Several recent letters have understandably expressed concern that doctors may not be able to fully share information related to natural gas drilling activity that may be necessary for the care of their patient. I write to assure your readers that this is not the case.
Under legislation passed by the General Assembly and signed by Gov. Tom Corbett, Pennsylvania became just the second state in the nation to expressly guarantee that all health care professionals — including doctors — are entitled to receive details on all chemicals that are used in the process of hydraulic fracturing and to use that information to ensure their patients receive the care they need.
Moreover, health care professionals can use this information in whatever manner they deem is necessary to care for their patient should the need arise. This includes consulting with their medical colleagues and, most importantly, their patient.
We are appreciative of groups such as the Environmental Defense Fund and the Pennsylvania Environmental Council for bringing these important provisions to our attention.
It is important to note that, over the past 18 months, we are not aware of a physician having to actually request this information. However, ensuring health care professionals have a legal right to access the information they need to treat their patients is not only common sense — it is the right thing to do. Pennsylvanians can be proud of this and other important provisions that are helping to protect public health.
Office of Governor Tom Corbett