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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Essay 5: Are healthcare conscience laws needed?

Editor's Note: This is the fifth essay in a series on conscience in healthcare, by Freedom2Care Director Jonathan Imbody. For the other essays, click "ConscienceEssay" on Topics at left. 
Someone forwarded to me a Facebook comment about the news that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services had established a new division to address conscience and religious freedom in healthcare.
"So I just read this article and can't really even wrap my head around this. Perhaps because of my personal and professional opinion I cannot understand how this 'division' was created. I would love to hear the opinions of other professionals. I promise I am not trying to troll or create controversy, but simply attempting to understand how opting out of providing medical care or performing procedures despite the medical need/request can coexist with our professional ethics and obligations."

Friday, January 19, 2018

House passes Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act!

This morning the House passed the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (H.R. 4712), by a vote of 241-183. 235 Republican Members and 6 Democratic Members (Cartwright-PA, Cuellar-TX, Langevin-RI, Lipinski-IL, Peterson-MN, Walz-MN ) voted to support HR 4712; No Republicans and 183 Democratic Members voted against.

Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL) managed the debate on the floor; her speech and those of the other Members speaking during the debate are linked below.

Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL), opening and closing

Christian Medical Association physicians laud new federal conscience rule as protecting patient access to healthcare

Washington, DC—January 19, 2018--Today the Christian Medical Association (CMA, www.cmda.org) the nation's largest faith-based association of physicians and other health professionals, said a new proposed rule announced today by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights (HHS OCR) will help protect patient access to healthcare.
The rule will enforce 25 existing statutory conscience protections, including major pieces of legislation passed by significant bipartisan majorities over the years since the 1973 Roe V. Wade Supreme Court decision contravened the Hippocratic oath and suddenly made pro-life physicians vulnerable to discrimination and job loss for declining to participate in what suddenly became a legal procedure nationwide.
CMA CEO Dr. David Stevens noted, "There are already laws on the books, and this proposed rule will help address the injustices that those laws were designed to prevent. Our members have been discriminated against and some have even lost positions for speaking out."
CMA Vice President for Government Affairs and Director of Freedom2Care, Jonathan Imbody, explained, "Polling indicates that faith-based physicians will be forced to leave medicine if coerced into violating the faith tenets and medical ethics principles that guide their practice of medicine. These faith-based health professionals do not and cannot separate the faith principles that motivate them to help others and serve the needy from the faith principles that uphold the sanctity of human life.
"So conscience protections like the proposed rule announced today are key to not only protecting American freedoms of faith and conscience; they are also key to protecting patient access to principled healthcare."


Thursday, January 18, 2018

Reforming the federal grants process to ensure the best help to the most people

I recently enjoyed the privilege of meeting with USAID chief Mark Green (center) to discuss how the US govt. can work better with faith-based organizations, to partner with to reach the needy overseas. What's needed IMHO is wholesale reformation of a byzantine grants process that favors huge companies that have extensive financial resources--not necessarily to do the best work or to reach the most in need--but resources to hire staff who write slick grant proposals and schmooze with bureaucrats. By contrast, many faith-based ministries operate on shoestring budgets devoted to direct care rather than to financial development.
USAID under Administrator Green is addressing this challenge, and their dedication promises improvements that will extend more effective aid to more individuals. For example, a Broad Agency Announcement now allows interested organizations to submit a two-page expression of interest for grant projects.
Other practical suggestions for reform include:
  1. Provide training for faith-based organizations by government officials and faith-based grantees on how to navigate the grants process, similar to the New Partners Initiative program.
  2. Use the USAID faith-based office to review all relevant grants for faith-friendliness, and provide the office with legal expertise on religious freedom issues.
  3. Include members of the faith community on grant review panels, which injects a faith perspective into the process and also educates reviewers about the process.
  4. Take a look at the current contractors under the Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) system, which as far as I can tell has no explicitly faith-friendly contractors, and see how a large faith-based organization might participate and then be in a position to sub-grant to smaller faith-based organizations. 
The goal is not to get money to any particular organization based on size or ideology but simply to keep the doors open to those organizations capable of doing the best work for the most people.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Essay 4: "Patient autonomy" – The Trojan Horse assault on conscience freedom in healthcare

Editor's Note: This is the fourth essay in a series on conscience in healthcare, by Freedom2Care Director Jonathan Imbody. For the other essays, click "ConscienceEssay" on Topics at left. 
Just as the Declaration of Geneva's original commitment in 1948 to honor pre-born life fell to new ideology, so did the original commitment to healthcare professionals' conscience freedom.
The relevant clause in the original Declaration of Geneva read simply,
"I will practise my profession with conscience and dignity."[i]