Marchman Act
Marchman Act
Marchman Act

Right to Confidentiality of Individual Records

Marchman Act
  • The records of service providers which pertain to the identity, diagnosis, and prognosis of and service provision to any individual are confidential in accordance with this chapter and with applicable federal confidentiality regulations and are exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution. Such records may not be disclosed without the written consent of the individual to whom they pertain except that appropriate disclosure may be made without such consent: 1. To medical personnel in a medical emergency. 2. To service provider personnel if such personnel need to know the information in order to carry out duties relating to the provision of services to an individual. 3. To the secretary of the department or the secretary’s designee, for purposes of scientific research, in accordance with federal confidentiality regulations, but only upon agreement in writing that the individual’s name and other identifying information will not be disclosed. 4. In the course of review of service provider records by persons who are performing an audit or evaluation on behalf of any federal, state, or local government agency, or third-party payor providing financial assistance or reimbursement to the service provider; however, reports produced as a result of such audit or evaluation may not disclose names or other identifying information and must be in accordance with federal confidentiality regulations. 5. Upon court order based on application showing good cause for disclosure. In determining whether there is good cause for disclosure, the court shall examine whether the public interest and the need for disclosure outweigh the potential injury to the individual, to the service provider and the individual, and to the service provider itself.
  • The restrictions on disclosure and use in this section do not apply to communications from provider personnel to law enforcement officers which: 1. Are directly related to an individual’s commission of a crime on the premises of the provider or against provider personnel or to a threat to commit such a crime and, 2. Are limited to the circumstances of the incident, including the status of the individual committing or threatening to commit the crime, that individual’s name and address, and that individual’s last known whereabouts.
  • The restrictions on disclosure and use in this section do not apply to the reporting of incidents of suspected child abuse and neglect to the appropriate state or local authorities as required by law. However, such restrictions continue to apply to the original substance abuse records maintained by the provider, including their disclosure and use for civil or criminal proceedings which may arise out of the report of suspected child abuse and neglect.
  • Any answer to a request for a disclosure of individual records which is not permissible under this section or under the appropriate federal regulations must be made in a way that will not affirmatively reveal that an identified individual has been, or is being diagnosed or treated for substance abuse. The regulations do not restrict a disclosure that an identified individual is not and has never received services.
  • 1. Since a minor acting alone has the legal capacity to voluntarily apply for and obtain substance abuse treatment, any written consent for disclosure may be given only by the minor. This restriction includes, but is not limited to, any disclosure of identifying information to the parent, legal guardian, or custodian of a minor for the purpose of obtaining financial reimbursement. 2. When the consent of a parent, legal guardian, or custodian is required under this chapter in order for a minor to obtain substance abuse treatment, any written consent for disclosure must be given by both the minor and the parent, legal guardian, or custodian.
  • An order of a court of competent jurisdiction authorizing disclosure and use of confidential information is a unique kind of court order. Its only purpose is to authorize a disclosure or use of identifying information which would otherwise be prohibited by this section. Such an order does not compel disclosure. A subpoena or a similar legal mandate must be issued in order to compel disclosure. This mandate may be entered at the same time as, and accompany, an authorizing court order entered under this section.
  • An order authorizing the disclosure of an individual’s records may be applied for by any person having a legally recognized interest in the disclosure which is sought. The application may be filed separately or as part of a pending civil action in which it appears that the individual’s records are needed to provide evidence. An application must use a fictitious name, such as John Doe or Jane Doe, to refer to any individual and may not contain or otherwise disclose any identifying information unless the individual is the applicant or has given a written consent to disclosure or the court has ordered the record of the proceeding sealed from public scrutiny.
  • The individual and the person holding the records from whom disclosure is sought must be given adequate notice in a manner which will not disclose identifying information to other persons, and an opportunity to file a written response to the application, or to appear in person, for the limited purpose of providing evidence on the statutory and regulatory criteria for the issuance of the court order.
  • Any oral argument, review of evidence, or hearing on the application must be held in the judge’s chambers or in some manner which ensures that identifying information is not disclosed to anyone other than a party to the proceeding, the individual, or the person holding the record, unless the individual requests an open hearing. The proceeding may include an examination by the judge of the records referred to in the application.
  • A court may authorize the disclosure and use of records for the purpose of conducting a criminal investigation or prosecution of an individual only if the court finds that all of the following criteria are met: 1. The crime involved is extremely serious, such as one which causes or directly threatens loss of life or serious bodily injury, including but not limited to homicide, sexual assault, sexual battery, kidnapping, armed robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, and child abuse and neglect. 2. There is reasonable likelihood that the records will disclose information of substantial value in the investigation or prosecution. 3. Other ways of obtaining the information are not available or would not be effective. 4. The potential injury to the individual, to the physician-individual relationship, and to the ability of the program to provide services to other individuals is outweighed by the public interest and the need for the disclosure.

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