Legislation on Pathological Materials Defeated

As the 2012 session of the North Carolina General Assembly draws to a close, legislators considered reviving a bill that drastically alters the way physicians and hospitals are to release pathological materials to the publicHB 795 – Patient Access to Pathological Materials was introduced last year and met with clear opposition by the North Carolina Society of Pathologists as well as the NCMS and the North Carolina Hospital Association.

This bill would require a provider, upon written request, to release all pathological materials in his or her possession to a patient. Such materials include: cytological materials, bodily fluids, tissues, organs, medical waste, paraffin blocks, pathology slides, pathology reports, and medical records.

There are no provisions in the bill to ensure that patient materials are stored or disposed of properly following release, and no language to allow samples to be maintained for future comparison and diagnosis. This lack of precaution puts patients and the general public at great risk for the spread of disease.

Following a number of meetings among the interested parties, it was determined by the Senate leadership that this issue would be best addressed through an interim study by the Legislative Research Commission rather than fast-tracked legislation. The NCMS and the North Carolina Society of Pathologists will continue to advocate for the safety of our patients and will keep our members updated on any progress on this issue prior to the 2013 legislative session.


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