Epidemiologic Investigations

Expands DOH's ability to investigate significant causes of
illness which threaten the public health.  Protects the
confidentiality of information received by the Department.
Protects providers of this information from being held liable.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES                H.B. NO.           H.D. 1
TWENTIETH LEGISLATURE, 1999                                S.D. 1
STATE OF HAWAII                                            

                   A  BILL  FOR  AN  ACT



 1      SECTION  1.  Chapter 321, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is
 2 amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated
 3 and to read as follows:
 4      "321-    Epidemiologic investigations.  (a)  The department
 5 may conduct investigations to determine the nature and extent of
 6 diseases and injuries deemed by the department to threaten the
 7 public health and safety.
 8      (b)  Every person, health care provider, and medical
 9 facility shall provide the patient's name, the name of a minor
10 patient's parent or guardian, address, telephone number, age,
11 sex, race or ethnicity, clinical signs and symptoms, laboratory
12 test results, diagnostic interview data, treatment provided, and
13 the disposition of the patient when requested by an authorized
14 representative of the director for the purpose of conducting such
15 an investigation.  The authorized representative may only view
16 the limited portion of the patient's medical record which is
17 directly relevant in time and scope to the subject of the
18 investigation.
19      (c)  No person, health care provider, or medical facility

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                                                        S.D. 1

 1 that provides information requested by an authorized
 2 representative of the director for the purpose of conducting an
 3 investigation under this section shall be held civilly or
 4 criminally liable for providing that information to the
 5 department.
 6      (d)  All information provided to the department under this
 7 section shall be kept strictly confidential, except as the
 8 director determines is necessary to protect the public health and
 9 safety.  Access to confidential records shall be restricted to
10 those individuals specifically authorized to participate in any
11 given investigation.  However, epidemiologic and statistical
12 information with no individual identifying information may be
13 released to the public.  The identities of individuals whose
14 medical records are investigated shall be disclosed only to those
15 persons authorized by the director or the director's
16 representative to conduct a specific investigation under this
17 section or determined by the director to be necessary to protect
18 the health and safety of the public."
19      SECTION 2.  Section 321-1, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is
20 amended to read as follows:
21      "321-1  General powers and duties of the department.(a)
22 The department of health shall have general charge, oversight,
23 and care of the health and lives of the people of the State.

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                                     H.B. NO.           H.D. 1
                                                        S.D. 1

 1      (b)  The department may conduct epidemiologic investigations
 2 of diseases and injuries that threaten or are deemed by the
 3 department to threaten the public health and safety.
 4      [(b)] (c)  The department shall have authority in matters of
 5 quarantine and other health matters and may declare and enforce
 6 quarantine when none exists and modify or release quarantine when
 7 it is established.
 8      [(c)] (d)  When it is determined that there is imminent
 9 danger of epidemic or serious outbreak of communicable disease,
10 the department may refuse, modify, or limit attendance at any
11 school in the State.
12      [(d)] (e)  When in the judgment of the director, there is
13 deemed to be a potential health hazard, the department, through
14 the director, may take precautionary measures to protect the
15 public through the imposition of an embargo or the detention of
16 products regulated by the department, or the removal of products
17 regulated by the department from the market, or the declaration
18 of quarantine; provided that the director must find evidence of a
19 health hazard within seventy-two hours of the action taken or
20 rescind the action.  The director shall make public the findings.
21      [(e)] (f)  All county health authorities, sheriffs, police
22 officers, and all other officers and employees of the State, and
23 every county thereof, shall enforce the rules of the department.

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 1 All such powers in health matters as have been or may be
 2 conferred upon any county shall be concurrent with those of the
 3 department.
 4      [(f)] (g)  The department may establish charges and collect
 5 fees for any of its services; provided that the department shall
 6 not refuse to provide services to any person due to the person's
 7 inability to pay the fee for the service.  The department,
 8 through the director, shall make an annual report to the
 9 governor, showing in detail all its expenditures and
10 transactions, and such other information regarding the public
11 health as the department may deem of special interest.
12      [(g)] (h)  The department, during the prevalence of any
13 severe pestilence or epidemic, shall publish a weekly report of
14 the public health.
15      [(h)] (i)  The department shall establish and administer
16 programs, and adopt rules as deemed necessary, for the prevention
17 of domestic and sexual violence and the protection and treatment
18 of victims of domestic and sexual violence."
19      SECTION 3.  Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed.
20 New statutory material is underscored.
21      SECTION 4.  This Act shall take effect upon its approval.