Federal Conscience and Religious Freedom Laws help to protect you from coercion, discrimination on the basis of conscience or religion, and burdens on the free exercise of religion.
It is illegal for many healthcare entities and social service providers to discriminate against you for religious reasons and to violate your freedom of conscience or religious freedom.
Covered entities under this law include:
- State and local government agencies that are responsible for administering health care
- State and local government income assistance and human service agencies
- Medicaid and Medicare providers
- Physicians and other health care professionals in private practice with patients assisted by Medicaid
- Family health centers
- Community mental health centers
- Alcohol and drug treatment centers
- Nursing homes
- Foster care homes
- Public and private adoption and foster care agencies
- Day care centers
- Senior citizen centers
- Nutrition programs
- Any entity established under the Affordable Care Act
- Health insurance plans or companies
- Homeless shelters
- Health researchers
Note that a complaint must be filed within 180 days of the violation.
How to file a complaint yourself
If you choose to file a complaint yourself, there are several options available to you.
You can file a complaint online using the following link: https://ocrportal.hhs.gov/ocr/smartscreen/main.jsf
You will first need to answer a few preliminary questions in order to file a complaint via the complaint portal. You will be redirected to the complaint portal once you have answered the preliminary questions.
If you do not want to file a complaint online using the OCR portal, you may also file a complaint be email, fax, or mail.
1) Email: OCRComplaint@hhs.gov
Centralized Case Management Operations
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Room 509F HHH Bldg.
Washington, D.C. 20201
If you choose to file a complaint you can use our sample letter below to draft your complaint. You may also use this link, which will bring you to a complaint form:
The Office of Civil Rights has privacy and confidentiality rules in place. The name of the complainant is generally kept confidential unless it is deemed necessary. If deemed necessary, you will be asked to sign a release. If you do not want to sign a release, this may slow or stop the investigation.
Regardless of the method used, please send us a copy of your complaint so that our organization can track problems occurring in Arizona. Send it to email@example.com
To The Office for Civil Rights:
I am writing this complaint because I believe that a Health and Human Services funded or conducted activity/program discriminated against [NAME] or violated [NAME] conscience or religious freedom.
Here are the relevant facts:
1) When did the discrimination occur?
2) Who was involved? Name the institution and any of the personnel you recall.
3) Where did the discrimination happen?
4) To the best of your knowledge, who said what, who did what, and what did you say and do?
I feel that [NAME] rights were violated. [NAME] was unable to practice [HIS/HER/MY] religion or non-religion or was forced to behave in a manner that violates [HIS/HER/MY] conscience as a result of (THE INSTITUTION OR ITS PERSONNEL’’S] actions as described above.
If you have any photos, documents, or tapes of conversations attach them or at least say you have them.
[Other information that may be included:]
- If the office were to contact you would you require any specific accommodations?
- If the office cannot reach you, would you want us to contact someone else who can contact you? If so, what is that person’s contact information?
- Have you filed your complaint elsewhere?