Leading Public Health Official Says Impact Fee Law Violates Medical Ethics
February 16, 2012 | 12:02 PM
Public health professionals say the impact fee law signed by Governor Corbett this week could hurt the delivery of health services to injured workers or residents living near gas drilling sites. The legislation allows drillers to withhold information on the chemicals used to frack natural gas wells if the company deems them proprietary, or a trade secret. This would include the chemical’s identity and the concentration level.
A provision does allow health providers access to the information in order to treat a patient, but requires the healthcare worker to sign a confidentiality agreement, that obligates the medical professional to use the information only to treat an individual patient. Dr. Jerome Paulson, Professor of Pediatrics & Public Health at George Washington University, says the law runs counter to medical ethics.
“All of the oaths (of the medical profession) require us to work for the good of the public in addition to the individual patients,” said Paulson in a phone interview. “So blocking our ability to collect and share information, or make the collection and sharing of information more cumbersome, means we wont be able to fulfill our responsibilities.”