State Advocacy Update - Week of July 18

By Policy and Advocacy Brief posted 07-26-2022 12:59

  

State Advocacy Update

  • Massachusetts Seeks to Legally Protect Gender Affirming Care; and
  • Changes to Wisconsin Chaperone Rule – the AUA is opposed to unwarranted regulatory requirements related to the genitourinary physical examination.

For information about bills the AUA is tracking in your state, please contact AUA State Advocacy Manager Catherine Hendricks at CHendricks@AUAnet.org. Check out our interactive map on the AUA State Advocacy Webpage.
 

Massachusetts

S. 3003 – Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Introduced by Senator Cindy Friedman (D), S. 3003 seeks to make gender affirming care a “legally-protected health care activity”. “Gender-affirming health care services” includes: medical, behavioral health, mental health, surgical, psychiatric, therapeutic, diagnostic, preventative, rehabilitative or supportive nature relating to the treatment of gender dysphoria. The bill is before the Senate for consideration.

 

Wisconsin’s Chaperone Rule

The state of Wisconsin’s Medical Examining Board (MEB) is moving in a new direction on their proposed rule promoting the use of chaperones for physicians conducting sensitive physical exams. The change in direction follows more than a year of input from physicians, including the AUA, who sent comment letters for the two Economic Impact Assessment (EIA) periods on two different versions of the proposal. Results of the second EIA period showed physician offices, clinics and hospitals would face an estimated $75 million in training and compliance costs in just the first year.

 

The AUA, working with the Wisconsin Medical Society (WisMed), continues to raise concerns about another part of the proposed rule:  if a physician did not use a chaperone during an exam and an inappropriate conduct complaint is filed, then the physician would be presumed guilty and forced to prove their innocence. This change in “presumption” is the opposite of the current discipline procedure, fundamentally interfering with physicians’ rights. New proposed language removes that presumption of guilt and instead aims at ensuring patients are aware of any office/clinic/hospital policy on chaperones.

 

The new proposed language includes:

Med 10.03(2)(f)(4): A physician who practices in a hospital or works for any other employer shall comply with the rules established by their hospital or employer regarding chaperones or other observers in patient examinations. Physicians who are self-employed or in other practice settings that do not involve hospitals or employers shall establish written procedures for the use of chaperones or other observers in patient examinations and shall comply with these procedures once established. A physician shall make a copy of the rules and procedures regarding the physician’s use of chaperones or other observers available to patients and shall post their procedures or policies regarding chaperones or other observers in at least one location that is visible to all patients.

 

The MEB’s attorney explained this language would not require a facility to have any specific chaperone policy – or even offer chaperones at all. The MEB plans to use this new language as a starting point for discussion at its next scheduled meeting on August 17, 2022. During the June 20 meeting, WisMed said it was positive to see the guilt presumption provision removed, and emphasized that inappropriate sexual conduct complaints should be thoroughly investigated, with wrongdoers severely disciplined following a finding of guilt.

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