Dense Breast Legislation Update

A bill which MSNJ has been working on in great detail requires insurance companies to cover certain screenings and requires physicians to provide information to  certain patients. The bill was amended this week so the lay letter that physicians must distribute to certain patients reads as follows: A facility that provides a mammography report pursuant to the federal Mammography Quality Standards Act, 42 U.S.C. s.263b, shall include the following information, at a minimum, in the mammography report sent to the patient and the patient’s health care provider:

“Your mammogram may show that you have dense breast tissue as determined by the Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System established by the American College of Radiology.  Dense breast tissue is very common and is not abnormal.  However, in some cases, dense breast tissue can make it harder to find cancer on a mammogram and may also be associated with a risk factor for breast cancer. Discuss this and other risks for breast cancer that pertain to your personal medical history with your health care provider.  A report of your results was sent to your health care provider.” You may also find more information about breast density at the website of the American College of Radiology, www.acr.org.”

In addition, three sections were added that would (1) clarify that the bill does not impose a standard of care obligation upon a patient’s health care provider (2) require the Mandated Health Benefits Advisory Commission to prepare a report regarding the implementation and administration of the bill, including analyses of social, medical and financial impact and (3) requires the Department of Health, in conjunction with the Medical Society of New Jersey, to convene a work group to review and report on strategies to improve the dialogue between patients and health care professionals regarding risk factors for breast cancer and breast imaging options.  MSNJ continues to work with legislators on this bill.

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About MSNJ

Founded in 1766, the Medical Society of New Jersey is the oldest professional society in the United States. The organization and its dues-paying members are dedicated to a healthy New Jersey, working to ensure the sanctity of the physician–patient relationship. In representing all medical disciplines, MSNJ advocates for the rights of patients and physicians alike, for the delivery of the highest quality medical care. This allows response to the patients’ individual, varied needs, in an ethical and compassionate environment, in order to create a healthy Garden State and healthy citizens.

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