Bill near final passage would delay lab results of cancer or genetic markers from going on electronic health records for 72 hours

Rep. Killian Timoney

By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News

The legislature is nearing final passage of a bill that would give health-care providers a chance to contact patients to go over certain laboratory results before they go on patients’ electronic health records.

House Bill 529, sponsored by Killian Timoney, R-Lexington, would require pathology or radiology reports that may show a finding of malignancy, or test results that could reveal genetic markers, to not be disclosed to a patient as part of their electronic health record for 72 hours, unless the health-care provider directs their early release.

The Senate Health and Welfare Committee approved the bill without dissent and put it on the chamber’s consent calendar, which it uses to pass bills without further discussion.

Doctors told the committee that the bill is needed.

“As physicians, we are quite concerned that patients are receiving deadly, life-threatening diagnoses on their phones without any medical care and medical support. We have numerous accounts of patients being harmed because of that, and causing harm to themselves,” said Dr. David Danhauer, chief medical information officer at Owensboro Health. “We ask that, with this bill, allow our providers time to review, contemplate a plan, and set up appropriate consultation with those patients.”

Dr. Susanne Arnold, a medical oncologist and associate director of the University of Kentucky‘s Markey Cancer Center, told the committee that they believe 72 hours “is an appropriate length of time” in most situations to be able to have a face-to-face discussion with a patient about such serious diagnoses.
Sen. Karen Berg, D-Louisville, a physician, praised the bill. “This can be a horrible, horrible situation for patients,” she said. “Imagine, honestly, opening up your telephone and seeing the report that says advanced metastatic cancer and it’s 5:30 on a Friday night and you don’t even have anyone to call. That’s unethical.”
While presenting the bill March 9 in the House floor, where it passed 84-14, Timoney said it would apply to upwards of 4 percent of all tests, and give patients access to a trained professional instead of “Dr. Google” or WebMD. He referred to the bill as the Compassionate Patient Care Act.
The bill has an emergency clause that would make it effective immediately upon enactment.
Previous Article
Next Article