House passes Kosierowski medical test results bill

HARRISBURG, March 25 – The PA House of Representatives today unanimously passed legislation introduced by state Rep. Bridget M. Kosierowski that would balance a patient’s right to access their health information with the important role that medical professionals provide in helping patients understand their test results.

“As anyone who has received a medical test recently knows, we have immediate access to our test results as soon as the information is posted to our electronic health records – often at the same time our own physician receives them. This legislation would require providers to inform patients that they will be receiving their test results in their electronic health record, or that they can ask the provider to mail the results to them,” said Kosierowski, D-Lackawanna.

“The bill also addresses another concern heard from patients and providers that immediate access to test results may provide patients with worrisome information but without important context on their own prognosis or treatment options.”

In the bill, pathology or radiology reports likely to show a finding of cancer, or tests that may reveal a serious genetic condition, could be delayed after they are finalized, unless the health care practitioner directs otherwise. This would allow time for the patient’s doctor to verify potentially alarming and upsetting results and provide appropriate counsel.

The legislation would not override existing state law requiring face-to-face counseling opportunities upon receipt of results.

Also under the bill, the state Department of Health would review that facilities have policies related to the release of test results.

House Bill 1956 heads to the state Senate for consideration.