Biss05312016Legislation designed to ensure patients receive information about their options when health care providers decline to treat them on religious grounds will go to Gov. Bruce Rauner for his signature.

The legislation, Senate Bill 1564, is an update to Illinois’ Health Care Right of Conscience law, which allows doctors, nurses, hospitals and others to refuse to offer certain types of health care and referrals if the treatment violates their religious beliefs.

However, some patients in need of emergency medical treatment have been caught unaware by medical providers’ refusal to treat them and by their objections to offer referrals to other providers for needed treatment.

Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston), who sponsored the legislation, said his proposal encourages more transparency in the patient-doctor relationship by requiring providers to establish written protocols for offering information about available treatment options and how to access them.

“Under current state law – which is among the broadest in the nation – health care providers are able to withhold vital information from patients that could mean the difference between life and death, all because of personal objections,” Biss said. “This legislation restores some balance to that patient-doctor relationship.”

Senate Bill 1564 was approved Wednesday in the Illinois House. The Senate initially approved it in April 2015.

“Medical providers should have the right to refuse to offer treatments that are inconsistent with their faith, but we must make sure patients are able to get the information they need to access those services and make informed decisions about their care,” Biss said. “This modest change in the law offers protection to both parties in the involved in the health care transaction.”

Category: News

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