|Posted:||January 23, 2015 03:00 PM|
|From:||Senator Daylin Leach|
|To:||All Senate members|
|Subject:||Physician access to and disclosure of chemicals in Marcellus Shale hydro-fracking|
|I will be re-introducing legislation to clarify the rights and responsibilities of physicians and other health care professionals as set forth in the recently passed Act 13, relating to Marcellus Shale extraction.
As you are probably aware, some controversy has arisen since the enactment of this law relating to the ability of physicians and other medical professionals to treat patients who may be suffering from exposure to chemicals in fracking fluid.
The law, as written, allows drilling companies to withhold from the public the composition of fracking fluid ("the information") if they deem it to be "proprietary information". The Act contains an exception for "Health Professionals" who request the information "in writing" in connection with treating a patient, or if there is a medical emergency, in which case they can request the information verbally. In either case the Health Professional must sign a written "confidentiality agreement".
In a non-emergency, the confidentiality agreement must be executed prior to the information being released. In the case of an emergency, the information may be released based solely on a verbal promise of confidentiality, with the written confidentiality agreement required to be signed by the health professional upon request.
Act 13, as written, raises a number of issues which impede the timely and appropriate provision of health care to patients, and put health care professionals needlessly at legal risk. Specifically:
As you can see, the act is poorly drafted from the perspective of not only health care professionals and the public at large, but from the perspective of the drilling industry as well.
In some press articles recently published on this matter, the administration argued that these ambiguities in the act were not intended and further, it was not the intent of the administration to impede timely and thorough medical treatment. So it is my hope and belief that they will support this clarifying language.
Specifically, this bill will do the following:
If you have questions about this legislation, please contact my Legislative Director, Jon Tew at email@example.com or 610-768-4200.
Introduced as SB551