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If information is power, Tennesseans are seemingly powerless

Mum’s the word from health departments when it comes to releasing information about coronavirus patients

MEMPHIS, Tennessee —

In Tuesday’s Ransom Note: absence of information.

Monday night I asked why the Shelby County Health Department was refusing to make public even the most basic information about coronavirus patients, such as the gender, age, or where they traveled? While Davidson and Williamson counties --and most other states-- are sharing all that information and more about patients.

Then Tuesday, a day the number of confirmed cases nearly doubled in Tennessee, the state health department announced from now on it would now follow the Shelby County model and not even give the patient's county information. Well, the public didn't like that and Tuesday night the state wisely reversed course again, saying it will give county information.

I think most of us understand HIPAA laws are important; there’s no need to know a patient's name, address, or job. What I don't understand is why Tennessee wants to wear the badge of being one of the most restrictive in the country about what it tells its citizens.

Join the conversation by email (rransom@localmemphis.com) or my Facebook and Twitter pages.

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