chapter 69 confidentiality and accesS to client records

 

section .0100 general provisions

 

10A NCAC 69 .0101 DEFINITIONS

As used in this Subchapter, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, the following terms have the meanings specified:

(1) "Client" means any applicant for, or recipient of, public assistance or services, or someone who makes inquiries, is interviewed, or is or has been otherwise served to some extent by the agency. For purposes of this Subchapter, someone acting responsibly for the client in accordance with agency policy is subsumed under the definition of client.

(2) "Agency" means the state Division of Social Services and the county departments of social services, unless separately identified.

(3) "Client information" or "client record" means any information, whether recorded or not and including information stored in computer data banks or computer files, relating to a client which was received in connection with the performance of any function of the agency.

(4) "Director" means the head of the state Division of Social Services or the county departments of social services.

(5) "Delegated representative" means anyone designated by the director to carry out the responsibilities established by the rules in this Subchapter. Designation is implied when the assigned duties of an employee require access to confidential information.

(6) "Court order" means any oral order from a judge or a written document from a judicial official which directs explicitly the release of client information.

(7) "Service provider" means any public or private agency or individual from whom the agency purchases services, or authorizes the provision of services provided or purchased by other divisions of the Department of Human Resources.

 

History Note: Authority G.S. 108A‑80; 143B‑153;

Eff. October 1, 1981.

10A NCAC 69 .0102 INFORMATION FROM OTHER AGENCIES

If the agency receives information from another agency or individual, then such information shall be treated as any other information generated by the state Division of Social Services or the county departments of social services, and disclosure thereof will be governed by any condition imposed by the furnishing agency or individual.

 

History Note: Authority G.S. 108A‑80; 143B‑153;

Eff. October 1, 1981.

 

section .0200 safeguarding client information

 

10A NCAC 69 .0201 CONFLICT OF LAWS

Whenever there is inconsistency between federal or state statutes or regulations specifically addressing confidentiality issues, the agency shall abide by the statute or regulation which provides more protection for the client.

 

History Note: Authority G.S. 108A‑80; 143B‑153;

Eff. October 1, 1981;

Amended Eff. March 1, 1990.

 

10A NCAC 69 .0202 OWNERSHIP OF RECORDS

(a) All client information contained in any records of the agency is the property of the agency, and employees of the agency shall protect and preserve such information from dissemination except as provided by the rules of this Subchapter.

(b) Original client records may not be removed from the premises by individuals other than authorized staff of the agency, except by an order of the court.

(c) The agency shall be allowed to destroy records in accordance with Record Retention Schedules promulgated by the Division of Archives and History, rules of the Division of Social Services, and state and federal statutes and regulations.

 

History Note: Authority G.S. 108A‑80; 143B‑153;

Eff. October 1, 1981.

 

10A NCAC 69 .0203 SECURITY OF RECORDS

(a) The agency shall provide a secure place with controlled access for the storage of records. Only employees, students, volunteers or other individuals who must access client information in order to carry out duties assigned or approved by the agency shall be authorized access to the storage area.

(b) Only authorized individuals may remove a record from the storage area and the authorizing individual shall be responsible for the security of the record until it is returned to the storage area.

(c) The agency shall establish procedures to prevent accidental disclosure of client information from automated data processing systems.

 

History Note: Authority G.S. 108A‑80; 143B‑153;

Eff. October 1, 1981;

Amended Eff. March 1, 1990.

 

10A NCAC 69 .0204 ASSURANCE OF CONFIDENTIALITY

The director shall assure that all authorized individuals are informed of the confidential nature of client information and shall disseminate written policy to and provide training for all persons with access to client information.

 

History Note: Authority G.S. 108A‑80; 143B‑153;

Eff. October 1, 1981.

 

10A NCAC 69 .0205 LIABILITY OF PERSONS WITH ACCESS TO CLIENT INFORMATION

(a) Individuals employed by the agency and governed by the State Personnel Act are subject to suspension, dismissal or disciplinary action for failure to comply with the rules of this Subchapter.

(b) Individuals other than employees, including volunteers and students who are agents of the Department of Health and Human Services who have access to client information and fail to comply with the rules in this Subchapter shall be denied access to confidential information and may be subject to dismissal or termination of relationship with the agency.

(c) Individuals other than employees but including volunteers and students who are agents of the Department of Health and Human Services and who have access to client information shall be liable in the same manner as employees.

 

History Note: Authority G.S. 108A‑80; 143B‑153;

Eff. October 1, 1981;

Amended Eff. February 1, 1986.

 

SECTION .0300 ‑ CLIENT ACCESS TO RECORDS

 

10A NCAC 69 .0301 RIGHT OF ACCESS

Confidentiality of information about himself is the right of the client. Upon written or verbal request the client shall have access to review or obtain without charge a copy of the information in his records with the following exceptions:

(1) information that the agency is required to keep confidential by state or federal statutes or regulations.

(2) confidential information originating from another agency as provided for in Rule .0102 of this Subchapter.

(3) information that would breach another individual's right to confidentiality.

 

History Note: Authority G.S. 108A‑80; 143B‑153;

Eff. October 1, 1981.

 

10A NCAC 69 .0302 PROMPT RESPONSE TO REQUEST

The agency shall provide access as defined in Rule .0301 of this Subchapter as promptly as feasible but no more than five working days after receipt of the request.

 

History Note: Authority G.S. 108A‑80; 143B‑153;

Eff. October 1, 1981.

 

10A NCAC 69 .0303 WITHHOLDING INFORMATION FROM THE CLIENT

(a) When the director or a delegated representative determines on the basis of the exceptions in Rule .0301 of this Subchapter to withhold information from the client record, this reason shall be documented in the client record.

(b) The director or a delegated representative must inform the client that information is being withheld, and upon which of the exceptions specified in Rule .0301 of this Subchapter the decision to withhold the information is based. If confidential information originating from another agency is being withheld, the client shall be referred to that agency for access to the information.

(c) When a delegated representative determines to withhold client information, the decision to withhold shall be reviewed by the supervisor of the person making the initial determination.

 

History Note: Authority G.S. 108A‑80; 143B‑153;

Eff. October 1, 1981.

 

10A NCAC 69 .0304 PROCEDURES FOR REVIEW OF RECORDS

The director or his delegated representative shall be present when the client reviews the record. The director or his delegated representative must document in the client record the review of the record by the client.

 

History Note: Authority G.S. 108A‑80; 143B‑153;

Eff. October 1, 1981;

Pursuant to G.S. 150B-21.3A, rule is necessary without substantive public interest Eff. September 6, 2016.

 

10A NCAC 69 .0305 CONTESTED INFORMATION

A client may contest the accuracy, completeness or relevancy of the information in his record. A correction of the contested information, but not the deletion of the original information if it is required to support receipt of state or federal financial participation, shall be inserted in the record when the director or his delegated representative concurs that such correction is justified. When the director or his delegated representative does not concur, the client shall be allowed to enter a statement in the record. Such corrections and statements shall be made a permanent part of the record and shall be disclosed to any recipient of the disputed information. If a delegated representative decides not to correct contested information, the decision not to correct shall be reviewed by the supervisor of the person making the initial decision.

 

History Note: Authority G.S. 108A‑80; 143B‑153;

Eff. October 1, 1981.

 

10A NCAC 69 .0306 REVIEW OF RECORD BY PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVES

Upon written request from the client, his personal representative, including an attorney, may have access to review or obtain without charge, a copy of the information in his record. The client may permit the personal representative to have access to his entire record or may restrict access to certain portions of the record. Rules .0301 through .0305 of this Subchapter shall apply.

 

History Note: Authority G.S. 108A‑80; 143B‑153;

Eff. October 1, 1981.

 

SECTION .0400 ‑ RELEASE OF CLIENT INFORMATION

 

10A NCAC 69 .0401 PROCEDURE FOR OBTAINING CONSENT FOR RELEASE OF INFORMATION

(a) As a part of the application process for public assistance or services, the client shall be informed of the need for and give consent to the release of information necessary to verify statements to establish eligibility.

(b) As a part of the application process for Aid to Families with Dependent children, and State or County Special Assistance for Adults, the client shall be informed of the requirement for listing of the public assistance recipient's name, address, and amount of the monthly grant in a public record open to public inspection during the regular office hours of the county auditor.

(c) No individual shall release any client information which is owned by the state Division of Social Services or the county departments of social services, or request the release of information regarding the client from other agencies or individuals without obtaining a signed consent for release of information. Disclosure without obtaining consent shall be in accordance with Section .0500 of this Subchapter.

 

History Note: Authority G.S. 108A‑80; 143B‑153;

Eff. October 1, 1981;

Amended Eff. March 1, 1990.

 

10A NCAC 69 .0402 CONSENT FOR RELEASE OF INFORMATION

(a) The consent for release of information shall be on a form provided by the state Division of Social Services or shall contain the following:

(1) name of the provider and the recipient of the information;

(2) the extent of information to be released;

(3) the name and dated signature of the client;

(4) a statement that the consent is subject to revocation at any time except to the extent that action has been taken in reliance on the consent;

(5) length of time the consent is valid.

(b) The client may alter the form to contain other information which may include but is not limited to:

(1) a statement specifying the date, event or condition upon which the consent may expire even if the client does not expressly revoke the consent;

(2) specific purpose for the release.

 

History Note: Authority G.S. 108A‑80; 143B‑153;

Eff. October 1, 1981.

 

10A NCAC 69 .0403 PERSONS WHO MAY CONSENT TO THE RELEASE OF INFORMATION

The following persons may consent to the release of information:

(1) the client;

(2) the legal guardian if the client has been adjudicated incompetent;

(3) the county department of social services if the client is a minor and in the custody of the county department of social services.

 

History Note: Authority G.S. 108A‑80; 143B‑153;

Eff. October 1, 1981.

 

10A NCAC 69 .0404 INFORMED CONSENT

Prior to obtaining a consent for release of information, the delegated representative shall explain the meaning of informed consent. The client shall be told the following:

(1) contents to be released;

(2) that there is a definite need for the information;

(3) that the client can give or withhold the consent and the consent is voluntary;

(4) that there are statutes and regulations protecting the confidentiality of the information.

 

History Note: Authority G.S. 108A‑80; 143B‑153;

Eff. October 1, 1981.

 

10A NCAC 69 .0405 PERSONS DESIGNATED TO RELEASE CLIENT INFORMATION

Directors and their delegated representatives, as defined, may release client information in accordance with rules in Section .0400 of this Subchapter.

 

History Note: Authority G.S. 108A‑80; 143B‑153;

Eff. October 1, 1981.

 

10A NCAC 69 .0406 DOCUMENTATION OF RELEASE

Whenever client information is released on the basis of a consent as defined in .0402 of this Subchapter, the director or delegated representative shall place a copy of the signed consent in the appropriate client record.

 

History Note: Authority G.S. 108A‑80; 143B‑153;

Eff. October 1, 1981.

 

SECTION .0500 ‑ DISCLOSURE OF CLIENT INFORMATION WITHOUT CLIENT CONSENT

 

10A NCAC 69 .0501 DISCLOSURE WITHIN THE AGENCY

(a) Client information from the public assistance record may be disclosed without the consent of the client under the following circumstances:

(1) to other employees of the county department of social services for purposes of making referrals, supervision, consultation or determination of eligibility;

(2) to other county departments of social services when the client moves to that county and requests public assistance;

(3) between the county departments of social services and the state Division of Social Services for purposes of supervision and reporting.

(b) Client information from the service record may be disclosed without the consent of the client under the following circumstances:

(1) to other employees of the county department of social services for purposes of making referrals, supervision, consultation or determination of eligibility;

(2) to another county department of social services when that county department of social services is providing services to a client who is in the custody of the county department of social services;

(3) to another county department of social services to the extent necessary to facilitate the provision of a service requested by referring county department of social services;

(4) between the county department of social services and the state Division of Social Services for purposes of supervision and reporting.

 

History Note: Authority G.S. 108A‑80; 143B‑153;

Eff. October 1, 1981;

Amended Eff. March 1, 1990.

 

10A NCAC 69 .0502 DISCLOSURE FOR THE PURPOSE OF RESEARCH

Client information may be disclosed without the consent of the client to individuals requesting approval to conduct studies of client records, provided such approval is requested in writing and the written request will specify and be approved on the basis of:

(1) an explanation of how the findings of the study have potential for expanding knowledge and improving professional practices;

(2) a description of how the study will be conducted and how the findings will be used;

(3) a presentation of the individual's credentials in the area of investigation;

(4) a description of how the individual will safeguard information;

(5) an assurance that no report will contain the names of individuals or any other information that makes individuals identifiable.

 

History Note: Authority G.S. 108A‑80; 143B‑153;

Eff. October 1, 1981.

 

10A NCAC 69 .0503 DISCLOSURE FOR PURPOSES OF ACCOUNTABILITY

Client information may be disclosed without the consent of the client to federal, state, or county employees for the purpose of monitoring, auditing, evaluating, or facilitating the administration of other state and federal programs, provided that the need for the disclosure of confidential information is justifiable for the purpose and that adequate safeguards are maintained to protect the information from re‑disclosure.

 

History Note: Authority G.S. 108A‑80; 143B‑153;

Eff. October 1, 1981;

Amended Eff. March 1, 1990.

 

10A NCAC 69 .0504 DISCLOSURE PURSUANT TO OTHER LAWS

Client information may be disclosed without the consent of the client for purposes of complying with other state and federal statutes and regulations.

 

History Note: Authority G.S. 108A‑80; 143B‑153;

Eff. October 1, 1981.

 

10A NCAC 69 .0505 DISCLOSURE PURSUANT TO A COURT ORDER

Client information may be disclosed without the consent of the client in response to a court order, as defined.

 

History Note: Authority G.S. 108A‑80; 143B‑153;

Eff. October 1, 1981.

 

10A NCAC 69 .0506 NOTICE TO CLIENT

When information is released without the client's consent, the client shall be informed to the extent possible, of the disclosure. The method of informing the client of the disclosure shall be documented in the appropriate record.

 

History Note: Authority G.S. 108A‑80; 143B‑153;

Eff. October 1, 1981.

 

10A NCAC 69 .0507 DOCUMENTATION OF DISCLOSURE

Whenever client information is disclosed in accordance with Section .0500 of this Subchapter, the director or delegated representative shall ensure that documentation of the disclosure is placed in the appropriate client record.

 

History Note: Authority G.S. 108A‑80; 143B‑153;

Eff. October 1, 1981.

 

10A NCAC 69 .0508 PERSONS DESIGNATED TO DISCLOSE INFORMATION

Directors and their delegated representatives, as defined, may disclose client information in accordance with Section .0500 of this Subchapter.

 

History Note: Authority G.S. 108A‑80; 143B‑153;

Eff. October 1, 1981.

 

SECTION .0600 ‑ SERVICE PROVIDERS

 

10A NCAC 69 .0601 INFORMATION NEEDS OF SERVICE PROVIDERS

(a) Agencies may disclose client information to other service providers, as defined, only to the extent necessary to determine the service requirements and to meet the needs of the client, and to the extent necessary to provide eligibility information for reporting purposes.

(b) The client shall be informed and consent to the disclosure of this information in accordance with the rules of this Subchapter.

 

History Note: Authority G.S. 108A‑80; 143B‑153;

Eff. October 1, 1981.

 

10A NCAC 69 .0602 CONTRACT RESTRICTION

As a part of every contract for the purchase of services, the service provider will agree to restrict the use or disclosure of information obtained in connection with the administration of the state's programs for the provision of services concerning clients to purposes directly connected with the administration of the service program.

 

History Note: Authority G.S. 108A‑80; 143B‑153;

Eff. October 1, 1981.

 

10A NCAC 69 .0603 ASSURANCE OF CONFIDENTIALITY

(a) The county department of social services shall disseminate written policy and assure that all private agency and individual service providers from whom they purchase services are informed of the confidential nature of client information.

(b) Public agency service providers shall abide by written policy promulgated by their cognizant state agency, if any. If written policy has not been issued, Paragraph (a) of this Rule shall apply.

(c) The Department of Human Resources shall disseminate written policy and assure that all service providers from whom the county departments of social services authorize the provision of services to clients understand the confidential nature of client information.

 

History Note: Authority G.S. 108A‑80; 143B‑153;

Eff. October 1, 1981.

 

10A NCAC 69 .0604 OWNERSHIP OF RECORDS

(a) All client information contained in records of the service provider is the property of the service provider, and the service provider and employees of the service provider shall protect and preserve such information in accordance with the terms of their contract.

(b) Any information furnished by the county department of social services shall be protected from re‑disclosure.

 

History Note: Authority G.S. 108A‑80; 143B‑153;

Eff. October 1, 1981.

 

10A NCAC 69 .0605 LIABILITY OF SERVICE PROVIDERS

Failure to comply with the rules in Section .0600 of this Subchapter shall constitute a breach of contract and shall be grounds to terminate the contract.

 

History Note: Authority G.S. 108A‑80; 143B‑153;

Eff. October 1, 1981.