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70.02.045  <<  70.02.050 >>   70.02.060

RCW 70.02.050

Disclosure without patient's authorization — Need-to-know basis.

(1) A health care provider or health care facility may disclose health care information, except for information and records related to sexually transmitted diseases which are addressed in RCW 70.02.220, about a patient without the patient's authorization to the extent a recipient needs to know the information, if the disclosure is:

     (a) To a person who the provider or facility reasonably believes is providing health care to the patient;

     (b) To any other person who requires health care information for health care education, or to provide planning, quality assurance, peer review, or administrative, legal, financial, actuarial services to, or other health care operations for or on behalf of the health care provider or health care facility; or for assisting the health care provider or health care facility in the delivery of health care and the health care provider or health care facility reasonably believes that the person:

     (i) Will not use or disclose the health care information for any other purpose; and

     (ii) Will take appropriate steps to protect the health care information;

     (c) To any person if the health care provider or health care facility reasonably believes that disclosure will avoid or minimize an imminent danger to the health or safety of the patient or any other individual, however there is no obligation under this chapter on the part of the provider or facility to so disclose. The fact of admission to a provider for mental health services and all information and records compiled, obtained, or maintained in the course of providing mental health services to either voluntary or involuntary recipients of services at public or private agencies is not subject to disclosure unless disclosure is permitted in RCW 70.02.230; or

     (d) For payment, including information 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 or she may be entitled.

     (2) A health care provider shall disclose health care information, except for information and records related to sexually transmitted diseases, unless otherwise authorized in RCW 70.02.220, about a patient without the patient's authorization if the disclosure is:

     (a) To federal, state, or local public health authorities, to the extent the health care provider is required by law to report health care information; when needed to determine compliance with state or federal licensure, certification or registration rules or laws, or to investigate unprofessional conduct or ability to practice with reasonable skill and safety under chapter 18.130 RCW. Any health care information obtained under this subsection is exempt from public inspection and copying pursuant to chapter 42.56 RCW; or

     (b) When needed to protect the public health.

[2014 c 220 § 6; 2013 c 200 § 3; 2007 c 156 § 12; 2006 c 235 § 3; 2005 c 468 § 4; 1998 c 158 § 1; 1993 c 448 § 4; 1991 c 335 § 204.]

Notes:

     Effective date -- 2014 c 220: See note following RCW 70.02.290.

     Effective date -- 2013 c 200: See note following RCW 70.02.010.

     Purpose -- 2006 c 235: "The purpose of this act is to aid law enforcement in combating crime through the rapid identification of all persons who require medical treatment as a result of a criminal act and to assist in the rapid identification of human remains." [2006 c 235 § 1.]

     Effective date -- 2006 c 235: "This act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and takes effect immediately [March 27, 2006]." [2006 c 235 § 5.]

     Effective date -- 1993 c 448: See note following RCW 70.02.010.