STATE | LA Passes Breast Reconstruction Education Law
Louisiana Governor John Bell Edwards signed into law a measure that requires general hospitals that provide mastectomy surgery, lymph node dissection, or a lumpectomy to offer patients information on their reconstructive options following such procedures. ASPS advocated for the advancement of this bill throughout the legislative process, after ASPS member Ravi Tandon, MD, notified ASPS about the bill's introduction. The Society subsequently submitted letters of support to the bill's sponsor, Sen. Carter, as well as the full state Senate, House of Representations and Gov. Edwards.
The "Carter Stokes Oral and Written Summary of Breast Cancer Treatment Alternatives and Access to Breast Reconstruction Surgery Information Law" requires educational information to include a description of the various reconstructive options, as well as the risks and benefits of each procedure. The law mandates that patients are informed about the state and federal laws that assure coverage of the costs related to reconstructive surgery for both public and private insurance plans. Patients must also be informed about opportunities to access reconstructive care and about opportunities to pursue reconstruction after completion of breast cancer surgery and chemo/radiotherapy, if warranted.
The Louisiana law is modeled, in part, after the New York Breast Cancer Provider Discussion Law, which has made a significant impact among demographics that did not previously receive adequate education regarding their reconstructive rights. These bills are a positive step toward achieving the ultimate mission of the federal Breast Cancer Patient Education Act, signed into law by President Obama in December 2015, which works to ensure that all breast cancer patients receive necessary information regarding their reconstructive rights and options.