Iowa News

Slain coach's wife backs disclosing information

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The wife of slain Iowa high school football coach Ed Thomas told a U.S. House subcommittee that his death might have been prevented if a Waterloo hospital had notified police a man being evaluated for mental health problems had been released.

Jan Thomas spoke Friday before the subcommittee, which is examining whether federal privacy rules interfere with the flow of health information among patients, families and health care providers.

Thomas noted that Mark Becker, the man convicted of killing her husband, was released from a hospital less than 24 hours before the coach's 2009 death.

Hospital officials say they couldn't notify police or Becker's parents because of a federal privacy law.

Thomas says information should sometimes be released, asking "Is the privacy of one individual more sacred than a life?"

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