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HHS Clarifies Guidance on Abortion Services Following Biden’s Executive Order

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Published On: July 15, 2022

Editor’s Note: As this story continues to unfold, we will update our content to reflect. At the time of publication, this was the latest news available.   Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced clarifying guidance in the wake of President Biden’s executive order on reproductive health issued on July 8, 2022. 

In that executive order, which was issued in light of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the Biden Administration sought to protect access to reproductive healthcare services by instituting the following: 


  • Safeguarding access to reproductive healthcare services, including abortion and contraception   

  • Protecting the privacy of patients and their access to accurate information   

  • Promoting the safety and security of patients, providers, and clinics   

  • Coordinating the implementation of Federal efforts to protect reproductive rights and access to healthcare   

In a letter to healthcare providers issued on July 11, 2022, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra clarified guidance surrounding the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) and protections for medical care via the law. 

In that letter, Becerra wrote:  

“The EMTALA statute requires that all patients receive an appropriate medical screening examination, stabilizing treatment, and transfer, if necessary, irrespective of any state laws or mandates that apply to specific procedures. It is critical that providers know that a physician or other qualified medical personnel’s professional and legal duty to provide stabilizing medical treatment to a patient who presents to the emergency department and is found to have an emergency medical condition preempts any directly conflicting state law or mandate that might otherwise prohibit such treatment.” 

What’s more, HHS noted that it would fine hospitals and block payments from Medicare and Medicaid if physicians or hospitals did not comply. According to a report from Bloomberg, violation fines could range from $60,000 to $120,000.  

To learn more about the complications in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, tune in to a recent episode of “This Week in Benefits” where Mployer Advisor spoke with Lisa Nelson–the Vice President of Employee Benefits, Compliance & Regulatory Affairs for the Leavitt Group–to discuss what employers should consider in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. 

Looking for more exclusive content? Check out what’s trending on the Mployer Advisor blog.  

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Abbey Dean

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