1.5 - Confidentiality

1.5.1 - Confidentiality

The following information relating to patients and persons requesting services shall be treated as confidential:

  1. Names and addresses individually or by list.
  2. Information contained in reports of medical examinations and treatments.
  3. Information about financial resources.
  4. Information contained in registers, in case records, correspondence, any forms or notations obtained from or about the individual and family concerning his/her condition or circumstances, including all such information whether or not it is recorded.
  5. Records of state and local health department evaluations of such information.

All staff working the BMCH programs must complete the Employee Confidentiality & Compliance Agreement for Programs, to assure that all information is treated with confidentiality. A copy of the document is shown below and an be requested by the department.

1.5.2 - Consent to Release Information

Agencies are expected to obtain signed consent or refusal of the following forms:

  1. Agencies are expected to obtain signed consent or refusal of the following forms:
    1. Release of Information (ROI) form,
    2. HIPAA Privacy Rule form, and
    3. Cornerstone Informed Consent Form from all participants.
  2. Information shall be kept confidential and shall not be divulged except as follows:
    1. Confidential information may be released only with the guardian or client's consent to agencies, institutions or individuals who are requested to provide maternal and child health services to the guardian, or client as a part of the program of the state agency.
    2. Confidential information may be released to other state or federal agencies having as their purpose the health and welfare of the mother or child for whom the client or guardian, on their behalf, has requested services. In these circumstances, the information may be released on if adequate assurances are given that:
      1. The confidential character of the information will be preserved;
      2. The confidential information will be used only for the purpose for which it is made available;
      3. Such proposals are reasonably related to the purposes of the program of the state or local agency and the functioning of the other agencies or programs; and
      4. The standards of protection established by the other agencies or programs to which the confidential information is made available are at least equal to those established by the state or local health department.
    3. When a signed consent form is received from the client, confidential information must be released to the Department to evaluate the effectiveness of prenatal care, to conduct research to reduce infant and maternal morbidity and mortality, and to assist the Department in the allocation of resources. For clients who consent to collection of such data, the grantee will solely retain all identifying information of the clients (name, address, social security number, phone number) and provide code numbers to the Department in place of such information. The grantee will destroy the consent forms after the Department has completed its review of the data. That consent form will include:
      1. The name of the person signing the form
      2. The name and address of the client
      3. A statement of consent to release information for the purposes stated in this section
      4. A protection against release beyond the Illinois Department of Human Services.
    4. Information may be disclosed in summary, statistical or other form, which does not make it possible to identify any particular individual.

1.5.3 - Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect

  1. MCH Agencies are required to cooperate with investigations conducted pursuant to the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act 325 ILCS 5/1 and are conferred immunity by Section 9 of alleged child abuse.
    1. The cooperation required extends to DCFS
    2. State Police, and designated local law enforcement agencies.
  2. There may also be instances in which State of local child protection services contact the local agency for information which might substantiate allegations of child abuse made by a third party, e.g. information on a child's appearance, abnormal interaction between a child and parent, information on missed appointments or a child's medical records. Such requests may be separate and distinct from any responsibility that the state or local agency might have under state law to report instance of child abuse. Therefore, the general disclosure policy shall apply to these requests.
  3. Local agency staff should refer to state or local agency legal counsel to identify a legal imperative to respond e.g. a subpoena that cannot or should not, in the counsel's opinion, be contested or a perceived need to comply with the request in order to avoid any legal liability for possible consequences to the child or failure to provide the requested information.