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WVU hospital won’t reveal patient travel history

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — WVU Healthcare refused to provide further information Wednesday, Oct. 15, as to which countries two patients now being treated for influenza — but initially handled as if they had Ebola — had traveled.

It was the second day this week The Dominion Post attempted to confirm where the patients had been.

WVUH spokeswoman Amy Johns said that HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) privacy guidelines were followed in not releasing the travel information. However, legal counsel contacted by The Dominion Post disagrees.

The lawyer said health care facilities are not given carte blanche on what to release and what to withhold. He said he believes public agencies would be compelled to release this information by the West Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA.

In a statement Tuesday, WVUH said that two patients who recently traveled outside the country came to the emergency department Monday night with flu-like symptoms. “Out of an abundance of caution,” the statement said, the cases were initially handled as though they were infected with Ebola.

The patients were later confirmed to have influenza…

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