DHHS Home Page NC DHHS On-Line Manuals  
     DHHS Manual Home Manual Admin Letters Change Notices Archive Search Index Help Feedback

Confidentiality

Previous PageTable of Contents Next Page

NC DIVISION OF SERVICES FOR THE BLIND POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION


Section:

C

Title:

Confidentiality

Current Effective Date:

04/08

Revision History:

Revised 05/87; 07/99; 02/02; 02/08


Combined: Policy and Procedures

GENERAL PROVISIONS

INDIVIDUAL RECORDS

REQUESTS FOR INFORMATION

RELEASE OF CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION WITH THE CONSENT OF THE INDIVIDUAL

The individual may request and consent in writing to the release of confidential information to the individual, parent, guardian, or representative or other individual, agency, or organization. The following shall apply to all such releases:

RELEASE OF CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION WITHOUT THE CONSENT OF THE INDIVIDUAL

SUBPOENAS

An employee who receives a subpoena shall contact the Assistant Director of Programs and Facilities or the Chief of Rehabilitation Field Services. A subpoena is either an order to (1) appear and testify at trial or at a deposition, or an order to (2) produce documents (a subpoena duces tecum) at trial or a deposition. The subpoena itself does not obviate or overrule the confidentiality regulations dealing with individual records; therefore, individual confidentiality may be invoked when questions are asked about confidential individual information. This is applicable to either (1) testimony or production documents at trial, or (2) testimony at a deposition. In the case of the former, the judge would decide on the spot whether to order the testimony or production. If an employee is so ordered, he or she would be required to testify or produce the documents. In the case of the latter, interposing individual confidentiality would require the party to obtain a court order compelling the requested testimony.

However, unless an objection to inspection is made in apt time, Rule 45(d) (1) of both the Federal and State Rules of Civil Procedure requires that the documents be produced and permitted to be inspected and copied. Upon receipt of a subpoena for the production of individual information at a deposition, and absent consent of the individual, written objection to the production of documents should be served on the attorneys or such other person designated in the subpoena. The written objection to production must be served "... within 10 days of the service (of the subpoena on the employee, either by personal service or by registered or certified mail) or on or before the time specified in the subpoena for compliance if such time is less than 10 days after service..."

The written objection to production of documents should read as follows:

"Pursuant to Rule 45(d)(1) of the North Carolina Rules of Civil , Procedure (Federal Rules of Civil Procedure) should be substituted if the action is filed in Federal court), the Division of Services for the Blind, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, and the undersigned employee thereof, object to the inspection or copying of the documents designated in the subpoena directed thereto on the grounds that the documents are confidential pursuant to 34 C.F.R. 361.38(e)(4)."

Upon service of the written objection, the employee is relieved of the duty to produce the documents. Thereafter, the burden is on the party issuing the subpoena to obtain a court order to compel production, but only after notice is given to the deponent (employee). The order may be obtained at any time before or during the taking of the deposition. In the vast majority of cases, attorneys are cooperative and generally obtain the proper consent and thereby obviate the need for a judicial order.

DISABILITY DETERMINATION SECTION

Regulations of the Social Security Disability Insurance Beneficiaries and Supplemental Security Income program authorize the disclosure of information about the claimant by the Disability Determination Section and the Social Security Administration. Likewise, the regulations authorize the Agency to disclose, individual information to these parties for the purpose of disability determination, which includes the appeals process when claimants are denied benefits. During the application process for these benefits, the claimant authorizes the Disability Determination Section and the Social Security Administration to collect any medical records or other information about his disability from physicians, hospitals, agencies, or other organization. This signed release by the individual meets the requirements set forth in the Agency policy, and authorizes the Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, when requested by the Disability Determination Section or the Social Security Administration, to forward copies of medical records or other information about the individual's disability for the purposes of disability determination.

Previous PageTop Of Page Next Page



  For questions or clarification on any of the policy contained in these manuals, please contact the local district office.  


     DHHS Manual Home Manual Admin Letters Change Notices Archive Search Index Help Feedback