Model “Patient’s Right to Know Act”
Summary: Reconciling patients’ rights to know all their health care options with the desire of
some health care providers to not provide certain care based on religious or philosophical beliefs.
This model act balances the religious liberty of health care providers with the basic health care
rights of their patients. This act requires that any health care provider who uses religious beliefs
to determine patient care instead of standard medical guidelines and practices, subsequently
resulting in any health care options being omitted or favored based on these religious beliefs, to
inform patients in writing of health care services that are not available to the patients through this
particular provider; patients must provide signed consent acknowledging they have received this
information. Additionally, this act requires health care providers who use religious beliefs to
determine patient care to inform health insurance companies of specific health care options that
are not provided; health insurance companies will share that information with their enrollees and
Section 1. (Title) This Act may be cited as the “Patient’s Right to Know Act”.
Section 2. (Definitions)
1. The term “clinical privileges” includes privileges, membership on the medical staff, and
the other circumstances pertaining to the furnishing of medical care under which a
physician or other licensed health care practitioner is permitted to furnish such care by a
health care entity.
2. The term “health care entity” means—
a. A hospital that is licensed to provide health care services by the State in which it
b. An entity that provides health care services and that follows a formal peer review
process for the purpose of furthering quality health care.
c. A licensed health care practitioner such as a doctor, physician, nurse, nurse
practitioner, or other practitioner licensed to provide health care services by the
State in which the practitioner is located.
3. The term “health care services” means inpatient hospital services, inpatient critical access
hospital services, or extended care services; outpatient nursing services, outpatient
diagnostic or therapeutic items or services, outpatient surgical or medical services, with a
physician who has clinical privileges; any services provided by a physician or licensed
health care practitioner; or privateduty
nursing or other privateduty
4. The term “hospital” means an entity that is primarily engaged in providing, by or under
the supervision of physicians, inpatient diagnostic services and therapeutic services for
medical diagnosis, treatment, and care of injured, disabled, or sick persons, or
rehabilitation services for the rehabilitation of injured, disabled, or sick persons;
maintains clinical records on all patients; and has bylaws in effect with respect to its staff
5. The terms “licensed health care practitioner” and “practitioner” mean, with respect to a
State, an individual (other than a physician) who is licensed or otherwise authorized by
the State to provide health care services.
6. The term “physician” means a doctor of medicine or osteopathy or a doctor of dental
surgery or medical dentistry legally authorized to practice medicine and surgery or
dentistry by a State (or any individual who, without authority holds himself or herself out
to be so authorized).
7. The term “State” means the 50 States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin
Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands.
8. The term “religious beliefs” means any set of philosophical or religious beliefs,
guidelines, decrees, directives, or other instructions determining patient care that is not
based on legal, peerreviewed,
or scientifically accepted standards of health care, and
may be imposed on health care entities through employment or clinical privileges.
Section 3. Not later than 12 months after the effective date of this Act, a health care entity which
does not provide certain health care services based on the religious beliefs of the entity shall
adopt a policy that provides a complete list of health care services that will not be provided to
patients of the health care entity, based on the entity’s religious beliefs. Prior to initiation of
treatment or in the case of an emergency as soon as the patient is able or patient’s representative
is available, the health care entity which adopted such a policy shall provide a written notice to
every patient that includes the list of services that will not be provided by the entity based on the
entity’s religious beliefs and requires the patient or patient’s representative to acknowledge
receipt of the notice and the list of services that will not be provided.
Section 4. Not later than 12 months after the effective date of this Act, health care entities shall
provide a complete list of any health care services the health care entity will not provide based
on religious beliefs to all group health plan providers and health insurance issuers offering group
or individual health insurance coverage from whom the health care entity seeks and accepts
payments.h. The health care entities shall prominently list on the entities’ websites the health
care services that will not be provided to patients based on the entities’ religious beliefs and shall
provide the list of health care services not provided based on the entities’ religious beliefs upon
request to any person.
Section 5. Not later than 18 months after the effective date of this Act, group health plan
providers and health insurance issuers offering group or individual health insurance coverage
shall provide enrollees with a list of any health care entitieswithin their network of health care
providers that do not provide certain health care services based on religious beliefs and provide a
list of health care services that will not be provided by each health care entity listed. Such
information shall also be available on the providers’ and issuers’ websites.
Section 6. Not later than 12 months after the effective date of this Act, a health care entity that
does not provide health care services based on religious beliefs shall inform any State or Federal
agency that licenses the health care entity of all health care services that are not provided. State
and Federal agencies that enroll or otherwise oversee the application of health care entities into
state or federal health care reimbursement programs shall amend the application process to
include a requirement that health care entities disclose any health care services the entity does
not provide based on the entity’s religious beliefs.
Section 7. Health care entities shall provide information about health care services that are not
provided by the health care entities based on religious beliefs when applying for any State or
Federal grant related to providing any kind of health care services.
Written by Amanda Knief, Esq., August 2015.