Texas will begin publicly reporting the number of infectious disease cases, such as COVID-19, at long-term care facilities after the state’s governor signed a measure into law Monday mandating it.
The measure, S.B. 930, was signed by Gov. Greg Abbott early this week after passing the state’s House and Senate earlier this month. Under the law, the name and location of facilities, as well as the number of residents infected with a communicable disease, are not considered protected health information; that information will no longer remain confidential.
State health officials received significant backlash early in the pandemic for refusing to release data about the number of COVID-19 cases at long-term care facilities, explained Kevin Warren, president and CEO of the Texas Health Care Association. The measure is an effort to increase transparency from both the state and providers.
“The concerns and issues seem to have been resolved and facility-specific data has been made available since last year. We understand the purpose of this legislation is to avoid these types of circumstances should future pandemics and outbreaks occur,” Warren said in a statement to McKnight’s Tuesday.
Bill author Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D) said the legislation “rights a terrible wrong” by allowing for the disclosure of infection information at nursing homes.
“Never again will Texans be left in the dark about the health and safety of their loved ones,” she said in a statement to local media.
The legislation goes into effect Sept. 1, 2021.