PSI argues it must engage in communication with certain donors because they have information needed to ensure PSI programs fully cover not only the treatment for a disease, but supplemental needs. (Photo: Michael A. Scarcella/ALM)

A charity that provides financial and other assistance to patients with chronic and life-threatening diseases sued the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services this week, claiming the department is violating its First Amendment rights.

In its lawsuit filed in the Eastern District of Virginia, Patient Services Inc. claimed a March 2017 HHS advisory opinion blocks the nonprofit from communicating with donors and potential donors about its patient programs, a move that altered guidance it’s followed for years and severely limits its ability to operate. PSI general counsel Neil Millhiser said the change has contributed to a $17 million drop in the organization’s budget.

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