70.225.030  <<  70.225.040 >>   70.225.045

Confidentiality and exemption from disclosure of prescription monitoring program informationProceduresImmunity when acting in good faith.

*** CHANGE IN 2020 *** (SEE 2378-S.SL) ***
(1) All information submitted to the prescription monitoring program is confidential, exempt from public inspection, copying, and disclosure under chapter 42.56 RCW, not subject to subpoena or discovery in any civil action, and protected under federal health care information privacy requirements, except as provided in subsections (3) through (6) of this section. Such confidentiality and exemption from disclosure continues whenever information from the prescription monitoring program is provided to a requestor under subsection (3), (4), (5), or (6) of this section except when used in proceedings specifically authorized in subsection (3), (4), or (5) of this section.
(2) The department must maintain procedures to ensure that the privacy and confidentiality of all information collected, recorded, transmitted, and maintained including, but not limited to, the prescriber, requestor, dispenser, patient, and persons who received prescriptions from dispensers, is not disclosed to persons except as in subsections (3) through (6) of this section.
(3) The department may provide data in the prescription monitoring program to the following persons:
(a) Persons authorized to prescribe or dispense controlled substances or legend drugs, for the purpose of providing medical or pharmaceutical care for their patients;
(b) An individual who requests the individual's own prescription monitoring information;
(c) A health professional licensing, certification, or regulatory agency or entity in this or another jurisdiction. Consistent with current practice, the data provided may be used in legal proceedings concerning the license;
(d) Appropriate law enforcement or prosecutorial officials, including local, state, and federal officials and officials of federally recognized tribes, who are engaged in a bona fide specific investigation involving a designated person;
(e) The director or the director's designee within the health care authority regarding medicaid recipients and members of the health care authority self-funded or self-insured health plans;
(f) The director or director's designee within the department of labor and industries regarding workers' compensation claimants;
(g) The director or the director's designee within the department of corrections regarding offenders committed to the department of corrections;
(h) Other entities under grand jury subpoena or court order;
(i) Personnel of the department for purposes of:
(i) Assessing prescribing and treatment practices and morbidity and mortality related to use of controlled substances and developing and implementing initiatives to protect the public health including, but not limited to, initiatives to address opioid use disorder;
(ii) Providing quality improvement feedback to prescribers, including comparison of their respective data to aggregate data for prescribers with the same type of license and same specialty; and
(iii) Administration and enforcement of this chapter or chapter 69.50 RCW;
(j) Personnel of a test site that meet the standards under RCW 70.225.070 pursuant to an agreement between the test site and a person identified in (a) of this subsection to provide assistance in determining which medications are being used by an identified patient who is under the care of that person;
(k) A health care facility or entity for the purpose of providing medical or pharmaceutical care to the patients of the facility or entity, or for quality improvement purposes if the facility or entity is licensed by the department or is licensed or certified under chapter 71.24, 71.34, or 71.05 RCW or is an entity deemed for purposes of chapter 71.24 RCW to meet state minimum standards as a result of accreditation by a recognized behavioral health accrediting body, or is operated by the federal government or a federally recognized Indian tribe;
(l) A health care provider group of five or more prescribers or dispensers for purposes of providing medical or pharmaceutical care to the patients of the provider group, or for quality improvement purposes if all the prescribers or dispensers in the provider group are licensed by the department or the provider group is operated by the federal government or a federally recognized Indian tribe;
(m) The local health officer of a local health jurisdiction for the purposes of patient follow-up and care coordination following a controlled substance overdose event. For the purposes of this subsection "local health officer" has the same meaning as in RCW 70.05.010; and
(n) The coordinated care electronic tracking program developed in response to section 213, chapter 7, Laws of 2012 2nd sp. sess., commonly referred to as the seven best practices in emergency medicine, for the purposes of providing:
(i) Prescription monitoring program data to emergency department personnel when the patient registers in the emergency department; and
(ii) Notice to local health officers who have made opioid-related overdose a notifiable condition under RCW 70.05.070 as authorized by rules adopted under RCW 43.20.050, providers, appropriate care coordination staff, and prescribers listed in the patient's prescription monitoring program record that the patient has experienced a controlled substance overdose event. The department shall determine the content and format of the notice in consultation with the Washington state hospital association, Washington state medical association, and Washington state health care authority, and the notice may be modified as necessary to reflect current needs and best practices.
(4) The department shall, on at least a quarterly basis, and pursuant to a schedule determined by the department, provide a facility or entity identified under subsection (3)(k) of this section or a provider group identified under subsection (3)(l) of this section with facility or entity and individual prescriber information if the facility, entity, or provider group:
(a) Uses the information only for internal quality improvement and individual prescriber quality improvement feedback purposes and does not use the information as the sole basis for any medical staff sanction or adverse employment action; and
(b) Provides to the department a standardized list of current prescribers of the facility, entity, or provider group. The specific facility, entity, or provider group information provided pursuant to this subsection and the requirements under this subsection must be determined by the department in consultation with the Washington state hospital association, Washington state medical association, and Washington state health care authority, and may be modified as necessary to reflect current needs and best practices.
(5)(a) The department may publish or provide data to public or private entities for statistical, research, or educational purposes after removing information that could be used directly or indirectly to identify individual patients, requestors, dispensers, prescribers, and persons who received prescriptions from dispensers. Direct and indirect patient identifiers may be provided for research that has been approved by the Washington state institutional review board and by the department through a data-sharing agreement.
(b)(i) The department may provide dispenser and prescriber data and data that includes indirect patient identifiers to the Washington state hospital association for use solely in connection with its coordinated quality improvement program maintained under RCW 43.70.510 after entering into a data use agreement as specified in RCW 43.70.052(8) with the association. The department may provide dispenser and prescriber data and data that includes indirect patient identifiers to the Washington state medical association for use solely in connection with its coordinated quality improvement program maintained under RCW 43.70.510 after entering into a data use agreement with the association.
(ii) The department may provide data including direct and indirect patient identifiers to the department of social and health services office of research and data analysis, the department of labor and industries, and the health care authority for research that has been approved by the Washington state institutional review board and, with a data-sharing agreement approved by the department, for public health purposes to improve the prevention or treatment of substance use disorders.
(iii) The department may provide a prescriber feedback report to the largest health professional association representing each of the prescribing professions. The health professional associations must distribute the feedback report to prescribers engaged in the professions represented by the associations for quality improvement purposes, so long as the reports contain no direct patient identifiers that could be used to identify individual patients, dispensers, and persons who received prescriptions from dispensers, and the association enters into a written data-sharing agreement with the department. However, reports may include indirect patient identifiers as agreed to by the department and the association in a written data-sharing agreement.
(c) For the purposes of this subsection:
(i) "Indirect patient identifiers" means data that may include: Hospital or provider identifiers, a five-digit zip code, county, state, and country of resident; dates that include month and year; age in years; and race and ethnicity; but does not include the patient's first name; middle name; last name; social security number; control or medical record number; zip code plus four digits; dates that include day, month, and year; or admission and discharge date in combination; and
(ii) "Prescribing professions" include:
(A) Allopathic physicians and physician assistants;
(B) Osteopathic physicians and physician assistants;
(C) Podiatric physicians;
(D) Dentists; and
(E) Advanced registered nurse practitioners.
(6) The department may enter into agreements to exchange prescription monitoring program data with established prescription monitoring programs in other jurisdictions. Under these agreements, the department may share prescription monitoring system data containing direct and indirect patient identifiers with other jurisdictions through a clearinghouse or prescription monitoring program data exchange that meets federal health care information privacy requirements. Data the department receives from other jurisdictions must be retained, used, protected, and destroyed as provided by the agreements to the extent consistent with the laws in this state.
(7) Persons authorized in subsections (3) through (6) of this section to receive data in the prescription monitoring program from the department, acting in good faith, are immune from any civil, criminal, disciplinary, or administrative liability that might otherwise be incurred or imposed for acting under this chapter.

NOTES:

Declaration2019 c 314: See note following RCW 18.22.810.
FindingsIntent2017 c 297: See note following RCW 18.22.800.
Effective dateFindingsIntentReportAgency transferReferences to head of health care authorityDraft legislation2011 1st sp.s. c 15: See notes following RCW 74.09.010.
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