Test Drive Our New Site! We have some improvements in the works that we're excited for you to experience. Click here to try our new, faster, mobile friendly beta site. We will be maintaining our current version of the site thru the end of 2024, so you can switch back as our improvements continue.
Legislation Quick Search
07/13/2024 02:40 AM
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20130&cosponId=13618
Share:
Home / House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

Subscribe to PaLegis Notifications
NEW!

Subscribe to receive notifications of new Co-Sponsorship Memos circulated

By Member | By Date | Keyword Search


House of Representatives
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: November 4, 2013 02:18 PM
From: Representative Vanessa Lowery Brown
To: All House members
Subject: OCCUPATIONAL EXPOSURE STATUTE - DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS
 
In the near future, I intend to introduce legislation amending the Confidentiality of HIV-Related Information Act, relative to the occupational exposure of certain individuals and employees of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC).

As we all know, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections does a superb job at maintaining public safety by way of housing, educating, and rehabilitating tens of thousands of the Commonwealth’s criminal offenders on a continual basis. However, what many of you may not know is that during instances when an individual health care provider, first responder, or corrections employee is exposed to an inmate’s blood or bodily fluids in the course of rendering health care or occupational services, the inmate in question may refuse to submit to a test for blood-borne pathogens (Specifically, such testing would only be requested for the purpose of ascertaining the status of the inmate’s health --- as well as the potential risk confronting the exposed party).

According to current Pennsylvania law, under the above-mentioned scenario the DOC is required to obtain a court order to have the inmate’s blood tested. In light of this present form of protocol, DOC officials have expressed that this oftentimes involves quite a protracted legal process that unnecessarily wastes both vital financial and human resources.

As such, my legislation proposes to grant the DOC automatic authorization to test the inmate’s available blood for blood-borne pathogens only under the following conditions:
  • The healthcare provider, first responder or corrections employee must have documented exposure to blood or bodily fluids during the performance of the employee’s work duties.
  • A licensed physician has determined that significant exposure has occurred.
  • The employee provides a blood sample for testing within 72 hours.
  • The correctional facility asks the inmate to consent to a test for blood-borne pathogens and the inmate does not consent.

Additionally, this bill would allow the DOC or a county jail who has information regarding an inmate’s HIV status to disclose that information to a health care provider, first responder, corrections employee, corrections contractor or corrections volunteer who is certified to have experienced a significant exposure to an inmate’s blood or body fluids during the performance of their occupational duties in a DOC facility or county jail.

Lastly, during instances when the DOC needs to obtain a court order for the purpose of physically taking blood from an inmate to do testing, such an order requires a showing of “compelling need.” As such, this measure adds a presumption that the health care provider, first responder, corrections employee, corrections contractor or corrections volunteer who is certified to have experienced a significant exposure to an inmate’s blood or body fluids during the performance of their occupational duties in a DOC facility or county jail has a compelling need, unless evidence to the contrary proves otherwise. It is also important to note that at least fifteen (15) other states have adopted similar statutes.

Our individual health care providers, first responders, and corrections staff provide an invaluable service to our Commonwealth. The very nature of their occupations requires them to literally risk life and limb on an everyday basis. As such, I am appealing to my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to please join me in instituting a critically important and necessary safeguard on their behalf.

If you should have any questions or concerns regarding this legislation, please feel free to contact Brandon J. Flood at 717.772.6955 or bflood@pahouse.net.

THIS MEASURE HAS THE FULL SUPPORT OF THE
PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS (DOC) AND
THE PENNSYLVANIA STATE CORRECTIONS OFFICERS ASSOCIATION (PSCOA)

View Attachment


Introduced as HB1847