NEW YORK - COMMUNICABLE, OCCUPATIONAL, AND ENVIRONMENTAL DISEASES AND INJURIES

January 1, 2008

New York state laws and regulations that affect your medical practice

1. Is there a requirement that communicable diseasesbe reported?

Yes. Physicians are required to report the name, address and age of every person with a suspected or confirmed case of a communicable disease to the controlling city, county or district health office. Communicable diseases include the following diseases: botulism, diphtheria, measles, mumps, rabies, and any other disease which the Commissioner determines to be communicable, rapidly emergent or a significant threat public health. (See Appendix A-2 for a complete list of which diseases are to be reported. See also "AIDS and HIV.")

(10 N.Y.C.R.R. 2.1, 2.10)

The New York State Department of Health has published a form detailing the requirements of reporting communicable disease. This form is available online at http://www.health.state.ny.us/nysdoh/cdc/cdcrept.pdf.

Generally speaking, physicians and other enumerated professionals are required to report suspected cases of certain diseases to the local health department by phone within 24 hours including rabies, anthrax, botulism, diphtheria, encephalitis, etc. Cases of sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, trachomatis infection and syphilis are required to be reported in writing to the local or state health official to whom the attending physician is required to report such cases.

(10 N.Y.C.R.R. 2.10)

3. What are the consequences of failing to report?

A physician who fails to report a suspected or actual case of a communicable disease could be subject to both civil prosecution and professional discipline including censure and reprimand, suspension of license, revocation of license or a fine not exceeding $10,000.

(Education Law § 6530 (9), (16); Public Health Law § 230-a (7))

4. What are the occupational and environmental diseases that must be reported?

The New York State Sanitary Code requires every physician, health facility and clinical laboratory to report within 10 days to the State Commissioner of Health any occurrence of occupational lung disease. Occupational lung disease includes, but is not limited to, the following conditions:

A. Asbestosis/ Asbestos related disease;

B. Occupational Asthma (including Reactive Airways dysfunction Syndrome);

C. Silicosis;

D. Occupational Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis;

D. Berylliosis;

E. Byssinosis;

F. Coal Workers Lung Disease;

G. Hard Metals Disease;

H. Occupational Bronchitis;

I. Other Occupational Lung Disease

(10 N.Y.C.R.R. 22.4; see also http:// http://www.health.state.ny.us/nysdoh/lung/lung.htm)

The New York State Sanitary Code requires every physician, health facility and clinical laboratory to report within 10 days to the State Commissioner of Health a finding of the following heavy metal levels in blood and urine:

A. Lead toxicity (in blood sample) >= 25 micrograms per deciliter;

B. Arsenic toxicity (in urine sample) >= .50 micrograms per liter;

C. Mercury toxicity (in blood sample) >= 5 nanograms per milliliter;

(in urine sample) >= 20 nanograms per milliliter;

D. Cadmium toxicity (in blood sample) >= 10 nanograms per milliliter;

(in urine sample) >= 5 micrograms per liter;

(10 N.Y.C.R.R. 22.6, 22.7)

Note: The Centers for Disease Control has recently reduced the lead blood levels considered to be toxic to 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter.

The New York State Sanitary Code requires every physician, health facility and clinical laboratory to report within 48 hours to the State Commissioner of Health a person with a confirmed or suspected pesticide poisoning. A blood sample which contains cholinesterase levels below the normal range or a tissue sample containing levels of pesticides exceeding the normal range established by the clinical laboratory performing the test should be reported to the Commissioner.

(10 N.Y.C.R.R. 22.11, 22.12)

Every health care provider is obligated to report immediately to the local health authority the full name, age, address and telephone number of any person under his care or observation who has been exposed to any animal suspected of having rabies, and all pertinent facts relating to such exposure. A report is required to be made prior to the implementation of rabies post exposure prophylaxis, unless such notification would compromise the patient's health.

(10 N.Y.C.R.R. 2.14)

The New York State Sanitary Code requires "[e]very physician, visiting nurse, public health nurse or any other person having knowledge of the occurrence of illness believed to have been due to the consumption of spoiled or poisonous food" immediately to report such knowledge to a city, county or local health official.

(10 N.Y.C.R.R. 2.15)

Copyright Kern Augustine Conroy and Schoppmann, P.C. Used with permission.