Monday, July 05, 2021

Ohio Enacts Conscience Protections For Medical Personnel and Institutions

On July 1, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed Am. Sub. House Bill 110, Ohio's Budget bill. (Signing ceremony.) Included in the 2438-page bill is a provision providing conscience protections for health care practitioners, institutions and insurers (at pg. 1453- 1455, enacting ORC Sec. 4743.10). The new section reads in part:

Notwithstanding any conflicting provision of the Revised Code, a medical practitioner, health care institution, or health care payer has the freedom to decline to perform, participate in, or pay for any health care service which violates the practitioner's, institution's, or payer's conscience as informed by the moral, ethical, or religious beliefs or principles held by the practitioner, institution, or payer. Exercise of the right of conscience is limited to conscience-based objections to a particular health care service.

... When possible and when the medical practitioner is willing, the medical practitioner shall seek to transfer the patient to a colleague who will provide the requested health care service. If participation in a transfer of care for a particular health care service violates the medical practitioner's beliefs or convictions or no willing colleague is identified, the patient shall be notified and provided the opportunity to seek an alternate medical practitioner. Upon patient request, the patient's medical records shall be promptly released to the patient.

The law provides for treble damage actions and injunctive relief for medical personnel where the new conscience provisions have been violated.

Metro Weekly reports on the enactment of this provision. [Thanks to Scott Mange for the lead.]