Code of the District of Columbia

§ 48–853.05. Confidentiality of data; disclosure of information; discretionary authority of the Director.

(a) All data, records, and reports relating to the prescribing and dispensing of covered substances to patients and any abstracts from such data, records, and reports that are in the possession of the Program pursuant to this chapter and any materials relating to the operation or safety of the Program shall be confidential and shall be exempt from disclosure based on requests made pursuant to subchapter II of Chapter 5 of Title 2 [§ 2-531 et seq.]. Information obtained pursuant to the Program may only be disclosed as provided in this chapter.

(b) Upon receiving a request for information in accordance with the Department’s regulations and in compliance with applicable District and federal laws and regulations, the Director shall disclose information relevant to:

(1) A specific investigation of a specific patient or of a specific dispenser or prescriber to an agent designated by the Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department to conduct drug diversion investigations;

(2) An investigation or inspection of or allegation of misconduct by a specific person licensed, certified, or registered by or an applicant for licensure, certification, or registration by a health occupations board or the Department;

(3) A disciplinary proceeding before a health occupations board or in any subsequent hearing, trial, or appeal of an action or board order to designated employees of the Department;

(4) The proceedings of any grand jury or additional grand jury that has been properly impaneled in accordance with § 11-1916; and

(5) A specific investigation of a specific patient or of a specific dispenser or prescriber to an agent of a federal law-enforcement agency with authority to conduct drug diversion investigations.

(c)(1) In accordance with the Department’s regulations and applicable federal law and regulations, the Director may, at the Director’s discretion, disclose:

(A) Information in the possession of the Program concerning a patient who is over the age of 18 years to that patient, or to the parent or legal guardian of a child aged 18 years or under, unless otherwise prohibited by District or federal law;

(B) Information on a specific patient to a prescriber for the purpose of establishing the treatment history of the specific patient when the patient is either under care and treatment by the prescriber or the prescriber is initiating treatment of the patient;

(C) Information on a specific patient to a dispenser for the purpose of establishing a prescription history to assist the dispenser in determining the validity of a prescription when the patient is seeking a covered substance from the dispenser or the facility in which the dispenser practices;

(D) Information relevant to an investigation or regulatory proceeding of a specific dispenser or prescriber to other regulatory authorities concerned with granting, limiting, or denying licenses, certificates, or registrations to practice a health profession when the regulatory authority licenses the dispenser or prescriber, or the dispenser or prescriber is seeking licensure by a regulatory authority;

(E) Information relevant to an investigation relating to a specific dispenser or prescriber who is a participating provider in the District Medicaid program, DC Health Care Alliance, or any other public health care program; information relating to an investigation relating to a specific patient who is currently eligible for and receiving, or who has been eligible for and has received medical assistance services; information relevant to the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Office of the Inspector General, or to designated employees of the Department of Health Care Finance, as appropriate;

(F) Information relevant to the determination of the cause of death of a specific patient to the designated employees of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner; and

(G) Information for the purpose of bona fide research or education to qualified personnel; provided, that:

(i) Data elements that would reasonably identify a specific patient, prescriber, or dispenser shall be deleted or redacted from the information before disclosure; and

(ii) Release of the information shall only be made pursuant to a written agreement between qualified personnel and the Director to ensure compliance with this chapter.

(2) For the purposes of a disclosure under paragraph (1)(B) or (C) of this subsection:

(A) The request shall be made and the information shall be provided in the manner specified by the Director through rulemaking; and

(B) Notice shall be given to patients that the information described in paragraph (1)(B) or (C) of this subsection, as applicable, may be requested by a prescriber or dispenser participating with the Program.

(d) Confidential information that has been received, maintained, or developed by a health occupations board or disclosed by the health occupations board pursuant to this chapter shall not be available for discovery or court subpoena or introduced into evidence in any medical malpractice suit or other action for damages arising out of the provision of or failure to provide services; provided, that this section shall not be construed to inhibit any investigation or prosecution conducted pursuant to this chapter.


(Feb. 22, 2014, D.C. Law 20-66, § 6, 61 DCR 7; Apr. 11, 2019, D.C. Law 22-288, § 401(c), 66 DCR 1656.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 48-853.02.