HHS seeks guidance on how to engage, ease burden on faith-based organizations

HHS is seeking comments on ways to engage with faith-based organizations, according to a request posted last week.

The Department of Health and Human Services is looking to better understand how it should engage with religious groups on its projects. 

HHS issued a request for information (PDF) last week, seeking comment from religious organizations on how to ease barriers to participation in healthcare and to better understand the role that faith-based groups play in the system. 

"Religious and faith-based organizations ... are important partners with unique expertise that is crucial to advancing HHS’s mission of protecting and enhancing the health ... of Americans," the agency said. 

Free Daily Newsletter

Like this story? Subscribe to FierceHealthcare!

The healthcare sector remains in flux as policy, regulation, technology and trends shape the market. FierceHealthcare subscribers rely on our suite of newsletters as their must-read source for the latest news, analysis and data impacting their world. Sign up today to get healthcare news and updates delivered to your inbox and read on the go.

RELATED: Stunner on birth control—Trump's moral exemption is geared toward just two groups 

HHS wrote that because religion is central to the lives of many Americans, religious and faith-based organizations are "uniquely positioned" to provide insight on people and communities. HHS will look at policies that can ensure that faith-based groups are accommodated and not "substantially burdened" when participating in HHS programs. 

The agency will accept comments through Nov. 24. 

The request is the second action by HHS related to religious freedom in recent weeks. The department also issued a pair of rules that grant exemptions to the Affordable Care Act's contraceptive mandate for religious and moral reasons. 

RELATED: Number of Catholic hospitals in the U.S. has grown 22% since 2001 

The rules were issued jointly by HHS, the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Labor. In the rules, the agencies said that the U.S. "has a long history of providing conscience protections in the regulation of healthcare." 

As the healthcare industry's "merger-mania" continues, the number of Catholic hospitals has grown. Alongside that growth, the rates of certain contraceptive procedures have decreased, according to a recent study

Suggested Articles

Civica Rx, the non-profit drug company formed by a collection of hospitals to help control generic drug supplies and prices, is putting down roots.

ONC is moving another step closer to implementing a framework designed to improve data sharing between health information networks.

Welcome news to many health IT stakeholders: HHS announced Friday that it is extending the comment period for two proposed interoperability rules.