346-10 Protection of records; divulging confidential information prohibited. (a) The department and its agents shall keep records that may be necessary or proper in accordance with this chapter. All applications and records concerning any applicant or recipient shall be confidential. The use or disclosure of information concerning applicants and recipients shall be limited to:

(1) Persons duly authorized by the State or the United States in connection with their official duties, when the official duties are directly connected with the administration of any form of public assistance, medical assistance, food stamps, or social services;

(2) Purposes directly connected with any investigation, prosecution, or criminal or civil proceeding conducted in connection with the administration of any form of public assistance, food stamps, medical assistance, or social services, including disclosure by the department of information and documents to police departments, prosecutors' offices, the attorney general's office, or any other state, county, or federal agency engaged in the detection, investigation, or prosecution of violations of applicable state, county, and federal laws or regulations regarding any aspect of theft, fraud, deception, or overpayment in connection with any aspect of public assistance, food stamps, medical assistance, or social services; provided that disclosure by recipient agencies and personnel shall be permitted under this section to the extent reasonably necessary to carry out the functions for which the information was provided;

(3) Disclosure to the extent necessary to provide services for applicants and recipients, to determine eligibility, or to determine the amount of public assistance, including verification of information provided by the recipient of public assistance, medical assistance, or food stamps, or to determine the type, kind, frequency, and amount of social services, including health and mental health related services needed;

(4) Disclosure to banks, financial institutions, or any other payor of a public assistance warrant or check of any information indicating that a public assistance warrant or check honored by the bank, institution, or payor has been forged or otherwise wrongfully presented for payment;

(5) Federal agencies responsible for the administration of federally assisted programs that provide assistance in cash or in kind for services directly to individuals on the basis of need and the certification of receipt of assistance to needy families with minor dependents to an employer for purposes of claiming tax credit under Public Law 94-12, the Tax Reduction Act of 1975, shall be permitted;

(6) Employees acting within the scope and course of their employment of recognized social welfare organizations as may be approved by the department;

(7) Purposes directly connected with any investigation, prosecution, or criminal proceeding conducted in connection with the licensure or operation of an adult day care center, including disclosure by the department of information and documents to police departments, prosecutors' offices, the attorney general's office, or any other state, county, or federal agency engaged in the detection, investigation, or prosecution of violations of applicable state, county, and federal laws or regulations;

(8) Disclosure to the child support enforcement agency for obtaining or enforcing a child support order under chapter 576D;

(9) Disclosure of a recipient's residence and business address to law enforcement officers who request information if the information is needed for an official administrative, civil, or criminal law enforcement purpose to identify a recipient as a fugitive felon or parole violator, and in cases where the information is needed for an official purpose and where the department has informed the recipient of the circumstances in which the recipient's address may be released under section 92F-19(a)(1), (3), or (4);

(10) Disclosure of reports and records relating to child abuse or neglect to the extent allowed by rules adopted under section 350-1.4; and

(11) Disclosure pursuant to a court order, after an in camera review of the records by the court, upon a showing of good cause by the party seeking the release of the records.

(b) Disclosure to any committee or legislative body (federal, state, or local) of any information that identifies by name and address any such applicant or recipient; and publication of lists or names of applicants and recipients shall be prohibited.

(c) The department shall promulgate and enforce such rules as may be necessary to prevent improper acquisition or use of confidential information. Any information secured pursuant to this section by the officials or employees may be used in connection with their official duties or within the scope and course of their employment but not otherwise, and shall be kept in confidential records or files, which shall not be subject to any other law permitting inspection of government records. The department and its agents shall determine whether or not such inspection is in connection with such official duties or within the scope and course of such employment.

(d) The use of the records, and other communications of the department or its agents by any other agency or department of government to which they may be furnished, shall be limited to the purposes for which they are furnished.

(e) Confidential information shall be released if requested by specific written waiver of the applicant or recipient concerned.

(f) The identity of foster parents, adoptive parents, and foster care facility staff parents, and the location of the foster home, adoptive home, or foster care facility is confidential but may be released with the consent of the foster parent, adoptive parent, or foster care facility staff. If the department determines it is in the best interest of the child and of the adoptive parents, foster parents, or facility, the identity and location of the adoptive parents or foster parents, foster home, or facility may be stricken from the individual's case file or withheld from the child's parents, guardians, or other interested persons. Notwithstanding the above, the department shall release the identity, mailing address, and telephone number of licensed or certified foster parents and approved relative caregivers to any association, agency, or government entity which would be of benefit to the foster parents or relative caregivers or to the foster care program, unless the foster parents or relative caregivers submit to the department a signed statement requesting that such information be kept confidential. To be effective, this statement must be submitted to the department by December 31, 1996, or with the application to the department thereafter. The identity, mailing address, and telephone number of licensed or certified foster parents and approved relative caregivers provided to an association, agency, or government entity shall not be released by the association, agency, or government entity without the consent of the foster parent or relative caregiver.

(g) All reports concerning adult abuse or neglect, as well as all records of such reports, are confidential and any unauthorized disclosure of a report or record of a report shall be a violation. The director of human services may adopt, amend, or repeal rules, pursuant to chapter 91, to provide for the confidentiality of reports and records and for the authorized disclosure of reports and records. [L 1941, c 296, pt of 1; am L 1943, c 113, 1; RL 1945, 4825; am L 1951, c 226, 1; am L 1953, c 153, 2; RL 1955, 108-5; HRS 346-10; am L 1970, c 105, 5; am L 1978, c 105, 2; am L 1983, c 213, 1; am L 1985, c 272, 8; am L 1986, c 332, 6; am L 1987, c 339, 4 and c 345, 2; am L 1991, c 145, 2; am L 1996, c 33, 1; am L 1997, c 200, 3, 11; am L 1998, c 127, 5; am L 1999, c 34, 1; am L 2012, c 91, 1]

 

Attorney General Opinions

 

Dissemination of data in DSSH files is limited to officials and employees, therefore HMSA is entitled only to information essential to its fiscal functions. Att. Gen. Op. 77-5.

 

Case Notes

 

Confidentiality requirement insufficient to prevent administrative inspection procedures from unconstitutionally intruding into patient's freedom to decide whether to seek aid of psychiatrist and communicate personal information. 481 F. Supp. 1028 (1979).

 

 

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