health care professional
(3) Prohibiting interference with provider advice to enrollees (A) In general Subject to subparagraphs (B) and (C), a Medicare+Choice organization (in relation to an individual enrolled under a Medicare+ÐChoice plan offered by the organization under this part) shall not prohibit or otherwise restrict a covered health care professional (as defined in subparagraph (D)) from advising such an individual who is a patient of the professional about the health status of the individual or medical care or treatment for the individual’s condition or disease, regardless of whether benefits for such care or treatment are provided under the plan, if the professional is acting within the lawful scope of practice. (B) Conscience protection Subparagraph (A) shall not be construed as requiring a Medicare+Choice plan to provide, reimburse for, or provide coverage of a counseling or referral service if the Medicare+ÐChoice organization offering the plan— (i) objects to the provision of such service on moral or religious grounds; and (ii) in the manner and through the written instrumentalities such Medicare+ÐChoice organization deems appropriate, makes available information on its policies regarding such service to prospective enrollees before or during enrollment and to enrollees within 90 days after the date that the organization or plan adopts a change in policy regarding such a counseling or referral service. (C) Construction Nothing in subparagraph (B) shall be construed to affect disclosure requirements under State law or under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 [ 29 U.S.C. 1001 et seq.]. (D) “Health care professional” defined For purposes of this paragraph, the term “health care professional” means a physician (as defined in section 1395x(r) of this title ) or other health care professional if coverage for the professional’s services is provided under the Medicare+Choice plan for the services of the professional. Such term includes a podiatrist, optometrist, chiropractor, psychologist, dentist, physician assistant, physical or occupational therapist and therapy assistant, speech-language pathologist, audiologist, registered or licensed practical nurse (including nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, certified registered nurse anesthetist, and certified nurse-midwife), licensed certified social worker, registered respiratory therapist, and certified respiratory therapy technician.