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Epidemiology and Disease Control

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The Florida Department of Health in Broward County Epidemiology Program staff performs surveillance and investigates cases of reportable diseases and conditions.  Staff investigates outbreaks of infectious diseases and institutes prevention and control measures to stop the spread of disease.  Epidemiologists provide education and technical assistance to healthcare providers and the community on the management of diseases of public health significance. Staff perform community outreach and health education activities related to communicable disease.

Reportable disease data is collected and analyzed to identify case rates, trends, and distribution of disease in the local community.  This is done in order to provide timely response to outbreaks, regular reports to providers, the public and partners and to target prevention activities.
 
Section 381.0031 (2), Florida Statutes (F.S.), provides that “Any practitioner licensed in this state to practice medicine, osteopathic medicine, chiropractic medicine, naturopathy, or veterinary medicine; any hospital licensed under part I of chapter 395; or any laboratory licensed under chapter 483 that diagnoses or suspects the existence of a disease of public health significance shall immediately report the fact to the Department of Health.”

These individuals and entities are required to report diseases or conditions and the associated laboratory test results listed in the Table of Notifiable Diseases or Conditions, Rule 64D-3, F.A.C. Reporting test results by a laboratory does not nullify the practitioner’s obligation under law to also report the disease or condition.

In accordance with Rule 64D-3.029, Florida Administrative Code (FAC),  it is important that the requirements imposed by the Privacy Rule of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) be understood and followed especially in regard to disease reporting responsibilities and protections.

HIPAA does not change the obligation of health care providers, laboratories, and hospitals to report cases of disease listed in Chapter 64D-3, FAC, or the obligation to cooperate with the Department's epidemiology investigations.

HIPAA Section 45 CFR 160.203(c) specifically defers to state law with respect to "reports of disease, injury, child abuse, birth, or death for the conduct of public health." Also, health care providers are specifically allowed to report these and other matters that contain protected health information to the public health authority without notice to your patient (45 CFR 164.512(b)).  In fact, Section 381.0031(7), F.S., requires licensed health care practitioners to report diseases of public significance to the Department of Health. Chapter 64D-3, FAC, specifies the diseases required to be reported. These state requirements are not reduced or changed by the federal law.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

Monthly Epi Examiner Reports