State Law on HIV Testing Requires Verbal Consent Only
Massachusetts has enacted a new law that now requires verbal consent only from a patient in order to conduct an HIV test.
Clinicians (physician, nurse, physician assistant, social worker) are no longer required to use the Consent for HIV testing form, and the patient will no longer have to sign the form prior to testing. The phlebotomists and laboratory will not require any special documents to obtain the blood sample and to perform the blood test. Prior to enactment of this law, written patient consent was required.
In addition to clinicians obtaining the patient's verbal consent prior to testing, the verbal consent should be documented in the medical record prior to testing. Clinicians must date, time and sign the note in the medical record (electronic or inpatient medical record) after the discussion with the patient. As with any important clinical test, it is good practice to document why the test is being ordered.