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House committee passes bill to collect hospital data

Red heart shape and medical stethoscope on blue background top view. Health care, medicare and cardiology concept.

The Alabama House of Representative Health Committee voted Wednesday to advance a bill that would mandate that Alabama hospitals report discharge data to the Alabama Department of Public Health.

House Bill 388 was sponsored by House Health Committee Chairman Paul Lee, R-Dothan.

Lee said that Alabama is “one of only two states that do not collect hospital data.”

Lee assured the committee that this data will be collected in compliance with federal HIPAA laws protecting medical records privacy.

Lee said that the purpose of the data collection is to allows supportive information in order to do medical studies.

“Today the only way we can collect is a death certificate,” Lee said.

The synopsis reads: “Under existing law, the Department of Public Health licenses and regulates certain health care facilities. The department also accumulates and disseminates statistical health information on births, deaths, and cancer cases in this state. Existing law does not provide for the comprehensive statewide collection of hospital discharge data by the department. This bill would provide for the statewide reporting and collection of hospital discharge data by the Department of Public Health. The department would be required to adopt rules for the protection, collection, and dissemination of the hospital discharge data and would be authorized to release limited data sets which are compliant with federal and state law. The bill would also establish a council to advise the department on rules necessary to carry out the act and provide for confidentiality and privilege protection for patient information provided pursuant to the act.”

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Specifically, the bill provides for “the mandatory reporting and collection of hospital discharge data” and designates “The Department of Public Health as the state agency to collect, compile, and analyze hospital discharge data.” HB388 authorizes the department to adopt rules to implement this act and establishes the Hospital Discharge Data Advisory Council to advise the department on the adoption of rules. The bill also provides for civil penalties; to require the submission of inpatient and outpatient discharge data by hospitals. The limited data sets that will be released to the public will be compliant with the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 and have been processed and verified.

HB388 is cosponsored by Rep. Joe Lovvorn, R-Auburn.

The bill received a favorable report and now moves to the full House of Representatives, which is scheduled to return to work on March 31.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.



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