Officials in some rural Louisiana parishes accused of misusing COVID-19 data, violating HIPAA: 5 details

Some rural Louisiana parish officials who received federally protected information on COVID-19 cases from the state's health department misused the sensitive data and violated HIPAA, the health department said in a report in The Advocate.

Five things to know:

1. The health department emailed parish emergency leaders on July 30 with lists of patients who tested positive for COVID-19 in an effort to help first responders better prepare for surges of the virus.

2. While examining the data, some emergency officials found duplicates in the list and sent them to elected officials who then used the information as evidence that the state was inflating case numbers.

3. The Louisiana Health Department responded that the local officials misused the lists and violated HIPAA. As a result, the health department sent local officials a data-sharing agreement to sign before receiving more reports.

4. The agreement requires officials who receive information about COVID-19 cases to refrain from sharing the information with anyone except first responders or medical technicians. The officials are also required to destroy previous records.

5. The state also reported it regularly scrubs data to remove duplicates and ensure those who have multiple tests aren't counted twice.

More articles on data analytics:
US hasn't 'really sorted out privacy' of consumer health data, says ONC head
Missouri COVID-19 data backlog cleared, but delays persist, health officials say
Tennessee health department won't track COVID-19 data at schools as they reopen


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