|In the near future, I will be re-introducing House Bill 2303 from the 2013-2014 Legislative Session, known as the Patient Trust Act, to protect the patient-doctor relationship in this Commonwealth.
The American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the New England Journal of Medicine, have all consistently advocated that without the ability to engage in honest, accurate and candid conversations in the exam room, patient care can be greatly compromised. Unfortunately, there have been a proliferation of recent proposals by state legislatures across the country that would intrude on the patient-provider relationship mandating or otherwise directing how health care providers communicate, interact with, and care for their patients. These proposals are often in direct contradiction with empirical evidence or what is considered appropriate medical care. In worst case scenarios, this type of legislation forces health care providers to choose between their ethical mandate to provide the best possible care and following the rule of law.
Some examples of state laws on this topic include:
The Patient Trust Act was born in response to these kinds of consistent, unrelenting government intrusions into the exam room. Specifically, my bill will prevent the Commonwealth and all political subdivisions from requiring a health care practitioner to provide a patient with information that is not medically accurate and medically appropriate for the patient, or providing a medical service that is not evidence based and patient appropriate. Additionally, health care practitioners would not be prohibited from sharing medically accurate information with their patients. This legislation is pro-patient, pro-doctor and a pro-health attempt to reign in legislative over-reach into the examination room and to protect those medically accurate, evidence based treatments and approaches for which physicians - not legislators - are trained to dispense.
- Arizona and Arkansas – Recently Arizona and Arkansas enacted legislation that requires doctors to tell women who use the so-called “abortion pill” that the procedure can be reversed, a clinically untested procedure that is not supported by medical evidence.
- Florida – The legislature passed a bill in 2011 that many providers argue will prevent them from discussing gun safety with parents. Known as the Firearm Owners’ Privacy Act, the act also prohibits practitioners from inquiring about whether parents have firearms in their home and subsequently making note of this in a patient’s medical record. Texas is currently considering a similar proposal.
- Alaska, Mississippi, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas require providers to give misinformation about a disproven link between pregnancy termination and breast cancer.
- Right here in Pennsylvania, many practitioners fear vague wording in Act 13 of 2012 will limit providers’ ability to discuss the chemicals involved in natural gas fracking with their patients who might be harmed by them.
As legislators, we must embrace the fact that doctors know better than legislators when it comes to how to interact with and care for patients. I invite all members to sign on as co-sponsors to this crucial health care measure, part of the overall Agenda for Women’s Health.