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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: January 11, 2017 03:07 PM
From: Representative Dom Costa
To: All House members
Subject: Occupational Exposure: Corrections Employees
In the near future, I will be re-introducing legislation – former House Bill 1059 of the 2015-2016 Legislative Session – that would establish procedures for testing for HIV and hepatitis B and C if a corrections staff member is exposed to an inmate’s bodily fluids during the course of his or her official duties.

When a health care provider, first responder, or corrections employee is exposed to an inmate’s blood or bodily fluids while administering health care or occupational services, the inmate can refuse to submit to a test for blood-borne pathogens. Currently, Pennsylvania law requires the Department of Corrections (DOC) to obtain a court order to test an inmate’s blood. DOC officials have expressed that the resulting legal process is lengthy and unnecessarily wastes vital financial and human resources.

Under my legislation, a corrections staff member must be given the opportunity to undergo testing for HIV if a physician determines he or she has experienced a significant exposure to an inmate’s blood or bodily fluids. The inmate must be given the opportunity to consent to have their blood tested as well. If the inmate does not consent, my bill provides that a significant exposure creates the presumption of a compelling need for a court to require disclosure of the inmate’s confidential HIV-related information. The presumption can be overcome by clear and convincing evidence.

This measure has the full support of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections and the Pennsylvania State Corrections Officers Association (PSCOA). Please join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as HB305