A Senate panel agreed to walk back parts of a pelvic exam consent law passed last year and deemed over-broad by doctors.
The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Lauren Book, called the legislation a “glitch bill.”
“What it does is to ensure that the implementation of last year’s historic patient consent bill is aligned with our legislative intent,” Book explained.
The Senate Rules committee agreed Friday and voted in favor of the bill 17-0. It is now ready for the Senate floor. Companion House legislation (HB 361) is ready for the floor.
The original bill, as approved by lawmakers last Session and signed by the Governor, caused some confusion. Doctors said the bill was too vague and expressed concern consent would be required for checking infants for diaper rashes or other procedures not meant to be covered.
Another issue arose as to whether the bill applied to men during prostate exams. In October, the Florida Board of Medicine ruled the 2020 law was only meant to apply to women.
This new bill (SB 716) narrows the definition of “pelvic examination” and changes the written consent requirement from applying to all pelvic examinations to only those examinations for anesthetized or unconscious patients. Conscious patients still must give verbal consent. There are a few consent exceptions for instances such as emergency medical conditions and a child protective investigation.
The written consent also will count for pelvic examinations by multiple health care workers on a pregnant woman having contractions, under the bill.
Medical groups seem to like the changes. Florida Now, the Florida College of Emergency Physicians, the Florida Medical Association, Vital MD Group Holding, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Florida Osteopathic Medical Association all waved in support.