2009 California Penal Code - Section 1543-1545 :: Chapter 3.5. Disclosure Of Medical Records To Law Enforcement Agencies

PENAL CODE
SECTION 1543-1545

1543.  (a) Records of the identity, diagnosis, prognosis, or
treatment of any patient maintained by a health care facility which
are not privileged records required to be secured by the special
master procedure in Section 1524, or records required by law to be
confidential, shall only be disclosed to law enforcement agencies
pursuant to this section:
   (1) In accordance with the prior written consent of the patient;
or
   (2) If authorized by an appropriate order of a court of competent
jurisdiction in the county where the records are located, granted
after application showing good cause therefor. In assessing good
cause, the court:
   (A) Shall weigh the public interest and the need for disclosure
against the injury to the patient, to the physician-patient
relationship, and to the treatment services;
   (B) Shall determine that there is a reasonable likelihood that the
records in question will disclose material information or evidence
of substantial value in connection with the investigation or
prosecution; or
   (3) By a search warrant obtained pursuant to Section 1524.
   (b) The prohibitions of this section continue to apply to records
concerning any individual who has been a patient, irrespective of
whether or when he or she ceases to be a patient.
   (c) Except where an extraordinary order under Section 1544 is
granted or a search warrant is obtained pursuant to Section 1524, any
health care facility whose records are sought under this chapter
shall be notified of the application and afforded an opportunity to
appear and be heard thereon.
   (d) Both disclosure and dissemination of any information from the
records shall be limited under the terms of the order to assure that
no information will be unnecessarily disclosed and that dissemination
will be no wider than necessary.
   This chapter shall not apply to investigations of fraud in the
provision or receipt of Medi-Cal benefits, investigations of
insurance fraud performed by the Department of Insurance or the
California Highway Patrol, investigations of workers' compensation
insurance fraud performed by the Department of Corrections and
conducted by peace officers specified in paragraph (2) of subdivision
(d) of Section 830.2, and investigations and research regarding
occupational health and safety performed by or under agreement with
the Department of Industrial Relations. Access to medical records in
these investigations shall be governed by all laws in effect at the
time access is sought.
   (e) Nothing in this chapter shall prohibit disclosure by a medical
facility or medical provider of information contained in medical
records where disclosure to specific agencies is mandated by statutes
or regulations.
   (f) This chapter shall not be construed to authorize disclosure of
privileged records to law enforcement agencies by the procedure set
forth in this chapter, where the privileged records are required to
be secured by the special master procedure set forth in subdivision
(c) of Section 1524 or required by law to be confidential.

1544.  A law enforcement agency applying for disclosure of patient
records under Section 1543 may petition the court for an
extraordinary order delaying the notice of the application to the
health care facility required by subdivision (f) of Section 1543 for
a period of 30 days, upon a showing of good cause to believe that
notice would seriously impede the investigation.

1545.  For the purposes of this chapter:
   (a) "Health care facility" means any clinic, health dispensary, or
health facility, licensed pursuant to Division 2 (commencing with
Section 1200) of the Health and Safety Code, or any mental hospital,
drug abuse clinic, or detoxification center.
   (b) "Law enforcement agency" means the Attorney General of the
State of California, every district attorney, and every agency of the
State of California expressly authorized by statute to investigate
or prosecute law violators.


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