During a name change and logo unveiling ceremony held on November 24, 2014, the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare (DPW) became the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS). Governor Corbett enacted the name change to better reflect the wide range of services offered to the citizens of Pennsylvania. Remember to update your bookmarks to www.dhs.state.pa.us.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Pennsylvania law, it is illegal for physicians to stop or withhold medical treatment unless a patient has an advance directive or do not resuscitate order. The patient must also meet several other criteria.
Under Pennsylvania law, it is assumed that an adult patient would want all medical treatment possible unless otherwise stated in a living will or health care power of attorney that allows another person to make decisions on the patient’s behalf. It is also assumed that a mentally competent patient has the right to make decisions on treatment and refuse those that would prolong dying.
Advance directives can only be honored when an adult patient has an end stage medical condition caused by illness or injury, or physicians have determined the adult patient is in an irreversible coma.
Physicians who do not feel they can honor the wishes of an adult patient as stated in a directive should transfer the case to a physician who can.
The law also states that medication may be administered to ease pain. The law does not condone mercy killing, euthanasia or assisted suicide.
For more information, please see the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s website at www.health.state.pa.us.
Physicians are reminded that if they change their office address, they are required to report their new address to the State Board of Osteopathic Medicine within 10 days.
If you have an email address, or if your email address has recently changed, please forward it to the POMA Central Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Osteopathic physicians are reminded that under the State Board of Osteopathic Medicine’s rules and regulations, as found in the Pennsylvania Code §25.212, “(b) Advertising, letterhead, publications or transmissions shall designate or indicate the licensee’s school of medical practice by the term ‘D.O.,’ ‘doctor of osteopathy,’ ‘osteopathic physician’ or ‘osteopathic physician and surgeon.’” These provisions were issued under section 16 of the Osteopathic Medical Practice Act (63 P.S. §271.16); and section 902(b) of the Health Care Services Malpractice Act (40 P. S. §1301.902(b)). The provisions of §25.212 were adopted January 10, 1992, and became effective on January 11, 1992, 22 Pa.B. 209.
The POMA has received more information on an article that appeared in the June 2002 issue of the D.O. Magazine. The article stated that the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PENNDOT) was requiring physicians to report their patients to the Bureau of Licensing when they were placed on medication that could impair their driving ability. According to PENNDOT, physicians only need to report patients if they have a mental disorder or a condition, such as seizures or diabetes, that, if left uncontrolled, could cause impairment to driving. PENNDOT requires physicians to report any of their patients that are not taking medication to control these disorders. They also strongly suggest reporting them even if they are on medication.