Chapter 70.02 RCW

MEDICAL RECORDS—HEALTH CARE INFORMATION ACCESS AND DISCLOSURE

Sections
Findings.
Definitions (as amended by 2014 c 220).
Definitions (as amended by 2014 c 225).
Disclosure by health care provider.
Patient authorization of disclosure.
Patient's revocation of authorization for disclosure.
Third-party payor release of information.
Disclosure without patient's authorizationNeed-to-know basis.
Discovery request or compulsory process.
Certification of record.
Patient's examination and copyingRequirements.
Patient's requestDenial of examination and copying.
Correction or amendment of record.
Correction or amendment or statement of disagreementProcedure.
Notice of information practicesDisplay conspicuously.
Consent by othersHealth care representatives.
Representative of deceased patient.
Security safeguards.
Retention of record.
Civil remedies.
Licensees under chapter 18.225 RCWSubject to chapter.
Disclosure without patient's authorizationPermitted and mandatory disclosures.
Disclosure without patient's authorizationResearch.
Sexually transmitted diseasesPermitted and mandatory disclosures.
Mental health services, confidentiality of recordsPermitted disclosures.
Mental health servicesMinorsPermitted disclosures.
Mental health servicesDepartment of corrections.
Mental health servicesRequests for information and records.
Health care informationUse or disclosure prohibited.
Health care providers and facilitiesProhibited actions.
Agency rule-making requirementsUse/destruction of health care information by certain state and local agenciesUnauthorized disclosureNoticeRules/policies available on agency's web site.
Sexually transmitted diseasesRequired statement upon disclosure.
Mental health servicesInformation and records.
Mental health servicesMinorsPrompt entry in record upon disclosure.
Obtaining confidential records under false pretensesPenalty.
Disclosure of information and records related to mental health servicesAgency rule-making authority.
Department of social and health servicesRelease of information to protect the public.
Conflicting laws.
Application and construction1991 c 335.
Short title.
ConstructionChapter applicable to state registered domestic partnerships2009 c 521.
NOTES:
Record retention by hospitals: RCW 70.41.190.


70.02.005
Findings.

The legislature finds that:
(1) Health care information is personal and sensitive information that if improperly used or released may do significant harm to a patient's interests in privacy, health care, or other interests.
(2) Patients need access to their own health care information as a matter of fairness to enable them to make informed decisions about their health care and correct inaccurate or incomplete information about themselves.
(3) In order to retain the full trust and confidence of patients, health care providers have an interest in assuring that health care information is not improperly disclosed and in having clear and certain rules for the disclosure of health care information.
(4) Persons other than health care providers obtain, use, and disclose health record information in many different contexts and for many different purposes. It is the public policy of this state that a patient's interest in the proper use and disclosure of the patient's health care information survives even when the information is held by persons other than health care providers.
(5) The movement of patients and their health care information across state lines, access to and exchange of health care information from automated data banks, and the emergence of multistate health care providers creates a compelling need for uniform law, rules, and procedures governing the use and disclosure of health care information.



70.02.010
Definitions (as amended by 2014 c 220). (Effective until April 1, 2018.)

The definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter unless the context clearly requires otherwise.
(1) "Admission" has the same meaning as in RCW 71.05.020.
(2) "Audit" means an assessment, evaluation, determination, or investigation of a health care provider by a person not employed by or affiliated with the provider to determine compliance with:
(a) Statutory, regulatory, fiscal, medical, or scientific standards;
(b) A private or public program of payments to a health care provider; or
(c) Requirements for licensing, accreditation, or certification.
(3) "Commitment" has the same meaning as in RCW 71.05.020.
(4) "Custody" has the same meaning as in RCW 71.05.020.
(5) "Deidentified" means health information that does not identify an individual and with respect to which there is no reasonable basis to believe that the information can be used to identify an individual.
(6) "Department" means the department of social and health services.
(7) "Designated mental health professional" has the same meaning as in RCW 71.05.020 or 71.34.020, as applicable.
(8) "Detention" or "detain" has the same meaning as in RCW 71.05.020.
(9) "Directory information" means information disclosing the presence, and for the purpose of identification, the name, location within a health care facility, and the general health condition of a particular patient who is a patient in a health care facility or who is currently receiving emergency health care in a health care facility.
(10) "Discharge" has the same meaning as in RCW 71.05.020.
(11) "Evaluation and treatment facility" has the same meaning as in RCW 71.05.020 or 71.34.020, as applicable.
(12) "Federal, state, or local law enforcement authorities" means an officer of any agency or authority in the United States, a state, a tribe, a territory, or a political subdivision of a state, a tribe, or a territory who is empowered by law to: (a) Investigate or conduct an official inquiry into a potential criminal violation of law; or (b) prosecute or otherwise conduct a criminal proceeding arising from an alleged violation of law.
(13) "General health condition" means the patient's health status described in terms of "critical," "poor," "fair," "good," "excellent," or terms denoting similar conditions.
(14) "Health care" means any care, service, or procedure provided by a health care provider:
(a) To diagnose, treat, or maintain a patient's physical or mental condition; or
(b) That affects the structure or any function of the human body.
(15) "Health care facility" means a hospital, clinic, nursing home, laboratory, office, or similar place where a health care provider provides health care to patients.
(16) "Health care information" means any information, whether oral or recorded in any form or medium, that identifies or can readily be associated with the identity of a patient and directly relates to the patient's health care, including a patient's deoxyribonucleic acid and identified sequence of chemical base pairs. The term includes any required accounting of disclosures of health care information.
(17) "Health care operations" means any of the following activities of a health care provider, health care facility, or third-party payor to the extent that the activities are related to functions that make an entity a health care provider, a health care facility, or a third-party payor:
(a) Conducting: Quality assessment and improvement activities, including outcomes evaluation and development of clinical guidelines, if the obtaining of generalizable knowledge is not the primary purpose of any studies resulting from such activities; population-based activities relating to improving health or reducing health care costs, protocol development, case management and care coordination, contacting of health care providers and patients with information about treatment alternatives; and related functions that do not include treatment;
(b) Reviewing the competence or qualifications of health care professionals, evaluating practitioner and provider performance and third-party payor performance, conducting training programs in which students, trainees, or practitioners in areas of health care learn under supervision to practice or improve their skills as health care providers, training of nonhealth care professionals, accreditation, certification, licensing, or credentialing activities;
(c) Underwriting, premium rating, and other activities relating to the creation, renewal, or replacement of a contract of health insurance or health benefits, and ceding, securing, or placing a contract for reinsurance of risk relating to claims for health care, including stop-loss insurance and excess of loss insurance, if any applicable legal requirements are met;
(d) Conducting or arranging for medical review, legal services, and auditing functions, including fraud and abuse detection and compliance programs;
(e) Business planning and development, such as conducting cost-management and planning-related analyses related to managing and operating the health care facility or third-party payor, including formulary development and administration, development, or improvement of methods of payment or coverage policies; and
(f) Business management and general administrative activities of the health care facility, health care provider, or third-party payor including, but not limited to:
(i) Management activities relating to implementation of and compliance with the requirements of this chapter;
(ii) Customer service, including the provision of data analyses for policy holders, plan sponsors, or other customers, provided that health care information is not disclosed to such policy holder, plan sponsor, or customer;
(iii) Resolution of internal grievances;
(iv) The sale, transfer, merger, or consolidation of all or part of a health care provider, health care facility, or third-party payor with another health care provider, health care facility, or third-party payor or an entity that following such activity will become a health care provider, health care facility, or third-party payor, and due diligence related to such activity; and
(v) Consistent with applicable legal requirements, creating deidentified health care information or a limited dataset for the benefit of the health care provider, health care facility, or third-party payor.
(18) "Health care provider" means a person who is licensed, certified, registered, or otherwise authorized by the law of this state to provide health care in the ordinary course of business or practice of a profession.
(19) "Human immunodeficiency virus" or "HIV" has the same meaning as in RCW 70.24.017.
(20) "Imminent" has the same meaning as in RCW 71.05.020.
(21) "Information and records related to mental health services" means a type of health care information that relates to all information and records((, including mental health treatment records,)) compiled, obtained, or maintained in the course of providing services by a mental health service agency((, as defined in this section)) or mental health professional to persons who are receiving or have received services for mental illness. The term includes mental health information contained in a medical bill, registration records, as defined in RCW 71.05.020, and all other records regarding the person maintained by the department, by regional support networks and their staff, and by treatment facilities. ((This may)) The term further includes documents of legal proceedings under chapter 71.05, 71.34, or 10.77 RCW, or somatic health care information. For health care information maintained by a hospital as defined in RCW 70.41.020 or a health care facility or health care provider that participates with a hospital in an organized health care arrangement defined under federal law, "information and records related to mental health services" is limited to information and records of services provided by a mental health professional or information and records of services created by a hospital-operated community mental health program as defined in *RCW 71.24.025(6). The term does not include psychotherapy notes.
(22) "Information and records related to sexually transmitted diseases" means a type of health care information that relates to the identity of any person upon whom an HIV antibody test or other sexually transmitted infection test is performed, the results of such tests, and any information relating to diagnosis of or treatment for any confirmed sexually transmitted infections.
(23) "Institutional review board" means any board, committee, or other group formally designated by an institution, or authorized under federal or state law, to review, approve the initiation of, or conduct periodic review of research programs to assure the protection of the rights and welfare of human research subjects.
(24) "Legal counsel" has the same meaning as in RCW 71.05.020.
(25) "Local public health officer" has the same meaning as in RCW 70.24.017.
(26) "Maintain," as related to health care information, means to hold, possess, preserve, retain, store, or control that information.
(27) "Mental health professional" ((has the same meaning as in RCW 71.05.020)) means a psychiatrist, psychologist, psychiatric advanced registered nurse practitioner, psychiatric nurse, or social worker, and such other mental health professionals as may be defined by rules adopted by the secretary of social and health services under chapter 71.05 RCW, whether that person works in a private or public setting.
(28) "Mental health service agency" means a public or private agency that provides services to persons with mental disorders as defined under RCW 71.05.020 or 71.34.020 and receives funding from public sources. This includes evaluation and treatment facilities as defined in RCW 71.34.020, community mental health service delivery systems, or community mental health programs, as defined in *RCW 71.24.025, and facilities conducting competency evaluations and restoration under chapter 10.77 RCW.
(29) (("Mental health treatment records" include registration records, as defined in RCW 71.05.020, and all other records concerning persons who are receiving or who at any time have received services for mental illness, which are maintained by the department, by regional support networks and their staff, and by treatment facilities. "Mental health treatment records" include mental health information contained in a medical bill including, but not limited to, mental health drugs, a mental health diagnosis, provider name, and dates of service stemming from a medical service. "Mental health treatment records" do not include notes or records maintained for personal use by a person providing treatment services for the department, regional support networks, or a treatment facility if the notes or records are not available to others.
(30))) "Minor" has the same meaning as in RCW 71.34.020.
(((31))) (30) "Parent" has the same meaning as in RCW 71.34.020.
(((32))) (31) "Patient" means an individual who receives or has received health care. The term includes a deceased individual who has received health care.
(((33))) (32) "Payment" means:
(a) The activities undertaken by:
(i) A third-party payor to obtain premiums or to determine or fulfill its responsibility for coverage and provision of benefits by the third-party payor; or
(ii) A health care provider, health care facility, or third-party payor, to obtain or provide reimbursement for the provision of health care; and
(b) The activities in (a) of this subsection that relate to the patient to whom health care is provided and that include, but are not limited to:
(i) Determinations of eligibility or coverage, including coordination of benefits or the determination of cost-sharing amounts, and adjudication or subrogation of health benefit claims;
(ii) Risk adjusting amounts due based on enrollee health status and demographic characteristics;
(iii) Billing, claims management, collection activities, obtaining payment under a contract for reinsurance, including stop-loss insurance and excess of loss insurance, and related health care data processing;
(iv) Review of health care services with respect to medical necessity, coverage under a health plan, appropriateness of care, or justification of charges;
(v) Utilization review activities, including precertification and preauthorization of services, and concurrent and retrospective review of services; and
(vi) Disclosure to consumer reporting agencies of any of the following health care information relating to collection of premiums or reimbursement:
(A) Name and address;
(B) Date of birth;
(C) Social security number;
(D) Payment history;
(E) Account number; and
(F) Name and address of the health care provider, health care facility, and/or third-party payor.
(((34))) (33) "Person" means an individual, corporation, business trust, estate, trust, partnership, association, joint venture, government, governmental subdivision or agency, or any other legal or commercial entity.
(((35))) (34) "Professional person" has the same meaning as in RCW 71.05.020.
(((36))) (35) "Psychiatric advanced registered nurse practitioner" has the same meaning as in RCW 71.05.020.
(((37))) (36) "Psychotherapy notes" means notes recorded, in any medium, by a mental health professional documenting or analyzing the contents of conversations during a private counseling session or group, joint, or family counseling session, and that are separated from the rest of the individual's medical record. The term excludes mediation prescription and monitoring, counseling session start and stop times, the modalities and frequencies of treatment furnished, results of clinical tests, and any summary of the following items: Diagnosis, functional status, the treatment plan, symptoms, prognosis, and progress to date.
(37) "Reasonable fee" means the charges for duplicating or searching the record, but shall not exceed sixty-five cents per page for the first thirty pages and fifty cents per page for all other pages. In addition, a clerical fee for searching and handling may be charged not to exceed fifteen dollars. These amounts shall be adjusted biennially in accordance with changes in the consumer price index, all consumers, for Seattle-Tacoma metropolitan statistical area as determined by the secretary of health. However, where editing of records by a health care provider is required by statute and is done by the provider personally, the fee may be the usual and customary charge for a basic office visit.
(38) "Release" has the same meaning as in RCW 71.05.020.
(39) "Resource management services" has the same meaning as in RCW 71.05.020.
(40) "Serious violent offense" has the same meaning as in RCW 71.05.020.
(41) "Sexually transmitted infection" or "sexually transmitted disease" has the same meaning as "sexually transmitted disease" in RCW 70.24.017.
(42) "Test for a sexually transmitted disease" has the same meaning as in RCW 70.24.017.
(43) "Third-party payor" means an insurer regulated under Title 48 RCW authorized to transact business in this state or other jurisdiction, including a health care service contractor, and health maintenance organization; or an employee welfare benefit plan, excluding fitness or wellness plans; or a state or federal health benefit program.
(44) "Treatment" means the provision, coordination, or management of health care and related services by one or more health care providers or health care facilities, including the coordination or management of health care by a health care provider or health care facility with a third party; consultation between health care providers or health care facilities relating to a patient; or the referral of a patient for health care from one health care provider or health care facility to another.
NOTES:
Reviser's note: *(1) RCW 71.24.025 was amended by 2016 sp.s. c 29 § 501, deleting the definition of "community mental health program."
(2) For charges or fees under subsection (37) of this section as adjusted by the secretary of health, see chapter 246-08 WAC.
Effective date2014 c 220: See note following RCW 70.02.290.

70.02.010
Definitions (as amended by 2014 c 225). (Effective until April 1, 2018.)

The definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter unless the context clearly requires otherwise.
(1) "Admission" has the same meaning as in RCW 71.05.020.
(2) "Audit" means an assessment, evaluation, determination, or investigation of a health care provider by a person not employed by or affiliated with the provider to determine compliance with:
(a) Statutory, regulatory, fiscal, medical, or scientific standards;
(b) A private or public program of payments to a health care provider; or
(c) Requirements for licensing, accreditation, or certification.
(3) "Commitment" has the same meaning as in RCW 71.05.020.
(4) "Custody" has the same meaning as in RCW 71.05.020.
(5) "Deidentified" means health information that does not identify an individual and with respect to which there is no reasonable basis to believe that the information can be used to identify an individual.
(6) "Department" means the department of social and health services.
(7) "Designated mental health professional" has the same meaning as in RCW 71.05.020 or 71.34.020, as applicable.
(8) "Detention" or "detain" has the same meaning as in RCW 71.05.020.
(9) "Directory information" means information disclosing the presence, and for the purpose of identification, the name, location within a health care facility, and the general health condition of a particular patient who is a patient in a health care facility or who is currently receiving emergency health care in a health care facility.
(10) "Discharge" has the same meaning as in RCW 71.05.020.
(11) "Evaluation and treatment facility" has the same meaning as in RCW 71.05.020 or 71.34.020, as applicable.
(12) "Federal, state, or local law enforcement authorities" means an officer of any agency or authority in the United States, a state, a tribe, a territory, or a political subdivision of a state, a tribe, or a territory who is empowered by law to: (a) Investigate or conduct an official inquiry into a potential criminal violation of law; or (b) prosecute or otherwise conduct a criminal proceeding arising from an alleged violation of law.
(13) "General health condition" means the patient's health status described in terms of "critical," "poor," "fair," "good," "excellent," or terms denoting similar conditions.
(14) "Health care" means any care, service, or procedure provided by a health care provider:
(a) To diagnose, treat, or maintain a patient's physical or mental condition; or
(b) That affects the structure or any function of the human body.
(15) "Health care facility" means a hospital, clinic, nursing home, laboratory, office, or similar place where a health care provider provides health care to patients.
(16) "Health care information" means any information, whether oral or recorded in any form or medium, that identifies or can readily be associated with the identity of a patient and directly relates to the patient's health care, including a patient's deoxyribonucleic acid and identified sequence of chemical base pairs. The term includes any required accounting of disclosures of health care information.
(17) "Health care operations" means any of the following activities of a health care provider, health care facility, or third-party payor to the extent that the activities are related to functions that make an entity a health care provider, a health care facility, or a third-party payor:
(a) Conducting: Quality assessment and improvement activities, including outcomes evaluation and development of clinical guidelines, if the obtaining of generalizable knowledge is not the primary purpose of any studies resulting from such activities; population-based activities relating to improving health or reducing health care costs, protocol development, case management and care coordination, contacting of health care providers and patients with information about treatment alternatives; and related functions that do not include treatment;
(b) Reviewing the competence or qualifications of health care professionals, evaluating practitioner and provider performance and third-party payor performance, conducting training programs in which students, trainees, or practitioners in areas of health care learn under supervision to practice or improve their skills as health care providers, training of nonhealth care professionals, accreditation, certification, licensing, or credentialing activities;
(c) Underwriting, premium rating, and other activities relating to the creation, renewal, or replacement of a contract of health insurance or health benefits, and ceding, securing, or placing a contract for reinsurance of risk relating to claims for health care, including stop-loss insurance and excess of loss insurance, if any applicable legal requirements are met;
(d) Conducting or arranging for medical review, legal services, and auditing functions, including fraud and abuse detection and compliance programs;
(e) Business planning and development, such as conducting cost-management and planning-related analyses related to managing and operating the health care facility or third-party payor, including formulary development and administration, development, or improvement of methods of payment or coverage policies; and
(f) Business management and general administrative activities of the health care facility, health care provider, or third-party payor including, but not limited to:
(i) Management activities relating to implementation of and compliance with the requirements of this chapter;
(ii) Customer service, including the provision of data analyses for policy holders, plan sponsors, or other customers, provided that health care information is not disclosed to such policy holder, plan sponsor, or customer;
(iii) Resolution of internal grievances;
(iv) The sale, transfer, merger, or consolidation of all or part of a health care provider, health care facility, or third-party payor with another health care provider, health care facility, or third-party payor or an entity that following such activity will become a health care provider, health care facility, or third-party payor, and due diligence related to such activity; and
(v) Consistent with applicable legal requirements, creating deidentified health care information or a limited dataset for the benefit of the health care provider, health care facility, or third-party payor.
(18) "Health care provider" means a person who is licensed, certified, registered, or otherwise authorized by the law of this state to provide health care in the ordinary course of business or practice of a profession.
(19) "Human immunodeficiency virus" or "HIV" has the same meaning as in RCW 70.24.017.
(20) "Imminent" has the same meaning as in RCW 71.05.020.
(21) "Information and records related to mental health services" means a type of health care information that relates to all information and records, including mental health treatment records, compiled, obtained, or maintained in the course of providing services by a mental health service agency, as defined in this section. This may include documents of legal proceedings under chapter 71.05, 71.34, or 10.77 RCW, or somatic health care information. For health care information maintained by a hospital as defined in RCW 70.41.020 or a health care facility or health care provider that participates with a hospital in an organized health care arrangement defined under federal law, "information and records related to mental health services" is limited to information and records of services provided by a mental health professional or information and records of services created by a hospital-operated community mental health program as defined in *RCW 71.24.025(8).
(22) "Information and records related to sexually transmitted diseases" means a type of health care information that relates to the identity of any person upon whom an HIV antibody test or other sexually transmitted infection test is performed, the results of such tests, and any information relating to diagnosis of or treatment for any confirmed sexually transmitted infections.
(23) "Institutional review board" means any board, committee, or other group formally designated by an institution, or authorized under federal or state law, to review, approve the initiation of, or conduct periodic review of research programs to assure the protection of the rights and welfare of human research subjects.
(24) "Legal counsel" has the same meaning as in RCW 71.05.020.
(25) "Local public health officer" has the same meaning as in RCW 70.24.017.
(26) "Maintain," as related to health care information, means to hold, possess, preserve, retain, store, or control that information.
(27) "Mental health professional" has the same meaning as in RCW 71.05.020.
(28) "Mental health service agency" means a public or private agency that provides services to persons with mental disorders as defined under RCW 71.05.020 or 71.34.020 and receives funding from public sources. This includes evaluation and treatment facilities as defined in RCW 71.34.020, community mental health service delivery systems, or community mental health programs, as defined in *RCW 71.24.025, and facilities conducting competency evaluations and restoration under chapter 10.77 RCW.
(29) "Mental health treatment records" include registration records, as defined in RCW 71.05.020, and all other records concerning persons who are receiving or who at any time have received services for mental illness, which are maintained by the department, by ((regional support networks)) behavioral health organizations and their staffs, and by treatment facilities. "Mental health treatment records" include mental health information contained in a medical bill including, but not limited to, mental health drugs, a mental health diagnosis, provider name, and dates of service stemming from a medical service. "Mental health treatment records" do not include notes or records maintained for personal use by a person providing treatment services for the department, ((regional support networks)) behavioral health organizations, or a treatment facility if the notes or records are not available to others.
(30) "Minor" has the same meaning as in RCW 71.34.020.
(31) "Parent" has the same meaning as in RCW 71.34.020.
(32) "Patient" means an individual who receives or has received health care. The term includes a deceased individual who has received health care.
(33) "Payment" means:
(a) The activities undertaken by:
(i) A third-party payor to obtain premiums or to determine or fulfill its responsibility for coverage and provision of benefits by the third-party payor; or
(ii) A health care provider, health care facility, or third-party payor, to obtain or provide reimbursement for the provision of health care; and
(b) The activities in (a) of this subsection that relate to the patient to whom health care is provided and that include, but are not limited to:
(i) Determinations of eligibility or coverage, including coordination of benefits or the determination of cost-sharing amounts, and adjudication or subrogation of health benefit claims;
(ii) Risk adjusting amounts due based on enrollee health status and demographic characteristics;
(iii) Billing, claims management, collection activities, obtaining payment under a contract for reinsurance, including stop-loss insurance and excess of loss insurance, and related health care data processing;
(iv) Review of health care services with respect to medical necessity, coverage under a health plan, appropriateness of care, or justification of charges;
(v) Utilization review activities, including precertification and preauthorization of services, and concurrent and retrospective review of services; and
(vi) Disclosure to consumer reporting agencies of any of the following health care information relating to collection of premiums or reimbursement:
(A) Name and address;
(B) Date of birth;
(C) Social security number;
(D) Payment history;
(E) Account number; and
(F) Name and address of the health care provider, health care facility, and/or third-party payor.
(34) "Person" means an individual, corporation, business trust, estate, trust, partnership, association, joint venture, government, governmental subdivision or agency, or any other legal or commercial entity.
(35) "Professional person" has the same meaning as in RCW 71.05.020.
(36) "Psychiatric advanced registered nurse practitioner" has the same meaning as in RCW 71.05.020.
(37) "Reasonable fee" means the charges for duplicating or searching the record, but shall not exceed sixty-five cents per page for the first thirty pages and fifty cents per page for all other pages. In addition, a clerical fee for searching and handling may be charged not to exceed fifteen dollars. These amounts shall be adjusted biennially in accordance with changes in the consumer price index, all consumers, for Seattle-Tacoma metropolitan statistical area as determined by the secretary of health. However, where editing of records by a health care provider is required by statute and is done by the provider personally, the fee may be the usual and customary charge for a basic office visit.
(38) "Release" has the same meaning as in RCW 71.05.020.
(39) "Resource management services" has the same meaning as in RCW 71.05.020.
(40) "Serious violent offense" has the same meaning as in RCW 71.05.020.
(41) "Sexually transmitted infection" or "sexually transmitted disease" has the same meaning as "sexually transmitted disease" in RCW 70.24.017.
(42) "Test for a sexually transmitted disease" has the same meaning as in RCW 70.24.017.
(43) "Third-party payor" means an insurer regulated under Title 48 RCW authorized to transact business in this state or other jurisdiction, including a health care service contractor, and health maintenance organization; or an employee welfare benefit plan, excluding fitness or wellness plans; or a state or federal health benefit program.
(44) "Treatment" means the provision, coordination, or management of health care and related services by one or more health care providers or health care facilities, including the coordination or management of health care by a health care provider or health care facility with a third party; consultation between health care providers or health care facilities relating to a patient; or the referral of a patient for health care from one health care provider or health care facility to another.
NOTES:
Reviser's note: *(1) RCW 71.24.025 was amended by 2016 sp.s. c 29 § 501, deleting the definition of "community mental health program."
(2) RCW 70.02.010 was amended twice during the 2014 legislative session, each without reference to the other. For rule of construction concerning sections amended more than once during the same legislative session, see RCW 1.12.025.
(3) For charges or fees under subsection (37) of this section as adjusted by the secretary of health, see chapter 246-08 WAC.
Effective date2014 c 225: See note following RCW 71.24.016.
Effective date2013 c 200: "Except for section 5 of this act, this act takes effect July 1, 2014." [ 2013 c 200 § 35.]
PurposeEffective date2006 c 235: See notes following RCW 70.02.050.
Effective date1993 c 448: "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 shall take effect July 1, 1993." [ 1993 c 448 § 9.]

70.02.010
Definitions. (Effective April 1, 2018.)

The definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter unless the context clearly requires otherwise.
(1) "Admission" has the same meaning as in RCW 71.05.020.
(2) "Audit" means an assessment, evaluation, determination, or investigation of a health care provider by a person not employed by or affiliated with the provider to determine compliance with:
(a) Statutory, regulatory, fiscal, medical, or scientific standards;
(b) A private or public program of payments to a health care provider; or
(c) Requirements for licensing, accreditation, or certification.
(3) "Commitment" has the same meaning as in RCW 71.05.020.
(4) "Custody" has the same meaning as in RCW 71.05.020.
(5) "Deidentified" means health information that does not identify an individual and with respect to which there is no reasonable basis to believe that the information can be used to identify an individual.
(6) "Department" means the department of social and health services.
(7) "Designated crisis responder" has the same meaning as in RCW 71.05.020 or 71.34.020, as applicable.
(8) "Detention" or "detain" has the same meaning as in RCW 71.05.020.
(9) "Directory information" means information disclosing the presence, and for the purpose of identification, the name, location within a health care facility, and the general health condition of a particular patient who is a patient in a health care facility or who is currently receiving emergency health care in a health care facility.
(10) "Discharge" has the same meaning as in RCW 71.05.020.
(11) "Evaluation and treatment facility" has the same meaning as in RCW 71.05.020 or 71.34.020, as applicable.
(12) "Federal, state, or local law enforcement authorities" means an officer of any agency or authority in the United States, a state, a tribe, a territory, or a political subdivision of a state, a tribe, or a territory who is empowered by law to: (a) Investigate or conduct an official inquiry into a potential criminal violation of law; or (b) prosecute or otherwise conduct a criminal proceeding arising from an alleged violation of law.
(13) "General health condition" means the patient's health status described in terms of "critical," "poor," "fair," "good," "excellent," or terms denoting similar conditions.
(14) "Health care" means any care, service, or procedure provided by a health care provider:
(a) To diagnose, treat, or maintain a patient's physical or mental condition; or
(b) That affects the structure or any function of the human body.
(15) "Health care facility" means a hospital, clinic, nursing home, laboratory, office, or similar place where a health care provider provides health care to patients.
(16) "Health care information" means any information, whether oral or recorded in any form or medium, that identifies or can readily be associated with the identity of a patient and directly relates to the patient's health care, including a patient's deoxyribonucleic acid and identified sequence of chemical base pairs. The term includes any required accounting of disclosures of health care information.
(17) "Health care operations" means any of the following activities of a health care provider, health care facility, or third-party payor to the extent that the activities are related to functions that make an entity a health care provider, a health care facility, or a third-party payor:
(a) Conducting: Quality assessment and improvement activities, including outcomes evaluation and development of clinical guidelines, if the obtaining of generalizable knowledge is not the primary purpose of any studies resulting from such activities; population-based activities relating to improving health or reducing health care costs, protocol development, case management and care coordination, contacting of health care providers and patients with information about treatment alternatives; and related functions that do not include treatment;
(b) Reviewing the competence or qualifications of health care professionals, evaluating practitioner and provider performance and third-party payor performance, conducting training programs in which students, trainees, or practitioners in areas of health care learn under supervision to practice or improve their skills as health care providers, training of nonhealth care professionals, accreditation, certification, licensing, or credentialing activities;
(c) Underwriting, premium rating, and other activities relating to the creation, renewal, or replacement of a contract of health insurance or health benefits, and ceding, securing, or placing a contract for reinsurance of risk relating to claims for health care, including stop-loss insurance and excess of loss insurance, if any applicable legal requirements are met;
(d) Conducting or arranging for medical review, legal services, and auditing functions, including fraud and abuse detection and compliance programs;
(e) Business planning and development, such as conducting cost-management and planning-related analyses related to managing and operating the health care facility or third-party payor, including formulary development and administration, development, or improvement of methods of payment or coverage policies; and
(f) Business management and general administrative activities of the health care facility, health care provider, or third-party payor including, but not limited to:
(i) Management activities relating to implementation of and compliance with the requirements of this chapter;
(ii) Customer service, including the provision of data analyses for policy holders, plan sponsors, or other customers, provided that health care information is not disclosed to such policy holder, plan sponsor, or customer;
(iii) Resolution of internal grievances;
(iv) The sale, transfer, merger, or consolidation of all or part of a health care provider, health care facility, or third-party payor with another health care provider, health care facility, or third-party payor or an entity that following such activity will become a health care provider, health care facility, or third-party payor, and due diligence related to such activity; and
(v) Consistent with applicable legal requirements, creating deidentified health care information or a limited dataset for the benefit of the health care provider, health care facility, or third-party payor.
(18) "Health care provider" means a person who is licensed, certified, registered, or otherwise authorized by the law of this state to provide health care in the ordinary course of business or practice of a profession.
(19) "Human immunodeficiency virus" or "HIV" has the same meaning as in RCW 70.24.017.
(20) "Imminent" has the same meaning as in RCW 71.05.020.
(21) "Information and records related to mental health services" means a type of health care information that relates to all information and records compiled, obtained, or maintained in the course of providing services by a mental health service agency or mental health professional to persons who are receiving or have received services for mental illness. The term includes mental health information contained in a medical bill, registration records, as defined in RCW 71.05.020, and all other records regarding the person maintained by the department, by regional support networks and their staff, and by treatment facilities. The term further includes documents of legal proceedings under chapter 71.05, 71.34, or 10.77 RCW, or somatic health care information. For health care information maintained by a hospital as defined in RCW 70.41.020 or a health care facility or health care provider that participates with a hospital in an organized health care arrangement defined under federal law, "information and records related to mental health services" is limited to information and records of services provided by a mental health professional or information and records of services created by a hospital-operated behavioral health program as defined in RCW 71.24.025. The term does not include psychotherapy notes.
(22) "Information and records related to sexually transmitted diseases" means a type of health care information that relates to the identity of any person upon whom an HIV antibody test or other sexually transmitted infection test is performed, the results of such tests, and any information relating to diagnosis of or treatment for any confirmed sexually transmitted infections.
(23) "Institutional review board" means any board, committee, or other group formally designated by an institution, or authorized under federal or state law, to review, approve the initiation of, or conduct periodic review of research programs to assure the protection of the rights and welfare of human research subjects.
(24) "Legal counsel" has the same meaning as in RCW 71.05.020.
(25) "Local public health officer" has the same meaning as in RCW 70.24.017.
(26) "Maintain," as related to health care information, means to hold, possess, preserve, retain, store, or control that information.
(27) "Mental health professional" means a psychiatrist, psychologist, psychiatric advanced registered nurse practitioner, psychiatric nurse, or social worker, and such other mental health professionals as may be defined by rules adopted by the secretary of social and health services under chapter 71.05 RCW, whether that person works in a private or public setting.
(28) "Mental health service agency" means a public or private agency that provides services to persons with mental disorders as defined under RCW 71.05.020 or 71.34.020 and receives funding from public sources. This includes evaluation and treatment facilities as defined in RCW 71.34.020, community mental health service delivery systems, or behavioral health programs, as defined in RCW 71.24.025, and facilities conducting competency evaluations and restoration under chapter 10.77 RCW.
(29) "Minor" has the same meaning as in RCW 71.34.020.
(30) "Parent" has the same meaning as in RCW 71.34.020.
(31) "Patient" means an individual who receives or has received health care. The term includes a deceased individual who has received health care.
(32) "Payment" means:
(a) The activities undertaken by:
(i) A third-party payor to obtain premiums or to determine or fulfill its responsibility for coverage and provision of benefits by the third-party payor; or
(ii) A health care provider, health care facility, or third-party payor, to obtain or provide reimbursement for the provision of health care; and
(b) The activities in (a) of this subsection that relate to the patient to whom health care is provided and that include, but are not limited to:
(i) Determinations of eligibility or coverage, including coordination of benefits or the determination of cost-sharing amounts, and adjudication or subrogation of health benefit claims;
(ii) Risk adjusting amounts due based on enrollee health status and demographic characteristics;
(iii) Billing, claims management, collection activities, obtaining payment under a contract for reinsurance, including stop-loss insurance and excess of loss insurance, and related health care data processing;
(iv) Review of health care services with respect to medical necessity, coverage under a health plan, appropriateness of care, or justification of charges;
(v) Utilization review activities, including precertification and preauthorization of services, and concurrent and retrospective review of services; and
(vi) Disclosure to consumer reporting agencies of any of the following health care information relating to collection of premiums or reimbursement:
(A) Name and address;
(B) Date of birth;
(C) Social security number;
(D) Payment history;
(E) Account number; and
(F) Name and address of the health care provider, health care facility, and/or third-party payor.
(33) "Person" means an individual, corporation, business trust, estate, trust, partnership, association, joint venture, government, governmental subdivision or agency, or any other legal or commercial entity.
(34) "Professional person" has the same meaning as in RCW 71.05.020.
(35) "Psychiatric advanced registered nurse practitioner" has the same meaning as in RCW 71.05.020.
(36) "Psychotherapy notes" means notes recorded, in any medium, by a mental health professional documenting or analyzing the contents of conversations during a private counseling session or group, joint, or family counseling session, and that are separated from the rest of the individual's medical record. The term excludes mediation prescription and monitoring, counseling session start and stop times, the modalities and frequencies of treatment furnished, results of clinical tests, and any summary of the following items: Diagnosis, functional status, the treatment plan, symptoms, prognosis, and progress to date.
(37) "Reasonable fee" means the charges for duplicating or searching the record, but shall not exceed sixty-five cents per page for the first thirty pages and fifty cents per page for all other pages. In addition, a clerical fee for searching and handling may be charged not to exceed fifteen dollars. These amounts shall be adjusted biennially in accordance with changes in the consumer price index, all consumers, for Seattle-Tacoma metropolitan statistical area as determined by the secretary of health. However, where editing of records by a health care provider is required by statute and is done by the provider personally, the fee may be the usual and customary charge for a basic office visit.
(38) "Release" has the same meaning as in RCW 71.05.020.
(39) "Resource management services" has the same meaning as in RCW 71.05.020.
(40) "Serious violent offense" has the same meaning as in RCW 71.05.020.
(41) "Sexually transmitted infection" or "sexually transmitted disease" has the same meaning as "sexually transmitted disease" in RCW 70.24.017.
(42) "Test for a sexually transmitted disease" has the same meaning as in RCW 70.24.017.
(43) "Third-party payor" means an insurer regulated under Title 48 RCW authorized to transact business in this state or other jurisdiction, including a health care service contractor, and health maintenance organization; or an employee welfare benefit plan, excluding fitness or wellness plans; or a state or federal health benefit program.
(44) "Treatment" means the provision, coordination, or management of health care and related services by one or more health care providers or health care facilities, including the coordination or management of health care by a health care provider or health care facility with a third party; consultation between health care providers or health care facilities relating to a patient; or the referral of a patient for health care from one health care provider or health care facility to another.
NOTES:
Reviser's note: For charges or fees under subsection (37) of this section as adjusted by the secretary of health, see chapter 246-08 WAC.
Effective dates2016 sp.s. c 29: See note following RCW 71.05.760.
Short titleRight of action2016 sp.s. c 29: See notes following RCW 71.05.010.
Effective date2014 c 225: See note following RCW 71.24.016.
Effective date2014 c 220: See note following RCW 70.02.290.
Effective date2013 c 200: "Except for section 5 of this act, this act takes effect July 1, 2014." [ 2013 c 200 § 35.]
PurposeEffective date2006 c 235: See notes following RCW 70.02.050.
Effective date1993 c 448: "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 shall take effect July 1, 1993." [ 1993 c 448 § 9.]



70.02.020
Disclosure by health care provider.

(1) Except as authorized elsewhere in this chapter, a health care provider, an individual who assists a health care provider in the delivery of health care, or an agent and employee of a health care provider may not disclose health care information about a patient to any other person without the patient's written authorization. A disclosure made under a patient's written authorization must conform to the authorization.
(2) A patient has a right to receive an accounting of disclosures of health care information made by a health care provider or a health care facility in the six years before the date on which the accounting is requested, except for disclosures:
(a) To carry out treatment, payment, and health care operations;
(b) To the patient of health care information about him or her;
(c) Incident to a use or disclosure that is otherwise permitted or required;
(d) Pursuant to an authorization where the patient authorized the disclosure of health care information about himself or herself;
(e) Of directory information;
(f) To persons involved in the patient's care;
(g) For national security or intelligence purposes if an accounting of disclosures is not permitted by law;
(h) To correctional institutions or law enforcement officials if an accounting of disclosures is not permitted by law; and
(i) Of a limited data set that excludes direct identifiers of the patient or of relatives, employers, or household members of the patient.
NOTES:
Effective date2014 c 220: See note following RCW 70.02.290.
Effective date2013 c 200: See note following RCW 70.02.010.
Effective date1993 c 448: See note following RCW 70.02.010.



70.02.030
Patient authorization of disclosure.

(1) A patient may authorize a health care provider or health care facility to disclose the patient's health care information. A health care provider or health care facility shall honor an authorization and, if requested, provide a copy of the recorded health care information unless the health care provider or health care facility denies the patient access to health care information under RCW 70.02.090.
(2) A health care provider or health care facility may charge a reasonable fee for providing the health care information and is not required to honor an authorization until the fee is paid.
(3) To be valid, a disclosure authorization to a health care provider or health care facility shall:
(a) Be in writing, dated, and signed by the patient;
(b) Identify the nature of the information to be disclosed;
(c) Identify the name and institutional affiliation of the person or class of persons to whom the information is to be disclosed;
(d) Identify the provider or class of providers who are to make the disclosure;
(e) Identify the patient; and
(f) Contain an expiration date or an expiration event that relates to the patient or the purpose of the use or disclosure.
(4) Unless disclosure without authorization is otherwise permitted under RCW 70.02.050 or the federal health insurance portability and accountability act of 1996 and its implementing regulations, an authorization may permit the disclosure of health care information to a class of persons that includes:
(a) Researchers if the health care provider or health care facility obtains the informed consent for the use of the patient's health care information for research purposes; or
(b) Third-party payors if the information is only disclosed for payment purposes.
(5) Except as provided by this chapter, the signing of an authorization by a patient is not a waiver of any rights a patient has under other statutes, the rules of evidence, or common law.
(6) When an authorization permits the disclosure of health care information to a financial institution or an employer of the patient for purposes other than payment, the authorization as it pertains to those disclosures shall expire one year after the signing of the authorization, unless the authorization is renewed by the patient.
(7) A health care provider or health care facility shall retain the original or a copy of each authorization or revocation in conjunction with any health care information from which disclosures are made.
(8) Where the patient is under the supervision of the department of corrections, an authorization signed pursuant to this section for health care information related to mental health or drug or alcohol treatment expires at the end of the term of supervision, unless the patient is part of a treatment program that requires the continued exchange of information until the end of the period of treatment.
NOTES:
Effective date2014 c 220: See note following RCW 70.02.290.
SeverabilityEffective dates2004 c 166: See notes following RCW 71.05.040.
SeverabilityHeadings and captions not lawEffective date1994 sp.s. c 9: See RCW 18.79.900 through 18.79.902.
Effective date1993 c 448: See note following RCW 70.02.010.



70.02.040
Patient's revocation of authorization for disclosure.

A patient may revoke in writing a disclosure authorization to a health care provider at any time unless disclosure is required to effectuate payments for health care that has been provided or other substantial action has been taken in reliance on the authorization. A patient may not maintain an action against the health care provider for disclosures made in good-faith reliance on an authorization if the health care provider had no actual notice of the revocation of the authorization.



70.02.045
Third-party payor release of information.

Third-party payors shall not release health care information disclosed under this chapter, except as required by chapter 43.371 RCW and to the extent that health care providers are authorized to do so under RCW 70.02.050, 70.02.200, and 70.02.210.
NOTES:
Effective date2015 c 289: "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 [May 18, 2015]." [ 2015 c 289 § 2.]
Finding2014 c 223: See note following RCW 41.05.800.
IntentPurpose2000 c 5: See RCW 48.43.500.
ApplicationShort titleCaptions not lawConstructionSeverabilityApplication to contractsEffective dates2000 c 5: See notes following RCW 48.43.500.



70.02.050
Disclosure without patient's authorization—Need-to-know basis.

*** CHANGE IN 2017 *** (SEE 1477-S.SL) ***

(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.
NOTES:
Effective date2014 c 220: See note following RCW 70.02.290.
Effective date2013 c 200: See note following RCW 70.02.010.
Purpose2006 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 date2006 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 date1993 c 448: See note following RCW 70.02.010.



70.02.060
Discovery request or compulsory process.

(1) Before service of a discovery request or compulsory process on a health care provider for health care information, an attorney shall provide advance notice to the health care provider and the patient or the patient's attorney involved through service of process or first-class mail, indicating the health care provider from whom the information is sought, what health care information is sought, and the date by which a protective order must be obtained to prevent the health care provider from complying. Such date shall give the patient and the health care provider adequate time to seek a protective order, but in no event be less than fourteen days since the date of service or delivery to the patient and the health care provider of the foregoing. Thereafter the request for discovery or compulsory process shall be served on the health care provider.
(2) Without the written consent of the patient, the health care provider may not disclose the health care information sought under subsection (1) of this section if the requestor has not complied with the requirements of subsection (1) of this section. In the absence of a protective order issued by a court of competent jurisdiction forbidding compliance, the health care provider shall disclose the information in accordance with this chapter. In the case of compliance, the request for discovery or compulsory process shall be made a part of the patient record.
(3) Production of health care information under this section, in and of itself, does not constitute a waiver of any privilege, objection, or defense existing under other law or rule of evidence or procedure.



70.02.070
Certification of record.

Upon the request of the person requesting the record, the health care provider or facility shall certify the record furnished and may charge for such certification in accordance with RCW 36.18.016(5). No record need be certified until the fee is paid. The certification shall be affixed to the record and disclose:
(1) The identity of the patient;
(2) The kind of health care information involved;
(3) The identity of the person to whom the information is being furnished;
(4) The identity of the health care provider or facility furnishing the information;
(5) The number of pages of the health care information;
(6) The date on which the health care information is furnished; and
(7) That the certification is to fulfill and meet the requirements of this section.



70.02.080
Patient's examination and copying—Requirements.

(1) Upon receipt of a written request from a patient to examine or copy all or part of the patient's recorded health care information, a health care provider, as promptly as required under the circumstances, but no later than fifteen working days after receiving the request shall:
(a) Make the information available for examination during regular business hours and provide a copy, if requested, to the patient;
(b) Inform the patient if the information does not exist or cannot be found;
(c) If the health care provider does not maintain a record of the information, inform the patient and provide the name and address, if known, of the health care provider who maintains the record;
(d) If the information is in use or unusual circumstances have delayed handling the request, inform the patient and specify in writing the reasons for the delay and the earliest date, not later than twenty-one working days after receiving the request, when the information will be available for examination or copying or when the request will be otherwise disposed of; or
(e) Deny the request, in whole or in part, under RCW 70.02.090 and inform the patient.
(2) Upon request, the health care provider shall provide an explanation of any code or abbreviation used in the health care information. If a record of the particular health care information requested is not maintained by the health care provider in the requested form, the health care provider is not required to create a new record or reformulate an existing record to make the health care information available in the requested form. The health care provider may charge a reasonable fee for providing the health care information and is not required to permit examination or copying until the fee is paid.
NOTES:
Effective date1993 c 448: See note following RCW 70.02.010.



70.02.090
Patient's request—Denial of examination and copying.

(1) Subject to any conflicting requirement in the public records act, chapter 42.56 RCW, a health care provider may deny access to health care information by a patient if the health care provider reasonably concludes that:
(a) Knowledge of the health care information would be injurious to the health of the patient;
(b) Knowledge of the health care information could reasonably be expected to lead to the patient's identification of an individual who provided the information in confidence and under circumstances in which confidentiality was appropriate;
(c) Knowledge of the health care information could reasonably be expected to cause danger to the life or safety of any individual;
(d) The health care information was compiled and is used solely for litigation, quality assurance, peer review, or administrative purposes; or
(e) Access to the health care information is otherwise prohibited by law.
(2) If a health care provider denies a request for examination and copying under this section, the provider, to the extent possible, shall segregate health care information for which access has been denied under subsection (1) of this section from information for which access cannot be denied and permit the patient to examine or copy the disclosable information.
(3) If a health care provider denies a patient's request for examination and copying, in whole or in part, under subsection (1)(a) or (c) of this section, the provider shall permit examination and copying of the record by another health care provider, selected by the patient, who is licensed, certified, registered, or otherwise authorized under the laws of this state to treat the patient for the same condition as the health care provider denying the request. The health care provider denying the request shall inform the patient of the patient's right to select another health care provider under this subsection. The patient shall be responsible for arranging for compensation of the other health care provider so selected.
NOTES:
Part headings not lawEffective date2005 c 274: See RCW 42.56.901 and 42.56.902.



70.02.100
Correction or amendment of record.

(1) For purposes of accuracy or completeness, a patient may request in writing that a health care provider correct or amend its record of the patient's health care information to which a patient has access under RCW 70.02.080.
(2) As promptly as required under the circumstances, but no later than ten days after receiving a request from a patient to correct or amend its record of the patient's health care information, the health care provider shall:
(a) Make the requested correction or amendment and inform the patient of the action;
(b) Inform the patient if the record no longer exists or cannot be found;
(c) If the health care provider does not maintain the record, inform the patient and provide the patient with the name and address, if known, of the person who maintains the record;
(d) If the record is in use or unusual circumstances have delayed the handling of the correction or amendment request, inform the patient and specify in writing, the earliest date, not later than twenty-one days after receiving the request, when the correction or amendment will be made or when the request will otherwise be disposed of; or
(e) Inform the patient in writing of the provider's refusal to correct or amend the record as requested and the patient's right to add a statement of disagreement.



70.02.110
Correction or amendment or statement of disagreement—Procedure.

(1) In making a correction or amendment, the health care provider shall:
(a) Add the amending information as a part of the health record; and
(b) Mark the challenged entries as corrected or amended entries and indicate the place in the record where the corrected or amended information is located, in a manner practicable under the circumstances.
(2) If the health care provider maintaining the record of the patient's health care information refuses to make the patient's proposed correction or amendment, the provider shall:
(a) Permit the patient to file as a part of the record of the patient's health care information a concise statement of the correction or amendment requested and the reasons therefor; and
(b) Mark the challenged entry to indicate that the patient claims the entry is inaccurate or incomplete and indicate the place in the record where the statement of disagreement is located, in a manner practicable under the circumstances.
(3) A health care provider who receives a request from a patient to amend or correct the patient's health care information, as provided in RCW 70.02.100, shall forward any changes made in the patient's health care information or health record, including any statement of disagreement, to any third-party payor or insurer to which the health care provider has disclosed the health care information that is the subject of the request.
NOTES:
IntentPurpose2000 c 5: See RCW 48.43.500.
ApplicationShort titleCaptions not lawConstructionSeverabilityApplication to contractsEffective dates2000 c 5: See notes following RCW 48.43.500.



70.02.120
Notice of information practices—Display conspicuously.

(1) A health care provider who provides health care at a health care facility that the provider operates and who maintains a record of a patient's health care information shall create a "notice of information practices" that contains substantially the following:
NOTICE
"We keep a record of the health care services we provide you. You may ask us to see and copy that record. You may also ask us to correct that record. We will not disclose your record to others unless you direct us to do so or unless the law authorizes or compels us to do so. You may see your record or get more information about it at . . . . . ."
(2) The health care provider shall place a copy of the notice of information practices in a conspicuous place in the health care facility, on a consent form or with a billing or other notice provided to the patient.



70.02.130
Consent by others—Health care representatives.

(1) A person authorized to consent to health care for another may exercise the rights of that person under this chapter to the extent necessary to effectuate the terms or purposes of the grant of authority. If the patient is a minor and is authorized to consent to health care without parental consent under federal and state law, only the minor may exercise the rights of a patient under this chapter as to information pertaining to health care to which the minor lawfully consented. In cases where parental consent is required, a health care provider may rely, without incurring any civil or criminal liability for such reliance, on the representation of a parent that he or she is authorized to consent to health care for the minor patient regardless of whether:
(a) The parents are married, unmarried, or separated at the time of the representation;
(b) The consenting parent is, or is not, a custodial parent of the minor;
(c) The giving of consent by a parent is, or is not, full performance of any agreement between the parents, or of any order or decree in any action entered pursuant to chapter 26.09 RCW.
(2) A person authorized to act for a patient shall act in good faith to represent the best interests of the patient.



70.02.140
Representative of deceased patient.

A personal representative of a deceased patient may exercise all of the deceased patient's rights under this chapter. If there is no personal representative, or upon discharge of the personal representative, a deceased patient's rights under this chapter may be exercised by persons who would have been authorized to make health care decisions for the deceased patient when the patient was living under RCW 7.70.065.



70.02.150
Security safeguards.

A health care provider shall effect reasonable safeguards for the security of all health care information it maintains.
Reasonable safeguards shall include affirmative action to delete outdated and incorrect facsimile transmission or other telephone transmittal numbers from computer, facsimile, or other databases. When health care information is transmitted electronically to a recipient who is not regularly transmitted health care information from the health care provider, the health care provider shall verify that the number is accurate prior to transmission.



70.02.160
Retention of record.

A health care provider shall maintain a record of existing health care information for at least one year following receipt of an authorization to disclose that health care information under RCW 70.02.040, and during the pendency of a request for examination and copying under RCW 70.02.080 or a request for correction or amendment under RCW 70.02.100.



70.02.170
Civil remedies.

(1) A person who has complied with this chapter may maintain an action for the relief provided in this section against a health care provider or facility who has not complied with this chapter.
(2) The court may order the health care provider or other person to comply with this chapter. Such relief may include actual damages, but shall not include consequential or incidental damages. The court shall award reasonable attorneys' fees and all other expenses reasonably incurred to the prevailing party.
(3) Any action under this chapter is barred unless the action is commenced within two years after the cause of action is discovered.
(4) A violation of this chapter shall not be deemed a violation of the consumer protection act, chapter 19.86 RCW.



70.02.180
Licensees under chapter 18.225 RCW—Subject to chapter.

Mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists, and social workers licensed under chapter 18.225 RCW are subject to this chapter.
NOTES:
Severability2001 c 251: See RCW 18.225.900.



70.02.200
Disclosure without patient's authorization—Permitted and mandatory disclosures.

*** CHANGE IN 2017 *** (SEE 1477-S.SL) ***

(1) In addition to the disclosures authorized by RCW 70.02.050 and 70.02.210, a health care provider or health care facility may disclose health care information, except for information and records related to sexually transmitted diseases and information related to mental health services which are addressed by RCW 70.02.220 through 70.02.260, about a patient without the patient's authorization, to:
(a) Any other health care provider or health care facility reasonably believed to have previously provided health care to the patient, to the extent necessary to provide health care to the patient, unless the patient has instructed the health care provider or health care facility in writing not to make the disclosure;
(b) Immediate family members of the patient, including a patient's state registered domestic partner, or any other individual with whom the patient is known to have a close personal relationship, if made in accordance with good medical or other professional practice, unless the patient has instructed the health care provider or health care facility in writing not to make the disclosure;
(c) A health care provider or health care facility who is the successor in interest to the health care provider or health care facility maintaining the health care information;
(d) A person who obtains information for purposes of an audit, if that person agrees in writing to:
(i) Remove or destroy, at the earliest opportunity consistent with the purpose of the audit, information that would enable the patient to be identified; and
(ii) Not to disclose the information further, except to accomplish the audit or report unlawful or improper conduct involving fraud in payment for health care by a health care provider or patient, or other unlawful conduct by the health care provider;
(e) Provide directory information, unless the patient has instructed the health care provider or health care facility not to make the disclosure;
(f) Fire, police, sheriff, or other public authority, that brought, or caused to be brought, the patient to the health care facility or health care provider if the disclosure is limited to the patient's name, residence, sex, age, occupation, condition, diagnosis, estimated or actual discharge date, or extent and location of injuries as determined by a physician, and whether the patient was conscious when admitted;
(g) Federal, state, or local law enforcement authorities and the health care provider, health care facility, or third-party payor believes in good faith that the health care information disclosed constitutes evidence of criminal conduct that occurred on the premises of the health care provider, health care facility, or third-party payor;
(h) Another health care provider, health care facility, or third-party payor for the health care operations of the health care provider, health care facility, or third-party payor that receives the information, if each entity has or had a relationship with the patient who is the subject of the health care information being requested, the health care information pertains to such relationship, and the disclosure is for the purposes described in RCW 70.02.010(17) (a) and (b);
(i) An official of a penal or other custodial institution in which the patient is detained; and
(j) Any law enforcement officer, corrections officer, or guard supplied by a law enforcement or corrections agency who is accompanying a patient pursuant to RCW 10.110.020, only to the extent the disclosure is incidental to the fulfillment of the role of the law enforcement officer, corrections officer, or guard under RCW 10.110.020.
(2) In addition to the disclosures required by RCW 70.02.050 and 70.02.210, a health care provider shall disclose health care information, except for information related to sexually transmitted diseases and information related to mental health services which are addressed by RCW 70.02.220 through 70.02.260, about a patient without the patient's authorization if the disclosure is:
(a) To federal, state, or local law enforcement authorities to the extent the health care provider is required by law;
(b) To federal, state, or local law enforcement authorities, upon receipt of a written or oral request made to a nursing supervisor, administrator, or designated privacy official, in a case in which the patient is being treated or has been treated for a bullet wound, gunshot wound, powder burn, or other injury arising from or caused by the discharge of a firearm, or an injury caused by a knife, an ice pick, or any other sharp or pointed instrument which federal, state, or local law enforcement authorities reasonably believe to have been intentionally inflicted upon a person, or a blunt force injury that federal, state, or local law enforcement authorities reasonably believe resulted from a criminal act, the following information, if known:
(i) The name of the patient;
(ii) The patient's residence;
(iii) The patient's sex;
(iv) The patient's age;
(v) The patient's condition;
(vi) The patient's diagnosis, or extent and location of injuries as determined by a health care provider;
(vii) Whether the patient was conscious when admitted;
(viii) The name of the health care provider making the determination in (b)(v), (vi), and (vii) of this subsection;
(ix) Whether the patient has been transferred to another facility; and
(x) The patient's discharge time and date;
(c) Pursuant to compulsory process in accordance with RCW 70.02.060.
NOTES:
Effective date2014 c 220: See note following RCW 70.02.290.
Effective date2013 c 200: See note following RCW 70.02.010.



70.02.210
Disclosure without patient's authorization—Research.

(1)(a) A health care provider or health care facility may disclose health care information about a patient without the patient's authorization to the extent a recipient needs to know the information, if the disclosure is for use in a research project that an institutional review board has determined:
(i) Is of sufficient importance to outweigh the intrusion into the privacy of the patient that would result from the disclosure;
(ii) Is impracticable without the use or disclosure of the health care information in individually identifiable form;
(iii) Contains reasonable safeguards to protect the information from redisclosure;
(iv) Contains reasonable safeguards to protect against identifying, directly or indirectly, any patient in any report of the research project; and
(v) Contains procedures to remove or destroy at the earliest opportunity, consistent with the purposes of the project, information that would enable the patient to be identified, unless an institutional review board authorizes retention of identifying information for purposes of another research project.
(b) Disclosure under (a) of this subsection may include health care information and records of treatment programs related to chemical dependency addressed in *chapter 70.96A RCW and as authorized by federal law.
(2) In addition to the disclosures required by RCW 70.02.050 and 70.02.200, a health care provider or health care facility shall disclose health care information about a patient without the patient's authorization if:
(a) The disclosure is to county coroners and medical examiners for the investigations of deaths;
(b) The disclosure is to a procurement organization or person to whom a body part passes for the purpose of examination necessary to assure the medical suitability of the body part; or
(c) The disclosure is to a person subject to the jurisdiction of the federal food and drug administration in regards to a food and drug administration-regulated product or activity for which that person has responsibility for quality, safety, or effectiveness of activities.
NOTES:
*Reviser's note: Chapter 70.96A RCW was repealed and/or recodified in its entirety pursuant to 2016 sp.s. c 29 §§ 301, effective April 1, 2018, 601, and 701.
Effective date2014 c 220 § 8: "Section 8 of 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 [April 4, 2014]." [ 2014 c 220 § 18.]
Effective date2013 c 200 § 5: "Section 5 of 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 [May 10, 2013]." [ 2013 c 200 § 36.]



70.02.220
Sexually transmitted diseases—Permitted and mandatory disclosures.

*** CHANGE IN 2017 *** (SEE 1477-S.SL) ***

(1) No person may disclose or be compelled to disclose the identity of any person who has investigated, considered, or requested a test or treatment for a sexually transmitted disease, except as authorized by this section, RCW 70.02.210, or chapter 70.24 RCW.
(2) No person may disclose or be compelled to disclose information and records related to sexually transmitted diseases, except as authorized by this section, RCW 70.02.210, or chapter 70.24 RCW. A person may disclose information related to sexually transmitted diseases about a patient without the patient's authorization, to the extent a recipient needs to know the information, if the disclosure is to:
(a) The subject of the test or the subject's legal representative for health care decisions in accordance with RCW 7.70.065, with the exception of such a representative of a minor fourteen years of age or over and otherwise competent;
(b) The state public health officer as defined in RCW 70.24.017, a local public health officer, or the centers for disease control of the United States public health service in accordance with reporting requirements for a diagnosed case of a sexually transmitted disease;
(c) A health facility or health care provider that procures, processes, distributes, or uses: (i) A human body part, tissue, or blood from a deceased person with respect to medical information regarding that person; (ii) semen, including that was provided prior to March 23, 1988, for the purpose of artificial insemination; or (iii) blood specimens;
(d) Any state or local public health officer conducting an investigation pursuant to RCW 70.24.024, so long as the record was obtained by means of court-ordered HIV testing pursuant to RCW 70.24.340 or 70.24.024;
(e) A person allowed access to the record by a court order granted after application showing good cause therefor. In assessing good cause, the court shall weigh the public interest and the need for disclosure against the injury to the patient, to the physician-patient relationship, and to the treatment services. Upon the granting of the order, the court, in determining the extent to which any disclosure of all or any part of the record of any such test is necessary, shall impose appropriate safeguards against unauthorized disclosure. An order authorizing disclosure must: (i) Limit disclosure to those parts of the patient's record deemed essential to fulfill the objective for which the order was granted; (ii) limit disclosure to those persons whose need for information is the basis for the order; and (iii) include any other appropriate measures to keep disclosure to a minimum for the protection of the patient, the physician-patient relationship, and the treatment services;
(f) Persons who, because of their behavioral interaction with the infected individual, have been placed at risk for acquisition of a sexually transmitted disease, as provided in RCW 70.24.022, if the health officer or authorized representative believes that the exposed person was unaware that a risk of disease exposure existed and that the disclosure of the identity of the infected person is necessary;
(g) A law enforcement officer, firefighter, health care provider, health care facility staff person, department of correction's staff person, jail staff person, or other persons as defined by the board of health in rule pursuant to RCW 70.24.340(4), who has requested a test of a person whose bodily fluids he or she has been substantially exposed to, pursuant to RCW 70.24.340(4), if a state or local public health officer performs the test;
(h) Claims management personnel employed by or associated with an insurer, health care service contractor, health maintenance organization, self-funded health plan, state administered health care claims payer, or any other payer of health care claims where such disclosure is to be used solely for the prompt and accurate evaluation and payment of medical or related claims. Information released under this subsection must be confidential and may not be released or available to persons who are not involved in handling or determining medical claims payment; and
(i) A department of social and health services worker, a child placing agency worker, or a guardian ad litem who is responsible for making or reviewing placement or case-planning decisions or recommendations to the court regarding a child, who is less than fourteen years of age, has a sexually transmitted disease, and is in the custody of the department of social and health services or a licensed child placing agency. This information may also be received by a person responsible for providing residential care for such a child when the department of social and health services or a licensed child placing agency determines that it is necessary for the provision of child care services.
(3) No person to whom the results of a test for a sexually transmitted disease have been disclosed pursuant to subsection (2) of this section may disclose the test results to another person except as authorized by that subsection.
(4) The release of sexually transmitted disease information regarding an offender or detained person, except as provided in subsection (2)(d) of this section, is governed as follows:
(a) The sexually transmitted disease status of a department of corrections offender who has had a mandatory test conducted pursuant to RCW 70.24.340(1), 70.24.360, or 70.24.370 must be made available by department of corrections health care providers and local public health officers to the department of corrections health care administrator or infection control coordinator of the facility in which the offender is housed. The information made available to the health care administrator or the infection control coordinator under this subsection (4)(a) may be used only for disease prevention or control and for protection of the safety and security of the staff, offenders, and the public. The information may be submitted to transporting officers and receiving facilities, including facilities that are not under the department of corrections' jurisdiction according to the provisions of (d) and (e) of this subsection.
(b) The sexually transmitted disease status of a person detained in a jail who has had a mandatory test conducted pursuant to RCW 70.24.340(1), 70.24.360, or 70.24.370 must be made available by the local public health officer to a jail health care administrator or infection control coordinator. The information made available to a health care administrator under this subsection (4)(b) may be used only for disease prevention or control and for protection of the safety and security of the staff, offenders, detainees, and the public. The information may be submitted to transporting officers and receiving facilities according to the provisions of (d) and (e) of this subsection.
(c) Information regarding the sexually transmitted disease status of an offender or detained person is confidential and may be disclosed by a correctional health care administrator or infection control coordinator or local jail health care administrator or infection control coordinator only as necessary for disease prevention or control and for protection of the safety and security of the staff, offenders, and the public. Unauthorized disclosure of this information to any person may result in disciplinary action, in addition to the penalties prescribed in RCW 70.24.080 or any other penalties as may be prescribed by law.
(d) Notwithstanding the limitations on disclosure contained in (a), (b), and (c) of this subsection, whenever any member of a jail staff or department of corrections staff has been substantially exposed to the bodily fluids of an offender or detained person, then the results of any tests conducted pursuant to RCW 70.24.340(1), 70.24.360, or 70.24.370, must be immediately disclosed to the staff person in accordance with the Washington Administrative Code rules governing employees' occupational exposure to blood-borne pathogens. Disclosure must be accompanied by appropriate counseling for the staff member, including information regarding follow-up testing and treatment. Disclosure must also include notice that subsequent disclosure of the information in violation of this chapter or use of the information to harass or discriminate against the offender or detainee may result in disciplinary action, in addition to the penalties prescribed in RCW 70.24.080, and imposition of other penalties prescribed by law.
(e) The staff member must also be informed whether the offender or detained person had any other communicable disease, as defined in RCW 72.09.251(3), when the staff person was substantially exposed to the offender's or detainee's bodily fluids.
(f) The test results of voluntary and anonymous HIV testing or HIV-related condition, as defined in RCW 70.24.017, may not be disclosed to a staff person except as provided in this section and RCW * 70.02.050(1)(e) and 70.24.340(4). A health care administrator or infection control coordinator may provide the staff member with information about how to obtain the offender's or detainee's test results under this section and RCW * 70.02.050(1)(e) and 70.24.340(4).
(5) The requirements of this section do not apply to the customary methods utilized for the exchange of medical information among health care providers in order to provide health care services to the patient, nor do they apply within health care facilities where there is a need for access to confidential medical information to fulfill professional duties.
(6) Upon request of the victim, disclosure of test results under this section to victims of sexual offenses under chapter 9A.44 RCW must be made if the result is negative or positive. The county prosecuting attorney shall notify the victim of the right to such disclosure. The disclosure must be accompanied by appropriate counseling, including information regarding follow-up testing.
(7) A person, including a health care facility or health care provider, shall disclose the identity of any person who has investigated, considered, or requested a test or treatment for a sexually transmitted disease and information and records related to sexually transmitted diseases 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 certification or registration rules or laws; or when needed to protect the public health. Any health care information obtained under this subsection is exempt from public inspection and copying pursuant to chapter 42.56 RCW.
NOTES:
*Reviser's note: RCW 70.02.050 was amended by 2014 c 220 § 6, changing subsection (1)(e) to subsection (1)(d).
Effective date2013 c 200: See note following RCW 70.02.010.



70.02.230
Mental health services, confidentiality of records—Permitted disclosures. (Effective until April 1, 2018.)

*** CHANGE IN 2017 *** (SEE 5435-S.SL) ***

*** CHANGE IN 2017 *** (SEE 1477-S.SL) ***

(1) Except as provided in this section, RCW 70.02.050, 71.05.445, * 70.96A.150, 74.09.295, 70.02.210, 70.02.240, 70.02.250, and 70.02.260, or pursuant to a valid authorization under RCW 70.02.030, 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 must be confidential.
(2) Information and records related to mental health services, other than those obtained through treatment under chapter 71.34 RCW, may be disclosed only:
(a) In communications between qualified professional persons to meet the requirements of chapter 71.05 RCW, in the provision of services or appropriate referrals, or in the course of guardianship proceedings if provided to a professional person:
(i) Employed by the facility;
(ii) Who has medical responsibility for the patient's care;
(iii) Who is a designated mental health professional;
(iv) Who is providing services under chapter 71.24 RCW;
(v) Who is employed by a state or local correctional facility where the person is confined or supervised; or
(vi) Who is providing evaluation, treatment, or follow-up services under chapter 10.77 RCW;
(b) 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 services to the operator of a facility in which the patient resides or will reside;
(c)(i) When the person receiving services, or his or her guardian, designates persons to whom information or records may be released, or if the person is a minor, when his or her parents make such a designation;
(ii) A public or private agency shall release to a person's next of kin, attorney, personal representative, 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, personal representative, guardian, or conservator; and
(iii) 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;
(d)(i) To the courts as necessary to the administration of chapter 71.05 RCW or to a court ordering an evaluation or treatment under chapter 10.77 RCW solely for the purpose of preventing the entry of any evaluation or treatment order that is inconsistent with any order entered under chapter 71.05 RCW.
(ii) To a court or its designee in which a motion under chapter 10.77 RCW has been made for involuntary medication of a defendant for the purpose of competency restoration.
(iii) Disclosure under this subsection is mandatory for the purpose of the federal health insurance portability and accountability act;
(e)(i) When a mental health professional is requested by a representative of a law enforcement or corrections agency, including a police officer, sheriff, community corrections officer, a municipal attorney, or prosecuting attorney to undertake an investigation or provide treatment under RCW 71.05.150, 10.31.110, or 71.05.153, the mental health professional shall, if requested to do so, advise the representative in writing of the results of the investigation including a statement of reasons for the decision to detain or release the person investigated. The written report must be submitted within seventy-two hours of the completion of the investigation or the request from the law enforcement or corrections representative, whichever occurs later.
(ii) Disclosure under this subsection is mandatory for the purposes of the federal health insurance portability and accountability act;
(f) To the attorney of the detained person;
(g) To the prosecuting attorney as necessary to carry out the responsibilities of the office under RCW 71.05.330(2), 71.05.340(1)(b), and 71.05.335. The prosecutor must 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 must be disclosed only after giving notice to the committed person and the person's counsel;
(h)(i) 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 must be made by the professional person in charge of the public or private agency or his or her designee and must include the dates of commitment, admission, discharge, or release, authorized or unauthorized absence from the agency's facility, and only any other information that is pertinent to the threat or harassment. The agency or its employees are not civilly liable for the decision to disclose or not, so long as the decision was reached in good faith and without gross negligence.
(ii) Disclosure under this subsection is mandatory for the purposes of the federal health insurance portability and accountability act;
(i)(i) To appropriate corrections and law enforcement agencies all necessary and relevant information in the event of a crisis or emergent situation that poses a significant and imminent risk to the public. The mental health service agency or its employees are not civilly liable for the decision to disclose or not so long as the decision was reached in good faith and without gross negligence.
(ii) Disclosure under this subsection is mandatory for the purposes of the health insurance portability and accountability act;
(j) To the persons designated in RCW 71.05.425 for the purposes described in those sections;
(k) Upon the death of a person. The person's next of kin, personal representative, guardian, or conservator, if any, must be notified. Next of kin who are of legal age and competent must be notified under this section in the following order: Spouse, parents, children, brothers and sisters, and other relatives according to the degree of relation. Access to all records and information compiled, obtained, or maintained in the course of providing services to a deceased patient are governed by RCW 70.02.140;
(l) To mark headstones or otherwise memorialize patients interred at state hospital cemeteries. The department of social and health services shall make available the name, date of birth, and date of death of patients buried in state hospital cemeteries fifty years after the death of a patient;
(m) To law enforcement officers and to prosecuting attorneys as are necessary to enforce **RCW 9.41.040(2)(a)(ii). The extent of information that may be released is limited as follows:
(i) Only the fact, place, and date of involuntary commitment, an official copy of any order or orders of commitment, and an official copy of any written or oral notice of ineligibility to possess a firearm that was provided to the person pursuant to RCW 9.41.047(1), must be disclosed upon request;
(ii) The law enforcement and prosecuting attorneys may only release the information obtained to the person's attorney as required by court rule and to a jury or judge, if a jury is waived, that presides over any trial at which the person is charged with violating **RCW 9.41.040(2)(a)(ii);
(iii) Disclosure under this subsection is mandatory for the purposes of the federal health insurance portability and accountability act;
(n) When a patient would otherwise be subject to the provisions of this section and disclosure is necessary for the protection of the patient or others due to his or her unauthorized disappearance from the facility, and his or her whereabouts is unknown, notice of the disappearance, along with relevant information, may be made to relatives, the department of corrections when the person is under the supervision of the department, and governmental law enforcement agencies designated by the physician or psychiatric advanced registered nurse practitioner in charge of the patient or the professional person in charge of the facility, or his or her professional designee;
(o) Pursuant to lawful order of a court;
(p) To qualified staff members of the department, to the director of behavioral health organizations, to resource management services responsible for serving a patient, or to service providers designated by resource management services as necessary to determine the progress and adequacy of treatment and to determine whether the person should be transferred to a less restrictive or more appropriate treatment modality or facility;
(q) Within the mental health service agency where the patient is receiving treatment, confidential information may be disclosed to persons employed, serving in bona fide training programs, or participating in supervised volunteer programs, at the facility when it is necessary to perform their duties;
(r) Within the department as necessary to coordinate treatment for mental illness, developmental disabilities, alcoholism, or drug abuse of persons who are under the supervision of the department;
(s) To a licensed physician or psychiatric advanced registered nurse practitioner who has determined that the life or health of the person is in danger and that treatment without the information and records related to mental health services could be injurious to the patient's health. Disclosure must be limited to the portions of the records necessary to meet the medical emergency;
(t) Consistent with the requirements of the federal health information portability and accountability act, to a licensed mental health professional or a health care professional licensed under chapter 18.71, 18.71A, 18.57, 18.57A, 18.79, or 18.36A RCW who is providing care to a person, or to whom a person has been referred for evaluation or treatment, to assure coordinated care and treatment of that person. Psychotherapy notes may not be released without authorization of the person who is the subject of the request for release of information;
(u) To administrative and office support staff designated to obtain medical records for those licensed professionals listed in (t) of this subsection;
(v) To a facility that is to receive a person who is involuntarily committed under chapter 71.05 RCW, or upon transfer of the person from one evaluation and treatment facility to another. The release of records under this subsection is limited to the information and records related to mental health services required by law, a record or summary of all somatic treatments, and a discharge summary. The discharge summary may include a statement of the patient's problem, the treatment goals, the type of treatment which has been provided, and recommendation for future treatment, but may not include the patient's complete treatment record;
(w) To the person's counsel or guardian ad litem, without modification, at any time in order to prepare for involuntary commitment or recommitment proceedings, reexaminations, appeals, or other actions relating to detention, admission, commitment, or patient's rights under chapter 71.05 RCW;
(x) To staff members of the protection and advocacy agency or to staff members of a private, nonprofit corporation for the purpose of protecting and advocating the rights of persons with mental disorders or developmental disabilities. Resource management services may limit the release of information to the name, birthdate, and county of residence of the patient, information regarding whether the patient was voluntarily admitted, or involuntarily committed, the date and place of admission, placement, or commitment, the name and address of a guardian of the patient, and the date and place of the guardian's appointment. Any staff member who wishes to obtain additional information must notify the patient's resource management services in writing of the request and of the resource management services' right to object. The staff member shall send the notice by mail to the guardian's address. If the guardian does not object in writing within fifteen days after the notice is mailed, the staff member may obtain the additional information. If the guardian objects in writing within fifteen days after the notice is mailed, the staff member may not obtain the additional information;
(y) To all current treating providers of the patient with prescriptive authority who have written a prescription for the patient within the last twelve months. For purposes of coordinating health care, the department may release without written authorization of the patient, information acquired for billing and collection purposes as described in RCW 70.02.050(1)(d). The department shall notify the patient that billing and collection information has been released to named providers, and provide the substance of the information released and the dates of such release. The department may not release counseling, inpatient psychiatric hospitalization, or drug and alcohol treatment information without a signed written release from the client;
(z)(i) To the secretary of social and health services for either program evaluation or research, or both so long as the secretary adopts rules for the conduct of the evaluation or research, or both. Such rules must include, but need not be limited to, the requirement that all evaluators and researchers 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.
/s/ . . . . . ."
(ii) Nothing in this chapter may be construed to prohibit the compilation and publication of statistical data for use by government or researchers under standards, including standards to assure maintenance of confidentiality, set forth by the secretary.
(3) Whenever federal law or federal regulations restrict the release of information contained in the information and records related to mental health services of any patient who receives treatment for chemical dependency, the department may restrict the release of the information as necessary to comply with federal law and regulations.
(4) Civil liability and immunity for the release of information about a particular person who is committed to the department of social and health services under RCW *** 71.05.280(3) and **** 71.05.320(3)(c) after dismissal of a sex offense as defined in RCW 9.94A.030, is governed by RCW 4.24.550.
(5) The fact of admission to a provider of mental health services, as well as all records, files, evidence, findings, or orders made, prepared, collected, or maintained pursuant to chapter 71.05 RCW are not admissible as evidence in any legal proceeding outside that chapter without the written authorization of the person who was the subject of the proceeding except as provided in RCW 70.02.260, in a subsequent criminal prosecution of a person committed pursuant to RCW *** 71.05.280(3) or **** 71.05.320(3)(c) on charges that were dismissed pursuant to chapter 10.77 RCW due to incompetency to stand trial, in a civil commitment proceeding pursuant to chapter 71.09 RCW, or, in the case of a minor, a guardianship or dependency proceeding. The records and files maintained in any court proceeding pursuant to chapter 71.05 RCW must be confidential and available subsequent to such proceedings only to the person who was the subject of the proceeding or his or her 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.
(6)(a) Except as provided in RCW 4.24.550, any person may bring an action against an individual who has willfully released confidential information or records concerning him or her in violation of the provisions of this section, for the greater of the following amounts:
(i) One thousand dollars; or
(ii) Three times the amount of actual damages sustained, if any.
(b) It is not a prerequisite to recovery under this subsection that the plaintiff suffered or was threatened with special, as contrasted with general, damages.
(c) Any person may bring an action to enjoin the release of confidential information or records concerning him or her or his or her ward, in violation of the provisions of this section, and may in the same action seek damages as provided in this subsection.
(d) The court may award to the plaintiff, should he or she prevail in any action authorized by this subsection, reasonable attorney fees in addition to those otherwise provided by law.
(e) If an action is brought under this subsection, no action may be brought under RCW 70.02.170.
NOTES:
Reviser's note: *(1) RCW 70.96A.150 was repealed by 2016 sp.s. c 29 § 601.
**(2) RCW 9.41.040 was amended by 2014 c 111 § 1, changing subsection (2)(a)(ii) to subsection (2)(a)(iii).
***(3) RCW 71.05.280 was amended by 2013 c 289 § 4, substantially modifying the provisions of subsection (3).
****(4) RCW 71.05.320 was amended by 2013 c 289 § 5, substantially modifying the provisions of subsection (3)(c). RCW 71.05.320 was subsequently amended by 2015 c 250 § 11, changing subsection (3) to subsection (4).
(5) This section was amended by 2014 c 220 § 9 and by 2014 c 225 § 71, each without reference to the other. Both amendments are incorporated in the publication of this section under RCW 1.12.025(2). For rule of construction, see RCW 1.12.025(1).
Effective date2014 c 225: See note following RCW 71.24.016.
Effective date2014 c 220: See note following RCW 70.02.290.
Effective date2013 c 200: See note following RCW 70.02.010.

70.02.230
Mental health services, confidentiality of records—Permitted disclosures. (Effective April 1, 2018.)

(1) Except as provided in this section, RCW 70.02.050, 71.05.445, 74.09.295, 70.02.210, 70.02.240, 70.02.250, and 70.02.260, or pursuant to a valid authorization under RCW 70.02.030, 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 must be confidential.
(2) Information and records related to mental health services, other than those obtained through treatment under chapter 71.34 RCW, may be disclosed only:
(a) In communications between qualified professional persons to meet the requirements of chapter 71.05 RCW, in the provision of services or appropriate referrals, or in the course of guardianship proceedings if provided to a professional person:
(i) Employed by the facility;
(ii) Who has medical responsibility for the patient's care;
(iii) Who is a designated crisis responder;
(iv) Who is providing services under chapter 71.24 RCW;
(v) Who is employed by a state or local correctional facility where the person is confined or supervised; or
(vi) Who is providing evaluation, treatment, or follow-up services under chapter 10.77 RCW;
(b) 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 services to the operator of a facility in which the patient resides or will reside;
(c)(i) When the person receiving services, or his or her guardian, designates persons to whom information or records may be released, or if the person is a minor, when his or her parents make such a designation;
(ii) A public or private agency shall release to a person's next of kin, attorney, personal representative, 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, personal representative, guardian, or conservator; and
(iii) 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;
(d)(i) To the courts as necessary to the administration of chapter 71.05 RCW or to a court ordering an evaluation or treatment under chapter 10.77 RCW solely for the purpose of preventing the entry of any evaluation or treatment order that is inconsistent with any order entered under chapter 71.05 RCW.
(ii) To a court or its designee in which a motion under chapter 10.77 RCW has been made for involuntary medication of a defendant for the purpose of competency restoration.
(iii) Disclosure under this subsection is mandatory for the purpose of the federal health insurance portability and accountability act;
(e)(i) When a mental health professional or designated crisis responder is requested by a representative of a law enforcement or corrections agency, including a police officer, sheriff, community corrections officer, a municipal attorney, or prosecuting attorney to undertake an investigation or provide treatment under RCW 71.05.150, 10.31.110, or 71.05.153, the mental health professional or designated crisis responder shall, if requested to do so, advise the representative in writing of the results of the investigation including a statement of reasons for the decision to detain or release the person investigated. The written report must be submitted within seventy-two hours of the completion of the investigation or the request from the law enforcement or corrections representative, whichever occurs later.
(ii) Disclosure under this subsection is mandatory for the purposes of the federal health insurance portability and accountability act;
(f) To the attorney of the detained person;
(g) To the prosecuting attorney as necessary to carry out the responsibilities of the office under RCW 71.05.330(2), 71.05.340(1)(b), and 71.05.335. The prosecutor must 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 must be disclosed only after giving notice to the committed person and the person's counsel;
(h)(i) 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 must be made by the professional person in charge of the public or private agency or his or her designee and must include the dates of commitment, admission, discharge, or release, authorized or unauthorized absence from the agency's facility, and only any other information that is pertinent to the threat or harassment. The agency or its employees are not civilly liable for the decision to disclose or not, so long as the decision was reached in good faith and without gross negligence.
(ii) Disclosure under this subsection is mandatory for the purposes of the federal health insurance portability and accountability act;
(i)(i) To appropriate corrections and law enforcement agencies all necessary and relevant information in the event of a crisis or emergent situation that poses a significant and imminent risk to the public. The mental health service agency or its employees are not civilly liable for the decision to disclose or not so long as the decision was reached in good faith and without gross negligence.
(ii) Disclosure under this subsection is mandatory for the purposes of the health insurance portability and accountability act;
(j) To the persons designated in RCW 71.05.425 for the purposes described in those sections;
(k) Upon the death of a person. The person's next of kin, personal representative, guardian, or conservator, if any, must be notified. Next of kin who are of legal age and competent must be notified under this section in the following order: Spouse, parents, children, brothers and sisters, and other relatives according to the degree of relation. Access to all records and information compiled, obtained, or maintained in the course of providing services to a deceased patient are governed by RCW 70.02.140;
(l) To mark headstones or otherwise memorialize patients interred at state hospital cemeteries. The department of social and health services shall make available the name, date of birth, and date of death of patients buried in state hospital cemeteries fifty years after the death of a patient;
(m) To law enforcement officers and to prosecuting attorneys as are necessary to enforce RCW 9.41.040(2)(a)(iii). The extent of information that may be released is limited as follows:
(i) Only the fact, place, and date of involuntary commitment, an official copy of any order or orders of commitment, and an official copy of any written or oral notice of ineligibility to possess a firearm that was provided to the person pursuant to RCW 9.41.047(1), must be disclosed upon request;
(ii) The law enforcement and prosecuting attorneys may only release the information obtained to the person's attorney as required by court rule and to a jury or judge, if a jury is waived, that presides over any trial at which the person is charged with violating RCW 9.41.040(2)(a)(iii);
(iii) Disclosure under this subsection is mandatory for the purposes of the federal health insurance portability and accountability act;
(n) When a patient would otherwise be subject to the provisions of this section and disclosure is necessary for the protection of the patient or others due to his or her unauthorized disappearance from the facility, and his or her whereabouts is unknown, notice of the disappearance, along with relevant information, may be made to relatives, the department of corrections when the person is under the supervision of the department, and governmental law enforcement agencies designated by the physician or psychiatric advanced registered nurse practitioner in charge of the patient or the professional person in charge of the facility, or his or her professional designee;
(o) Pursuant to lawful order of a court;
(p) To qualified staff members of the department, to the director of behavioral health organizations, to resource management services responsible for serving a patient, or to service providers designated by resource management services as necessary to determine the progress and adequacy of treatment and to determine whether the person should be transferred to a less restrictive or more appropriate treatment modality or facility;
(q) Within the mental health service agency where the patient is receiving treatment, confidential information may be disclosed to persons employed, serving in bona fide training programs, or participating in supervised volunteer programs, at the facility when it is necessary to perform their duties;
(r) Within the department as necessary to coordinate treatment for mental illness, developmental disabilities, alcoholism, or drug abuse of persons who are under the supervision of the department;
(s) To a licensed physician or psychiatric advanced registered nurse practitioner who has determined that the life or health of the person is in danger and that treatment without the information and records related to mental health services could be injurious to the patient's health. Disclosure must be limited to the portions of the records necessary to meet the medical emergency;
(t) Consistent with the requirements of the federal health information portability and accountability act, to a licensed mental health professional or a health care professional licensed under chapter 18.71, 18.71A, 18.57, 18.57A, 18.79, or 18.36A RCW who is providing care to a person, or to whom a person has been referred for evaluation or treatment, to assure coordinated care and treatment of that person. Psychotherapy notes may not be released without authorization of the person who is the subject of the request for release of information;
(u) To administrative and office support staff designated to obtain medical records for those licensed professionals listed in (t) of this subsection;
(v) To a facility that is to receive a person who is involuntarily committed under chapter 71.05 RCW, or upon transfer of the person from one evaluation and treatment facility to another. The release of records under this subsection is limited to the information and records related to mental health services required by law, a record or summary of all somatic treatments, and a discharge summary. The discharge summary may include a statement of the patient's problem, the treatment goals, the type of treatment which has been provided, and recommendation for future treatment, but may not include the patient's complete treatment record;
(w) To the person's counsel or guardian ad litem, without modification, at any time in order to prepare for involuntary commitment or recommitment proceedings, reexaminations, appeals, or other actions relating to detention, admission, commitment, or patient's rights under chapter 71.05 RCW;
(x) To staff members of the protection and advocacy agency or to staff members of a private, nonprofit corporation for the purpose of protecting and advocating the rights of persons with mental disorders or developmental disabilities. Resource management services may limit the release of information to the name, birthdate, and county of residence of the patient, information regarding whether the patient was voluntarily admitted, or involuntarily committed, the date and place of admission, placement, or commitment, the name and address of a guardian of the patient, and the date and place of the guardian's appointment. Any staff member who wishes to obtain additional information must notify the patient's resource management services in writing of the request and of the resource management services' right to object. The staff member shall send the notice by mail to the guardian's address. If the guardian does not object in writing within fifteen days after the notice is mailed, the staff member may obtain the additional information. If the guardian objects in writing within fifteen days after the notice is mailed, the staff member may not obtain the additional information;
(y) To all current treating providers of the patient with prescriptive authority who have written a prescription for the patient within the last twelve months. For purposes of coordinating health care, the department may release without written authorization of the patient, information acquired for billing and collection purposes as described in RCW 70.02.050(1)(d). The department shall notify the patient that billing and collection information has been released to named providers, and provide the substance of the information released and the dates of such release. The department may not release counseling, inpatient psychiatric hospitalization, or drug and alcohol treatment information without a signed written release from the client;
(z)(i) To the secretary of social and health services for either program evaluation or research, or both so long as the secretary adopts rules for the conduct of the evaluation or research, or both. Such rules must include, but need not be limited to, the requirement that all evaluators and researchers 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.
/s/ . . . . . ."
(ii) Nothing in this chapter may be construed to prohibit the compilation and publication of statistical data for use by government or researchers under standards, including standards to assure maintenance of confidentiality, set forth by the secretary.
(3) Whenever federal law or federal regulations restrict the release of information contained in the information and records related to mental health services of any patient who receives treatment for chemical dependency, the department may restrict the release of the information as necessary to comply with federal law and regulations.
(4) Civil liability and immunity for the release of information about a particular person who is committed to the department of social and health services under RCW * 71.05.280(3) and ** 71.05.320(4)(c) after dismissal of a sex offense as defined in RCW 9.94A.030, is governed by RCW 4.24.550.
(5) The fact of admission to a provider of mental health services, as well as all records, files, evidence, findings, or orders made, prepared, collected, or maintained pursuant to chapter 71.05 RCW are not admissible as evidence in any legal proceeding outside that chapter without the written authorization of the person who was the subject of the proceeding except as provided in RCW 70.02.260, in a subsequent criminal prosecution of a person committed pursuant to RCW * 71.05.280(3) or ** 71.05.320(4)(c) on charges that were dismissed pursuant to chapter 10.77 RCW due to incompetency to stand trial, in a civil commitment proceeding pursuant to chapter 71.09 RCW, or, in the case of a minor, a guardianship or dependency proceeding. The records and files maintained in any court proceeding pursuant to chapter 71.05 RCW must be confidential and available subsequent to such proceedings only to the person who was the subject of the proceeding or his or her 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.
(6)(a) Except as provided in RCW 4.24.550, any person may bring an action against an individual who has willfully released confidential information or records concerning him or her in violation of the provisions of this section, for the greater of the following amounts:
(i) One thousand dollars; or
(ii) Three times the amount of actual damages sustained, if any.
(b) It is not a prerequisite to recovery under this subsection that the plaintiff suffered or was threatened with special, as contrasted with general, damages.
(c) Any person may bring an action to enjoin the release of confidential information or records concerning him or her or his or her ward, in violation of the provisions of this section, and may in the same action seek damages as provided in this subsection.
(d) The court may award to the plaintiff, should he or she prevail in any action authorized by this subsection, reasonable attorney fees in addition to those otherwise provided by law.
(e) If an action is brought under this subsection, no action may be brought under RCW 70.02.170.
NOTES:
Reviser's note: *(1) RCW 71.05.280 was amended by 2013 c 289 § 4, substantially modifying the provisions of subsection (3).
**(2) RCW 71.05.320 was amended by 2013 c 289 § 5, substantially modifying the provisions of subsection (4)(c).
Effective dates2016 sp.s. c 29: See note following RCW 71.05.760.
Short titleRight of action2016 sp.s. c 29: See notes following RCW 71.05.010.
Effective date2014 c 225: See note following RCW 71.24.016.
Effective date2014 c 220: See note following RCW 70.02.290.
Effective date2013 c 200: See note following RCW 70.02.010.



70.02.240
Mental health services—Minors—Permitted disclosures.

The fact of admission and all information and records related to mental health services obtained through treatment under chapter 71.34 RCW is confidential, except as authorized in RCW 70.02.050, 70.02.210, 70.02.230, 70.02.250, and 70.02.260. Such confidential information may be disclosed only:
(1) In communications between mental health professionals to meet the requirements of chapter 71.34 RCW, in the provision of services to the minor, or in making appropriate referrals;
(2) In the course of guardianship or dependency proceedings;
(3) To the minor, the minor's parent, and the minor's attorney, subject to RCW 13.50.100;
(4) To the courts as necessary to administer chapter 71.34 RCW;
(5) To law enforcement officers or public health officers as necessary to carry out the responsibilities of their office. However, only the fact and date of admission, and the date of discharge, the name and address of the treatment provider, if any, and the last known address must be disclosed upon request;
(6) To law enforcement officers, public health officers, relatives, and other governmental law enforcement agencies, if a minor has escaped from custody, disappeared from an evaluation and treatment facility, violated conditions of a less restrictive treatment order, or failed to return from an authorized leave, and then only such information as may be necessary to provide for public safety or to assist in the apprehension of the minor. The officers are obligated to keep the information confidential in accordance with this chapter;
(7) To the secretary of social and health services for assistance in data collection and program evaluation or research so long as the secretary adopts rules for the conduct of such evaluation and research. The rules must include, but need not be limited to, the requirement that all evaluators and researchers 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 minors who have received services in a manner such that the minor is identifiable.
I recognize that unauthorized release of confidential information may subject me to civil liability under state law.
/s/ . . . . . . ";
(8) To appropriate law enforcement agencies, upon request, all necessary and relevant information in the event of a crisis or emergent situation that poses a significant and imminent risk to the public. The mental health service agency or its employees are not civilly liable for the decision to disclose or not, so long as the decision was reached in good faith and without gross negligence;
(9) 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 must be made by the professional person in charge of the public or private agency or his or her designee and must include the dates of admission, discharge, authorized or unauthorized absence from the agency's facility, and only any other information that is pertinent to the threat or harassment. The agency or its employees are not civilly liable for the decision to disclose or not, so long as the decision was reached in good faith and without gross negligence;
(10) To a minor's next of kin, attorney, guardian, or conservator, if any, the information that the minor is presently in the facility or that the minor is seriously physically ill and a statement evaluating the mental and physical condition of the minor as well as a statement of the probable duration of the minor's confinement;
(11) Upon the death of a minor, to the minor's next of kin;
(12) To a facility in which the minor resides or will reside;
(13) To law enforcement officers and to prosecuting attorneys as are necessary to enforce *RCW 9.41.040(2)(a)(ii). The extent of information that may be released is limited as follows:
(a) Only the fact, place, and date of involuntary commitment, an official copy of any order or orders of commitment, and an official copy of any written or oral notice of ineligibility to possess a firearm that was provided to the person pursuant to RCW 9.41.047(1), must be disclosed upon request;
(b) The law enforcement and prosecuting attorneys may only release the information obtained to the person's attorney as required by court rule and to a jury or judge, if a jury is waived, that presides over any trial at which the person is charged with violating *RCW 9.41.040(2)(a)(ii);
(c) Disclosure under this subsection is mandatory for the purposes of the federal health insurance portability and accountability act;
(14) This section may not be construed to prohibit the compilation and publication of statistical data for use by government or researchers under standards, including standards to assure maintenance of confidentiality, set forth by the secretary of the department of social and health services. The fact of admission and all information obtained pursuant to chapter 71.34 RCW are not admissible as evidence in any legal proceeding outside chapter 71.34 RCW, except guardianship or dependency, without the written consent of the minor or the minor's parent;
(15) For the purpose of a correctional facility participating in the postinstitutional medical assistance system supporting the expedited medical determinations and medical suspensions as provided in RCW 74.09.555 and 74.09.295;
(16) Pursuant to a lawful order of a court.
NOTES:
*Reviser's note: RCW 9.41.040 was amended by 2014 c 111 § 1, changing subsection (2)(a)(ii) to subsection (2)(a)(iii).
Effective date2013 c 200: See note following RCW 70.02.010.



70.02.250
Mental health services—Department of corrections.

(1) Information and records related to mental health services delivered to a person subject to chapter 9.94A or 9.95 RCW must be released, upon request, by a mental health service agency to department of corrections personnel for whom the information is necessary to carry out the responsibilities of their office. The information must be provided only for the purpose of completing presentence investigations, supervision of an incarcerated person, planning for and provision of supervision of a person, or assessment of a person's risk to the community. The request must be in writing and may not require the consent of the subject of the records.
(2) The information to be released to the department of corrections must include all relevant records and reports, as defined by rule, necessary for the department of corrections to carry out its duties, including those records and reports identified in subsection (1) of this section.
(3) The department shall, subject to available resources, electronically, or by the most cost-effective means available, provide the department of corrections with the names, last dates of services, and addresses of specific behavioral health organizations and mental health service agencies that delivered mental health services to a person subject to chapter 9.94A or 9.95 RCW pursuant to an agreement between the departments.
(4) The department and the department of corrections, in consultation with behavioral health organizations, mental health service agencies as defined in RCW 70.02.010, mental health consumers, and advocates for persons with mental illness, shall adopt rules to implement the provisions of this section related to the type and scope of information to be released. These rules must:
(a) Enhance and facilitate the ability of the department of corrections to carry out its responsibility of planning and ensuring community protection with respect to persons subject to sentencing under chapter 9.94A or 9.95 RCW, including accessing and releasing or disclosing information of persons who received mental health services as a minor; and
(b) Establish requirements for the notification of persons under the supervision of the department of corrections regarding the provisions of this section.
(5) The information received by the department of corrections under this section must remain confidential and subject to the limitations on disclosure outlined in chapter 71.34 RCW, except as provided in RCW 72.09.585.
(6) No mental health service agency or individual employed by a mental health service agency may be held responsible for information released to or used by the department of corrections under the provisions of this section or rules adopted under this section.
(7) Whenever federal law or federal regulations restrict the release of information contained in the treatment records of any patient who receives treatment for alcoholism or drug dependency, the release of the information may be restricted as necessary to comply with federal law and regulations.
(8) This section does not modify the terms and conditions of disclosure of information related to sexually transmitted diseases under this chapter.
NOTES:
Effective date2014 c 225: See note following RCW 71.24.016.
Effective date2013 c 200: See note following RCW 70.02.010.



70.02.260
Mental health services—Requests for information and records.

(1)(a) A mental health service agency shall release to the persons authorized under subsection (2) of this section, upon request:
(i) The fact, place, and date of an involuntary commitment, the fact and date of discharge or release, and the last known address of a person who has been committed under chapter 71.05 RCW.
(ii) Information and records related to mental health services, in the format determined under subsection (9) of this section, concerning a person who:
(A) Is currently committed to the custody or supervision of the department of corrections or the indeterminate sentence review board under chapter 9.94A or 9.95 RCW;
(B) Has been convicted or found not guilty by reason of insanity of a serious violent offense; or
(C) Was charged with a serious violent offense and the charges were dismissed under RCW 10.77.086.
(b) Legal counsel may release such information to the persons authorized under subsection (2) of this section on behalf of the mental health service agency, so long as nothing in this subsection requires the disclosure of attorney work product or attorney-client privileged information.
(2) The information subject to release under subsection (1) of this section must be released to law enforcement officers, personnel of a county or city jail, *designated mental health professionals, public health officers, therapeutic court personnel as defined in RCW 71.05.020, or personnel of the department of corrections, including the indeterminate sentence review board and personnel assigned to perform board-related duties, when such information is requested during the course of business and for the purpose of carrying out the responsibilities of the requesting person's office. No mental health service agency or person employed by a mental health service agency, or its legal counsel, may be liable for information released to or used under the provisions of this section or rules adopted under this section except under RCW 71.05.680.
(3) A person who requests information under subsection (1)(a)(ii) of this section must comply with the following restrictions:
(a) Information must be requested only for the purposes permitted by this subsection and for the purpose of carrying out the responsibilities of the requesting person's office. Appropriate purposes for requesting information under this section include:
(i) Completing presentence investigations or risk assessment reports;
(ii) Assessing a person's risk to the community;
(iii) Assessing a person's risk of harm to self or others when confined in a city or county jail;
(iv) Planning for and provision of supervision of an offender, including decisions related to sanctions for violations of conditions of community supervision; and
(v) Responding to an offender's failure to report for department of corrections supervision;
(b) Information may not be requested under this section unless the requesting person has reasonable suspicion that the individual who is the subject of the information:
(i) Has engaged in activity indicating that a crime or a violation of community custody or parole has been committed or, based upon his or her current or recent past behavior, is likely to be committed in the near future; or
(ii) Is exhibiting signs of a deterioration in mental functioning which may make the individual appropriate for civil commitment under chapter 71.05 RCW; and
(c) Any information received under this section must be held confidential and subject to the limitations on disclosure outlined in this chapter, except:
(i) The information may be shared with other persons who have the right to request similar information under subsection (2) of this section, solely for the purpose of coordinating activities related to the individual who is the subject of the information in a manner consistent with the official responsibilities of the persons involved;
(ii) The information may be shared with a prosecuting attorney acting in an advisory capacity for a person who receives information under this section. A prosecuting attorney under this subsection is subject to the same restrictions and confidentiality limitations as the person who requested the information; and
(iii) As provided in RCW 72.09.585.
(4) A request for information and records related to mental health services under this section does not require the consent of the subject of the records. The request must be provided in writing, except to the extent authorized in subsection (5) of this section. A written request may include requests made by email or facsimile so long as the requesting person is clearly identified. The request must specify the information being requested.
(5) In the event of an emergency situation that poses a significant risk to the public or the offender, a mental health service agency, or its legal counsel, shall release information related to mental health services delivered to the offender and, if known, information regarding where the offender is likely to be found to the department of corrections or law enforcement upon request. The initial request may be written or oral. All oral requests must be subsequently confirmed in writing. Information released in response to an oral request is limited to a statement as to whether the offender is or is not being treated by the mental health service agency and the address or information about the location or whereabouts of the offender.
(6) Disclosure under this section to state or local law enforcement authorities is mandatory for the purposes of the federal health insurance portability and accountability act.
(7) Whenever federal law or federal regulations restrict the release of information contained in the treatment records of any patient who receives treatment for alcoholism or drug dependency, the release of the information may be restricted as necessary to comply with federal law and regulations.
(8) This section does not modify the terms and conditions of disclosure of information related to sexually transmitted diseases under this chapter.
(9) In collaboration with interested organizations, the department shall develop a standard form for requests for information related to mental health services made under this section and a standard format for information provided in response to the requests. Consistent with the goals of the health information privacy provisions of the federal health insurance portability and accountability act, in developing the standard form for responsive information, the department shall design the form in such a way that the information disclosed is limited to the minimum necessary to serve the purpose for which the information is requested.
NOTES:
*Reviser's note: The term "designated mental health professional" was changed to "designated crisis responder" by 2016 sp.s. c 29 § 416, effective April 1, 2018.
Effective date2013 c 200: See note following RCW 70.02.010.



70.02.270
Health care information—Use or disclosure prohibited.

(1) No person who receives health care information for health care education, or to provide planning, quality assurance, peer review, or administrative, legal, financial, or actuarial services, or other health care operations for or on behalf of a health care provider or health care facility, may use or disclose any health care information received from the health care provider or health care facility in any manner that would violate the requirements of this chapter if performed by the health care provider or health care facility.
(2) A health care provider or health care facility that has a contractual relationship with a person to provide services described under subsection (1) of this section may terminate the contractual relationship with the person if the health care provider or health care facility learns that the person has engaged in a pattern of activity that violates the person's duties under subsection (1) of this section, unless the person took reasonable steps to correct the breach of confidentiality or has discontinued the violating activity.
NOTES:
Effective date2014 c 220: See note following RCW 70.02.290.
Effective date2013 c 200: See note following RCW 70.02.010.



70.02.280
Health care providers and facilities—Prohibited actions.

A health care provider, health care facility, and their assistants, employees, agents, and contractors may not:
(1) Use or disclose health care information for marketing or fund-raising purposes, unless permitted by federal law; or
(2) Sell health care information to a third party, except:
(a) For purposes of treatment or payment;
(b) For purposes of sale, transfer, merger, or consolidation of a business;
(c) For purposes of remuneration to a third party for services;
(d) As disclosures are required by law;
(e) For purposes of providing access to or accounting of disclosures to an individual;
(f) For public health purposes;
(g) For research;
(h) With an individual's authorization;
(i) Where a reasonable cost-based fee is paid to prepare and transmit health information, where authority to disclose the information is provided in this chapter; or
(j) In a format that is deidentified and aggregated.
NOTES:
Effective date2014 c 220: See note following RCW 70.02.290.
Effective date2013 c 200: See note following RCW 70.02.010.



70.02.290
Agency rule-making requirements—Use/destruction of health care information by certain state and local agencies—Unauthorized disclosure—Notice—Rules/policies available on agency's web site.

(1) All state or local agencies obtaining patient health care information pursuant to RCW 70.02.050 and 70.02.200 through 70.02.240 that are not health care facilities or providers shall adopt rules establishing their record acquisition, retention, destruction, and security policies that are consistent with this chapter.
(2) State and local agencies that are not health care facilities or providers that have not requested health care information and are not authorized to receive this information under this chapter:
(a) Must not use or disclose this information unless permitted under this chapter; and
(b) Must destroy the information in accordance with the policy developed under subsection (1) of this section or return the information to the entity that provided the information to the state or local agency if the entity is a health care facility or provider and subject to this chapter.
(3) A person who has health care information disclosed in violation of subsection (2)(a) of this section, must be informed of the disclosure by the state or local agency improperly making the disclosure. State and local agencies that are not health care facilities or providers must develop a policy to establish a reasonable notification period and what information must be included in the notice, including whether the name of the entity that originally provided the information to the agency must be included.
(4) Rules or policies adopted under this section must be available through each agency's web site.
NOTES:
Effective date2014 c 220: "Sections 1 through 7 and 9 through *16 of this act take effect July 1, 2014." [ 2014 c 220 § 17.]
*Reviser's note: 2014 c 220 § 16 was vetoed.
Effective date2013 c 200: See note following RCW 70.02.010.



70.02.300
Sexually transmitted diseases—Required statement upon disclosure.

Whenever disclosure is made of information and records related to sexually transmitted diseases pursuant to this chapter, except for RCW 70.02.050(1)(a) and 70.02.220 (2) (a) and (b) and (7), it must be accompanied by a statement in writing which includes the following or substantially similar language: "This information has been disclosed to you from records whose confidentiality is protected by state law. State law prohibits you from making any further disclosure of it without the specific written authorization of the person to whom it pertains, or as otherwise permitted by state law. A general authorization for the release of medical or other information is NOT sufficient for this purpose." An oral disclosure must be accompanied or followed by such a notice within ten days.
NOTES:
Effective date2013 c 200: See note following RCW 70.02.010.



70.02.310
Mental health services—Information and records.

(1) Resource management services shall establish procedures to provide reasonable and timely access to information and records related to mental health services for an individual. However, access may not be denied at any time to records of all medications and somatic treatments received by the person.
(2) Following discharge, a person who has received mental health services has a right to a complete record of all medications and somatic treatments prescribed during evaluation, admission, or commitment and to a copy of the discharge summary prepared at the time of his or her discharge. A reasonable and uniform charge for reproduction may be assessed.
(3) Information and records related to mental health services may be modified prior to inspection to protect the confidentiality of other patients or the names of any other persons referred to in the record who gave information on the condition that his or her identity remain confidential. Entire documents may not be withheld to protect such confidentiality.
(4) At the time of discharge resource management services shall inform all persons who have received mental health services of their rights as provided in this chapter and RCW 71.05.620.
NOTES:
Effective date2014 c 220: See note following RCW 70.02.290.
Effective date2013 c 200: See note following RCW 70.02.010.



70.02.320
Mental health services—Minors—Prompt entry in record upon disclosure.

When disclosure of information and records related to mental services pertaining to a minor, as defined in RCW 71.34.020, is made, the date and circumstances under which the disclosure was made, the name or names of the persons or agencies to whom such disclosure was made and their relationship if any, to the minor, and the information disclosed must be entered promptly in the minor's clinical record.
NOTES:
Effective date2013 c 200: See note following RCW 70.02.010.



70.02.330
Obtaining confidential records under false pretenses—Penalty.

Any person who requests or obtains confidential information and records related to mental health services pursuant to this chapter under false pretenses is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.
NOTES:
Effective date2013 c 200: See note following RCW 70.02.010.



70.02.340
Disclosure of information and records related to mental health services—Agency rule-making authority.

The department of social and health services shall adopt rules related to the disclosure of information and records related to mental health services in this chapter.
NOTES:
Effective date2014 c 220: See note following RCW 70.02.290.
Effective date2013 c 200: See note following RCW 70.02.010.



70.02.350
Department of social and health services—Release of information to protect the public.

In addition to any other information required to be released under this chapter, the department of social and health services is authorized, pursuant to RCW 4.24.550, to release relevant information that is necessary to protect the public, concerning a specific person committed under RCW * 71.05.280(3) or ** 71.05.320(3)(c) following dismissal of a sex offense as defined in RCW 9.94A.030.
NOTES:
Reviser's note: *(1) RCW 71.05.280 was amended by 2013 c 289 § 4, substantially modifying the provisions of subsection (3).
**(2) RCW 71.05.320 was amended by 2013 c 289 § 5, substantially modifying the provisions of subsection (3)(c). RCW 71.05.320 was subsequently amended by 2015 c 250 § 11, changing subsection (3) to subsection (4).
Effective date2013 c 200: See note following RCW 70.02.010.



70.02.900
Conflicting laws.

(1) This chapter does not restrict a health care provider, a third-party payor, or an insurer regulated under Title 48 RCW from complying with obligations imposed by federal or state health care payment programs or federal or state law.
(2) This chapter does not modify the terms and conditions of disclosure under Title 51 RCW and chapters 13.50, 26.09, 70.24, *70.96A, and 74.09 RCW and rules adopted under these provisions.
NOTES:
*Reviser's note: Chapter 70.96A RCW was repealed and/or recodified in its entirety pursuant to 2016 sp.s. c 29 §§ 301, effective April 1, 2018, 601, and 701.
Effective date2013 c 200: See note following RCW 70.02.010.
Findings2011 c 305: See note following RCW 74.09.295.
IntentPurpose2000 c 5: See RCW 48.43.500.
ApplicationShort titleCaptions not lawConstructionSeverabilityApplication to contractsEffective dates2000 c 5: See notes following RCW 48.43.500.



70.02.901
Application and construction—1991 c 335.

This act shall be applied and construed to effectuate its general purpose to make uniform the law with respect to the subject of this act among states enacting it.



70.02.902
Short title.

This act may be cited as the uniform health care information act.



70.02.905
Construction—Chapter applicable to state registered domestic partnerships—2009 c 521.

For the purposes of this chapter, the terms spouse, marriage, marital, husband, wife, widow, widower, next of kin, and family shall be interpreted as applying equally to state registered domestic partnerships or individuals in state registered domestic partnerships as well as to marital relationships and married persons, and references to dissolution of marriage shall apply equally to state registered domestic partnerships that have been terminated, dissolved, or invalidated, to the extent that such interpretation does not conflict with federal law. Where necessary to implement chapter 521, Laws of 2009, gender-specific terms such as husband and wife used in any statute, rule, or other law shall be construed to be gender neutral, and applicable to individuals in state registered domestic partnerships.
Site Contents
Selected content listed in alphabetical order under each group