Posted by Jean Silver-Isenstadt, MD, PhD, NPA Executive Director June 14, 2011 at 6:48 PM
Our right to free speech as physicians is under attack. State legislators in several states considered laws to penalize physicians if they ask patients the basic safety screening question, “Do you keep a gun at home?” in recent legislative sessions.1
Such a law was signed by Florida Governor Rick Scott on June 2 , and although similar bills introduced in other states did not pass this year they are expected to be refiled at the next opportunity.
Proponents of this intrusive regulation frame the issue as protecting the privacy rights of gun-owners. But this isn’t about guns. It is a direct threat to the doctor-patient relationship. It censors clinical communication.
What will lawmakers and special interests seek to regulate next? Will it be too intrusive to ask whether a patient uses tobacco? Whether a patient takes prescription drugs prescribed by another doctor?
NPA is launching an educational video campaign to help stop censorship in our exam rooms — click here to view submitted videos and learn what you can do to protect physician-patient communication.