SENATE BILL 6121
State of Washington 52nd Legislature 1992 Regular Session
By Senators Bauer, West, M. Kreidler, Amondson, Wojahn and L. Smith
Read first time 01/16/92. Referred to Committee on Health & Long‑Term Care.
AN ACT Relating to the release of patient information and records; amending RCW 71.05.390 and 71.05.400; and adding a new section to chapter 71.05 RCW.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
Sec. 1. RCW 71.05.390 and 1990 c 3 s 112 are each amended to read as follows:
The fact of admission and all information and records compiled, obtained, or maintained in the course of providing services to either voluntary or involuntary recipients of services at public or private agencies shall be confidential.
Information and records may be disclosed only:
(1) In communications between qualified professional persons to meet the requirements of this chapter, in the provision of services or appropriate referrals, or in the course of guardianship proceedings. The consent of the patient, or his guardian, must be obtained before information or records may be disclosed by a professional person employed by a facility to a professional person, not employed by the facility, who does not have the medical responsibility for the patient's care or who is not a designated county mental health professional or who is not involved in providing services under the community mental health services act, chapter 71.24 RCW.
(2) When the communications regard the special needs of a patient and the necessary circumstances giving rise to such needs and the disclosure is made by a facility providing outpatient services to the operator of a care facility in which the patient resides.
(3) When the person receiving services, or his guardian, designates persons to whom information or records may be released, or if the person is a minor, when his parents make such designation.
(4) To the extent necessary for a recipient to make a claim, or for a claim to be made on behalf of a recipient for aid, insurance, or medical assistance to which he may be entitled.
(5) For program evaluation and/or research: PROVIDED, That the secretary of social and health services adopts rules for the conduct of such evaluation and/or research. Such rules shall include, but need not be limited to, the requirement that all evaluators and researchers must sign an oath of confidentiality substantially as follows:
"As a condition of conducting evaluation or research concerning persons who have received services from (fill in the facility, agency, or person) I, ..............., agree not to divulge, publish, or otherwise make known to unauthorized persons or the public any information obtained in the course of such evaluation or research regarding persons who have received services such that the person who received such services is identifiable.
I recognize that unauthorized release of confidential information may subject me to civil liability under the provisions of state law.
(6) To the courts as necessary to the administration of this chapter.
(7) To law enforcement officers, public health officers, or personnel of the department of corrections or the indeterminate sentence review board for persons who are the subject of the records and who are committed to the custody of the department of corrections or indeterminate sentence review board which information or records are necessary to carry out the responsibilities of their office. Except for dissemination of information released pursuant to RCW 71.05.425 and 4.24.550, regarding persons committed under this chapter under RCW 71.05.280(3) and 71.05.320(2)(c) after dismissal of a sex offense as defined in RCW 9.94A.030, the extent of information that may be released is limited as follows:
(a) Only the fact, place, and date of involuntary admission, the fact and date of discharge, and the last known address shall be disclosed upon request; and
(b) The law enforcement and public health officers or personnel of the department of corrections or indeterminate sentence review board shall be obligated to keep such information confidential in accordance with this chapter; and
(c) Additional information shall be disclosed only after giving notice to said person and his counsel and upon a showing of clear, cogent and convincing evidence that such information is necessary and that appropriate safeguards for strict confidentiality are and will be maintained: PROVIDED HOWEVER, That in the event the said person has escaped from custody, said notice prior to disclosure is not necessary and that the facility from which the person escaped shall include an evaluation as to whether the person is of danger to persons or property and has a propensity toward violence.
(8) To the attorney of the detained person.
(9) To the prosecuting attorney as necessary to carry out the responsibilities of the office under RCW 71.05.330(2) and 71.05.340(1)(b) and 71.05.335. The prosecutor shall be provided access to records regarding the committed person's treatment and prognosis, medication, behavior problems, and other records relevant to the issue of whether treatment less restrictive than inpatient treatment is in the best interest of the committed person or others. Information shall be disclosed only after giving notice to the committed person and the person's counsel.
(10) To appropriate law enforcement agencies and to a person, when the identity of the person is known to the public or private agency, whose health and safety has been threatened, or who is known to have been repeatedly harassed, by the patient. The person may designate a representative to receive the disclosure. The disclosure shall be made by the professional person in charge of the public or private agency or his or her designee and shall include the dates of admission, discharge, authorized or unauthorized absence from the agency's facility, and only such other information that is pertinent to the threat or harassment. The decision to disclose or not shall not result in civil liability for the agency or its employees so long as the decision was reached in good faith and without gross negligence.
(11) To the persons designated in RCW 71.05.425 for the purposes described in that section.
(12) Civil liability and immunity for the release of information about a particular person who is committed to the department under RCW 71.05.280(3) and 71.05.320(2)(c) after dismissal of a sex offense as defined in RCW 9.94A.030, is governed by RCW 4.24.550.
(13) To a patient's next of kin, guardian, or conservator, if any, in the event of death, as provided in RCW 71.05.400.
The fact of admission, as well as all records, files, evidence, findings, or orders made, prepared, collected, or maintained pursuant to this chapter shall not be admissible as evidence in any legal proceeding outside this chapter without the written consent of the person who was the subject of the proceeding except in a subsequent criminal prosecution of a person committed pursuant to RCW 71.05.280(3) or 71.05.320(2)(c) on charges that were dismissed pursuant to chapter 10.77 RCW due to incompetency to stand trial or in a civil commitment proceeding pursuant to chapter 71.09 RCW. The records and files maintained in any court proceeding pursuant to this chapter shall be confidential and available subsequent to such proceedings only to the person who was the subject of the proceeding or his attorney. In addition, the court may order the subsequent release or use of such records or files only upon good cause shown if the court finds that appropriate safeguards for strict confidentiality are and will be maintained.
Sec. 2. RCW 71.05.400 and 1974 ex.s. c 115 s 1 are each amended to read as follows:
(1) A public or private agency shall release to a patient's next of kin, attorney, guardian, or conservator, if any,
(a) The information that the person is presently a patient in the facility or that the person is seriously physically ill;
(b) A statement evaluating the mental and physical condition of the patient, and a statement of the probable duration of the patient's confinement, if such information is requested by the next of kin, attorney, guardian, or conservator; and such other information requested by the next of kin or attorney as may be necessary to decide whether or not proceedings should be instituted to appoint a guardian or conservator.
(2) Upon the death of a patient, his next of kin, guardian, or conservator, if any, shall be notified.
(3) Access to all records and information compiled, obtained, or maintained in the course of providing services to a deceased patient shall be governed by RCW 70.02.140.
Next of kin who are of legal age and competent shall be notified under this section in the following order: Spouse, parents, children, brothers and sisters, and other relatives according to the degree of relation.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 3. A new section is added to chapter 71.05 RCW to read as follows:
Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, the uniform health care information act, chapter 70.02 RCW, applies to all records and information compiled, obtained, or maintained in the course of providing services.