February 22, 2018

State Considers Imaging Abnormality Disclosure

The Pennsylvania legislature is considering a bill that would require diagnostic imaging providers to notify patients or their designees when outpatient diagnostic imaging reveals significant abnormalities or anomalies. The legislation applies to abnormal findings requiring follow-up care within three months of the imaging procedure.

The proposed Patient Test Result Information Act (PA HB 1884) would require patients or their designees to receive written notice about the appearance of abnormalities on the patient’s imaging studies no sooner than seven days before and no later than 20 days after results are sent to the ordering health care practitioner. Such notices would cover the following:

  • The ordering physician’s name
  • Dates when imaging was performed and results were sent to the ordering health care practitioner
  • A report summary or complete imaging services results
  • Additional information necessary to help the patient understand the imaging results, and
  • A statement stressing the notice is intended to alert the patient about an abnormal finding on the diagnostic imaging test and to encourage the patient to contact his or her health care practitioner for consultation.

The legislation covers various ways a notice may be communicated to the patient, required patient signoff after its delivery and a sign-off exemption when results are reported at the time of service. Routine obstetric ultrasound, inpatient imaging and diagnostic radiographs would be exempted.

The Pennsylvania Radiological Society is closely following this bill and is working with the American College of Radiology (ACR) to seek amendments to help the legislation comply with the ACR Practice Parameter for Communication of Diagnostic Imaging Findings.

For more information, contract Eugenia Brandt, ACR director of state affairs at ebrandt@acr.org or phone 703-715-4398.