Braley Introduces Ed Thomas Act

Jul 14, 2010

Washington, DC - Following
the first anniversary of the tragic and untimely death of Coach Ed Thomas,
Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) introduced legislation today to help ensure
the safety of families and communities across the United States.  The Ed
Thomas Act clarifies existing HIPAA privacy requirements to allow law
enforcement agencies and medical providers to communicate more effectively when
patients pose an inherent risk to the community.


"Those who knew Ed Thomas
knew his compassion, his leadership and his dedication to the entire
Parkersburg community," Braley said. "I am proud and humbled to introduce
this legislation to the United States Congress. It is my hope that we can
continue to honor the memory and legacy of Ed Thomas by passing the Ed
Thomas Act, helping to ensure the future
safety of schools and communities not just here in Iowa, but across America."


The State of Iowa recently
passed legislation that gave Iowa's law enforcement officers the assistance
they need to help prevent future tragedies
like this one, while also protecting the rights of America's medical patients.


Ed Thomas Act clarifies HIPAA to allow hospitals to notify law enforcement
officers of a patient's release under the following specific conditions:


an individual is admitted to a medical facility while accompanied by a law
enforcement official; and

official makes a request for patient information in writing; and

request is made at any point between the time the patient is admitted, and 24
hours after discharge:

the medical facility can provide medical information, including date of discharge,
to the law enforcement agency. 

HHS Secretary will promulgate regulations to implement this within 90 days of