CASE STUDY: DENSE BREAST LEGISLATION
Proposal of an alarmist health mandate that was emotionally driven and unsupported by scientific and medical data.
In June 2012, the New Jersey State Senate introduced and passed legislation that would require health insurance companies to cover ultrasound testing, in addition to mammography, for women with “dense breasts”. While the bill was well intentioned, line items within the bill were not supported by scientific data or medical consensus. The bill passed in a matter of weeks, without an opportunity for the medical community to evaluate or comment on the legislation.
AMG approached the Assembly sponsor, Troy Singleton, on behalf of our client, the American Congress of Obstetricians/ Gynecologists, New Jersey Section (ACOG-NJ), in order to improve the legislation so that it was medically sound. We informed the Assemblyman about the adverse impact of the legislation in other states and worked to answer questions so that the Assemblyman better understood the full scope of the legislation. AMG also worked to educate members of the medical community, stressing the negative impact of the legislation on both patients and physicians. After numerous calls with our coalition members, and much debate between medical specialties, we formed a cohesive message, drafted recommended amendments and introduced these amendments to the Assemblyman.
Over fourteen months, AMG and ACOG-NJ worked with the Assemblyman to draft numerous rounds of amendments in an effort to improve the legislation. Most notably, AMG and ACOG-NJ were able to create a very trusting relationship with Assemblyman Singleton, including numerous sidebar conversations, which was a critical component in amending the legislation. AMG and ACOG-NJ succeeded in turning a dangerously ill-informed bill into legislation that will have a positive impact on women throughout New Jersey. Unlike other states, our legislation includes evidence-based guidelines for management, coverage for additional imaging and access to accurate patient educational information and notification. This legislation was signed into law by Governor Christie in January 2014.