Kentucky House Committee Approves Bill That Would Require State To Identify HIV Patients by Name
The Kentucky House Health and Welfare Committee on Thursday approved without dissent a bill (HB 82) that would require the state to identify HIV patients by name to state health officials, the Louisville Courier-Journal reports. The state previously reported HIV-positive individuals using special codes, but the CDC prefers to track HIV-positive people by name. Currently, 38 states track HIV-positive patients by name, which gives them "an edge" in obtaining federal AIDS funding, State Public Health Commissioner Dr. Rice Leach said during a hearing on the bill, according to the Courier-Journal (Louisville Courier-Journal, 1/16). The bill, sponsored by Rep. Tom Burch (D), would require the state's database to identify HIV patients by name, but reports to the CDC would continue to include code numbers, the Associated Press reports. Krista Wood, executive director of the Heartland Clinic, previously opposed the measure because of concerns over a "vast database and confidentiality leaks," but she changed her mind due to the financial implications of losing federal funding, according to the Associated Press. Leach said that the policy change would make the state "more competitive" in obtaining federal funding for HIV/AIDS care and support programs, the Associated Press reports. Robbie Stone, head of the Owensboro Area HIV/AIDS Task Force, said that for every person living with AIDS in Kentucky, there are seven people living with HIV who are unreported to state officials, according to the Associated Press (Schreiner, Associated Press, 1/15).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.