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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: March 6, 2020 03:58 PM
From: Representative Dan Frankel
To: All House members
Subject: Patient Trust
Trust is an invisible, key ingredient in the health care relationship.

The American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the New England Journal of Medicine, have all stated that honest, open and accurate conversations are essential to quality patient care.

That trust is at risk – in this Commonwealth and around the country. Just recently the PA House of Representatives passed legislation dictating conversations between pregnant women and their doctors, and establishing prohibitions on medical decision-making based on fetal diagnosis.

Other examples of incursions into the provider-patient relationship include:
  • 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 and may cause severe bleeding.
  • 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, the state Supreme Court overturned Act 13 of 2012, which would limit providers’ ability to discuss the chemicals involved in natural gas fracking with their patients who might be harmed by them.

These proposals contradict appropriate patient-centered care and best practices and can force health care providers to choose between their ethical mandate to provide the best possible care and following the rule of law.

The Patient Trust Act creates protections for providers and patients from this government interference. It would 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.

We must protect the trust between patients and their providers by protecting medical professionals from government laws and regulations that violate the best interest of their patients.

I ask that you join me in this important endeavor.