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Special duties of director of health – Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3701.14

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The director of health has the following responsibilities:

  • To investigate the cause of disease or illness, including the study of births and deaths, the personal and business habits of the people that affect their health, and the relation of the diseases of man and beast; 
  • To collect and preserve information as may be useful to perform his duties, and to disseminate to the public;
  • To keep information obtained during an investigation confidential during the course of that investigation; 
  • To release confidential information during the course of an investigation only in the following circumstances:
    • Pursuant to a search warrant or subpoena;
    • To a person or government entity with whom the director has entered into a written agreement to share or exchange information, if the person or entity has agreed to comply with the confidentiality requirements; or
    • In a preliminary report, if the investigation is not complete within six months after the date of commencement
    • To individuals as is necessary to avert or mitigate a clear threat to an individual or the public health.  

No report released by the director may include protected health information.  Information may be released that is in summary, statistical, or aggregate form and that does not identify a person; such information will be a public record. 

Any disclosure other than via a preliminary report or made to avert or mitigate a threat to public health will be accompanied by a written statement that includes the following, or substantially similar language:

“This information has been disclosed to you from confidential records protected from disclosure by state law. If this information has been released to you in other than a summary, statistical, or aggregate form, you shall make no further disclosure of this information without the specific, written, and informed release 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 the release of information pursuant to this section.”

Current as of June 2015