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ACLU of Utah Urges Senators to Vote Against HB 46 Substitute "Disease Testing Amendments"

16 February 2000 Published in Legislative Work

February 17, 2000  

Senator Millie M. Peterson 
State Capitol Building 
Utah State Senate 
Salt Lake City, Utah  

Re: H.B. 46 Substitute, Disease Testing Amendments 

Dear Senator Peterson,  

In the past you have demonstrated a commitment to privacy with regard to HIV testing. I am therefore writing to express the ACLU of Utah’s concerns about House Bill 46 Substitute, Disease Testing Amendments, hoping that you will raise these issues if the bill goes before the Senate. 

As you know, HB 46 Substitute grants an emergency medical services provider who “has a significant exposure in the process of caring for a patient” the right to “require that the individual’s blood be drawn immediately” and to “petition the district court for an order requiring that the blood be tested” for HIV and Hepatitis. 

It is extremely troubling that the bill does not include provisions for the destruction of the blood sample if the court refuses the medical services provider’s petition. We argue that a patient’s due process and privacy rights demand that HB 46 Substitute addresses what happens to a blood sample if the court decides that there is no probable cause for mandatory testing. Throughout the country, courts have taken the position that even if the government has a good reason for gathering private medical information, it must have in place adequate procedures to protect against the improper dissemination of that information. 

Please feel free to contact me if you would like additional information on this issue. Thank you for your consideration of this important matter. 

Very truly yours, 

Nicole Reitze-Johnston 
Legal Assistant