Tennessee to stop sharing COVID-19 patient data with first responders

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The Tennessee state health department will stop providing names and addresses of COVID-19 patients to first responders on May 31, according local CBS affiliate WTVF.

The state government enacted a memorandum of understanding during the start of the pandemic that allowed first responders and law enforcement to access COVID-19 patient data due to a lack of personal protective equipment for officials responding to emergency calls, according to the network.

In an email to first responders this week, the state said the MOU is no longer needed because the state now has enough PPE for first responders and its "understanding of COVID-19 has increased," adding the disclosure of information is "no longer warranted."

"[The state health department] has tried to maintain a balance between respecting patient privacy rights and preventing and lessening a serious health threat to first responders and law enforcement," the email reads, according to the report. "Even as we continue to address many COVID-19 challenges, two developments make this an appropriate time for [the health department] to cease these COVID-19 PHI disclosures."

 

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