Agencies | Governor
Virginia Regulatory Town Hall

Final Text

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Action:
Conforming to 2021 legislation - repeal of conscience clause
Stage: Final
 
18VAC85-170-150 Practitioner-patient communication; conscience clause; termination of relationship

A. Communication with patients.

1. Except as provided in § 32.1-127.1:03 F of the Code of Virginia, a practitioner shall accurately present information to a patient or his legally authorized representative in understandable terms and encourage participation in decisions regarding the patient's care.

2. A practitioner shall not deliberately withhold pertinent findings or information or make a false or misleading statement regarding the practitioner's skill or the efficacy or value of a medication, treatment, or procedure provided or directed by the practitioner in the treatment of any disease or condition.

3. When a genetic procedure is recommended, informed consent shall be obtained from the patient in accordance with the policies of the health care entity. Practitioners shall inform patients of the risks, benefits, and alternatives of the recommended procedure that a reasonably prudent practitioner practicing genetic counseling in Virginia would tell a patient.

a. In the instance of a minor or a patient who is incapable of making an informed decision on his own behalf or is incapable of communicating such a decision due to a physical or mental disorder, the legally authorized person available to give consent shall be informed and the consent documented.

b. An exception to the requirement for consent prior to performance of a genetic procedure may be made in an emergency situation when a delay in obtaining consent would likely result in imminent harm to the patient.

c. For the purposes of this provision, "genetic procedure" means any diagnostic or therapeutic procedure performed on a patient that is not part of routine, general care and for which the usual practice within the health care entity is to document specific informed consent from the patient or surrogate decisionmaker prior to proceeding.

4. Practitioners shall adhere to requirements of § 32.1-162.18 of the Code of Virginia for obtaining informed consent from patients prior to involving them as subjects in human research with the exception of retrospective chart reviews.

B. Exercise of the conscience clause.

1. Notwithstanding provisions of subsection A of this section, a practitioner may exercise the conscience clause pursuant to requirements of § 54.1-2957.21 of the Code of Virginia. If a genetic counselor has deeply held moral or religious beliefs that may prevent him from participating in genetic counseling, he shall immediately inform a prospective patient with specificity about any associated limitations on counseling resulting therefrom, prior to the initiation of the patient-practitioner relationship and shall:

a. Offer to refer the patient to another licensed health care practitioner with a relevant scope of practice and direct the patient to the online directory of licensed genetic counselors maintained by the board;

b. Immediately notify any referring practitioner, if known, of this refusal to participate in genetic counseling for the patient; and

c. Alert the patient and the referring practitioner if the referral is time sensitive.

2. If, during the course of patient care, the genetic counselor encounters a situation in which his deeply held moral or religious beliefs would prevent him from participating in counseling, he shall immediately inform the patient with specificity about any associated limitations on counseling and shall:

a. Document the communication of such information in the patient record;

b. Offer to refer the patient to another licensed health care practitioner with a relevant scope of practice and direct the patient to the online directory of licensed genetic counselors;

c. Immediately notify any referring practitioner, if known, of such refusal and referral of the patient; and

d. Alert the patient and the referring practitioner if the referral is time sensitive.

C. B. Termination of the practitioner-patient relationship.

1. The practitioner or the patient may terminate the relationship. In either case, the practitioner shall make the patient record available, except in situations where denial of access is allowed by law.

2. A practitioner shall not terminate the relationship or make his services unavailable without documented notice to the patient that allows for a reasonable time to obtain the services of another practitioner.