Governor M. Jodi Rell today signed a bill that requires hospitals to promptly notify paramedics, firefighters, police and other emergency responders when a patient they have treated or handled has been diagnosed with an infectious disease.
“This bill help protect the lives of those whose job it is to save lives,” Governor Rell said. “It is vital they know as soon as possible when one of their patients has a serious infectious disease, such as tuberculosis. The law ensures they have access to that information and are promptly notified.”
Senate Bill 1010, An Act Concerning Exposure to Infectious Diseases and Emergency Responders, requires that hospitals notify emergency service organizations – within 48 hours verbally and 72 hours in writing – after a patient has been diagnosed with an infectious pulmonary disease. The bill also adds exemption from liability.
The bill restores the protective language for emergency workers that was inadvertently stripped from the federal Ryan White Act of 1990 when it was reauthorized in 2006. The omission created a significant safety issue for emergency responders, who are exposed to diseases when they treat patients in uncontrolled environments.
“With all the privacy laws surrounding health care now, it is essential to preserve the rights and health of our emergency responders,” Governor Rell said.