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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: December 12, 2022 03:51 PM
From: Representative David H. Zimmerman
To: All House members
Subject: County Health Information Legislation (Prior HB 2774, 2021-2022)
I plan to introduce legislation that would amendment the Disease Prevention and Control Law of 1955 (DPCL) by authorizing counties without their own health department to receive communicable disease data from the Pennsylvania Department of Health for their jurisdictions.

The DPCL places primary responsibility for the prevention and control of communicable diseases with local departments of health and with the Department of Health for those counties that do not have their own health departments.   The DPCL prohibits both state and local health departments from disclosing reports of diseases, any records maintained as result of any action taken in consequence of such reports, and any other records maintained pursuant to the DPCL or any regulations, to any person outside of the Department of Health or local health department, except for specific instances.

With only six county health departments in the Commonwealth (and one soon to be added in Delaware County), most counties fall under the Department of Health for communicable disease prevention and control.  This means that while more specific geographic information of communicable diseases is available to those areas with local health departments, those counties without local health departments do not have the ability to focus on specific areas within their jurisdictions or adequately map areas hit hardest by a communicable disease.  This lack of specific data then hampers a county from being able to direct resources and form an adequate local response.  While counties can elect to form their own health departments, this is very cost prohibitive for many counties, and this should not stop counties from trying to protect their citizens.

My bill will not compromise the confidentiality of patient information.  No information will be released beyond the county in which the person resides and each county that elects to obtain this information will be required to abide by all confidentiality rules.

Please join me in sponsoring this important piece of legislation to improve local response to benefit the health and safety of the citizens of this Commonwealth.

Previous cosponsors of HB 2774 (2021-2022): Ryan, James, Hennessey, Rowe, Millard, and Keefer

Introduced as HB563