Protecting the confidentiality of residents in an ACH
While we are all familiar with the guidelines of HIPPA and respecting the confidentiality of residents it should be noted that an inspector with the NC Department of Health Services Regulation should be included in the private details of a resident’s care when conducting an investigation. Check out the following regulation provided by NC DHSR:
- 131D-2.14. Confidentiality.
Notwithstanding G.S. 8-53 or any other law relating to the confidentiality of communications between physician and patient, in the course of an inspection conducted under G.S. 131D-2.11:
(1) Department representatives may review any writing or other record concerning the admission, discharge, medication, care, medical condition, or history of any person who is or has been a resident of the facility being inspected.
(2) Any person involved in giving care or treatment at or through the facility may disclose information to Department representatives unless the resident objects in writing to review of the resident’s records or disclosure of such information.
(3) The facility, its employees, and any other person interviewed in the course of an inspection shall be immune from liability for damages resulting from the disclosure of any information to the Department. The Department shall not disclose:
- Any confidential or privileged information obtained under this section unless the resident or the resident’s legal representative authorizes disclosure in writing or unless a court of competent jurisdiction orders disclosure, or
- The name of anyone who has furnished information concerning a facility without that person’s consent.
The Department shall institute appropriate policies and procedures to ensure that unauthorized disclosure does not occur. All confidential or privileged information obtained under this section and the names of persons providing such information shall be exempt from Chapter 132 of the General Statutes.
(4) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, Chapter 132 of the General Statutes, the Public Records Law, applies to all records of the State Division of Social Services of the Department of Health and Human Services and of any county department of social services regarding inspections of adult care facilities except for information in the records that is confidential or privileged, including medical records, or that contains the names of residents or complainants. (2009-462, s. 1(e).)