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The Mississippi Cancer Registry (MCR) is a population-based registry that collects information on cancer cases in Mississippi. In 1993, the Mississippi Legislature passed a law (Mississippi Code 41-91) mandating the collection of these data. Under the authorizing legislation, clinical laboratories, hospitals, physician’s offices, cancer treatment centers, and other health care providers are required to report diagnostic and treatment information on cancer cases they diagnose or treat to the Mississippi Cancer Registry. The law stresses the confidential nature of data released to the MCR.
Refer the reportable list for cancers that must be reported to MCR.
MCR requires that the data collected include information which indicates diagnosis, stage of disease, medical history, patient demographics, laboratory data, tissue diagnosis and radiation, surgical or other methods of diagnosis or treatment for each cancer diagnosed or treated in Mississippi.
Anyone who diagnoses or treats cancer must report cases to the MCR.
The regulations established by the Mississippi State Department of Health require quarterly reporting. However, the MCR is requesting facilities to report monthly.
Cases are reported electronically. The MCR follows nationally recognized reporting protocol to assure consistency in case reporting from facility to facility. Health facilities that see fewer than 25 cases each year are not required to report electronically. Instead, they may elect to submit the necessary information in a paper format for the MCR staff to enter cancer cases into the MCR database. The MCR does provide Mississippi reporting facilities with free internet-based, WebPlus, that meets the requirements for MCR reporting of cancer cases.
In 1996 the U.S. Congress passed a law requiring, among other things, uniform federal privacy protections for individually identifiable health information. This law is called the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, or “HIPAA.” The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently issued a final “Privacy Rule.” Copies of the HIPAA Privacy Rule, as well as, helpful explanatory materials, may be found at the HHS Office of Civil Rights website: http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/hipaa/.
A ‘Covered Entity’ is a health care plan, a health care clearinghouse or a health care provider who transmits any health information in electronic form for financial and administrative transactions.
A public health authority is an agency of the government acting under government authority with a public health function as part of its official mandate. Such agencies are authorized by law to collect or receive information for the purpose of public health surveillance. Because of the state mandate to collect cancer information, the Mississippi Cancer Registry qualifies as a public health authority.
Yes. Reporting information about cases of cancer in accordance with the Mississippi Law is permitted by HIPAA. The MCR is considered a public health authority, and as such, is authorized to obtain protected health information without patient consent.
No. HIPAA requires business associate agreements with groups or individuals who carry out health care functions on behalf of the covered entities, but the MCR staff are acting on behalf of the state-mandated public health program when they provide on-site abstracting and reporting services. Therefore, they are not business associates.
No. Diagnostic, treatment and follow-up information may be exchanged by health care providers, providing they both have a medical relationship with the patient for this condition.
No. HIPAA does not obstruct any state law that supports or mandates the reporting of diseases or injuries for public health purposes.
Yes. The Mississippi Cancer Registry has interstate data-sharing agreements, which also include strict limits on use and disclosure of reported information.
Yes. Public health reporting under the authority of state law is specifically exempted from HIPAA rules.
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Jackson, MS 39216
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