Patients’ right to information to be protected under new law

SPRINGFIELD — A new law is designed to ensure patients receive information about their options when health-care providers decline to treat them on religious grounds, co-sponsor state Sen. Linda Holmes said.

The law updates regulations that allow doctors, nurses, hospitals and others to refuse to offer certain types of health care and referrals if the treatment violates their religious beliefs. 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.

“We are more aware now than ever just how important a patient’s access to information about all forms of treatment or medical procedures is – not just to protect them as consumers, but as the final arbiter of their own care,” said Holmes, D-Aurora. “This respects doctors’ rights while also ensuring patients are fully informed of all of their options.”

The legislation was Senate Bill 1564. It becomes effective Jan. 1, 2017.

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