30-Day Public Comment Period

Dear Colleague:

The December 15, 1999, State Register contained revised amendments to Title 10 NYCRR Part 63 regulations and impact statements regarding New York State's HIV Reporting and Partner Notification Law (Chapter 163 of the Laws of 1998). In response to this re-publication, 33 sets of comments were received. The assessment of these comments is enclosed and will be published in the March 22, 2000 State Register.

After close review and careful consideration of the most recent comments, it has been determined that no further changes in regulatory language are warranted. Some of the comments relate to issues that can be addressed as part of the implementation process and through interpretive program guidelines. Other comments address issues that were considered in reviewing the initial set of comments. Those issues were addressed in detail in the initial Assessment of Public Comments, and many resulted in regulatory language changes, both substantive and editorial, reflected in the December 15th publication.

Therefore, the March 22, 2000 State Register publication will contain the final regulations, with an effective date of June 1, 2000. This date allows more than two months for critical program implementation activities relating to start-up at the State and local levels: ensuring the security and confidentiality of all reported information; staff recruitment and training; information systems development; and initiation of consumer and provider education and training activities.

The enclosures also include revised materials regarding screening for domestic violence. These revisions include numerous refinements that reflect comments received in response to the December 15, 1999 version. We will continue our close collaboration with the Office for Prevention of Domestic Violence to determine if further refinements are needed as experience is gained in the use of the screening protocol, and to make training and referral resources widely available.

I want to reemphasize that the Department places the highest priority on assuring that all identifying information obtained through the HIV reporting process will be subject to the strictest federal and state confidentiality and security protocols. I also want to reemphasize that the data will be used only for the explicit public health goals specified in the regulations: to better track the epidemiology of HIV/AIDS in New York and to facilitate partner notification. Meeting these goals will greatly assist the Department in more effective planning and resource allocation to improve HIV prevention efforts and to assure New York's comprehensive continuum of care and support services is available and accessible to all HIV infected persons in the State.

During the past year, the AIDS Institute conducted a series of focus groups, with providers and consumers, and others focusing on special populations, to obtain direct feedback on how to address concerns and convey information regarding the law. The information gathered through this process will guide our implementation activities, and our plans for education and training. Various activities are already underway, and details will be distributed as soon as they are available:

  • recruitment and training of frontline public health staff with responsibility for HIV case surveillance and partner notification assistance;
  • a statewide videoconference for HIV service providers regarding how the new program will work and what their roles will be;
  • a statewide videoconference targeted to physicians and other mandated reporters regarding their specific responsibilities under the law and regulations;
  • a training packet to assist AIDS service organizations in providing orientation sessions on the regulations and program implementation for consumers and for other CBOs;
  • incorporation of new information into AIDS Institute-sponsored courses that address test counseling, partner notification, domestic violence, and HIV confidentiality protections.

We have been and will continue to meet with the local health departments that have direct operational responsibilities under the law, to ensure protection of confidential information is paramount and that appropriate procedures and guidelines are in place.

In implementing this public health approach, your cooperation and commitment is essential to ensure that accurate information about the program is conveyed that will alleviate fears and concerns. This collaboration will allow us to further our mutual goals of preventing new infections, increasing the number of persons who seek counseling and testing, and assuring early and comprehensive treatment for all infected persons.

Sincerely,

Antonia C. Novello, M.D., M.P.H.
Commissioner of Health


List of Enclosures

  • Title 10 NYCRR Part 63 regulations and impact statements regarding Chapter 163 of the Laws of 1998, New York State's HIV Reporting and Partner Notification Law:
    • Summary of the Assessment of Public Comment (Page 1-8) (As Published in the State Register)
    • Full Text of Assessment of Public Comment (Page 1-24)
    • Summary of Revised Amendments to Part 63 Regulations (Page 1-6) (As Published in the State Register)
    • Full Text of Revised Amendments to Part 63 Regulations; (Page 1-43)
    • HIV/AIDS Testing, Reporting and Confidentiality of HIV-Related Information
    • Summary of Revised Regulatory Impact Statement Related (Page 1-11
    • To Amendments to Part 63 Regulations (As Published in the State Register)
    • Full Text of Revised Regulatory Impact Statement Related (Page 1-18) To Amendments to Part 63 Regulations
    • Flexibility Analysis for Small Businesses & Local Governments, (Page 1-15) Rural Area Flexibility Analysis and Job Impact Statement (As Published in the State Register)

Revised materials regarding screening for domestic violence:

  • Protocol for Domestic Violence Screening of HIV-Infected Individuals (Page 1-5) in Relation to HIV Counseling, Testing, Referral and Partner Notification
  • Guidelines for Integrating Domestic Violence Screening into HIV (Page 1-10) Counseling, Testing, Referral and Partner Notification
  • When Documentation of Domestic Violence Screening (Page 1-2) is Missing
  • Flow Charts: a) Domestic Violence Screening in Post-Test (Page 1-2) Counseling of HIV Infected Individuals, and b) Deferral of HIV Partner Notification Based Upon Domestic Violence Screening
  • Sample Release Form Regarding Exchange of Domestic Violence (Page 1) And HIV-Related Information