Regulation of Medicine


Kentucky Now Requires Reporting of Dense Breast Tissue

Kentucky governor, Matt Bevin, recently signed HB 78 into law, requiring Kentucky mammography providers to report dense breast tissue to patients through the mammogram report.  The law will become effective in July of 2017.

If a patient’s x-ray demonstrates dense breast tissue, the person in Kentucky who provided the mammography services shall provide a notification to the patient that includes the following information in the summary of the written report:

“Your x-ray mammogram shows that your breast tissue is dense.  Dense breast tissue is common among women and is not abnormal.  However, women with dense breast tissue may have a slightly increased risk for developing breast cancer.  Dense breast tissue may also make it more difficult to detect an early breast cancer on your x-ray mammogram.  At this time, there are not specific recommendations for additional screening or other measures related to having dense breast tissue.  However, you may want to talk to your doctor about other ways that you might be able to reduce your risk of breast cancer.  A report of your results was sent to your ordering physician.  If you are self-referred, a report of your results was sent to you in addition to this summary.”

HB 78 recognizes “dense breast tissue” as heterogeneously or extremely dense breast tissue as defined in nationally recognized guidelines, such as those established by the American College of Radiology.  It expands the definition of “mammogram” to include digital mammography and breast tomosynthesis (a radiologic procedure that involves projection images over the stationary breast to produce digital 3-D images of the breast).  The new law encourages, but does not require, physicians to recommend digital mammography including breast tomosynthesis when writing orders for mammograms. 

Lastly, the new law states that the facility performing the exam and the healthcare practitioner who ordered it shall follow federal laws relating to the notification of mammography exam results (written summary within 30 days, with “suspicious” or “highly suggestive of malignancy” results communicated as soon as possible) and maintaining medical records. 

To review the full version of HB 78, please click here.


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