Healthcare professionals have the medical duties not only to help in treating diseases, but also they also have the legal duties when it comes to reporting and providing health data to the concerned health agencies in order to decrease the occurrence of any specific disease. The objective of this writing is to present the examples of the legal duties that exist in reporting health data to the concerned public health agency. Provisions in preventing State Tuberculosis (TB) Prevention will be used as examples as well as the legal bounds of reporting HIV rates in relation to the health law. The gathered pieces of information have been submitted to the agencies based upon the law’s provision as indicated in the news, to which the current process holds some opportunities when it comes to health data reporting process.
Tuberculosis has been one of the most significant diseases on a global basis that have been the concern of government health agencies around the world. This communicable disease is also part of the government’s provisions which requires healthcare providers to report its occurrence. Thus, it encompasses the wide range of patients and entities, which states would require to report the occurrence of TB (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2012). The news is about the provisions for State TB control and prevention laws that provide suggested processes on how to report the accurate number of patients that have TB. Based upon the CDC article, there should be a timeframe when it comes to reporting the data, to which a suspected TB patient must be included in the report to the designated agency within 24 hours upon (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2012). Persons and entities that have the legal duties to report are the healthcare providers, laboratories, hospital administrators, and other persons or entities such as public health officials.
The gathered information will be gathered based on the person or entity’s responsibility. For example, a physician that confirmed the existence of TB on a particular patient must include the person’s case in the list of infected patients, which will then be submitted to the state’s health department. The authorities will then use the gathered data to monitor the incidence rate in order to analyze if the disease has increasing rate overtime. Some states are imposing penalties for failure to submit reports, as it can lead to detrimental health effects.
On the other hand, the American Medical Association raised some legal issues when it comes to reporting some diseases such as the HIV cases (AMA, 2005). Based on the news, all US States require both laboratories and physicians to provide reports to state or local health departments of patients who are diagnosed with HIV and AIDS. This is to monitor the prevalence of such diseases. Information is gathered through various systems, such as name-based, code-based, and name-to-code-based reporting (AMA, 2005). Codes are being used to hide the identity of the patients for their own security. The names and codes are gathered by each state and are submitted to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The processes of reporting the two identified examples of diseases are evidence that there are legal duties healthcare providers must comply with. For the TB reporting process, we recommend that reporting should be made right after the complete diagnosis in order to increase the accuracy of the report. However, it is not yet been accomplished due to lack of information from the patients themselves. On the other hand, the accurate reporting of HIV and AIDS can improve if there will only be one system to be used, which is the name-to-code approach. In this case, the names of the infected individuals will not be divulged for their own security, while ensuring that the reports coming from the states are accurate within its legal bounds.
American Medical Association. (2005, October). VM -- HIV and Health Law: Striking the Balance between Legal Mandates and Medical Ethics, Oct 05 Virtual Mentor. Retrieved January 20, 2016, from http://journalofethics.ama-assn.org/2005/10/hlaw1-0510.html
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2012, September 1). CDC - Provisions For State TB Prevention & Control Laws - IV. Case Identification - TB. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/tb/programs/laws/menu/caseid.htm