Public Health Departments and State Patient Confidentiality Laws

Public health departments strive to effectively treat communicable diseases like sexually transmitted diseases and tuberculosis, but co-infection of communicable diseases can have a negative impact on health. When a person has more than one communicable disease at the same time, it is important for departments to collaborate and share information regarding care and treatment. State laws designed to protect patient confidentiality can sometimes make it challenging for health departments to effectively coordinate care for a person with multiple diseases.

This portal shows state statutes and regulations that address health departments’ ability to release and use personally identifiable information (PII) to promote public health and coordinate care. Specifically, it contains state statutes and regulations regarding HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and C, syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and tuberculosis. This portal does not include internal health department policies or other laws, which may also impact health departments’ abilities to release and use PII.  This page has been updated through August 2013.

The Patient Confidentiality and Public Health Map is intended to be a tool for reviewing laws and regulations in one state or for comparing them across several states. The portal is not intended to provide legal advice. Please consult legal counsel for specific questions about the application of law in your state. 

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