TN 2 (01-17)
GN 03314.060 Disclosure Without Consent to State and Local Agencies Concerning Communicable Diseases
A. Definition of communicable diseases
Communicable diseases are contagious and can be spread to others. Not all communicable diseases (common colds) are legally reportable. Legally reportable diseases (LRD) are those that spread easily and can put others in a community at risk for becoming infected. State laws mandate health professionals to report LRDs to State and local health departments as soon as they are diagnosed. The list of LRDs varies from State to State; however, some of the more common LRDs are tuberculosis, certain sexually transmitted diseases, and some strains of hepatitis.
B. Disclosure policy
1. Disclosure under a routine use
We may disclose certain non-tax return information, including verification of Social Security Numbers (SSN), to State and local health departments and agencies that administer health and other services related to preventing communicable diseases. This includes disclosing address information to locate persons with communicable diseases that are legally reportable and perilous to the health or safety of the individual or the public. Disclosure is permissible under the health maintenance and income maintenance routine use, cited in a number of our systems of records, including but not limited to the following:
60-0058—Master Files of SSN Holders and SSN Applications System;
60-0089—Claims Folders System;
60-0090—Master Beneficiary Record;
60-0103—Supplemental Security Income Record and Special Veterans Benefits System; and
60-0320—Electronic Disability Claims File.
2. Disclosure under the health and safety exception to the Privacy Act
In some situations, we may be able to disclose information to State and local health departments and agencies under the health and safety exception to the Privacy Act. If we make a disclosure under the health and safety exception to the Privacy Act, we may disclose non-tax return information from any system of records that contains the requested information. However, disclosure under the health and safety exception to the Privacy Act (5 U.S.C. 552a(b)(8)) requires us to notify the individual about whom we disclosed the information. For more information about making disclosures under the health and safety exception to the Privacy Act, see GN 03316.135.
C. Procedure for handling requests
The majority of the disclosures we make to State or local agencies under the health maintenance and income maintenance routine use occur via electronic data exchanges, as explained in GN 03314.001E.6. However, disclosures for purposes related to communicable diseases will more than likely occur through other methods, such as requests from State agencies via telephone and field office visits. For more information regarding the handling of requests from State and local agencies, see GN 03314.001E. Consult the regional Privacy Act Coordinator if you have questions regarding the disclosure of information concerning communicable diseases.