WHEREAS, identification of clusters of certain types of cancers in specific locations can help public health agencies develop intervention strategies leading to early detection when cancer is more easily cured;
WHEREAS, providing such data to medical researchers outside state government may assist in the process of both identifying cancer clusters and developing intervention strategies;
WHEREAS, the public good is served by allowing citizens to know of potential hazards in their communities so they can take actions to preserve their health;
WHEREAS, it is equally important to preserve the privacy and dignity of people afflicted with cancer, and
WHEREAS, the Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Public Health has opted to err on the side of cancer patient privacy by withholding even generic data on cancer clusters from other researchers and the public;
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:
Section 1. Amend Chapter 20, Title 16 of the Delaware Code by renumbering §2005 through 2008 as §2006 through 2009, respectively.
Section 2. Amend Chapter 20, Title 16 of the Delaware Code by inserting a new §2005 to read as follows:
“§2005(a). Cancer incidence data.
Notwithstanding any provisions in this Title to the contrary, the agency shall make available as public records cancer incidence by census tract and by type of cancer. Such released data shall be assigned consensus tract geography from the most recent decennial census. If release of such information by census tract will explicitly or implicitly identify any individual, the agency may combine data among contiguous census tracts, but only insofar as is necessary to protect patient confidentiality.
(b) The agency shall create a detailed map of each county in Delaware that graphically illustrates the overall incidence of cancer in each census track. The census tracks will be identified on the maps and shall be color-coded to designate the degree of cancer incidence in each track. These maps shall be created within 90 days of the agency receiving the cancer incidence data.
(c) The agency shall post the maps created under the subsection above on their website in a format that can be easily accessed and read by the public.”
Section 3. Amend §1232(d) Title 16 of the Delaware Code by deleting the word “or” at the end of paragraph (6) and by inserting the word “or” at the end of paragraph 7 and by adding a new paragraph “(8)” to read as follows:
“(8) Pursuant to Title 16 §2005.”
Section 4. Amend Subchapter III of Chapter 12 of Title 16 of the Delaware Code by inserting a new section §1233 to read as follows:
The Department of Health and Social Services shall enforce this subchapter and shall from time to time promulgate any additional forms and regulations that are necessary for this purpose.”