TITLE 5
Businesses and Professions

CHAPTER 5-37.3
Confidentiality of Health Care Communications and Information Act

SECTION 5-37.3-6


§ 5-37.3-6 Court proceedings – Confidential health care communication.

(a) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, confidential health care communications shall not be subject to compulsory legal process in any type of judicial proceeding, and a patient or his or her authorized representative has the right to refuse to disclose, and to prevent a witness from disclosing, his or her confidential health care communications in any judicial proceedings.

(b) The exemption from compulsory legal process and the privilege provided in subsection (a) of this section does not apply:

(1) When an individual introduces his or her physical or mental condition, including, but not limited to, any allegation of mental anguish, mental suffering or similar condition, as an element of his or her claim or defense; provided, that a claim for damages or other relief for "pain and suffering" based solely on one's physical condition shall not be deemed to constitute the introduction of one's mental condition into issue and the exemption and privilege applies in that situation only to those portions of one's confidential health care information relating to mental condition;

(2) When, in a civil or criminal commitment proceeding, a physician, in the course of diagnosis, treatment, or medical evaluation of an individual, determines that an individual is in need of care and treatment in a hospital or any other health care facility which is deemed by the individual's physician to be appropriate for mental illness;

(3) When a court finds that an individual, after having been informed that the communications would not be privileged, has made communications to a psychiatrist in the course of a psychiatric examination ordered by the court; provided, that the communications shall be admissible only on issues involving the individual's mental condition;

(4) When, in any court proceeding, including an ex parte hearing, it is demonstrated on a prima facie basis to the court that the individual's physical or mental condition is of an imminent and serious danger to the physical or mental health of another person;

(5) When, in any action by a person pursuant to § 5-37.3-5(d), or in any policy action brought by an individual against his or her insurance carrier, or by the carrier against an insured, it is demonstrated to the court that the confidential health care information is relevant and material, that court may issue, in its discretion, an order compelling production of this information;

(6) When, in any court proceeding, civil or criminal, the issue arises as to the ingestion by an individual of intoxicating liquor, toluene, or any controlled substance as defined in chapter 28 of title 21, upon motion by any party to that proceeding, and it is demonstrated to the court that the confidential health care information is relevant and material, that court may issue, in its discretion, an order compelling production of that information, if any, which demonstrates the presence of alcohol in a concentration of one tenth of one percent (.1%) or more by weight or the presence of a controlled substance in that individual, as shown by a chemical analysis of a blood, breath, or urine sample, if this test was originally performed at the direction of a law enforcement official in accordance with § 31-27-2.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1978, ch. 297, § 1; P.L. 1985, ch. 395, § 1; P.L. 1996, ch. 248, § 2; P.L. 1996, ch. 266, § 2.)