Referring to Notice 3.2.1, “Confidentiality,” it advises physicians involved in contact monitoring to “protect patient confidentiality as much as possible by limiting disclosure to the minimum necessary information, by not identifying the patient when informing third parties of their exposure.” Work with public and local health services. They are the great contact tracking weapons and have greater legal authority to find people, especially outside the workplace, said Dr. Clarence Lam, acting director for health services at Johns Hopkins Medicine. “At the moment, it is difficult to know where the COVID case is coming from. The risk can be as high in a grocery store as it is in the workplace,” he said, noting that public health rehabilitation can follow these transmission lines. Public health staff contact those who have tested positive. You can do this by calling the phone or sending a short survey by text or email. People who tested positive may be asked about who they were with, with whom they may have been exposed while they were contagious. Public health professionals call or write these close contacts to inform them that they may have been exposed. If they do, they keep the name of the person who has been tested positive, confidential. When protected health information on a positive COVID-19 test is transmitted by a UNIT covered with HIPAA to a component of a local public or health ministry that is not covered by HIPAA to allow follow-up contacts, the protective measures continue to apply to the common PHI. HIPAA authorizes the disclosure of PHI for public health activities to public health authorities authorized to collect such information by national or federal law, when only the minimum necessary information can be disclosed. HOWEVER, HIPAA would not refer to information gathered later in a contact interview if the company conducting the interview is not covered by HIPAA.
Usefully, New York`s legal requirements for collecting health-related information are clearly defined by its Department of Health. The New York Public Health Act defines “methods and controls to limit the dissemination and control of confidential personal health information within the Department of Health.” It states that staff or department officials can only access personal health information if necessary in the course of their official duties, with the permission of management and after training in access to information tasks. Department of Health staff or officials cannot disclose this information except to someone who has the official authority to access it if that person needs it to perform an official function. The supervisory authorities are responsible for the control and security of this information until it is disposed of in a way that does not affect confidentiality. The law requires the Ministry of Health and the supervisory authorities of each operational unit to develop standard confidentiality protocols to ensure this protection and to “prevent discrimination, abuse or other harmful acts against persons to whom personal data is subjected.” Minimum standards for the handling of confidential information by agencies should include the provision of appropriate information and/or training on confidential legal guidelines and provisions.