit a person, public institution, private institution, or public official from discriminating against a health-care payer in any manner based upon declining to pay or arrange for payment of such services.

A health-care payer would be required to file its conscience policies annually with the State Insurance Department. The filing should include:

  • A comprehensive list by billing code of any and all products, services, and procedures that the health-care payer shall not make payment for reasons of conscience; and
  • Other relevant information that may be required by rule of the department.

A copy of the filing would need to be provided annually to each beneficiary of the health-care payer and made available to the general public by posting the information on the website of the health-care payer.

The bill would prohibit a payer from using a conscience objection to refuse to contract with a health-care provider, health-care institution, or beneficiary; or refuse or reduce payments to such entities.

Life-Sustaining Treatment

The bill states that it does not “condone, authorize, or approve withholding appropriate provision of healthcare services or life-sustaining treatment to patients.”

Civil Remedies

The bill provides for civil action for damages or injunctive relief, or both, to be brought for a violation of this provision.

Related Legislation

Based on model legislation drafted by Americans United for Life (AUL).


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