Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 32.1. Health
5/26/2019

Article 1. Reporting of Diseases.

§ 32.1-35. List and reports of diseases and dangerous microbes and pathogens.

The Board shall promulgate from time to time a list of diseases, including diseases caused by exposure to any toxic substance as defined in § 32.1-239 and including diseases that may be caused by exposure to an agent or substance that has the potential for use as a weapon, that shall be required to be reported. The Board shall also promulgate from time to time a list of dangerous microbes and pathogens that shall be required to be reported by laboratories. The Board may classify such diseases, microbes and pathogens and prescribe the manner and time of such reporting.

Code 1950, § 32-16; 1979, c. 711; 2002, cc. 100, 768.

§ 32.1-35.1. Information on nosocomial infections.

Acute care hospitals shall report information about nosocomial infections to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Healthcare Safety Network. Such hospitals shall release their infection data to the Board of Health. The specific infections to be reported, the hospitals required to report, and patient populations to be included shall be prescribed by Board regulation. Such hospital infection rate data may be released to the public by the Board, upon request.

2005, c. 444.

§ 32.1-36. Reports by physicians and laboratory directors.

A. Every physician practicing in this Commonwealth who shall diagnose or reasonably suspect that any patient of his has any disease required by the Board to be reported and every director of any laboratory doing business in this Commonwealth that performs any test whose results indicate the presence of any such disease shall make a report within such time and in such manner as may be prescribed by regulations of the Board. Any such report involving a disease that such physician or laboratory director has reason to believe may be caused by exposure to an agent or substance that has been or may be used as a weapon shall be reported directly to the Commissioner or his designee using an emergency response system maintained by the Department and operated twenty-four hours a day.

B. Any physician who diagnoses a venereal disease in a child twelve years of age or under shall, in addition to the requirements of subsection A hereof, report the matter, in accordance with the provisions of § 63.2-1509, unless the physician reasonably believes that the infection was acquired congenitally or by a means other than sexual abuse.

C. Any physician practicing in this Commonwealth shall report to the local health department the identity of any patient of his who has tested positive for exposure to human immunodeficiency virus as demonstrated by such test or tests as are approved by the Board for this purpose. However, there is no duty on the part of the physician to notify any third party other than the local health department of such test result, and a cause of action shall not arise from any failure to notify any other third party.

D. Upon investigation by the local health department of a patient reported pursuant to subsection A, the Commissioner may, to the extent permitted by law, disclose the patient's identity and disease to the patient's employer if the Commissioner determines that (i) the patient's employment responsibilities require contact with the public and (ii) the nature of the patient's disease and nature of contact with the public constitutes a threat to the public health.

The patient's identity and disease state shall be confidential as provided in §§ 32.1-36.1 and 32.1-41. Any unauthorized disclosure of reports made pursuant to this section shall be subject to the penalties of § 32.1-27.

E. Physicians and laboratory directors may voluntarily report additional information at the request of the Department of Health for special surveillance or other epidemiological studies.

F. 1. Every laboratory located in this Commonwealth shall file a written report with the Department of its inventory of dangerous microbes and pathogens on an annual basis. The laboratory shall supplement this report upon any change in such inventory as prescribed by the Board or immediately if any microbes or pathogens cannot be accounted for within twenty-four hours.

2. Except as provided in this subsection, a report submitted pursuant to this subsection shall be confidential and shall not be a public record pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (§ 2.2-3700 et seq.). The Department shall cooperate with and may share information submitted to it pursuant to this subsection with the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and state and federal law-enforcement agencies in any investigation involving the release, theft or loss of a dangerous microbe or pathogen required to be reported under this subsection.

3. Any unauthorized disclosure of reports made pursuant to this subsection shall be subject to the penalties of § 32.1-27.

Code 1950, § 32-48; 1976, c. 628; 1979, c. 711; 1981, c. 282; 1988, c. 130; 1989, c. 613; 1995, c. 534; 1997, c. 271; 2002, cc. 100, 768.

§ 32.1-36.1. Confidentiality of test for human immunodeficiency virus; civil penalty; individual action for damages or penalty.

A. The results of every test to determine infection with human immunodeficiency virus shall be confidential. Such information may be released only to persons or entities permitted or authorized to obtain protected health information under any applicable federal or state law.

B. In any action brought under this section, if the court finds that a person has willfully or through gross negligence made an unauthorized disclosure in violation of this section, the Attorney General, any attorney for the Commonwealth, or any attorney for the county, city or town in which the violation occurred may recover for the Literary Fund, upon petition to the court, a civil penalty of not more than $5,000 per violation.

C. Any person who is the subject of an unauthorized disclosure pursuant to this section shall be entitled to initiate an action to recover actual damages, if any, or $100, whichever is greater. In addition, such person may also be awarded reasonable attorney's fees and court costs.

D. This section shall not be deemed to create any duty on the part of any person who receives such test results, where none exists otherwise, to release the results to a person listed herein as authorized to receive them.

1989, c. 613; 1990, c. 777; 1993, cc. 97, 664; 2017, c. 178.

§ 32.1-37. Reports by persons other than physicians.

A. The person in charge of any medical care facility shall immediately make or cause to be made a report of a disease required by the Board to be reported when such information is available to that person and that person has reason to believe that no physician has reported such disease as provided in § 32.1-36. Such report shall be made to the local health director according to the provisions of the Board.

B. The person in charge of any residential or day program, service or facility licensed or operated by any agency of the Commonwealth, school or summer camp as defined in § 35.1-1 shall immediately make or cause to be made a report of an outbreak of disease as defined by the Board. Such report shall be made by rapid means to the local health director or to the Commissioner.

C. The person in charge of any medical care facility, residential or day program, service or facility licensed or operated by any agency of the Commonwealth, school, or summer camp as defined in § 35.1-1 may also voluntarily report additional information, including individual cases of communicable diseases, at the request of the Department of Health for special surveillance or other epidemiological studies.

Code 1950, § 32-49; 1979, c. 711; 1997, c. 271; 2008, cc. 367, 412.

§ 32.1-37.1. Report of diseases infecting dead human bodies.

Upon transferring custody of any dead body to any person practicing funeral services or his agent, any hospital, nursing facility or nursing home, assisted living facility, or correctional facility shall, at the time of transfer, notify the person practicing funeral services or his agent if the individual was known to have had immediately prior to death an infectious disease which may be transmitted through exposure to any bodily fluids.

Any facility or members of its staff specified in this section shall not be liable for injury resulting from ordinary negligence in failing to identify, as herein prescribed, a dead body of a person known to have had an infectious disease immediately prior to death.

The Board of Health shall determine the infectious diseases for which notification is required pursuant to this section.

1988, c. 836; 1993, cc. 957, 993.

§ 32.1-37.2. Consent for testing for human immunodeficiency virus; condition on disclosure of test results; counseling required; exceptions.

A. Prior to performing any test to determine infection with human immunodeficiency virus, a medical care provider shall inform the patient that the test is planned, provide information about the test, and advise the patient that he has the right to decline the test. If a patient declines the test, the medical care provider shall note that fact in the patient's medical file.

B. Every person who has a confirmed positive test result for human immunodeficiency virus shall be afforded the opportunity for individual face-to-face disclosure of the test results and appropriate counseling. Appropriate counseling shall include, but not be limited to, the meaning of the test results, the need for additional testing, the etiology, prevention and effects of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, the availability of appropriate health care, mental health care and social services, the need to notify any person who may have been exposed to the virus and the availability of assistance through the Department of Health in notifying such individuals.

C. Opportunity for face-to-face disclosure of the test results and appropriate counseling shall not be required when the tests are conducted by blood collection agencies. However, all blood collection agencies shall notify the Board of Health of any positive tests.

D. In the case of a person applying for accident and sickness or life insurance who is the subject of a test to determine infection for human immunodeficiency virus, insurers' practices including an explanation of the meaning of the test, the manner of obtaining consent, the method of disclosure of the test results and any counseling requirements shall be as set forth in the regulations of the State Corporation Commission.

1989, c. 613; 2008, c. 641.

§ 32.1-38. Immunity from liability.

Any person making a report or disclosure required or authorized by this chapter, including any voluntary reports submitted at the request of the Department of Health for special surveillance or other epidemiological studies, shall be immune from civil liability or criminal penalty connected therewith unless such person acted with gross negligence or malicious intent. Further, except for such reporting requirements as may be established in this chapter or by any regulation promulgated pursuant thereto, there shall be no duty on the part of any blood collection agency or tissue bank to notify any other person of any reported test results, and a cause of action shall not arise from any failure by such entities to notify others. Neither the Commissioner nor any local health director shall disclose to the public the name of any person reported or the name of any person making a report pursuant to this chapter. No person making a report required or authorized by this chapter shall be responsible for recognizing agents or suspecting the presence of any conditions beyond the competence of a reasonable person practicing his profession; however, any such person shall be immune as provided in this section when making reports in good faith without gross negligence and within the usual scope of his practice.

Code 1950, § 32-48; 1976, c. 628; 1979, c. 711; 1988, c. 130; 1990, c. 777; 1997, c. 271; 2002, c. 768.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of these sections may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.

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