No substantive content changes; moved earlier chronologically as impacts all VR work and stages
(1) Confidential information refers to all documented and undocumented personal information, including lists of names and photographs, about any past or present applicant or customer in the vocational rehabilitation program, given or made available to the department, its representatives, or its agents in the course of the administration of the program.
(2) Customers, their representatives as appropriate, service providers, cooperating agencies, and interested persons shall be informed of the confidentiality of personal information and policies governing its use. This information shall be provided to the applicant or customer, and to the individual's representative in the individual's primary language if necessary, using appropriate modes of communication, and shall include:
(a) Identification of the authority under which information is collected;
(b) Explanation of the principal purposes for which the department intends to use or release information;
(c) Explanation of whether providing requested information is mandatory or voluntary and the effects of not providing requested information;
(d) Identification of those situations where the department requires or does not require informed written consent of the individual before information may be released; and
(e) Identification of other agencies to which information is routinely released.
(3) All personal information must be used only for purposes directly connected with the administration of the vocational rehabilitation program. Personal information shall not be shared with an organization, agency or individual not having official responsibility for administration of the program, except as provided for in subsection (6) of this section.
(4) Except as provided in (a) and (b) of this subsection, the department shall, upon receipt of a written request by a customer, release all information in that individual's record, to the individual or the individual's representative within fifteen working days.
(a) Medical, psychological, or other information that the department determines may be harmful to the individual may not be released directly to the individual, but must be provided to the individual's representative or to a qualified medical or psychological professional or to a person appointed by the court to act as that individual's representative.
(b) Personal information obtained from service providers and cooperating agencies under assurances that the information shall not be further divulged may be released only under conditions established by the other agency or organization except as provided in subsections (5) and (6) of this section.
(5) The customer may request that misleading or inaccurate information in his or her record of services be amended and that such request for amendment be documented in the individual's record.
(6) Personal information may be released to an organization, agency, or individual for purposes of audit, evaluation, or research directly connected with administration of the vocational rehabilitation program, such as the department's rehabilitation council or for purposes that would significantly improve the quality of life for customers, and only if the organization, agency, or individual assures that:
(a) Information shall be used only for the purposes for which it is being provided;
(b) Information shall be released only to persons officially connected with the audit, evaluation, or research;
(c) Information shall not be released to the customer;
(d) Information shall be managed in a manner to safeguard confidentiality; and
(e) The final product shall not reveal any personal identifying information without the informed written consent of the customer or the individual's representative.
(7) The department may release personal information to other agencies and programs under the following conditions:
(a) Upon receiving the informed written consent of the customer, or, the individual's representative if appropriate, the department may release personal information to another agency or organization only to the extent that the information may be released to the customer, and only to the extent that the agency or organization demonstrates that the information requested is necessary for its program.
However, medical or psychological information that the department determines may be harmful to the individual may be released if the agency or organization assures the department that information shall be used only for the purpose for which it is being provided and shall not be released to the customer.
(b) The department shall release personal information if required by federal law or regulation.
(c) The department shall release personal information in response to investigations in connection with law enforcement, fraud, or abuse, unless expressly prohibited by federal or state laws or regulations, or in response to judicial order.
(d) The department may release personal information to protect the participant or others if the individual poses a threat to his or her safety or to the safety of others.