SENATE BILL REPORT
BYSenators Wojahn, Smith, DeJarnatt, Vognild, Smitherman, Stratton, Moore, West, Rasmussen and Sutherland
Regarding the treatment for use of controlled substances and alcohol during pregnancy.
Senate Committee on Health & Long-Term Care
Senate Hearing Date(s):January 23, 1990
Senate Staff:Greg Miller (786-7784)
AS OF JANUARY 22, 1990
The use of alcohol and nonprescription controlled substances during pregnancy is dangerous to both the pregnant woman and to the resulting child. Cases are increasing dramatically and come from all economic, social, and geographic segments of society. Many persons, both clinicians and pregnant women, apparently are not able or willing to recognize and confront the medical problems posed and begin appropriate treatment.
The bill requires testing each woman when she first comes under a physician's care for pregnancy to determine whether she has used a controlled substance during pregnancy. "Controlled substance" is defined as a drug, substance, or precursor to controlled substances codified in RCW 69.50.201 through 69.50.213. These include barbiturates, amphetamines, heroin and cocaine. If the results are positive the physician is required to provide or refer the woman to health education and treatment as appropriate to the woman's condition. Physicians are also required to test newborns for evidence of prenatal exposure to a controlled substance if medical examination or history of the infant or mother gives the physician a reason to believe the mother used a controlled substance during the pregnancy.
Testing physicians are exempted from any mandatory reporting requirements of test results. Test results may be used only for the care and treatment of the pregnant woman or newborn child. Test results are not admissible in any civil, criminal, or administrative proceeding. Physicians and other health care personnel are prohibited from disclosing test results except as necessary to other health care personnel for the care and treatment of the pregnant woman or resulting child, unless there is consent from the woman. Physicians are also granted civil and criminal immunity for proper administration of the tests.
Fiscal Note: requested January 15, 1990