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Privacy and Confidentiality in Connecticut

Privacy & Confidentiality

Connecticut generally requires government agencies to keep personal information obtained while administering certain programs confidential unless disclosure is otherwise authorized.1

Connecticut provides additional protection for personal information by:

· Classifying individualized service plans, created by assisted living agencies in coordination with a resident, as confidential and only permitting access by the resident and the Department of Public Health.2

· Requiring local health directors to maintain the confidentiality of medical records of persons that receive treatment at a “communicable disease control clinic.”3

· Requiring minors to consent before a mental health provider may disclose treatment information to the minor’s parent or guardian.4 Health care providers must keep confidential their treatment of a minor for venereal disease.5

· Classifying notices from clinical laboratories to patients regarding a medical error as confidential.6

· Exempting adverse event information reported by hospitals and outpatient surgical facilities from the Freedom of Information Act and prohibiting its discovery or admission into evidence in a legal proceeding.7

· Requiring Patient Safety Organizations to ensure the security and confidentiality of patient safety information.8

· Prohibiting hospitals from releasing a patient’s name when notifying emergency responders of their potential exposure to an infectious disease.9

· Allowing pharmacists to disclose patient information only upon receiving the consent of the patient or their agent.10

· Prohibiting Managed Care Organizations from selling information that identifies enrollees and otherwise mandating their compliance with federal and state confidentiality laws.11

· Prohibiting the sale of individually identifiable medical information, though such information may be disclosed for marketing purposes so long as the individual consents.12 Disclosure of identifiable information from medical records with the malicious intent to harm the individual carries is punishable by fine and/or imprisonment.13

· Requiring Insurers to implement policies, standards and procedures for managing, transferring, and securing medical record information.14

· Prohibiting the use of the Freedom of Information Act to obtain identifiable information held by the Connecticut Health Insurance Exchange.15

· Requiring the Commissioner of Public Health to establish guidelines for ensuring the confidentiality of patient and physicians identities when reviewing complaints against physicians.16

· Requiring the Office of Health Care Access must maintain the confidentiality of patient and physician data they receive while carrying out their duties.17

Connecticut permits access and disclosure of personal information as follows:

· Connecticut authorizes state agencies to disclose personally identifiable information pursuant to their participation in the Connecticut Health Information Network.18

· The Long-Term Care Ombudsman may access resident medical records with the resident’s consent or, without the resident’s consent in limited circumstances.19 Connecticut tasks the Division of Elderly Services with ensuring that Ombudsman program records are properly disclosed and that resident identities are not released absent a resident’s consent or court order.20

· Connecticut allows the Department of Public Health to access information from health records in order to administer the birth defect surveillance program;21 accessed identifying information must be kept confidential.22 The Department may also access health records to verify tumor registry reports.23

· Hospitals must release medical records to health plans upon receipt of a patient authorization or audit request.24

· Providers must furnish a copy of a patient’s health record to another provider upon written request of the patient.25

· The Department of Public Health may release morbidity and mortality data for research purposes, but must otherwise keep the information confidential.26

 

 

Footnotes

  • 1. C.G.S.A. § 17b-225; C.G.S.A. § 17b-342; C.G.S.A. § 17b-407; C.G.S.A. § 19a-7; C.G.S.A. § 19a-7h; C.G.S.A. § 19a-56a; C.G.S.A. § 19a-499;
  • 2. C.G.S.A. § 19a-699.
  • 3. C.G.S.A. § 19a-216a.
  • 4. C.G.S.A. § 19a-14c.
  • 5. C.G.S.A. § 19a-216.
  • 6. C.G.S.A. § 19a-30a.
  • 7. C.G.S.A. § 19a-127n.
  • 8. C.G.S.A. § 19a-127o.
  • 9. C.G.S.A. § 19a-904.
  • 10. C.G.S.A. § 20-626.
  • 11. C.G.S.A. § 38a-478o.
  • 12. C.G.S.A. § 38a-988a.
  • 13. C.G.S.A. § 38a-999a.
  • 14. C.G.S.A. § 38a-999.
  • 15. C.G.S.A. § 38a-1090.
  • 16. C.G.S.A. § 20-13b.
  • 17. C.G.S.A. § 19a-654
  • 18. C.G.S.A. § 19a-25f.
  • 19. C.G.S.A. § 17b-410.
  • 20. C.G.S.A. § 17b-414.
  • 21. C.G.S.A. § 19a-56a.
  • 22. C.G.S.A. § 19a-56b.
  • 23. C.G.S.A. § 19a-72.
  • 24. C.G.S.A. § 19a-509a.
  • 25. C.G.S.A. § 20-7d.
  • 26. C.G.S.A. § 19a-25.

 

Privacy and Confidentiality in Connecticut

Subtopic Statute/Regulation Description
Privacy and Confidentiality "Consent not required for disclosure, when" - Conn. Gen. Stat. § 52-146fe et seq. Records and information relating to the mental health of an individual are confidential and privileged to the patient, and may only be disclosed in...
Adverse events. Reporting requirements. Regulations. Confidentiality of reports. Retaliatory action prohibited - Conn. Gen. Stat. § 19a-127n Hospitals and outpatient surgical facilities must report adverse events to the Department of Public Health. The reports must include corrective steps...
Applicability of Freedom of Information Act to exchange. Authority of commissioner - Conn. Gen. Stat. § 38a-1090 Individuals may use the Freedom of Information Act to access information from the Connecticut Health Insurance Exchange with the exception of (1) the...
Audits of hospital bills. Charges - Conn. Gen. Stat. § 19a-509a Hospitals must provide patients with “a detailed itemization of charges” and release the patients’ medical records to a health...
Availability of patient information to certain agencies - Conn. Gen. Stat. § 17b-225 The Department of Public Safety, Department of Social Services, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“Departments”) may...
Birth defects surveillance program. Collection of birth defects data. Advisory committee - Conn. Gen. Stat. § 19a-56a The Department of Public Health must administer a birth defects surveillance program in order to “monitor the frequency, distribution and type...
Childhood immunization registry. Regulations - Conn. Gen. Stat. § 19a-7h The Commissioner of Public Health may create a childhood immunization registry that contains data on children that have yet to start first grade....
Chronic disease hospitals: Admissions - Conn. Gen. Stat. § 19a-253 Beginning October 1, 2005, the medical director of a chronic care hospital may not admit a patient unless they determine the hospital can adequately...
Confidentiality and antidiscrimination procedures required - Conn. Gen. Stat. § 38a-478o Managed Care Organizations must comply with federal and state confidentiality and antidiscrimination laws and ensure that patient information in...
Confidentiality of birth defects information. Access - Conn. Gen. Stat. § 19a-56b All identifying information collected and maintained pursuant to the birth defects surveillance program is confidential. Only the Department of...
Confidentiality of pharmacy records - Conn. Gen. Stat. § 20-626 Pharmacists may not disclose patient information or records without the oral or written consent or the patient or their agent. Pharmacists must...
Confidentiality of records procured by the Department of Public Health or directors of health of towns, cities or boroughs - Conn. Gen. Stat. § 19a-25 Information, including personal data, created and maintained by the Department of Public Health or its research partners in relation to morbidity and...
Connecticut home-care program for the elderly - Conn. Gen. Stat. § 17b-342 The Commissioner of Social Services must manage “the Connecticut home-care program for the elderly” (“Program”) as a means of...
Connecticut Tumor Registry. Definitions. Duties of Department of Public Health. Reporting requirements - Conn. Gen. Stat. § 19a-72 The Department of Public Health must maintain a tumor registry to house reports of tumors diagnosed or treated in Connecticut. Hospitals, clinical...
Data submission requirements - Conn. Gen. Stat. § 19a-654 Short-term acute care general and children’s hospitals must submit data to the Office of Health Care Access that the Office deems necessary to...
Disclosure of individually identifiable medical record information with malicious intent prohibited. Penalty - Conn. Gen. Stat. § 38a-999a Connecticut prohibits persons from disclosing individually identifiable medical records information “with the malicious intent to damage an...
Disclosure of personally identifiable information by state agencies to the Connecticut Health Information Network - Conn. Gen. Stat. § 19a-25f State agency participants in the Connecticut Health Information Network “may disclose personally identifiable information held in [their]...
Duties of state agency re disclosure - Conn. Gen. Stat. § 17b-414 The Division of Elderly Services, within the Department of Social Services, must (1) ensure that Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program records are only...
Emergency service members and exposure to infectious diseases. Definitions. Designated officers. Duties of hospital. Request for notification. Immunity from liability - Conn. Gen. Stat. § 19a-904 Hospitals, upon diagnosing a case of infectious pulmonary tuberculosis, must notify any emergency service organization that had contact with the...
Examination and treatment of persons at communicable disease control clinics. Confidentiality - Conn. Gen. Stat. § 19a-216a Local health directors and their agents must maintain the confidentiality of medical records of persons that receive treatment at a “...
Examination or treatment of minor for venereal disease. Confidentiality. Liability for costs - Conn. Gen. Stat. § 19a-216 Local health departments, state facilities, licensed physicians, and hospitals (“providers”) may examine and treat a minor’s...
Guidelines for reviewing complaints against physicians - Conn. Gen. Stat. § 20-13b The Commissioner of Public Health must establish guidelines for reviewing complaints against physicians. These guidelines must address, at minimum, (...
Individualized service plans. Assessment of resident who requires assisted living services - Conn. Gen. Stat. § 19a-699 Assisted living services agencies must develop individualized service plans for residents after consulting with the resident and having a registered...
Information to be confidential. Exceptions - Conn. Gen. Stat. § 19a-499 The Department of Public Health may not disclose patient identifying information received pursuant to Chapter 368v unless the disclosure occurs in a...
Powers of ombudsman and representatives. Access to records, facilities and residents. Penalty for wilful interference with representatives of office. Confidentiality. Assistance from outside persons or entities - Conn. Gen. Stat. § 17b-410 The Long-Term Care Ombudsman and their representatives must have: “Access to long-term care facilities and residents.” “...
Provision of outpatient mental health treatment to minors without parental consent - Conn. Gen. Stat. § 19a-14c Psychiatrists, psychologists, and independent social workers may provide minors with outpatient mental health treatment without obtaining consent...
Public health planning. State health plan. Access to certain health care data. Regulations - Conn. Gen. Stat. § 19a-7 The Department of Public Health (“department”) must create a “multiyear state health plan” that (1) assesses the state...
Record keeping and confidentiality. Permitted disclosure. Treatment or rehabilitation of minor - Conn. Gen. Stat. § 17a-688 All substance abuse treatment records are confidential and privileged to the patient and may only be disclosed according to the statute; disclosures...
Release of patient's medical records to another provider - Conn. Gen. Stat. § 20-7d Providers must furnish a copy of a patient’s health record to another provider upon written request of the patient. 
Report of suspected abuse, neglect, exploitation or abandonment. Penalty for failure to report. Confidentiality. Immunity and protection from retaliation. Notice to complainant. Registry - Conn. Gen. Stat. § 17b-407 Health care providers, social workers, clergy, police officers, long-term care facility employees, sexual assault and battered women counselors, and...
Reporting of clinical laboratory errors - Conn. Gen. Stat. § 19a-30a Clinical laboratories (lab) must make written notification of medical errors to the person that authorized the test. Notification of medical errors...
Sale of individually identifiable medical record in formation prohibited. Written consent re disclosure for marketing purposes. Exceptions. Cause of action for violations - Conn. Gen. Stat. § 38a-988a Connecticut prohibits persons from selling or offering to sell individually identifiable medical information. Persons may disclose individually...
Written policies, standards and procedures re medical record information - Conn. Gen. Stat. § 38a-999 Insurance institutions, agents, and insurance support organizations (“Insurers”) must implement policies, standards and procedures for...