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      RS 40:3.1     


§3.1. Confidentiality of public health investigations; prohibited disclosure and discovery; civil penalties

            A. All records of interviews, questionnaires, reports, statements, notes, and memoranda procured by and prepared by employees or agents of the office of public health or by any other person, agency, or organization acting jointly with that office, including public or private colleges and universities, in connection with special morbidity and mortality studies and research investigations to determine any cause or condition of health, and any documents, records, or other information produced or given to the state health officer in response to a court order issued pursuant to R.S. 40:8, hereinafter referred to as "confidential data", are confidential and shall be used solely for statistical, scientific, and medical research purposes relating to the cause or condition of health, or for the purposes of furthering an investigation pursuant to R.S. 40:8, except as otherwise provided in this Section.

            B. All confidential data shall be made available to the state health officer when necessary for the purpose of controlling nuisances dangerous to the public health, including but not limited to communicable, contagious, and infectious diseases, as well as illnesses, diseases, and genetic disorders or abnormalities.

            C. The office of public health shall promulgate rules and regulations in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act to specify the extent to which confidential data may be disclosed to other local, state, or federal public health or environmental agencies, or to corroborating medical researchers, when the confidential information is necessary to carry out the duties of the agency or researcher in the investigation, control, or surveillance of disease, as determined by the office of public health.

            D. Any disclosure authorized by Subsection C of this Section shall include only the information necessary for the stated purpose of the requested disclosure, and shall be made only upon written agreement that the information will be kept confidential and will not be further disclosed without written authorization of the office of public health.

            E. The furnishing of confidential data in accordance with this Section, including the furnishing or production of documents, records, or other information in good faith in compliance with a court order issued pursuant to R.S. 40:8, shall not expose any person, agency, or entity furnishing data to liability and shall not be considered to be the violation of any privileged or confidential relationship.

            F. No part of the confidential data in the possession of the office of public health or the state health officer shall be available for subpoena nor shall it be disclosed, discoverable, or compelled to be produced in any civil, criminal, administrative, or other proceeding, nor shall such records be deemed admissible as evidence in any civil, criminal, administrative, or other tribunal or court for any reason.

            G. Any person who intentionally discloses the content of any confidential data to any third party, except as authorized in this Section, shall be subject to a civil penalty in an amount not less than one thousand dollars and not more than five thousand dollars plus court costs, which shall be paid to the person whose record was unlawfully disclosed. Nothing in this Section shall prevent a person damaged by an unauthorized intentional disclosure from collecting civil damages to the extent of any actual damages suffered because of such a disclosure.

            H. Nothing in this Section shall prohibit the publishing by the office of public health of statistical compilations relating to morbidity and mortality studies which do not identify individual cases and sources of information or religious affiliations.

            Acts 1990, No. 59, §1, eff. July 26, 1990; Acts 1999, No. 667, §1; Acts 2018, No. 206, §4.

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