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PRINTER'S NO. 668
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
HOUSE BILL
No.
686
Session of
2021
INTRODUCED BY ISAACSON, CONKLIN, DRISCOLL, GALLOWAY, HILL-EVANS,
HOHENSTEIN, HOWARD, KOSIEROWSKI, LEE, SCHWEYER, SIMS AND
ZABEL, MARCH 1, 2021
REFERRED TO COMMITTEE ON HEALTH, MARCH 1, 2021
AN ACT
Amending the act of December 3, 1998 (P.L.925, No.115), entitled
"An act providing for screening of patients for symptoms of
domestic violence; establishing the Domestic Violence Health
Care Response Program in the Department of Public Welfare;
and providing for domestic violence medical advocacy projects
to assist in implementation of domestic violence policies,
procedures, health care worker training and hospital, health
center and clinic response to domestic violence victims,"
further providing for definitions; providing for domestic
abuse reporting by health care practitioners; and making
editorial changes.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. The title of the act of December 3, 1998
(P.L.925, No.115), known as the Domestic Violence Health Care
Response Act, is amended to read:
AN ACT
Providing for screening of patients for symptoms of domestic
violence; establishing the Domestic Violence Health Care
Response Program in the Department of [Public Welfare] Human
Services; and providing for domestic violence medical
advocacy projects to assist in implementation of domestic
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violence policies, procedures, health care worker training
and hospital, health center and clinic response to domestic
violence victims.
Section 2. The definition of "department" in section 2 of
the act is amended and the section is amended by adding
definitions to read:
Section 2. Definitions.
The following words and phrases when used in this act shall
have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
context clearly indicates otherwise:
"Department." The Department of [Public Welfare] Human
Services of the Commonwealth.
"Domestic violence." One or more of the following acts
occurring between family or household members, sexual or
intimate partners or individuals who have children in common:
(1) purposefully or recklessly causing or attempting to
cause bodily injury, serious bodily injury, rape, involuntary
deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault, statutory sexual
assault, aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault or
incest with or without a deadly weapon;
(2) causing another individual to reasonably fear
imminent serious bodily injury;
(3) falsely imprisoning an individual;
(4) physically or sexually abusing a minor child; or
(5) engaging in a course of conduct or repeatedly
committing acts directed at another individual under
circumstances that place the individual in reasonable fear of
bodily injury.
* * *
"Health care practitioner." A health care practitioner as
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defined in section 103 of the act of July 19, 1979 (P.L.130,
No.48), known as the Health Care Facilities Act.
* * *
Section 3. The act is amended by adding a section to read:
Section 3.1. Domestic abuse reporting by health care
practitioners.
(a) Duties of department.--
(1) The department, in consultation with the
Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the
Pennsylvania Medical Society, shall create a form for health
care practitioners to report suspected domestic violence or
domestic abuse to the department.
(2) At the end of each calendar year, the department
shall publish a publicly accessible report regarding
incidents of domestic violence or abuse reported under this
section.
(3) The department shall conduct a Statewide
communication and awareness effort in order to inform health
care practitioners of their reporting duties under this
section.
(b) Reporting requirements.--
(1) A health care practitioner who knows or has
reasonable cause to suspect that a patient's injuries,
whether or not the injuries cause the patient's death, are
the result of domestic violence or domestic abuse, shall
report to the department on a monthly basis. The report shall
not disclose the name or identity of the patient, but shall
include the nature and extent of the patient's injuries, a
summary of statements made by the patient, including comments
concerning past domestic abuse with the patient's current
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spouse or previous partner that would reasonably give rise to
suspicion of domestic abuse. The health care practitioner
shall include any other information upon which the suspicion
of domestic abuse is based.
(2) If a patient is treated by more than one health care
practitioner, the report shall be made by the supervising
health care practitioner of the unit or department providing
treatment of the patient, or by any health practitioner
designated by the unit or department, to ensure that the
reports are made on a timely basis and to avoid duplicate
reports of the same incident. In the event that the patient
is referred to another health care practitioner for
treatment, the report shall be made only by the referring
health care practitioner.
(3) An individual who makes a report under this section,
including an employee or agent of a health care practitioner
licensed in this Commonwealth, in the reasonable performance
of the individual's duties and within the scope of the
individual's authority shall be presumed to be acting in good
faith and shall be immune from any liability, civil or
criminal, that might otherwise be incurred or imposed. An
individual who alleges lack of good faith has the burden of
proving bad faith. An individual who files the report shall
have the same immunity with respect to participation in a
judicial proceeding resulting from the report.
(4) The identity of the individual who reports suspected
domestic abuse, neglect or exploitation, and the information
reported are confidential and privileged and may not be
revealed absent a court order.
(c) Violation.--
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(1) Except as otherwise provided in this section, it is
unlawful for an individual, except for purposes directly
connected with the administration of this section, to
disclose, receive, make use of, authorize or knowingly
permit, participate or acquiesce in the use of any list of
the name or any information concerning a health care
practitioner who reports under this section.
(2) An individual who violates this subsection commits a
misdemeanor of the third degree.
Section 4. This act shall take effect in 60 days.
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