Maine Revised Statutes

§1207. Confidentiality of information

(CONTAINS TEXT WITH VARYING EFFECTIVE DATES)
1. Generally.  All orders of commitment, medical and administrative records, applications and reports, and facts contained in them, pertaining to any client shall be kept confidential and may not be disclosed by any person, except that:
A. A client, his legal guardian, if any, or, if he is a minor, his parent or legal guardian may give his informed written consent to the disclosure of information; [1985, c. 582, (AMD).]
B. (TEXT EFFECTIVE UNTIL 8/1/2017) (TEXT REPEALED 8/1/2017) Information may be disclosed if necessary to carry out the statutory functions of the department; the hospitalization provisions of chapter 3, subchapter 4; the provisions of section 1931; the purposes of section 3608; the purposes of Title 5, section 19506; the purposes of United States Public Law 99-319, dealing with the investigatory function of the independent agency designated with advocacy and investigatory functions under United States Public Law 88-164, Title I, Part C or United States Public Law 99-319; the investigation and hearing pursuant to Title 15, section 393, subsection 4-A; or the provision of mental health services by the Department of Corrections pursuant to Title 34-A, section 3031, 3069-A or 3069-B. This paragraph is repealed August 1, 2017; [2015, c. 329, Pt. A, §21 (RPR).]
B-1. [2005, c. 397, Pt. A, §48 (RP).]
B-2. [2007, c. 466, Pt. A, §56 (RP).]
B-3. (TEXT EFFECTIVE 8/1/2017) Information may be disclosed if necessary to carry out the statutory functions of the department; the hospitalization provisions of chapter 3, subchapter 4; the provisions of section 1931; the purposes of section 3608; the purposes of Title 5, section 19506; the purposes of United States Public Law 99-319, dealing with the investigatory function of the independent agency designated with advocacy and investigatory functions under United States Public Law 88-164, Title I, Part C or United States Public Law 99-319; or the investigation and hearing pursuant to Title 15, section 393, subsection 4-A. This paragraph takes effect August 1, 2017; [2015, c. 329, Pt. A, §22 (AMD).]
C. Information may be disclosed if ordered by a court of record, subject to any limitation in the Maine Rules of Evidence, Rule 503; [1983, c. 459, §7 (NEW).]
C-1. Within 48 hours of a death reportable by the commissioner to the Chief Medical Examiner pursuant to Title 22, section 3025, subsection 1, paragraph E, the commissioner shall provide information on that death to the chairs of the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over health and human services matters. Within 30 days of the reportable death, the commissioner shall provide the members of the committee with a copy of the death report. Information and reports provided pursuant to this paragraph must maintain the confidentiality of the identity of all persons mentioned or referred to in the information and reports. [1997, c. 605, §1 (NEW).]
D. Nothing in this subsection precludes disclosure, upon proper inquiry, of information relating to the physical condition or mental status of a client to his spouse or next of kin; [1983, c. 459, §7 (NEW).]
E. Nothing in this subsection precludes the disclosure of biographical or medical information concerning a client to commercial or governmental insurers, or to any other corporation, association or agency from which the department or a licensee of the department may receive reimbursement for the care and treatment, education, training or support of the client, if the recipient of the information uses it for no other purpose than to determine eligibility for reimbursement and, if eligibility exists, to make reimbursement; [1989, c. 335, §2 (AMD).]
F. Nothing in this subsection precludes the disclosure or use of any information, including recorded or transcribed diagnostic and therapeutic interviews, concerning any client in connection with any educational or training program established between a public hospital and any college, university, hospital, psychiatric or counseling clinic or school of nursing, as long as, in the disclosure or use of the information as part of a course of instruction or training program, the client's identity remains undisclosed; [2011, c. 691, Pt. A, §39 (AMD).]
G. [2011, c. 691, Pt. A, §40 (RP).]
H. The names and dates of death of individuals who died while patients at the Augusta Mental Health Institute, the Bangor Mental Health Institute, the Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center, the Riverview Psychiatric Center or the Pineland Hospital and Training Center may be made available to the public in accordance with rules adopted by the department. The rules must require the department to notify the public regarding the release of the information and to maintain the confidentiality of information concerning any deceased individual whose surviving relatives notify the department that they object to public disclosure. Rules adopted pursuant to this paragraph are routine technical rules as defined in Title 5, chapter 375, subchapter 2-A; and [2015, c. 189, §1 (AMD).]
I. Nothing in this subsection precludes the disclosure of any information, except psychotherapy notes as defined in 45 Code of Federal Regulations, Section 164.501(2010), concerning a client to a state-designated statewide health information exchange that provides and maintains an individual protection mechanism by which a client may choose to opt in to allow the state-designated statewide health information exchange to disclose that client's health care information covered under this section to a health care practitioner or health care facility for purposes of treatment, payment and health care operations, as those terms are defined in 45 Code of Federal Regulations, Section 164.501. A state-designated statewide health information exchange also must satisfy the requirement in Title 22, section 1711-C, subsection 18, paragraph C of providing a general opt-out provision to a client at all times.
A state-designated statewide health information exchange may disclose a client's health care information covered under this section even if the client has not chosen to opt in to allow the state-designated statewide health information exchange to disclose the individual's health care information when, in a health care provider's judgment, disclosure is necessary to:
(1) Avert a serious threat to the health or safety of others, if the conditions, as applicable, described in 45 Code of Federal Regulations, Section 164.512(j)(2010) are met; or
(2) Prevent or respond to imminent and serious harm to the client and disclosure is to a provider for diagnosis or treatment. [2011, c. 347, §11 (NEW).]
[ 2015, c. 189, §1 (AMD); 2015, c. 329, Pt. A, §§21, 22 (AMD) .]
2. Statistical compilations and research.  Confidentiality of records used for statistical compilations or research is governed as follows.
A. Persons engaged in statistical compilation or research may have access to treatment records of clients when needed for research, if:
(1) The access is approved by the chief administrative officer of the mental health facility or his designee;
(2) The research plan is first submitted to and approved by the chief administrative officer of the mental health facility, or his designee, where the person engaged in research or statistical compilation is to have access to communications and records; and
(3) The records are not removed from the mental health facility which prepared them, except that data which do not identify clients or coded data may be removed from a mental health facility if the key to the code remains on the premises of the facility. [1983, c. 459, §7 (NEW).]
B. The chief administrative officer of the mental health facility and the person doing the research shall preserve the anonymity of the client and may not disseminate data which refer to the client by name, number or combination of characteristics which together could lead to his identification. [1983, c. 459, §7 (NEW).]
[ 1983, c. 459, §7 (NEW) .]
3. Use by the commissioner.  Confidentiality of information and records used by the commissioner for administration, planning or research is governed as follows.
A. A facility or a provider that receives funds from the department to provide services for persons eligible for such services under this Title shall send information and records to the commissioner, if requested by the commissioner pursuant to the department's obligation to maintain the overall responsibility for the care and treatment of persons receiving mental health services funded in full or in part by the State. [2011, c. 542, Pt. A, §61 (RPR).]
B. The commissioner may collect and use the information and records for administration, planning or research, under the following conditions.
(1) The use of the information is subject to subsection 1, paragraph C.
(2) Data identifying particular clients by means other than case number or code shall be removed from all records and reports of information before issuance from the mental health facility which prepared the records and reports.
(3) A code shall be the exclusive means of identifying clients and shall be available to the commissioner and only the commissioner.
(4) The key to the code shall remain in the possession of the issuing facility and shall be available to the commissioner and only the commissioner.
(5) Members of the department may not release or disseminate to any other person, agency or department of government any information which refers to a client by name, numbers, address, birth date or other characteristics or combination of characteristics which could lead to the client's identification, except as otherwise required by law. [1983, c. 459, §7 (NEW).]
[ 2011, c. 542, Pt. A, §61 (AMD) .]
4. Prohibited acts. 
[ 2007, c. 310, §1 (RP) .]
4-A. Violation.   Disclosure of client information in violation of this section is an offense under the licensing standards of the mental health professional committing the violation and must be promptly reported to the licensing board with jurisdiction for review, hearing and disciplinary action.
[ 2007, c. 310, §2 (NEW) .]
5. Permitted disclosure. 
[ 2007, c. 310, §3 (RP) .]
5-A. Disclosure to family, caretakers.   Under the following circumstances, a licensed mental health professional providing care to an adult client may disclose to a family member, to another relative, to a close personal friend or caretaker of the client or to anyone identified by the client, the client's health information that is directly relevant to the person's involvement with the client's care.
A. If a client with capacity to make health care decisions is either present or available prior to disclosure, the professional may disclose the information:
(1) When the client gives oral or written consent;
(2) When the client does not object in circumstances in which the client has the opportunity to object; or
(3) When the professional may reasonably infer from the circumstances that the client does not object. [2007, c. 310, §4 (NEW).]
B. The professional may disclose the information if in the professional's judgment it is in the client's best interests to make the disclosure and the professional determines either that the client lacks the capacity to make health care decisions or an emergency precludes the client from participating in the disclosure. [2007, c. 310, §4 (NEW).]
[ 2007, c. 310, §4 (NEW) .]
6. Duty to provide information. 
[ 2007, c. 310, §5 (RP) .]
6-A. Disclosure of danger.   A licensed mental health professional shall disclose protected health information that the professional believes is necessary to avert a serious and imminent threat to health or safety when the disclosure is made in good faith to any person, including a target of the threat, who is reasonably able to prevent or minimize the threat.
[ 2009, c. 451, §7 (AMD) .]
7. Disclosure to law enforcement.  A licensed mental health professional shall disclose protected health information when the disclosure is made in good faith for a law enforcement purpose to a law enforcement officer if the conditions, as applicable, are met as described in 45 Code of Federal Regulations, Section 164.512(f) (2008).
[ 2009, c. 451, §8 (NEW) .]
8. Disclosure of knowledge of firearms.  A licensed mental health professional shall notify law enforcement when the notification is made in good faith that the licensed mental health professional has reason to believe that a person committed to a state mental health institute has access to firearms.
[ 2009, c. 451, §9 (NEW) .]
9. Disclosure for care management or coordination of care.  Notwithstanding any provision of this section to the contrary, a health care practitioner may disclose without authorization health information for the purposes of care management or coordination of care pertaining to a client as provided in this subsection.
A. Disclosure is permitted to a health care practitioner or health care facility as defined in Title 22, section 1711-C, subsection 1. [2013, c. 326, §2 (NEW).]
B. Disclosure is permitted to a payor or person engaged in payment for health care for the purpose of care management or coordination of care. [2013, c. 326, §2 (NEW).]
C. Disclosure of psychotherapy notes is governed by 45 Code of Federal Regulations, Section 164.508(a)(2). [2013, c. 326, §2 (NEW).]
D. A person who has made a disclosure under this subsection shall make a reasonable effort to notify the individual or the authorized representative of the individual of the disclosure. [2013, c. 326, §2 (NEW).]
[ 2013, c. 326, §2 (NEW) .]
SECTION HISTORY
1983, c. 459, §7 (NEW). 1983, c. 580, §4 (AMD). 1983, c. 626, (AMD). 1985, c. 495, §23 (AMD). 1985, c. 582, (AMD). 1989, c. 7, §N3 (AMD). 1989, c. 190, (AMD). 1989, c. 335, §§2,3 (AMD). 1991, c. 250, (AMD). 1993, c. 593, §1 (AMD). 1995, c. 497, §5 (AMD). 1995, c. 560, §K19 (AMD). 1995, c. 691, §4 (AMD). 1997, c. 422, §2 (AMD). 1997, c. 605, §1 (AMD). 2001, c. 354, §3 (AMD). 2003, c. 563, §§1-3 (AMD). RR 2005, c. 2, §22 (COR). 2005, c. 397, §§A47,48 (AMD). 2005, c. 683, §A57 (AMD). 2007, c. 286, §2 (AMD). 2007, c. 310, §§1-6 (AMD). 2007, c. 466, Pt. A, §56 (AMD). 2007, c. 609, §1 (AMD). 2007, c. 670, §17 (AMD). 2009, c. 415, Pt. A, §20 (AMD). 2009, c. 451, §§7-9 (AMD). 2011, c. 347, §§9-11 (AMD). 2011, c. 420, Pt. C, §§6, 7 (AMD). 2011, c. 542, Pt. A, §61 (AMD). 2011, c. 691, Pt. A, §§39, 40 (AMD). 2013, c. 132, §1 (AMD). 2013, c. 326, §2 (AMD). 2013, c. 434, §§7, 8 (AMD). 2015, c. 189, §1 (AMD). 2015, c. 329, Pt. A, §§21, 22 (AMD).