AARP Arizona wants names of long-term care facilities with coronavirus

Apr 13, 2020, 3:00 PM

PHOENIX – An advocacy group for older Arizonans is calling on the state to reveal which long-term care facilities have seen positive tests for the coronavirus.

Dana Marie Kennedy, director of AARP Arizona, sent a letter to Gov. Doug Ducey on Monday saying families have become “desperate to know” if their loved ones are in facilities where COVID-19 has been documented.

“We ask that the state make the names of these facilities available to the public,” the letter says.

“While it is understandable that we should be cautious regarding privacy concerns, AARP suggests that HIPAA is specific to the privacy of the individual and does not apply to facilities.”

HIPAA is the federal law regulating the use of health care information, including privacy protections.

On Sunday, Maricopa County Public Health reported that metro Phoenix long-term care facilities (skilled nursing, assisted living, rehabilitation and hospice facilities) had 169 coronavirus cases, with 32% needing hospitalization and 14% dying.

On Monday, the county said people ages 65 or older or with at least one chronic health condition have accounted for 70% of the Phoenix area’s hospitalizations and 96% of the deaths.

Statewide, 3,702 people have tested positive for the coronavirus as of Monday morning and 122 people had died.

In addition to the request for more reporting, Kennedy’s letter praised Ducey for other actions he’s taken in response to the coronavirus outbreak, such as including requiring assisted living facilities to accommodate virtual visitation in an April 7 executive order.

The Arizona chapter of AARP, whose membership is available to Americans age 50 and older, has more than 900,000 members, according to Kennedy’s letter.

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AARP Arizona wants names of long-term care facilities with coronavirus