ChesterCountyMedicineSpring2019 - 18

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A Call to Repeal Act 112

The Patient Test Result
Information Act of 2018
BY C. RICHARD SCHOTT, MD

Representative Quinn to press for better communication between
imaging centers and any person who receives outpatient diagnostic
imaging services.
According to the new law, this notification must be transmitted
to the patient no later than twenty (20) days after the information
was provided to the ordering health care provider. The method
of communication is also stated in the Act, and can include
US Mail, email, automatic alert from a medical record system,
fax, or provided to the patient at the time of the test. If the
abnormal result is conveyed in person, the patient must sign and
acknowledge receipt of the information.

O

n Oct. 24, 2018, Governor Tom Wolf signed Act 112 -
known as the Patient Test Result Information Act - into
law. This Pennsylvania law requires entities performing a
diagnostic imaging service to directly notify the patient or patient's
designee when, in the judgment of the entity performing the test,
a significant abnormality may exist. A "significant abnormality" is
defined as "a finding by a diagnostic imaging service of an abnormality
which would cause a reasonably prudent person to seek additional or
follow-up medical care within three months."
The catalyst for this legislation was the perceived risk that
the increased workload of health care providers increases the
prospects that test results may be overlooked or misread. Former
PA State Representative Marguerite Quinn, who introduced the
bill, expressed worry over "two situations in which abnormal test
results were not communicated to the patient, resulting in the
unnecessary death of both people." These circumstances caused

18 CHESTER COUNT Y Medicine | SPRING 2019

Some exceptions to this notification requirement include
routine obstetrical ultrasounds; diagnostic imaging performed
on an inpatient, or emergency room patient; and diagnostic
radiographs.
What is this Doing to the Practice of Medicine?
Since the passage of Act 112 many cardiologists and other
physicians have begun to recognize the inappropriateness of
much of the law, feeling that it is inconsistent with any reasonable
approach to how the interpreting physicians should interact
with patients regarding imaging studies. For specialists who read
or perform diagnostic tests but have never met the patient, the
Act puts physicians in an inappropriate position. These doctors
must notify patients of potentially serious findings with no real
knowledge of their clinical situation or how they may react to
receiving this information.
In a call to rescind Act 112, local physicians have also shared
that many of these studies include findings that may or may not be
able to be determined by the interpreting physician as to clinical
significance to any given patient. It's also felt that these notices of
abnormal findings given to patients in writing may inappropriately


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