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The 191st General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

AN ACT RELATIVE TO PUBLIC HEALTH DATA SHARING WITH THE BOSTON PUBLIC HEALTH COMMISSION

     Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same as follows:
     SECTION 1.  Subsection (a) of section 1 of chapter 147 of the acts of 1995 is hereby amended by inserting after the word “prevention”, in line 6, the following words:-  , public health surveillance.
     SECTION 2.  Section 2 of said chapter 147 is hereby amended by inserting after the definition of “Boston Specialty and Rehabilitation Hospital” the following definition:-
     “Center”, the center for health information and analysis.
     SECTION 3.  Said section 2 of said chapter 147 is hereby further amended by inserting after the definition of “Commissioner of health and hospitals” the following definition:-
     “Department”, the commonwealth’s department of public health.
     SECTION 4.  Said section 2 of said chapter 147 is hereby further amended by inserting after the definition of “Department of health and hospitals” the following definition:-
     “Public health surveillance”, the ongoing, systematic collection, analysis, interpretation, and dissemination of data for use in planning, implementation and evaluation of public health programs and practices to reduce morbidity and mortality and to improve health.
     SECTION 5.  Clause (15) of subsection (a) of section 7 of said chapter 147 is hereby amended by striking out, in line 4, the word “and”.
     SECTION 6.  Clause (16) of said subsection (a) of said section 7 of said chapter 147 is hereby amended by striking out, in line 6, the word “act.” and inserting in place thereof the following words:-  act; and
     (17)  notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, to receive, in a timely manner, confidential health data pertaining to the residents of the city from the department and the center only for the purposes of public health surveillance and the preparation of the annual assessment of public health needs of the city; provided, however, that in the receipt, use, maintenance and destruction of such health data, the commission shall be subject to the same  laws providing for confidentiality and security of personal data as is the department or the center including, but not limited to, chapter 66A of the General Laws, chapter 93H of the General Laws and chapter 93I of the General Laws; provided further, that the commission shall not disclose the data received pursuant to this section, except in aggregate form; provided further, that any release of data to the commission by the center shall be subject to the requirements of section 12 of chapter 12C of the General Laws; provided further, that for the purposes of this section, the commission shall be considered a governmental unit as defined in section 1 of said chapter 12C; provided further, that any public health surveillance activity which is also research shall be subject to the requirements for research using human subjects; provided further, that unless specified otherwise, data received: (i) shall be provided annually;      (ii) shall not include social security numbers; (iii) shall not be used for direct patient follow-up; (iv) shall include either the zip code or census tract of the individual case, to the extent such information is collected by the department or center; and (v) shall include, but not be limited to, the following information about residents of the city:
     (A)  records of births and deaths, including separate data on fetal deaths and infant deaths in the city, including an address for each record, not later than June 1 of the year following the closure of each data set;
     (B)  case reports of venereal disease; provided, however, that such reports shall be submitted not more than 30 days after confirmation of the case by the department; provided further, that such case reports shall include the name, address, demographic, risk factor and treatment information, to the extent the information is available, for the purposes of surveillance, prevention and disease control activities and direct patient follow-up; and provided further, that direct patient follow-up by the commission shall be governed by a written agreement between the commission and the department;
     (C)  data from the behavioral risk factor surveillance system which shall be provided within 2 months of finalizing the data set;
     (D)  data from the commonwealth’s cancer registry;
     (E)  data from the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System;
     (F)  data of hospital discharges;
     (G)  data of hospital observational cases; and
     (H)  data of hospital emergency room visits

Approved, December 19, 2014.