Sprinting down the home stretch

Sprinting down the home stretch

It is the first day of November in election year 2016 and we have exactly one more week until the climax of the most expensive and definitely the most trying and tiring election cycle in the History of the Republic to date. The past sixteen or so months has been a seemingly never ending public spectacle of prospective Presidential candidates or their surrogates one-upping each other with all manner of sleasery by way of comments, accusations, public displays of varying degrees of debauchery and last but not least non-flattering sound bytes and video clips of their same but former selves.  Some pundits have even gone as far to say that the future of the American experiment in self-governance hangs in the balance of next Tuesday’s vote.  It is still my hope that given all that is on the line next Tuesday and despite assertions to the contrary by a certain Presidential candidate that the democratic process still is in full, sound and functional order and the outcome is not certain.

Vote

As most of my frequent readers are aware, I have been much more involved with down-ballot candidates, mostly those running for local state house and state senate seats.  The Democratic candidate running for my home district, that being HD 70, is one Joseph Jennings.  I vividly recall when I first became aware of the existence of Joe Jennings in February of this year.  It was like the right candidate for the right time and right race fell down out of the sky much to my own delight.  When I posted Joe’s announcement of his candidacy for HD 70 I had no idea that the incumbent would lose his primary to a largely unknown challenger.  Joe Jennings is also a first time ever candidate but he does have a fair amount of face time at the State Capitol.

Jennings for HD 70

I know I have railed on ad nauseum regarding the failings of the latest session of our illustrious 55th Oklahoma Legislature but to be fair, not all the results produced at NE 23rd and Lincoln Blvd in Oklahoma City have been bad.  One of the few positive things to come out of this last session is the signing into law of House Bill 2601 which was a direct result of Joe Jennings’ commitment to change a policy that cost his wife, Kristen, her life.  It just so happens that this new law that Joe was so instrumental in getting crafted and passed was signed by Governor Fallin on April 21st and goes into effect today, November 1st, 2016.  As it is with most laws as written, the verbage of HB 2601 is pretty dry stuff.  The gist of the bill as it was written in committee by Dr. Ritze (R-Broken Arrow) and finally passed is as follows:

“An Act relating to public health; requiring health care facilities to include certain breast density information in a mammography report; requiring notice under certain circumstances; providing that certain information may be provided to patient; providing that no duty of care exists; providing that notice shall not be inconsistent with federal law; providing for codification; and providing an effective date.”

The law itself reads as follows:

BE IT ENACTED BY THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA:

SECTION 1.     NEW LAW     A new section of law to be codified in the Oklahoma Statutes as Section 1-553.1 of Title 63, unless there is created a duplication in numbering, reads as follows:

  1. All health care facilities that perform mammography examinations shall include in the summary of the mammography report, required by federal law to be provided to a patient, information that identifies the patient’s individual breast density classification based on the Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System established by the American College of Radiology. If the facility determines that a patient has heterogeneously or extremely dense breast tissue, the summary of the mammography report shall include the following notice:

“Your mammogram indicates that you have dense breast tissue.  Dense breast tissue is common and is found in more than fifty percent (50%) of women and is not abnormal.  However, dense breast tissue may make it more difficult to detect breast cancer and may be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.  This information is being provided to raise your awareness and to encourage you and your health care provider to discuss this and other breast cancer risk factors.  Together, you and your health care provider can decide if additional screening options may be right for you.  A report of your results was sent to your health care provider.”

  1. Patients who receive diagnostic or screening mammograms may be directed to informative material about breast density. This informative material may include the American College of Radiology’s most current brochure on the subject of breast density available on the American College of Radiology’s website.  Patients and health care providers can be further informed by material from the American Cancer Society or Mammography Saves Lives organizations.

C.  Nothing in this section shall be deemed to create a duty of care or other legal obligation beyond the duty to provide notice as set forth in subsection A of this section.  Nothing in this section shall be deemed to require a notice that is inconsistent with the provisions of the federal Mammography Quality Standards Act or any regulations promulgated pursuant thereto.  

SECTION 2.  This act shall become effective November 1, 2016.

 Jennings for HD 70

Regardless of the outcome of next Tuesday’s election, Joe Jennings has already left an indelible mark on his community through his passion and motivation to make sure the tragedy which befell him and his family does not recur.  At a campaign fundraiser I attended a few months ago I remember telling Joe that some things we do in this life do in fact echo in eternity.  He gets full due credit for this one.  Now, I want to see what more he can do as an elected legislator!

Vote Democratic

We are now in the final week before the most important election in recent history.  I know many have already voted.  Many more are waiting to vote.  A significant number have totally given up on voting altogether.  And I don’t know anybody on any side who cannot wait for this whole disgraceful public spectacle TO BE OVER!  Seven more days and we are there.

Election 2016