70.02.230  <<  70.02.240 >>   70.02.250

Mental health servicesMinorsPermitted disclosures.

*** CHANGE IN 2021 *** (SEE 5073-S.SL) ***
*** CHANGE IN 2021 *** (SEE 5071-S2.SL) ***
The fact of admission and all information and records related to mental health services obtained through inpatient or outpatient treatment of a minor under chapter 71.34 RCW must be kept confidential, except as authorized by this section or under RCW 70.02.050, 70.02.210, 70.02.230, 70.02.250, 70.02.260, and 70.02.265. Confidential information under this section may be disclosed only:
(1) In communications between mental health professionals to meet the requirements of chapter 71.34 RCW, in the provision of services to the minor, or in making appropriate referrals;
(2) In the course of guardianship or dependency proceedings;
(3) To the minor, the minor's parent, including those acting as a parent as defined in RCW 71.34.020 for purposes of family-initiated treatment, and the minor's attorney, subject to RCW 13.50.100;
(4) To the courts as necessary to administer chapter 71.34 RCW;
(5) To law enforcement officers or public health officers as necessary to carry out the responsibilities of their office. However, only the fact and date of admission, and the date of discharge, the name and address of the treatment provider, if any, and the last known address must be disclosed upon request;
(6) To law enforcement officers, public health officers, relatives, and other governmental law enforcement agencies, if a minor has escaped from custody, disappeared from an evaluation and treatment facility, violated conditions of a less restrictive treatment order, or failed to return from an authorized leave, and then only such information as may be necessary to provide for public safety or to assist in the apprehension of the minor. The officers are obligated to keep the information confidential in accordance with this chapter;
(7) To the secretary of social and health services and the director of the health care authority for assistance in data collection and program evaluation or research so long as the secretary or director, where applicable, adopts rules for the conduct of such evaluation and research. The rules must include, but need not be limited to, the requirement that all evaluators and researchers sign an oath of confidentiality substantially as follows:
"As a condition of conducting evaluation or research concerning persons who have received services from (fill in the facility, agency, or person) I, . . . . . ., agree not to divulge, publish, or otherwise make known to unauthorized persons or the public any information obtained in the course of such evaluation or research regarding minors who have received services in a manner such that the minor is identifiable.
I recognize that unauthorized release of confidential information may subject me to civil liability under state law.
/s/ . . . . . . ";
(8) To appropriate law enforcement agencies, upon request, all necessary and relevant information in the event of a crisis or emergent situation that poses a significant and imminent risk to the public. The mental health service agency or its employees are not civilly liable for the decision to disclose or not, so long as the decision was reached in good faith and without gross negligence;
(9) To appropriate law enforcement agencies and to a person, when the identity of the person is known to the public or private agency, whose health and safety has been threatened, or who is known to have been repeatedly harassed, by the patient. The person may designate a representative to receive the disclosure. The disclosure must be made by the professional person in charge of the public or private agency or his or her designee and must include the dates of admission, discharge, authorized or unauthorized absence from the agency's facility, and only any other information that is pertinent to the threat or harassment. The agency or its employees are not civilly liable for the decision to disclose or not, so long as the decision was reached in good faith and without gross negligence;
(10) To a minor's next of kin, attorney, guardian, or conservator, if any, the information that the minor is presently in the facility or that the minor is seriously physically ill and a statement evaluating the mental and physical condition of the minor as well as a statement of the probable duration of the minor's confinement;
(11) Upon the death of a minor, to the minor's next of kin;
(12) To a facility in which the minor resides or will reside;
(13) To law enforcement officers and to prosecuting attorneys as are necessary to enforce RCW 9.41.040(2)(a)(iv). The extent of information that may be released is limited as follows:
(a) Only the fact, place, and date of involuntary commitment, an official copy of any order or orders of commitment, and an official copy of any written or oral notice of ineligibility to possess a firearm that was provided to the person pursuant to RCW 9.41.047(1), must be disclosed upon request;
(b) The law enforcement and prosecuting attorneys may only release the information obtained to the person's attorney as required by court rule and to a jury or judge, if a jury is waived, that presides over any trial at which the person is charged with violating RCW 9.41.040(2)(a)(iv);
(c) Disclosure under this subsection is mandatory for the purposes of the federal health insurance portability and accountability act;
(14) This section may not be construed to prohibit the compilation and publication of statistical data for use by government or researchers under standards, including standards to assure maintenance of confidentiality, set forth by the director of the health care authority or the secretary of the department of social and health services, where applicable. The fact of admission and all information obtained pursuant to chapter 71.34 RCW are not admissible as evidence in any legal proceeding outside chapter 71.34 RCW, except guardianship or dependency, without the written consent of the minor or the minor's parent;
(15) For the purpose of a correctional facility participating in the postinstitutional medical assistance system supporting the expedited medical determinations and medical suspensions as provided in RCW 74.09.555 and 74.09.295;
(16) Pursuant to a lawful order of a court.


Short title2019 c 381: See note following RCW 71.34.500.
FindingsIntentEffective date2018 c 201: See notes following RCW 41.05.018.
Effective date2013 c 200: See note following RCW 70.02.010.
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