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Trump Administration Finalizes Health-Care Discrimination Rule

May 3, 2019

By Jessica Mason Pieklo

The Trump administration on Thursday took another significant step in rolling back legal protections for LGBTQ patients, finalizing a rule that, if allowed to take effect, would allow individuals and health-care entities to refuse care to patients based on religious or moral objections.

In January, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced it was close to finalizing an expansive new conscience protection rule for health-care providers. The rule permits providers to refuse to provide treatment, referrals, or assistance with procedures if these activities would violate their stated religious or moral convictions. The rule goes beyond refusing to provide health care; it also includes refusal for any health-related services, including research activities, health studies, or the provision of health-related insurance coverage.

The final rule requires applicants for federal funding to provide assurances and certifications of compliance. The rule also specifies how individuals and health-care entities would comply with the new obligations, including cooperation with the HHS Office of Civil Rights (OCR), maintenance of records, reporting, and non-retaliation requirements.

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