Thursday, February 23, 2017

SB 1439 – Prohibition on Discrimination Against Health Care Entities

Introduced by Arizona Senator Nancy Barto (R) District 15, SB 1439 protects health care entities, which includes physicians and other health care workers, from discrimination if they choose not to participate in medical treatments or procedures that could end a patient’s life.  Proponents of the bill feel health care providers should be free to opt out of these treatments based on their beliefs without adverse consequences.  Opponents of the bill feel a person should be allowed to make end of life decisions when faced with a terminal illness, and that health care directives should be followed by health care entities.  Pursuant to SB 1439, “discriminate” means taking or threatening any adverse action including, but not limited to, termination of employment, transfer or demotion from current position, and adverse administrative action.     

Arizona law already provides health care providers protection from criminal or civil liability for declining to follow an advanced directive or the decisions of a surrogate decision maker (A.R.S. § 36-3205(C)), as well as disallows the revocation, denial, or suspension of the professional license of a health care provider for acting according to their religious beliefs.  (A.R.S. § 41-1493.04.)  SB 1439 would provide further protection for health care entities by ensuring they are not retaliated against in less overt ways for following their conscience when treating patients.

SB 1439 also creates a civil cause of action for health care entities who have been discriminated against.   

You can read the text of SB 1439 at the following link. 

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