I am a fierce advocate for resident dignity and privacy rights and am vehemently against releasing any information that would jeopardize it. The recently enacted HERDS survey, mandated by New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) requires nursing homes to not only submit the number of test positive COVID-19 cases and fatalities, which we are complying with, but also the gender, race and initials of those individuals. The latter information directly violates The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996, which regulates the sharing of Personal Health Information (PHI).
We have sent NYSDOH several requests for assurances that this confidential information would be protected, with no response. We will continue to comply with all HERDS survey requirements, but I will also continue to speak out against this blatant and egregious disregard for federal law and American citizen’s legal rights to protect their personal information.