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Texas nursing homes could soon be legally required to report disease outbreaks

The bill establishes that certain details about the spread of such diseases in these facilities are not classified as "protected health information."

AUSTIN, Texas — Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities in Texas could soon be required to report details about the spread of communicable diseases inside their facilities. 

SB 930, which was authored by Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo), passed in the Texas Senate on Wednesday. 

The bill establishes that certain details about the spread of such diseases in these facilities are not classified as "protected health information."

If signed into law, SB 930 would make the following information public and subject to disclosure: the name or location of a facility with residents diagnosed with a communicable disease and the number of residents diagnosed with a communicable disease. 

This bill comes after the KVUE Defenders led a charge in 2020 for access to information about the spread of COVID-19 in long-term care facilities. 

After months of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission refusing to release details identifying locations and case counts at facilities in Texas, the Attorney General ruled in favor of KVUE's request for the records and ordered HHSC to release the information

The bill now moves to the Texas House of Representatives, where it needs approval before it becomes law. 

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