Keeping your emergency responders informed during the COVID-19 pandemic
A huge concern among your emergency responders during the COVID-19 pandemic is the possibility that they enter an infectious environment with no real warning of a possible exposure. Our friends in Northern Kentucky and the Barren River region have developed workable protocols to help prevent unnecessary exposure, while preserving personal health information.
You will find links below of both agreements for your review. We recommend you work with your public health officials to institute a similar arrangement. This can drastically reduce risk of exposure of our first responders.
- Northern Kentucky District Health Department and Dispatch Centers Agreement
- Barren River District Health Department and Dispatch Centers Agreement
Note: both agreements refer to HIPPA as the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act, which should be listed as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
As the agreements recognize, first responders should be reminded that they should still utilize universal precautions as specified by their departments because it is believed that many people may have COVID-19 but have not been tested and may even be completely asymptomatic.
Communications to first responders should be made in such a way as to protect personal health information to the maximum extent possible and should not be disseminated to first responders though mechanisms that are available to others.
In addition, please refer to this guidance from the U.S. Dept. of Health Human Services Office for Civil Rights: https://bit.ly/2UAC0qL.