WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Responders have revived legislation that will permit notification of personnel exposed to HIV or other serious illnesses.
On Friday, President Obama signed the Ryan White legislation that includes the provision allowing hospitals to notify personnel about certain exposures within 48 hours.
When the bill was revised in 2006, the section allowing hospitals to tell first responders if their health could be in jeopardy was eliminated. The EMS community was not asked about the measure, and it was dropped.
Since then, EMS officials have been on a mission to get it reinstated.
And, even though Obama signed the bill, the work is not finished just yet, said Lisa Meyer, of Cornerstone Government Affairs.
The legislation states that in the event of a federally-declared public health emergency, the HHS Secretary may wholly or partially waive the notification.
"We think it's important that people be notified if they have been exposed," Meyer said. "We are willing to waive the 48-hour rule. But, not notification entirely…"
Meyer said EMS and fire officials will be meeting with administration staff to discuss the matter.
Officials involved with the EMS Section of the IAFC have been active with helping get the legislation corrected.
“This legislation is so instrumental to the safety and wellbeing of our firefighters and paramedics, especially during critical times such as this when we see a rise in emerging diseases,” Chief Garry Ludwig, EMS Section chair said in a prepared statment.