DENVER (AP) – Colorado Republicans said no Wednesday to a Democratic idea to require hospitals to do more to tell patients what services they won’t provide.
Some in the GOP saw the measure as an attempt to single out religious health providers that won’t perform abortions or other reproductive services on moral grounds.
The sponsor of the bill, Democratic Rep. Crisanta Duran, of Denver, suggested changing the measure to remove references to “moral beliefs” and “religious convictions” as reasons why certain services aren’t offered. But Republicans on the committee still rejected the bill, which died on a 5-4 party-line vote Wednesday.
The measure passed the Democratic-controlled Senate last month.
“This is just about making sure the needs of the people of Colorado are met when it comes to health care,” Duran said. “It’s not about infringing on anybody’s religion.”
Republicans said that people who want a service not offered are free to go to another hospital.
Supporters of the disclosures tried in vain to persuade GOP lawmakers that many more procedures than abortions are sometimes not provided on moral grounds. Witnesses talked about tubal ligation, stem-cell research and end-of-life decisions. One witness gave emotional testimony about having to move her dying mother to a hospice because a hospital wouldn’t honor her mother’s do-not-resuscitate order.
“Hospitals have a right to their own policies, but I don’t believe they have the right to spring a policy on someone when they’re most vulnerable,” Peggy Gonder testified.
However, Republicans sided with hospital groups that called the disclosure requirements unnecessary.
Janet Stephens of the Colorado Hospital Association called the requirement “a costly burden” and said the disclosures would have “no positive impact on patient safety.”
“Most hospitals have protocols in place to inform patients about procedures that are not provided,” Stephens said.
LINK: Senate Bill 93
– By Kristen Wyatt, AP Writer
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