The San Mateo County Times convinced local health officials to release the names Thursday (Jan. 4) of four previously unidentified senior homes that had norovirus outbreaks. According to a story by staff writer Rebekah Gordon, the county had originally refused, citing patient privacy rights under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), as well as wanting to encourage facilities to report outbreaks early without worrying about media attention. The newspaper’s attorney, Duffy Carolan, requested the names under the California Public Records Act, saying there was a compelling public interest in identifying the senior homes. Duffy noted that health officials in El Dorado County publicly identified two senior homes there that were hit with the virus last month.
Paper gets county to release norovirus data
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