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Library: Policy

340:5-1-5. Confidentiality

Revised 9-15-21

(a) All records related to Adult Protective Services (APS) cases are confidential, per Sections 10-110 and 10-110.1 of Title 43A of the Oklahoma Statutes (43A O.S. §§ 10-110 and 10-110.1), and may be disclosed only by court order except under the circumstances described in (b) through (h) of this Section.  Representatives of the general public, news media, or agencies not meeting one of the exceptions in (c) of this Section who request details on a specific case are referred to APS Oklahoma Human Services (OKDHS) State Office staff or to the OKDHS Office of Communications for a detailed explanation of OKDHS confidentiality rules.  • 1

(b) When making contacts as part of the investigation or service planning process, the APS specialist may disclose information necessary to ensure that the vulnerable adult is protected and the vulnerable adult's needs are met.

(c) Certain persons acting in an official capacity with regard to the vulnerable adult may review or receive information from the entire case record, including the:

(1) district attorney or district attorney staff;

(2) attorney representing the person who is the subject of an involuntary services action;

(3) attorney representing the vulnerable adult, who is not the subject of involuntary services;

(4) staff from:

(A) an Oklahoma law enforcement agency;

(B) a law enforcement agency of another state;

(C) a state Medical Examiner's Office;

(D) a law enforcement agency of a federally recognized tribe in Oklahoma; or

(E) a federal law enforcement agency;

(5) staff of another state's APS program;

(6) physical or mental health care professionals involved in the evaluation or treatment of the vulnerable adult; and

(7) OKDHS staff who use the information to provide services to the client.  • 2

(d) Any agency or person authorized by OKDHS to provide services to a vulnerable adult may receive a summary of information necessary to secure or provide appropriate care for the vulnerable adult.

(e) The vulnerable adult's caretaker, legal guardian, and next of kin may receive summaries of information from an APS case record.  • 3

(f) Some information from APS records may be released to employees or contractors of the State for research purposes, upon application to and approval by the OKDHS Institutional Research Board.  While OKDHS offices may release statistical information, no specific case information is released for research purposes unless approval is received from APS State Office.

(g) When the person responsible for the care of a vulnerable adult has been charged by information or was indicted with committing a crime resulting in the death or near death of a vulnerable adult, there is a presumption that it is in the best interest of the public to disclose relevant information, per 43A O.S. § 10-110.1.  • 4

(h) When federal law specifically prohibits the disclosure of any of the information required by this subsection, that information is excluded from the disclosed information. • 5

INSTRUCTIONS TO STAFF 340:5-1-5

Revised 9-15-21

1. To maintain the highest degree of confidentiality, Adult Protective Services (APS) records are kept secured.

2. Oklahoma Human Services staff who request records to evaluate eligibility, complete an investigation, or assist with placement approval are granted access to APS records.

3. Pre-formatted letters available in the APS Computer System may be downloaded and used as the summary.

4. (a) When an APS specialist has a case in which a person responsible for the care of a vulnerable adult is charged with committing a crime resulting in the death or near-death of a vulnerable adult, the APS specialist immediately notifies his or her supervisor.  The supervisor notifies the district director and APS State Office.

(b) The APS State Office and Legal Services determine the information for release.

5. Example:  disclosing medical information prohibited by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) of 1996 as it relates to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).  The court must order the release of such information.

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