Philadelphia Receives Permission To Report HIV Cases to State Using Coded System
Philadelphia officials have received permission from Pennsylvania state officials to report the city's HIV cases to the state Department of Health using a coded system instead of patients' names, the AP/Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Other Pennsylvania cities and towns since October 2002 have reported HIV cases to the state using a name-based system. However, Philadelphia officials rejected the name-based system due to privacy concerns and refused to submit HIV case data to the state, according to the AP/Inquirer. Pennsylvania Health Secretary Calvin Johnson on March 25 sent a letter to city officials giving them temporary approval to submit coded data for HIV/AIDS cases. For the agreement to become permanent, the city must show that it provides proper HIV counseling and care and that the coded system will not jeopardize federal AIDS funding (Loviglio, AP/Philadelphia Inquirer, 4/7). Currently, 38 states track HIV-positive patients by name (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 1/22). Philadelphia Health Commissioner John Domzalski said that CDC soon will give official assurance that the city will not lose funding by submitting the coded data, and Philadelphia "shortly" will begin submitting HIV case data to the state, according to the AP/Inquirer. Domzalski said that the city is "very grateful" to the state for allowing the coded system, adding, "It's critically important for us to get the data we need to understand HIV disease but in a way that allows people comfortable and confident access to testing without concerns or barriers." Health department spokesperson Richard McGarvey said that the lack of HIV case data from Philadelphia "creates a big hole in our knowledge," adding, "We need to move forward" (AP/Philadelphia Inquirer, 4/7).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.