Pennsylvania’s Patient Test Result Information Act is set to take effect on Dec. 23, 2018. This law requires entities performing a diagnostic imaging service to directly notify the patient or patient’s designee when, in the judgment of the entity performing the test, a significant abnormality may exist.
The Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED) continues to field members’ questions about many facets of the law. While we are answering the questions that we can, we have found that the language in the law – also known as Act 112 of 2018 – leaves room for interpretation.
On Dec. 5, 2018, PAMED and the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) sent a letter to Sec. of Health Rachel Levine, MD, calling on the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) to clarify the requirements of Act 112. A copy of the letter was also sent to Gov. Tom Wolf and to Pa. House and Senate leadership.
“As the effective date of Act 112 draws closer, we have concerns that both facilities and practitioners are going to be left to decipher the Act and risk violating the law when they are attempting in good-faith to abide by its many requirements,” the letter said.
PAMED has asked DOH to consider two courses of action to ensure that facilities, physicians, and patients are better prepared for implementation of Act 112:
- Allow stakeholders to submit questions to DOH so that DOH can create FAQ pages or other documents answering those questions.
- Delay issuing sanctions under Act 112 for a period of approximately one year. This will allow DOH to provide education so that physicians and other stakeholders become better prepared to meet the law’s requirements.
If taken, these two steps will help to ensure that the health and safety of Pennsylvania patients remain at the forefront of this legislation. Both PAMED and HAP are ready to assist in any way that we can in order to share any possible actions DOH might announce concerning Act. 112.
PAMED will share any updates concerning the Patient Test Result Information Act as they become available. However, we do not know what information we will receive from DOH nor when that information will be conveyed. Therefore, it is highly recommended that all facilities and practitioners speak to their administrators and/or appropriate legal counsel to develop policies and procedures to implement Act 112.
PAMED’s Quick Consult fact sheet offers more information for physicians on Act 112. You’ll find answers to frequently asked questions such as what is required to be in the notice, exceptions under the law, and acceptable methods of communication to the patient. Get the fact sheet.