70.225.030  <<  70.225.040 >>   70.225.045

RCW 70.225.040

Confidentiality of prescription information—Procedures—Immunity when acting in good faith.

(1) Prescription information submitted to the department must be confidential, in compliance with chapter 70.02 RCW and federal health care information privacy requirements and not subject to disclosure, except as provided in subsections (3), (4), and (5) of this section.
(2) The department must maintain procedures to ensure that the privacy and confidentiality of patients and patient information collected, recorded, transmitted, and maintained is not disclosed to persons except as in subsections (3), (4), and (5) of this section.
(3) The department may provide data in the prescription monitoring program to the following persons:
(a) Persons authorized to prescribe or dispense controlled substances or legend drugs, for the purpose of providing medical or pharmaceutical care for their patients;
(b) An individual who requests the individual's own prescription monitoring information;
(c) Health professional licensing, certification, or regulatory agency or entity;
(d) Appropriate law enforcement or prosecutorial officials, including local, state, and federal officials and officials of federally recognized tribes, who are engaged in a bona fide specific investigation involving a designated person;
(e) Authorized practitioners of the department of social and health services and the health care authority regarding medicaid program recipients;
(f) The director or the director's designee within the health care authority regarding medicaid clients for the purposes of quality improvement, patient safety, and care coordination. The information may not be used for contracting or value-based purchasing decisions;
(g) The director or director's designee within the department of labor and industries regarding workers' compensation claimants;
(h) The director or the director's designee within the department of corrections regarding offenders committed to the department of corrections;
(i) Other entities under grand jury subpoena or court order;
(j) Personnel of the department for purposes of:
(i) Assessing prescribing practices, including controlled substances related to mortality and morbidity;
(ii) Providing quality improvement feedback to providers, including comparison of their respective data to aggregate data for providers with the same type of license and same specialty; and
(iii) Administration and enforcement of this chapter or chapter 69.50 RCW;
(k) Personnel of a test site that meet the standards under RCW 70.225.070 pursuant to an agreement between the test site and a person identified in (a) of this subsection to provide assistance in determining which medications are being used by an identified patient who is under the care of that person;
(l) A health care facility or entity for the purpose of providing medical or pharmaceutical care to the patients of the facility or entity, or for quality improvement purposes if:
(i) The facility or entity is licensed by the department or is operated by the federal government or a federally recognized Indian tribe; and
(ii) The facility or entity is a trading partner with the state's health information exchange;
(m) A health care provider group of five or more providers for purposes of providing medical or pharmaceutical care to the patients of the provider group, or for quality improvement purposes if:
(i) All the providers in the provider group are licensed by the department or the provider group is operated by the federal government or a federally recognized Indian tribe; and
(ii) The provider group is a trading partner with the state's health information exchange;
(n) The local health officer of a local health jurisdiction for the purposes of patient follow-up and care coordination following a controlled substance overdose event. For the purposes of this subsection "local health officer" has the same meaning as in RCW 70.05.010; and
(o) The coordinated care electronic tracking program developed in response to section 213, chapter 7, Laws of 2012 2nd sp. sess., commonly referred to as the seven best practices in emergency medicine, for the purposes of providing:
(i) Prescription monitoring program data to emergency department personnel when the patient registers in the emergency department; and
(ii) Notice to providers, appropriate care coordination staff, and prescribers listed in the patient's prescription monitoring program record that the patient has experienced a controlled substance overdose event. The department shall determine the content and format of the notice in consultation with the Washington state hospital association, Washington state medical association, and Washington state health care authority, and the notice may be modified as necessary to reflect current needs and best practices.
(4) The department shall, on at least a quarterly basis, and pursuant to a schedule determined by the department, provide a facility or entity identified under subsection (3)(l) of this section or a provider group identified under subsection (3)(m) of this section with facility or entity and individual prescriber information if the facility, entity, or provider group:
(a) Uses the information only for internal quality improvement and individual prescriber quality improvement feedback purposes and does not use the information as the sole basis for any medical staff sanction or adverse employment action; and
(b) Provides to the department a standardized list of current prescribers of the facility, entity, or provider group. The specific facility, entity, or provider group information provided pursuant to this subsection and the requirements under this subsection must be determined by the department in consultation with the Washington state hospital association, Washington state medical association, and Washington state health care authority, and may be modified as necessary to reflect current needs and best practices.
(5)(a) The department may provide data to public or private entities for statistical, research, or educational purposes after removing information that could be used to identify individual patients, dispensers, prescribers, and persons who received prescriptions from dispensers.
(b)(i) The department may provide dispenser and prescriber data and data that includes indirect patient identifiers to the Washington state hospital association for use solely in connection with its coordinated quality improvement program maintained under RCW 43.70.510 after entering into a data use agreement as specified in RCW 43.70.052(8) with the association.
(ii) For the purposes of this subsection, "indirect patient identifiers" means data that may include: Hospital or provider identifiers, a five-digit zip code, county, state, and country of resident; dates that include month and year; age in years; and race and ethnicity; but does not include the patient's first name; middle name; last name; social security number; control or medical record number; zip code plus four digits; dates that include day, month, and year; or admission and discharge date in combination.
(6) Persons authorized in subsections (3), (4), and (5) of this section to receive data in the prescription monitoring program from the department, acting in good faith, are immune from any civil, criminal, disciplinary, or administrative liability that might otherwise be incurred or imposed for acting under this chapter.
NOTES:
FindingsIntent2017 c 297: See note following RCW 18.22.800.
Effective dateFindingsIntentReportAgency transferReferences to head of health care authorityDraft legislation2011 1st sp.s. c 15: See notes following RCW 74.09.010.
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