Arkansas Medical Conscience Protection Act (HB 1289)
This law was last updated on Sep 12, 2019
HB 1289 would allow health-care practitioners and institutions to refuse to participate in a health-care service that violates the conscience of the practitioner 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;
- Diagnosis or prognosis;
- Prescribing, dispensing, or administering of any drug, medication, or device;
- Surgery; and
- Other care of treatment provided by a health-care provider or institution.
The bill would prohibit a health-care practitioner, health-care institution, or a health-care payer 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 an individual, health-care practitioner, health institution, public institution, private institution, or public official and others from discriminating against a health-care practitioner, institution, or payer in any manner based upon their refusal to participate or pay for a health-care service.
The bill clarifies that the right of conscience would not include the right to deny emergency medical care.
The bill would require health-care institutions or employers to post a notice entitled “Right of Conscience for Healthcare Practitioners, Students, and Employees,” in a location in which personnel can see the notice. The institution or employer would need to make sure that each member of personnel, student, or employee is informed of his or her right of conscience with respect to the delivery of health care services upon the start of employment or service. An individual or entity that fails to do so would be subject to a civil fine of up to $10,000 per incident.
Similar to HB 1628, which failed to pass in 2017.
1/29/19 – Introduced; referred to Committee on Public Transportation.