PA-ACP praises passage of informed consent legislative fix


PA-ACP today praised Sen. John Gordner (R, Columbia) for his leadership in passage and signing of SB 425, which clarifies informed consent and which was strongly supported by the Chapter.  With Governor Wolf’s signature, the legislation becomes Act 61 of 2021.

The law allows a physician to once again delegate obtaining a patient's informed consent to a qualified practitioner (PA, CRNP, RN or nurse midwife), allows development of policies and procedures for when these qualified practitioners may obtain informed consent, and clarifies when a separate or new informed consent must be obtained when informed consent had been previously obtained.

In June 2017, the state Supreme Court ruled, (in a 4-3 decision in the case of Shinal v. Toms), that physicians have a non-delegable duty under the MCare Act to obtain a patient's informed consent.  The Court also ruled that communications between a physician's qualified staff members and patients  would no longer be admissible at trial to establish whether the physician obtained informed consent.  The ruling flew in the face of team based care, ignored realities of present-day health care, took away a physician's medical expertise and judgment, and opened physicians to additional liability.

With PA-ACP support, the bill passed the Senate by a 47-0 vote.  In the House, PA-ACP worked with members and leadership to avoid further amendments, the bill passed with a unanimous vote, and it now becomes law.