Pennsylvania’s Patient Test Result Information Act took 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) has good news for physicians concerning sanctions under the law. In a letter to PAMED and the Hospital and HealthSystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP), Sec. of Health Rachel Levine, MD, confirmed that the Pa. Department of Health (DOH) has accepted our recommendation to delay issuing fines or citations for noncompliance with the Patient Test Result Information Act (Act 112 of 2018). The state will implement an educational campaign aimed at preparing physicians to comply with this new law.
Sec. Levine confirms that licensed facilities must still establish a policy in accordance with the requirements of Act 112 and include in that policy how the licensed facility will notify patients of abnormal results. For a period of one year from the effective date of the Act, or its policy, if DOH finds that a licensed facility has failed to comply with the Act, or its policy, DOH will issue a letter providing that facility with information so that any issues may be remedied.
DOH will issue final clarifying guidance on or about Dec. 23, 2019 with information concerning full implementation for the various provisions of Act 112.
Read Sec. Levine’s Letter.
How to Submit Act 112 Questions to DOH
Physicians and facilities can submit questions regarding the application of Act 112 to RA-DHSECOFHEALTH@pa.gov. Please make sure to include "Act 112" in the subject line.
The responses to submitted questions will be publicly posted on www.health.pa.gov.
Important Note on Complying with Act 112
PAMED has received inquiries regarding whether physicians and facilities have to follow the requirements in Act 112 since DOH has announced plans to delay issuing sanctions under that law.
Affected parties are still required to comply with Act 112, regardless of DOH’s announcement. DOH cannot stop a law from taking effect; it can only decide on what sanctions, if any, to apply for violations.
DOH’s decision does not relieve physicians, other practitioners, and facilities from complying with the requirements in Act 112 or any other law or regulation, nor does it prevent outside entities, such as private attorneys, from initiating a malpractice case or other lawsuit for failing to comply with Act 112. It also does not prevent other state agencies, such as the state medical boards, from requiring compliance or issuing applicable sanctions. Therefore, facilities and practitioners should speak to their administrators and/or appropriate legal counsel and develop policies and procedures to implement Act 112 by the Dec. 23, 2018 effective date.
PAMED Advocated for You
On Dec. 5, 2018, PAMED and HAP sent a joint letter to Secretary of Health Rachel Levine, MD, calling on DOH to delay issuing sanctions under the law to allow time for the state to provide education about the law's requirements. A copy of the letter was also sent to Gov. Tom Wolf and to Pa. House and Senate leadership.
PAMED and HAP then met with Secretary Levine on Dec. 10, 2018, to continue to advocate for a resolution before the law's effective date.
PAMED will continue to work with DOH on education for physicians, and will provide timely updates to members. We thank Sec. Levine for her efforts to ensure that the health and welfare of the commonwealth’s citizens are not adversely affected as Act 112 begins to be implemented.
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.