Title 40.1
Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals

Chapter 5
Mental Health Law

R.I. Gen. Laws § 40.1-5-26

§ 40.1-5-26. Disclosure of confidential information and records.

(a) The fact of admission or certification, and all information and records compiled, obtained, or maintained in the course of providing services to persons under this chapter, shall be confidential.

(b) Information and records may be disclosed only:

(1) To any person, with the written consent of the patient, or his or her guardian.

(2) In communications among qualified medical or mental health professionals in the provision of services or appropriate referrals, or in the course of court proceedings. The consent of the patient, or his or her guardian, must be obtained before information or records may be disclosed by a professional person employed by a facility to a professional person not employed by the facility who does not have the medical responsibility for the patient’s care.

(3) When the person receiving services, or his or her guardian, designates persons to whom information or records may be released, or if the person is a minor, when his or her parents or guardian make the designation.

(4) To the extent necessary for a recipient to make a claim, or for a claim to be made on behalf of a recipient, for aid, insurance, or medical assistance to which he or she may be entitled.

(5) To proper medical authorities for the purpose of providing emergency medical treatment where the person’s life or health are in immediate jeopardy.

(6) For program evaluation and/or research, provided that the director adopts rules for the conduct of the evaluations and/or research. The rules shall include, but need not be limited to, the requirement that all evaluators and researchers must sign an oath of confidentiality, agreeing not to divulge, publish, or otherwise make known, to unauthorized persons or the public, any information obtained in the course of the evaluation or research regarding persons who have received services such that the person who received the services is identifiable.

(7) To the courts, and persons designated by judges thereof, in accordance with applicable rules of procedure. The records and files maintained in any court proceeding pursuant to this chapter shall be confidential and available only to the person who was the subject of the proceeding, or his or her attorney.

(8) To the state medical examiner in connection with the investigation of a fatality of a current or former patient to the extent necessary to assist the medical examiner in determining the cause of death.

(9) To the director of health in accordance with, and to the extent authorized by, the provisions of chapter 37.3 of title 5 and all applicable federal laws and regulations; provided, however, that with respect to any information obtained, the department complies with all state and federal confidentiality laws, including, but not limited to, chapter 37.3 of title 5 and specifically § 5-37.3-4(c), and that the name, or names, of the patient, or patients, who is or are determined by the director of health to be immaterial to the request, inquiry, or investigation remain unidentifiable. Any treatment facility that provides information to the director of health in accord with a request under this subsection is not liable for wrongful disclosure arising out of any subsequent disclosure by the director of health.

(10) To a probate court of competent jurisdiction, petitioner, respondent, and/or their attorneys, when the information is contained within a decision-making assessment tool that conforms to the provisions of § 33-15-47.

(11) To the department of children, youth and families and/or the department’s contracted designee for the purpose of facilitating effective care planning pursuant to § 42-72-5.2(2) and in accordance with applicable state and federal laws, for a child hospitalized for psychiatric services and such services are paid for in whole or in part by the state, or for a child who may be discharged from an acute-care facility to an out-of-home mental or behavioral health agency for services and when such services will be paid for in whole or in part by the state.

(12) To the RIte Care health plans for any child enrolled in RIte Care.

(13) To the NICS database for firearms disqualifying information provided that only individual identifying information required by § 40.1-5-8(l) is submitted.

History of Section.
P.L. 1974, ch. 119, § 1; P.L. 1976, ch. 215, § 1; P.L. 1988, ch. 351, § 1; P.L. 1999, ch. 158, § 1; P.L. 1999, ch. 368, § 1; P.L. 2000, ch. 352, § 1; P.L. 2004, ch. 314, § 2; P.L. 2005, ch. 400, § 2; P.L. 2010, ch. 23, art. 14, § 1; P.L. 2014, ch. 423, § 2; P.L. 2014, ch. 455, § 2.