The Vermont Statutes Online
Title 18: Health
Chapter 004: CANCER REGISTRY
§ 151. Definitions
As used in this chapter:
(1) “Cancer” means all malignant neoplasms, regardless of the tissue of origin, including malignant lymphoma, Hodgkins disease, and leukemia, but excluding basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma of the skin.
(2) “Health care facility” shall have the meaning given in section 9432 of this title.
(3) “Health care provider” shall have the meaning given in section 9432 of this title. (Added 1993, No. 90, § 2.)
§ 152. Establishment of cancer registry
(a) The Commissioner shall establish a uniform statewide population-based cancer registry system for the collection of information determining the incidence of cancer and related data. The Secretary shall adopt rules necessary to effect the purposes of this chapter, including the data to be reported and the effective date after which reporting by health care facilities and health care providers shall be required.
(b) All cancers diagnosed or treated in the State shall be reported to the representative of the Department of Health authorized by the Commissioner to compile the cancer data, or any individual, agency, or organization designated to cooperate with that representative.
(c) The Commissioner shall establish a training program for the personnel of participating health care facilities and a quality control program for cancer data. The Commissioner shall collaborate in studies with clinicians and epidemiologists and publish reports on the results of such studies. The Commissioner shall cooperate with the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in providing cancer incidence data. (Added 1993, No. 90, § 2.)
§ 153. Participation in program
(a) Any health care facility diagnosing or providing treatment to patients with cancer shall report each case of cancer to the Commissioner or his or her authorized representative in a format prescribed by the Commissioner within 180 days of admission or diagnosis. If the facility fails to report in a format prescribed by the Commissioner, the Commissioner’s authorized representative may enter the facility, obtain the information, and report it in the appropriate format. In these cases, the facility shall reimburse the Commissioner or the authorized representative for the cost of obtaining and reporting the information.
(b) Any health care provider diagnosing or providing treatment to patients with cancer shall report each cancer case to the Commissioner or his or her authorized representative within 180 days of diagnosis. Those cases diagnosed or treated at a Vermont facility or previously admitted to a Vermont facility for diagnosis or treatment of that instance of cancer are exceptions and do not need to be reported by the health care provider.
(c) All health care facilities and health care providers who provide diagnostic or treatment services to patients with cancer shall report to the Commissioner any further demographic, diagnostic, or treatment information requested by the Commissioner concerning any person now or formerly receiving services, diagnosed as having or having had a malignant tumor. Additionally, the Commissioner or his or her authorized representative shall have physical access to all records that would identify cases of cancer or would establish characteristics of the cancer, treatment of the cancer, or medical status of any identified patient with cancer. Willful failure to grant access to such records shall be punishable by a fine of up to $500.00 for each day access is refused. Any fines collected pursuant to this subsection shall be deposited in the General Fund. (Added 1993, No. 90, § 2; amended 2015, No. 37, § 1.)
§ 154. Confidentiality
(a) All information reported pursuant to this chapter shall be confidential and privileged. The Commissioner shall take strict measures to ensure that all identifying information is kept confidential.
(b) All identifying information regarding an individual patient, health care provider, or health care facility contained in records of interviews, written reports, and statements procured by the Commissioner or by any other person, agency, or organization acting jointly with the Commissioner in connection with cancer morbidity and mortality studies shall be confidential and privileged and shall be used solely for the purposes of the study. Nothing in this section shall prevent the Commissioner from publishing statistical compilations relating to morbidity and mortality studies which do not identify individual cases or sources of information. (Added 1993, No. 90, § 2.)
§ 155. Disclosure
(a) The Commissioner may enter into agreements to exchange confidential information with other cancer registries in order to obtain complete reports of Vermont residents diagnosed or treated in other states and to provide information to other states regarding their residents diagnosed or treated in Vermont.
(b) The Commissioner may furnish confidential information to the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, other states’ cancer registries, federal cancer control agencies, or health researchers in order to collaborate in a national cancer registry or to collaborate in cancer control and prevention research studies. However, before releasing confidential information, the Commissioner shall first obtain from such state registries, agencies, or researchers an agreement in writing to keep the identifying information confidential and privileged. In the case of researchers, the Commissioner shall also first obtain evidence of the approval of their academic committee for the protection of human subjects established in accordance with 45 C.F.R. part 46. (Added 1993, No. 90, § 2; amended 2015, No. 37, § 1.)
§ 156. Liability
(a) No action for damages arising from the disclosure of confidential or privileged information may be maintained against any person, or the employer or employee of any person, who participates in good faith in the reporting of cancer registry data or data for cancer morbidity or mortality studies in accordance with this chapter.
(b) No license of a health care facility or health care provider may be denied, suspended, or revoked for the good faith disclosure of confidential or privileged information in the reporting of cancer registry data or data for cancer morbidity or mortality studies in accordance with this chapter.
(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to apply to the unauthorized disclosure of confidential or privileged information when such disclosure is due to gross negligence or willful misconduct. (Added 1993, No. 90, § 2.)
§ 157. Vermont Mammography Registry
The confidentiality, disclosure, and liability provisions of sections 154, 155, and 156 of this title shall likewise apply to all mammography and pathology data relating to breast cancer and any associated identifying information acquired by the Vermont Mammography Registry (VMR). In the case of VMR, the rights and obligations of the Commissioner of Health shall be assumed by the appropriate VMR governing body or official. (Added 1993, No. 140 (Adj. Sess.), § 107a, eff. April 15, 1994.)
§ 158. Dense breast notification and education
(a) All health care facilities that perform mammography examinations shall include in the summary of the mammography report to be provided to a patient information that identifies the patient’s individual breast tissue classification based on the Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System established by the American College of Radiology. If a facility determines that a patient has heterogeneously dense or extremely dense breasts, the summary of the mammography report shall also include a notice substantially similar to the following:
“Your mammogram indicates that you have dense breast tissue. Dense breast tissue is a normal finding that is present in about 40 percent of women. Dense breast tissue can make it more difficult to detect cancer on a mammogram and may be associated with a slightly increased risk for breast cancer. This information is provided to raise your awareness of the impact of breast density on cancer detection and to encourage you to discuss this issue, as well as other breast cancer risk factors, with your health care provider as you decide together which screening options may be right for you.”
(b) Facilities that perform mammography examinations may update the language in their notices over time to reflect advances in science and technology, as long as they continue to notify patients about the frequency of dense breast tissue and its effect on the accuracy of mammograms and encourage patients to discuss the issue with their health care provider. Facilities shall notify the Department of Health each time they make changes to the notice required by this section and shall provide an updated copy for the Department’s information and review.
(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to create a duty of care or other legal obligation beyond the duty to provide notice as set forth in this section. (Added 2015, No. 139 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)