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Coronavirus prep

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  • cmriversidecmriverside Member Posts: 30,008 Member Member Posts: 30,008 Member
    earlnabby wrote: »
    I just found out that some police and sheriffs here in TN are being given names and addresses of everyone who has tested positive. Health privacy apparently doesn't matter here: https://www.timesfreepress.com/news/local/story/2020/may/08/state-health-department-gives-names-addresses/522572/

    We seem to have moved the line between health information privacy and information released for public health necessity. Like so many other things about this pandemic, there is not enough known about it and there is no coordinated national response in the US.

    Yeah, so you better hope you don't need an LEO when you have a positive diagnosis.
  • earlnabbyearlnabby Member Posts: 8,019 Member Member Posts: 8,019 Member
    kushiel1 wrote: »
    I just found out that some police and sheriffs here in TN are being given names and addresses of everyone who has tested positive. Health privacy apparently doesn't matter here: https://www.timesfreepress.com/news/local/story/2020/may/08/state-health-department-gives-names-addresses/522572/

    Does HIPPA have an pandemic exception clause I don't know about? I can see wanting to do contract tracing but this seems to be very invasive....and illegal.

    I don't know the details but there are some exceptions when public safety is at risk, for example someone with a known STD knowingly exposing others.

    The question right now is how to define if someone is knowingly risking the health of the public and what to do about it.
    edited May 18
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 15,577 Member Member, Premium Posts: 15,577 Member
    I wonder if there are older provisions in law that allow for public health officials to impose formal quarantine on a household, that are letting positive test results' names/addresses go to law enforcement in some areas. If so, that could be a legal exception to HIPAA (in the US), similar to court orders being able to get at protected health info in certain scenarios.

    I can just barely remember it, but "back in the day" before there were vaccines for common very infectious deadly diseases (measles is one), it was a thing to impose formal quarantine on a household, put up "quarantine" signs around their house, and legally require them to meet certain isolation conditions for a defined period of time.

    Most of y'all probably way too young to have encountered that; I'm darned close to too young, and think I just remember people talking about it, not seeing it happen.
  • earlnabbyearlnabby Member Posts: 8,019 Member Member Posts: 8,019 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    I wonder if there are older provisions in law that allow for public health officials to impose formal quarantine on a household, that are letting positive test results' names/addresses go to law enforcement in some areas. If so, that could be a legal exception to HIPAA (in the US), similar to court orders being able to get at protected health info in certain scenarios.

    I can just barely remember it, but "back in the day" before there were vaccines for common very infectious deadly diseases (measles is one), it was a thing to impose formal quarantine on a household, put up "quarantine" signs around their house, and legally require them to meet certain isolation conditions for a defined period of time.

    Most of y'all probably way too young to have encountered that; I'm darned close to too young, and think I just remember people talking about it, not seeing it happen.

    We are close to the same age. I don't remember the quarantines but my Mom told me about them in the early 50's with polio. She was a young mother (first child in '53, second in '54, I was in '56) so she was very aware of the families who were quarantined because of it. The worry didn't last too long for her because of the vaccine that came out when my brothers were still toddlers.
  • rheddmobilerheddmobile Member Posts: 5,412 Member Member Posts: 5,412 Member
    I just found out that some police and sheriffs here in TN are being given names and addresses of everyone who has tested positive. Health privacy apparently doesn't matter here: https://www.timesfreepress.com/news/local/story/2020/may/08/state-health-department-gives-names-addresses/522572/
    Yeah, this is problematic, but with people with warrants out for their arrest posting on their doors (falsely) that they have covid in order to avoid being arrested, and others spitting on police and saying they have covid, (both happened locally) it’s not surprising.

    In any case it’s also problematic that health privacy has been used as an excuse to prevent people from protecting themselves. If my Kroger had three positive cases yesterday I would like to know that so I can go elsewhere. When someone is a public health risk, that’s not really private information.
  • earlnabbyearlnabby Member Posts: 8,019 Member Member Posts: 8,019 Member
    earlnabby wrote: »
    kushiel1 wrote: »
    I just found out that some police and sheriffs here in TN are being given names and addresses of everyone who has tested positive. Health privacy apparently doesn't matter here: https://www.timesfreepress.com/news/local/story/2020/may/08/state-health-department-gives-names-addresses/522572/

    Does HIPPA have an pandemic exception clause I don't know about? I can see wanting to do contract tracing but this seems to be very invasive....and illegal.

    I don't know the details but there are some exceptions when public safety is at risk, for example someone with a known STD knowingly exposing others.

    The question right now is how to define if someone is knowingly risking the health of the public and what to do about it.

    The argument they are making is that it is to protect police just in case they come in contact with an infected person. Since testing is so limited here and since a lot of people are asymptomatic, doesn't it make more sense to operate based on the assumption that everyone has it and protect yourself no matter what?! No need to share personal health information for that.

    I agree that they should assume everyone has it.
  • earlnabbyearlnabby Member Posts: 8,019 Member Member Posts: 8,019 Member
    I just found out that some police and sheriffs here in TN are being given names and addresses of everyone who has tested positive. Health privacy apparently doesn't matter here: https://www.timesfreepress.com/news/local/story/2020/may/08/state-health-department-gives-names-addresses/522572/
    Yeah, this is problematic, but with people with warrants out for their arrest posting on their doors (falsely) that they have covid in order to avoid being arrested, and others spitting on police and saying they have covid, (both happened locally) it’s not surprising.

    In any case it’s also problematic that health privacy has been used as an excuse to prevent people from protecting themselves. If my Kroger had three positive cases yesterday I would like to know that so I can go elsewhere. When someone is a public health risk, that’s not really private information.

    In situations like you mentioned, information can be released without actually naming names. If an infected person breaks quarantine, their privacy should not trump public safety but if someone tested positive who works somewhere, that info can be released and still maintain the individual's privacy.
  • lemurcat2lemurcat2 Member Posts: 5,419 Member Member Posts: 5,419 Member
    earlnabby wrote: »
    kushiel1 wrote: »
    I just found out that some police and sheriffs here in TN are being given names and addresses of everyone who has tested positive. Health privacy apparently doesn't matter here: https://www.timesfreepress.com/news/local/story/2020/may/08/state-health-department-gives-names-addresses/522572/

    Does HIPPA have an pandemic exception clause I don't know about? I can see wanting to do contract tracing but this seems to be very invasive....and illegal.

    I don't know the details but there are some exceptions when public safety is at risk, for example someone with a known STD knowingly exposing others.

    The question right now is how to define if someone is knowingly risking the health of the public and what to do about it.

    The argument they are making is that it is to protect police just in case they come in contact with an infected person. Since testing is so limited here and since a lot of people are asymptomatic, doesn't it make more sense to operate based on the assumption that everyone has it and protect yourself no matter what?! No need to share personal health information for that.

    Agreed.
  • lemurcat2lemurcat2 Member Posts: 5,419 Member Member Posts: 5,419 Member
    earlnabby wrote: »
    I just found out that some police and sheriffs here in TN are being given names and addresses of everyone who has tested positive. Health privacy apparently doesn't matter here: https://www.timesfreepress.com/news/local/story/2020/may/08/state-health-department-gives-names-addresses/522572/
    Yeah, this is problematic, but with people with warrants out for their arrest posting on their doors (falsely) that they have covid in order to avoid being arrested, and others spitting on police and saying they have covid, (both happened locally) it’s not surprising.

    In any case it’s also problematic that health privacy has been used as an excuse to prevent people from protecting themselves. If my Kroger had three positive cases yesterday I would like to know that so I can go elsewhere. When someone is a public health risk, that’s not really private information.

    In situations like you mentioned, information can be released without actually naming names. If an infected person breaks quarantine, their privacy should not trump public safety but if someone tested positive who works somewhere, that info can be released and still maintain the individual's privacy.

    Right -- for example, back in March someone who worked in the building next to mine (they are connected) tested positive, and the spouse of someone who worked in my building did, and they told us that, without revealing names.
  • T1DCarnivoreRunnerT1DCarnivoreRunner Member Posts: 10,663 Member Member Posts: 10,663 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    I wonder if there are older provisions in law that allow for public health officials to impose formal quarantine on a household, that are letting positive test results' names/addresses go to law enforcement in some areas. If so, that could be a legal exception to HIPAA (in the US), similar to court orders being able to get at protected health info in certain scenarios.

    I can just barely remember it, but "back in the day" before there were vaccines for common very infectious deadly diseases (measles is one), it was a thing to impose formal quarantine on a household, put up "quarantine" signs around their house, and legally require them to meet certain isolation conditions for a defined period of time.

    Most of y'all probably way too young to have encountered that; I'm darned close to too young, and think I just remember people talking about it, not seeing it happen.

    I feel like my point is being missed (my fault, I'm sure).

    The point was not nostalgia.

    The point was that in some jurisdictions, there may be a valid legal basis for releasing names/addresses to police, of people with positive COVID tests, based on quarantine/public-health regulations that have been in place dating back decades.

    I'm not an attorney in any jurisdiction, let alone all of them, so I don't know - speculating, it seems possible. It may also matter, in a legal sense, that some places are under a declared state of emergency, when there are typically different standards - still based in law - for government action.

    Whether we subjectively think it's an invasion of privacy to give police that info, or subjectively think it's reasonable for public health reasons to do so, it's signifcant whether it's legal or not, IMO.

    If it's legal (or illegal), and we don't like that, the remedial course is legislative/regulatory.
    If it isn't legal, and they're doing it anyway, that's a legit target for lawsuits or disciplinary complaints or whatever complaint/remediation mechanism is relevant in the particular context.

    Just because there are laws (in the US) like HIPAA, that doesn't make all releases of private health records illegal "because of privacy". (This I do know, having been involved in my employer's HIPAA compliance efforts.) For example, records can be released under court order, under certain provisions. There may be other cases where private health records can legally be released, under the full system of laws: That, I do not know.

    In the case of TN, everyone who has tested positive has their name and address released to all the police chiefs and county sheriffs who have signed up for it. I live near the MO border. If I test positive, my name and address are sent to everyone in the entire state that signed up for the information - even those who are nearly 400 miles away in the opposite corner of the state. How those police 400 miles away are supposed to watch my home and force me to quarantine is questionable.
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