Jan Thomas to testify in Congress this week - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Jan Thomas to testify in Congress this week

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (KWWL) -

Jan Thomas, the widow of murdered Aplington-Parkersburg football coach Ed Thomas, will head to Washington D.C. this week to testify at a Congressional hearing on gun violence and mental health.

The hearing Friday will examine whether the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act's (HIPAA) privacy rules interfere with the timely and continuous flow of health information between health care providers, patients, and families, and whether these rules can impede patient care and put public safety at risk.

Jan Thomas will testify on a panel comprised of families affected by HIPAA.

In June 2009, her husband Ed Thomas was shot several times by former football player Mark Becker, who had been released from a Waterloo hospital less than 24 hours prior to the shooting.

Coach Thomas died from his injuries.

Police were not notified that Becker, who had been in the hospital for a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation, had been released from the facility.

U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley invited Jan Thomas to Friday's hearing.

In a statement, Braley said, "Victims of gun violence, like the Thomas family in Parkersburg, play an important role in conversations about reducing gun violence, and that's why I invited Jan Thomas to testify this week."

Braley went on to say, "This debate must address the breakdown of our mental health system and how it has impacted gun violence. I firmly believe that Congress can find common ground on this issue and implement common sense changes that improve mental health services and reduce gun violence. It won't end gun violence in our country, but it's a start."

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