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University Compliance Office

DSS Summary

Summary of PHI Releases to DSS and/or Foster Parents

If the Department of Social Services (DSS) requests protected health information:

  1. Request identification from DSS; 
  2. Request documentation of DSS’s legal custody of the child.  Two methods DSS is given legal custody: 
    1. Emergency Protective Custody (EPC) usually only given for 72 hours; or 
    2. Court order. 
  3. If legal custody given to DSS, may release protected health information about the child for purpose of the investigation (adhere to minimum necessary requirement).  Request DSS to provide verification that the request for the child’s protected health information is for the purpose of an investigation; 
  4. Additional information or information about the child’s parent(s) requires an authorization, court order, or when appropriate, a subpoena; and 
  5. Record these releases/disclosures in the accounting of disclosures (release of information tracking system). 

If a foster parent requests protected health information:

  1. Verify the child is under the legal custody of DSS by: 
    1. Request a copy of the child’s current Medicaid card (card issued within the last 30 days); or 
    2. Request a copy of the child’s Medical Passport (DSS is planning on using Medical Passports in lieu of Medicaid cards around the June 2004 timeframe). 
  2. Protected health information released to the foster parent can only consist of the minimum necessary information for continued treatment (i.e. discharge instructions, prescriptions, etc.).  For other additional information, refer the foster parent to the DSS caseworker.  Do not provide any foster parent with a copy of the child’s past protected health information (medical record); and 
  3. Record these releases/disclosures in the accounting of disclosures (release of information tracking system). 

If a Guardian Ad Lituem (the GAL is a representative of the court) requests protected health information:

  1. Instruct the Guardian Ad Lituem to contact DSS directly and obtain requested information from DSS; 
  2. May provide the requested protected health information if the Guardian Ad Lituem presents: 
    1. An authorization [signed by the legal guardian (may be DSS)]; or  
    2. Court order. 
  3. Record these releases/disclosures in the accounting of disclosures (release of information tracking system). 

Additional comments:

  1. If DSS is given legal custody of the child, DSS has the right to control access to the child’s protective health information. 
  2. Release only the minimum necessary information to DSS for the purposes of an investigation.  Do not release the parent’s protected health information without the parent’s authorization, a court order, or when appropriate, a subpoena. 
 
 
 

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