Subpoenas and Testimony Policy

Policy: Subpoenas and Testimony 

Policy Number: 203 Policy Section: Compliance
Owner: Cynthia Grant Approved By: Paul Vogelman, COO
Effective Date: 3/7/2022 Date of Last Review: 3/23/2023

 

SUD Specialty Group -- CA; Mental Health Specialty Group, P.A.; Mental Health Specialty Group NJ, PC; and Mental Health Specialty Group KS, P.A. (collectively, the "Group") contracts with Path CCM, Inc. d/b/a Rula Health ("Rula") for management and administrative support services. This policy applies to the Group and Rula.

 

Policy Statement

This policy outlines consistency for accepting and responding to subpoenas, court orders and other legal actions related to patient’s service and care.

 

Applicability

This policy applies to Group team members as well as Rula team members who are responsible for documenting and/or making entries in patient’s health records. For purposes of this policy, the Group and Rula team members include individuals who would be considered part of the workforce such as employees, independent contractors, business team members, and other persons whose work performance is under the direct purview of Rula’s business practices.

Definitions

Court Order: a legal document issued by a court of law or judicial officer

 

Subpoena: A type of court order which commands an appearance in a legal proceeding, such as deposition, hearing or trial, to give testimony and/or to produce documents or materials, and which designates the date, time, and place of appearance. For the purposes of this policy, subpoenas include subpoenas duces tecum which is a subpoena that always includes a request for the production of certain documents or materials; it may or may not include a command for testimony.

 

Qualified Protective Order: An order of a court or an agreement by the parties to the litigation or administrative proceeding and on file with the court or that prohibits the parties from using or disclosing PHI for purposes other than the litigations or preceding for which the information was requested and sets requirements for the disposition of this information at the end of the proceedings. 

 

Motion to Quash: is a request to a court to render a previous decision or proceeding null or invalid

 

Policy

  1. Providers will abide by the regulations set forth in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). In addition, there are certain limits to the release of information related to alcohol and other substance use that are regulated by 42 CFR Part 2. 
  2. Nothing in this policy shall be interpreted to authorize testimony or the release of information that violates the confidentiality of any patient, HIPAA, 42 CFR Part 2, or any licensing requirements. 
  3. When a subpoena is received, it must be immediately forwarded to the Privacy Officer. Additionally, the Privacy Officer will determine if satisfactory assurances have been met or if release of information for the release of PHI and testimony are needed. 
    1. Satisfactory assurances are met when one of the following occurs: 
      1. The individual that is the subject of the PHI has been given notice of the request - this assurance must be received in writing and include
        1. A good faith attempt to provide written notice to the individual 
        2. The notice included sufficient information about the litigation or proceeding in which the PHI is requested to permit the individual to raise an objection to the court or administrative tribunal 
        3. The time for the individual to raise an objection has passed and no objection was filed or all objections have been resolved.  
      2. Reasonable efforts have been made to secure a qualified protective order that has been filed with the court. 
      3. The individual that is the subject of the PHI has completed a valid Rula Release of Information for records release and testimony. 
    2. In the absence of satisfactory assurances, reasonable efforts may be made to provide notice to the individual to meet the requirements of HIPAA or seek a qualified protective order. 
  4. An attempt to submit a motion to quash the subpoena may be made.
  5. Prior to testifying and releasing PHI, team members are encouraged to review their residing state’s law, regulations, and licensing requirements related to providing testimony, including obtaining an Authorization for Release of Information in order to testify. 
  6. It is the responsibility of the team member to notify the patient and the patient’s attorney of record of any court fees or expert testimony fees charged. 
  7. A reasonable fee may be charged for the release of records pursuant to a subpoena. 
    1. Health Information Management is responsible for gathering and sending the patient’s records that are part of the Designated Record Set pursuant to a subpoena. 
    2. The subpoena will become part of the designated record set and a disclosure log will be completed if the subpoena requires records to be submitted.
  8. If a team member is contacted regarding any type of investigation (including the Department of Human Services), other court order or directive, the team member will immediately contact the Compliance Officer and not engage in communication about the investigation until directed.  
  9. Team members do not witness legal documents for patients, including but not limited to: power of attorney, guardianship, Advance Directives, or other personal/legal documents for patients. 


Attachments: None.

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