What We're Reading: Conscience Protection Rule Delay; Missouri Abortion Clinic; Oklahoma Opioid Settlement

July 1, 2019

HHS will delay the implementation of its conscience protection rule to at least November 22; Missouri's only abortion clinic can continue to provide the service through August; CMS is seeking part of Oklahma's $270 million settlement with Purdue Pharma.

HHS Delays Provider Conscience Protection Rule

The Trump administration has agreed to delay the implementation of its conscience protection rule that would allow healthcare workers to refuse to provide certain services if the service violates their religious or moral beliefs. According to The Hill, the rule, which was originally slated to be implemented July 22, will not be implemented until November 22 at the earliest. The delay is a result of an ongoing lawsuit filed in May from a coalition of Democratic-led states, which said the policy is unconstitutional.

Missouri Abortion Clinic to Remain Open

Missouri’s only abortion clinic will be able to continue providing abortions through at least August following a ruling from the Administrative Hearing Commission, which said there’s a likelihood the clinic will win the dispute. Last week, the state health department refused to renew the clinic’s license, but a judge issued a court order that allowed the clinic to continue the service through Friday. The Associated Press reported that the Administrative Hearing Commission scheduled a hearing for August 1 on whether the state was right to not renew the license.

CMS Wants Part of Oklahoma’s Deal With Purdue Pharma

Following Oklahoma’s settlement with Purdue Pharma, CMS sent a letter to the director of the Oklahoma Medicaid program arguing that the federal government is entitled to a portion of the $270 million, according to the Washington Examiner. The letter did not specify how much the agency was seeking, but it did allege that Oklahoma is in violation of the Medication Program Integrity Act. However, Oklahoma State Representative Mark McBride, R-Moore, said the funds should stay within the state’s borders.