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U.S. National Institutes of Health
Last Updated: 03/05/10

Appendix A

Summary of State Laws

This summary of state laws does not include full citations for statutes that prohibit discrimination in employment or insurance on the basis of genetic testing or genetic information. There are other comprehensive collections of state laws addressing genetic nondiscrimination in employment and insurance. Therefore, there are complete references only where the statute is relevant for the conduct of research using tissue specimens.


Confidentiality of Health Information

  • Health care providers must maintain the confidentiality of patient medical records. Medical records are defined al all medical histories, records, reports and summaries, diagnoses, prognoses of treatment and medication ordered and given, X-ray and radiology interpretations, physical therapy notes and lab reports. [West’s Tennessee Code Annotated 63-2-101]
  • Insurers may not release identifiable information regarding the physical or mental health of the patient. [West’s Tennessee Code Annotated 56-51-150]
  • Patients in health care facilities have a right to privacy. Patient identifying information may not be divulged except as specified. [West’s Tennessee Code Annotated Section 68-11-1502]. Patient identifying information may not be sold.
  • Individuals have the right to receive all pertinent medical information from their medical file gathered during the course of sponsored research. [West’s Tennessee Code Annotated Section 49-7-120]

Conditions Imposed on Genetic Testing/Use of Genetic information

Insurers may not disclose genetic information or discriminate on the basis of genetic information.

Permitted Releases of Health Information or Genetic Information for Research

Health information that does not readily identify the patient may be disclosed with the written authorization of the patient, or if the disclosures is made for bona fide research or audit purposes. [West’s Tennessee Code Annotated Section 56-7-124]

Definition of Genetic Test/Genetic Information

“Genetic information” means information derived from genetic testing to determine the presence or absence of variations or mutations, including carrier status, in an individual’s genetic material or genes that are scientifically or medically believed to cause a disease, disorder or syndrome, or are associated with a statistically increased risk of developing a disease, disorder or syndrome, which is asymptomatic at the time of testing. Such testing does not include either routine physical examinations or chemical, blood, or urine analysis unless conducted purposefully to obtain genetic information or questions regarding family history.

[West’s Tennessee Code Annotated Section 56-7-2702]