Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Winter 2019 - 5

President's Message

O
Gregory T. Wilson, D.O.
President

n October 24, 2018, the Pennsylvania General Assembly, Governor Tom Wolf, along with
the Department of Health, enacted a new law entitled the "Patient Test Result Information
Act" (Act 112). Scheduled to take effect December 23, 2018, the policy is intended to
ensure that patients are notified of "significant" abnormalities found on medical imaging tests.
Patient notification is required by law to include several specific pieces of information and needs to
be generated by the "entity" performing the imaging test. The Quick Consult from the Pennsylvania
Medical Society which follows this Message highlights important aspects of the law.
Unfortunately, although well-intentioned, this act may represent another example of problems
encountered when legislators dictate medical care. Physicians in modern practice are all too aware
of the medical-legal pressures encountered every day as providers are required to practice in a highly
regulated and scrutinized environment. Regrettably, this new law contains several poorly defined
and vague requirements that leave physicians and health systems struggling to comply. Notably
the definition of a "significant abnormality" as "a finding by a diagnostic imaging service of an
abnormality or anomaly which would cause a reasonably prudent person to seek additional or
follow-up medical care within three months" is open to broad interpretation. Needless-to-say, what
is considered a significant abnormality may vary among providers, hospitals, health systems, patients,
and (unfortunately) law practices across the state. In addition, under this law, certain imaging
modalities are curiously excluded such as "diagnostic" radiographs and imaging studies performed on
patients in emergency care. Often, these studies generate incidental findings that, if following the
intent of this law, should ideally be passed along to patients.
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WINTER 2019

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Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Winter 2019

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