71-552. Syndromic surveillance program; development; department set standards for reporting by hospitals; additional powers of department; use, confidentiality, and immunity; failure to make report; grounds for discipline.

(1) For purposes of protecting the public health and tracking the impact of disease prevention strategies intended to lower the cost of health care, the Department of Health and Human Services shall develop a syndromic surveillance program that respects patient privacy and benefits from advances in both electronic health records and electronic health information exchange. The syndromic surveillance program shall include the monitoring, detection, and investigation of public health threats from (a) intentional or accidental use or misuse of chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear agents, (b) clusters or outbreaks of infectious or communicable diseases, and (c) noninfectious causes of illness.

(2) The department shall adopt and promulgate rules and regulations setting standards for syndromic surveillance reporting by hospitals. The standards shall specify (a) the syndromic surveillance data elements required to be reported for all encounters, which shall include at a minimum the date of the encounter and the patient's gender, date of birth, chief complaint or reason for encounter, home zip code, unique record identifier, and discharge diagnoses and (b) the manner of reporting.

(3) The department may require, by rule and regulation, syndromic surveillance reporting by other health care facilities or any person issued a credential by the department.

(4) The department shall establish, by rule and regulation, a schedule for the implementation of full electronic reporting of all syndromic surveillance data elements. The schedule shall take into consideration the number of data elements already reported by the facility or person, the capacity of the facility or person to electronically report the remaining elements, the funding available for implementation, and other relevant factors, including improved efficiencies and resulting benefits to the reporting facility or person.

(5) The use, confidentiality, and immunity provisions of section 71-503.01 apply to syndromic surveillance data reports.

(6) Failure to provide a report under this section or the rules and regulations is grounds for discipline of a credential issued by the department.

Source:Laws 2011, LB591, ยง 1.