Legislation clarifying physicians’ informed consent requirements took a significant step earlier today, gaining approval from the Assembly Committee on Judiciary on a party-line 6-2 vote. The committee’s Republican majority voted in favor of the legislation, Assembly Bill 139.
The bill clarifies confusion over the state’s informed consent requirements following the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision in in Jandre v. Wisconsin Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund, which featured three separate opinions, none of which enjoyed a majority of the court.
AB 139 fixes this confusion by changing the standard of review from a reasonable patient to a reasonable physician standard, as well as specifying that physicians are not required to provide information about alternate treatments for conditions the physician does not believe the patient has at the time the physician informs the patient.
Before passing the bill, the Committee first rejected a substitute amendment offered by Rep. Dana Wachs (D-Eau Claire). Under that amendment, the “reasonable physician” standard still would be created, but the law would not include the provision making it clear that physicians would not have to provide information related to the ruled-out patient conditions. Rep. Wachs said the amendment was offered in the spirit of compromise, but Rep. Jim Ott (R-Mequon) – the bill’s primary author and chair of the Committee – said he believed the amendment would “gut the bill.” The Committee rejected the amendment proposal on the same 6-2 vote.
Committee passage means the bill can receive a full Assembly vote; that house is scheduled to reconvene in early May. For more information, e-mail Mark Grapentine, JD, in the Society’s Government Relations Department.
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