63-354    Release of Information

 

Table of Contents

 

 

Section

General

354.1

Authorized Disclosure List

354.2

Public Administrator

354.3

Research Organizations/Graduate Students

354.4

Applicant/Recipient Consent Required

354.5

 X

 

63-354.1
General

This section does not prohibit the release of information to other public agencies to the extent required for the administration of public social service programs.  The worker will record in the case comments all requests for information and the disposition of the request.

 

63-354.2
Authorized Disclosure List

Confidentiality information may only be released, without the consent of the applicant/recipient, for purposes directly connected with the administration of public social services programs, except as specified in Section 63-353 “Law Enforcement Officials.”

Authorized Disclosure List

In addition to Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) staff of this County and other counties or states, the following agencies and/or persons are authorized to receive or exchange confidential information. This list is not intended to be complete and/or result in the automatic disclosure of information to persons or agencies on the list. The list will provide a quick reference of persons and agencies most frequently making authorized inquiries.

·  Auditor and Controller (County, State and Federal)

·  County Counsel (except for investigations of worker’s compensation claims or other questionable situations). If in doubt as to the propriety of releasing any program information, contact the unit supervisor at the Public Assistance Information Unit.

·  Department of Social Services (County, State, Federal)

·  Department of Health Services (County, State, Federal)

·  Hospital Billing Analysis, Inc. (under 7/91 contract with DHS)

·  United Behavioral Health (UBH)

·  District Attorney (PAFD, Bureau of Child Support Enforcement, Welfare Employee Fraud Prosecutions, Child Support Prosecutions only)

·  Employment Development Department (EDD)

·  Mental Health Services (County or County Contractor)

·  Social Security Administration (SSA)

·  Voluntary Refugee Agencies (VOLAGS and Central Intake Unit)

·  Juvenile Probation Department (for billings on AFDC Foster care cases)

·  Grand Jury

·  Revenue and Recovery

·  Housing Authorities (County, State, or Federal Government)

·  Welfare to Work Contracted Employment Services

NOTE: If in doubt as to the propriety of releasing any program specific information, contact HHSA Eligibility Operations CalFresh.

 

63-354.3
Public Administrator

In San Diego County, the Public Administrator is the Indigent Burial Officer and operates the Indigent Burial Program as an agent of HHSA. CalFresh records are not to be released to the Public Administrator without the consent of the applicant/recipient.

If all members of the household are deceased, CalFresh records cannot be released.

 

63-254.4
Research Organizations/
Graduate Students

Before access to case records can be granted, research organizations or graduate students conducting research for thesis or term paper must submit information regarding the project to HHSA Eligibility Operations CalFresh to resolve confidentiality issues and provide policy and procedures to programs regarding the release of information.

 

63-354.5
Applicant/
Recipient
Consent Required

Information contained in applications or other documents made and/or kept by HHSA may be released to the applicant/recipient or his/her authorized representative subject to the following conditions:

·      The applicant/recipient has authorized the release of the information, and

·      The information was provided solely by the applicant/recipient, or the applicant/recipient authorized HHSA to obtain the information (bank verifications, CSV verifications, income verifications, etc.

Note: All authorizations must be in writing with the exception of telephone authorization (see below).

A.  Written Authorization

Written authorization to release confidential information must be signed and dated by the applicant/recipient and must be received by the worker prior to release of the information. The authorization does not have to specify the exact information to be released. A general release is sufficient. However, the worker will comply with limits on information to be shared if the authorization identifies only specific items.

·      The authorization may be faxed to the worker.  If faxed, no follow-up hard copy is required.

·      The authorization expires one year from the date signed unless expressly limited to a shorter period.

·      The applicant/recipient may revoke the authorization at any time.

·      To use the authorization, the representative must first be positively identified and documented in the case comments.

B.  Telephone Authorization

Telephone authorization may be accepted in lieu of written authorization when circumstances ensure that the applicant/recipient has positively identified himself/herself to the County. Acceptable items of identification may include:

·         Case number; or

·         Driver’s license number; or

·         Social Security Number; or

·         Mother’s maiden name.

A telephone authorization is temporary and acceptable for one-time contacts. If the applicant/recipient wishes to authorize release for a longer period of time, a written authorization is required.  The applicant/recipient’s verbal agreement to provide a written authorization must be documented in the case comments and no additional information may be released until a written authorization is received, or the applicant/recipient provides further verbal authorizations for each release.

C. Written Authorization Obtained by Designated Agencies

The following agencies routinely obtain an applicant/recipient authorization to request information pertaining to a case. When these agencies request HHSA case information, the worker will positively identify the agency representative, ask if a release of information authorization is in the agency file, and narrate in the HHSA case comments the agency representatives name and that a release is on file with the agency. A copy of the release of information from the following agencies does not have to be in the HHSA case file:

·  Institute for Collaborative Partnerships Family Service Advocates (FSA) (formerly New Beginnings) routinely obtains an authorization to request information when they begin working with a family. The release is kept in the family’s FSA file.

·  Legal Aid representatives routinely obtain an authorization to request information when working with a client. The authorization is kept in the client file at Legal Aid.