IDPH Issues Reminder on Termination Reportings

Date of Publication March 21, 2018

Recently, the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) widely distributed a notice to remind physicians and staff of their termination of pregnancy reporting requirements under Iowa Code section 144.29A and 146B.2. In light of the 2017 statutory changes to the administration and reporting of induced terminations, and misunderstandings of long-standing spontaneous termination reporting, this notice caused confusion and concern among many in the medical community. This led IDPH to issue a clarifying FAQ document to help clarify physicians’ obligations under the current law.

Late last year, IDPH adopted updated administrative rules based upon the changes the legislature enacted to the induced pregnancy termination statute. At that time, they also made the decision to retire the long-standing combined form for reporting both spontaneous and induced terminations. They opted instead to replace it with separate reporting forms for induced and spontaneous terminations. IDPH continues to receive termination reports using the old combined form. The department is preparing to issue another notification to remind practices of their obligations under the law.

In discussions with practices around the state, it has become apparent that there was widespread misunderstanding and ineffective communication regarding the spontaneous termination reporting requirements that have been Iowa law since 1997. IMS has met with representatives of the Department of Public Health who confirmed that the data collected under this statute is only assembled in a statutorily-mandated annual report, and is not utilized for public health research or any other purpose. Given the incompleteness of the 21 years of past reporting data that have been collected, the difficulty in reporting spontaneous terminations, and the lack of any meaningful public health benefit to this report, IMS is engaging legislators in discussions about the merit of repealing this statute. For more information on this issue, please contact Dennis Tibben with the IMS Center for Physician Advocacy.

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