AMA: Doctors Can Report Unsafe Drivers to DMV
The American Medical Association changed its ethical guidelines Tuesday to allow doctors to inform the Departments of Motor Vehicles in their states of patients with medical conditions that could make them unsafe drivers, the AP/St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. A majority of the roughly 500 AMA delegates gathered in San Diego this week adopted the policy. Although not legally binding, the new policy "makes public safety a priority over the confidentiality of patients with conditions such as senile dementia or alcoholism." Dr. Herbert Rakatansky, chair of the AMA's Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs, said, "We all know that some people are driving when they shouldn't be. This [new policy] says that it's desirable and ethical to report that information to the Department of Motor Vehicles." Some delegates, prior to the vote, maintained the policy would cause some people "not to seek treatment rather than risk losing their driving privileges." Walter Kahn, a New Jersey physician, said, "This will change us from physicians to policemen" (12/8).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.