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Informed Consent To Intimate Patient Examinations

Concerning a requirement to obtain a patient's informed consent before performing an intimate examination of the patient under specified circumstances, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation.
2023 Regular Session
Health Care & Health Insurance
Professions & Occupations
Bill Summary

The act prohibits a licensed physician or physician assistant; licensed medical resident, intern, or fellow; licensed professional nurse; advanced practice registered nurse; registered direct-entry midwife; or medical, nursing, or direct-entry midwife student or trainee (licensee, student, or trainee) from performing, and prohibits a licensed health-care facility from permitting a licensee, student, or trainee to perform, an intimate examination on a sedated or unconscious patient unless the patient has given specific informed consent to an intimate examination. Additionally, a student or trainee may perform an intimate examination on a sedated or unconscious patient for educational or training purposes only if:

  • The examination is related to the planned procedure to be performed on the patient;
  • The student or trainee has been introduced to the patient as part of the patient's care team, and the student's or trainee's role in performing an intimate examination for educational or training purposes has been shared with the patient; and
  • The student or trainee is under the direct supervision of the supervising licensee.

The informed consent requirement does not apply in an emergency situation in which an intimate examination on a sedated or unconscious patient is medically necessary for the life or well-being of the patient or if the licensee has previously obtained the patient's consent to health care that includes an intimate examination about which the patient has been informed.

The act outlines the requirements for obtaining the patient's informed consent. Failure to comply with the requirements of the act, or retaliating against a person who complains about a violation of the act, constitutes unprofessional conduct, is grounds for discipline, and subjects the licensee, student, or trainee to discipline by the regulator that regulates the particular health-care profession. A licensed health-care facility that fails to comply with the requirements of the act is subject to sanctions imposed by the department of public health and environment.

Additionally, a patient who is subjected to an intimate examination in violation of the requirements of the act may file a civil action for damages, which action is not a medical malpractice action, and the statutory cap on noneconomic damages in civil actions applies to an award to a patient for noneconomic damages.

For the 2023-24 state fiscal year, the act appropriates $32,915 from the general fund to the department of public health and environment for use by the health facilities and emergency medical services division to implement the act.

APPROVED by Governor May 25, 2023

EFFECTIVE January 1, 2024

NOTE: This act was passed without a safety clause.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)


Became Law


Bill Text

The effective date for bills enacted without a safety clause is August 7, 2024, if the General Assembly adjourns sine die on May 8, 2024, unless otherwise specified. Details