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13. Emergency medical services records

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  • Alaska

    While many records relating to emergency management services provided by various government agencies are presumptively available pursuant to the general provisions of the Public Records Act, there are significant restrictions on availability of such records arising from the1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act ("HIPAA"), Pub. L. No. 104-191, 110 Stat. 1936 (1996) (codified as amended in scattered sections of 42 U.S.C. and 29 U.S.C.); note also that AS 40.25.120(a)(3) exempts “medical and related public health records.”

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  • Arizona

    With some exceptions, information, records, and data pertaining to the administration or evaluation of the Arizona emergency medical services system or trauma system are open to the public.  A.R.S. § 36-2220(A).  Prehospital incident history reports also are available to the public provided confidential or other protected information is removed.  A.R.S. § 36-2220(C).  But medical records or other records containing personally identifiable information may not be released unless required by law or pursuant to authorization.  A.R.S. §§ 36-2220(A)(1), (B).

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  • California

    The investigatory records exemption of Section 6254(f) of the CPRA does not specifically apply to emergency medical services records. Thus, they would not fall within the exemption for investigatory files unless the records specifically relate to a criminal investigation (and thus properly belong in the investigatory file) and the likelihood of enforcement has ripened into something that is concrete and definite. See Williams v. Superior Court, 5 Cal. 4th 337, 356, 19 Cal. Rptr. 2d 882, 852 P.2d 377 (1993) (discussing investigatory files exemption). The constitutional right to privacy would apply to most individually identifying medical records, including emergency services records.

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  • Delaware

    Not specified.

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  • District of Columbia

    The Act does not specifically address emergency medical services records.  The privacy exemption in § 2-534(a)(2), however, may apply.  See Padou v. District of Columbia, 29 A.3d 973, 982-83 (D.C. 2011) (holding that the Department of Mental health sustained its burden of defending its decision to withhold information that could expose the identities of individuals in mental health treatment, because "the substantial privacy interest of the mentally ill…in protecting themselves from the continuing stigma of mental illness in our society outweighs the public interest…to know what the government is up to.")

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  • Hawaii

    An ambulance report about a deceased individual must be made available for public inspection. Ambulance Report About Deceased Individual, OIP Op. Ltr. No. 91-33 (Dec. 31, 1991).

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  • Idaho

    Records and information contained in the trauma registry created by chapter 20, title 57, Idaho Code, together with any reports, analyses and compilations created from such information and records is exempt from disclosure under the Act.  Idaho Code § 74-106(23).   Moreover, records of hospital care and medical care records of individuals are specifically exempt.  Idaho Code § 74-106(13).

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  • Illinois

    Probably closed as personal information the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.  See 5 ILCS 140/7(1)(c)

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  • Indiana

    There is no specific provision relating to emergency medical services records in the Access to Public Records Act. However, Indiana Code Section 16-31-2-11 governs the accessibility of emergency medical service records. Any pre-hospital ambulance rescue or record that an emergency ambulance service employing paramedics or emergency medical technicians uses or compiles is generally confidential. However, certain information within these record is public: the date and time of the request for ambulance services; the reason for the request for assistance; the time and nature of the response to the request for ambulance services; the time of arrival at the scene where the patient was located; the time of departure from the scene where the patient was located; and the name of the facility, if any, to which the patient was delivered for further treatment and the time of arrival at that facility. Id. § 16-31-2-11(d).

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  • Iowa

    Generally confidential pursuant to Iowa Code § 22.7(2).  “Iowa Trauma Patient Data Dictionary” and the “Iowa EMS Patient Registry Data Dictionary” are available through the Iowa Department of is available through the Iowa Department of Public Health, Bureau of Emergency Medical Services, Lucas State Office Building, Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0075, or the bureau of EMS Web site (www.idph.state.ia.us/ems).

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  • Kansas

    Not specifically addressed.

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  • Kentucky

    Generally open, subject to the personal privacy exemption of Ky. Rev. Stat. 61.878(1)(a) and assuming that the agency meets the definition of a public agency under Ky. Rev. Stat. 61.870(1). However, Ky. Rev. Stat. 311A.190(5) provides “[a]mbulance provider and medical first response provider run report forms and the information transmitted electronically to the board shall be confidential. No person shall make an unauthorized release of information on an ambulance run report form or medical first response run report form.”

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  • Louisiana

    One Court of Appeal has held that tapes of calls to 911 requesting emergency medical assistance were exempt as being “privileged communications between a health care provider and a patient.” Hill v. East Baton Rouge Parish Dept. of Emergency, 925 So.2d 17 (La.App. 1st Cir. 2005), writ denied, 927 So.2d 311 (La. 2006).

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  • Maine

    Medical records and reports of municipal ambulance, rescue, and other emergency units are not available.  1 M.R.S.A. § 402(3)(H).  However, these records are available upon request to law enforcement officers investigating criminal conduct.  Id.

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  • Maryland

    Medical information, including the symptoms or condition of an individual recorded during a call to 911 to dispatch emergency personnel is protected. 90 Opinions of the Attorney General 45 (2005).

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  • Montana

    Generally private and not accessible unless the demands of individual privacy do not clearly exceed the merits of public disclosure.

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  • Nebraska

    There is no law on point.

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  • Nevada

    See Donrey of Nevada, Inc. v. Bradshaw, 106 Nev. 630 (1990).

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  • New Hampshire

    Neither the Statute nor case law addresses this issue.

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  • New Mexico

    Health information relating to and identifying specific individuals is confidential and is not available to the public “even though the information is in the custody of or contained in the records of a governmental agency.”  NMSA 1978 § 14-6-1.

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  • North Carolina

    EMS records are not specifically addressed by statute but should generally be public under the broad definition of public records. However, North Carolina EMS departments increasingly are withholding information pursuant to HIPAA.

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  • North Dakota

    Please see the discussion of 911 records.

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  • Ohio

    Emergency medical services records may be exempt as medical records.  Ohio Rev. Code § 149.43(A)(3); see § 149.43(A)(1)(a).  However, to be exempt, the record must be maintained or generated in the process of medical treatment. Therefore, a patient care report generated by an emergency medical service squad did not qualify where the squad found the victim dead when it arrived, and thus provided no medical treatment. State ex rel. Ware v. City of Cleveland, 55 Ohio App. 3d 75, 562 N.E.2d 946 (1989).

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  • Oklahoma

    While there has been no direct case on point, EMSA has provided records in response to requests made under the Oklahoma Open Records Act.  EMSA is a public trust authority subject to the Act.

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  • Oregon

    ORS 192.345(2) (ORS 192.502(2)) exempts information of a personal nature, including but not limited to the type of information kept in a personal, medical or similar file, if public disclosure of the information would constitute an “unreasonable invasion of privacy.” See also ORS 192.398. Program data concerning emergency medical technicians is regulated by ORS 41.685.

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  • Rhode Island

    There is no statutory or case law addressing this issue. In practice, these records are treated like medical records in that the requester needs a medical authorization form to obtain them.

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  • South Carolina

    Identities of patients and emergency medical technicians in emergency medical records must be confidential pursuant to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA); however, SC FOIA provides that the remedy for protected information is redaction not the withholding of an entire record.  S.C. Code Ann. § 30-4-40(b).

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  • South Dakota

    Uncertain, but likely closed. SDCL §§1-27-1.5(2) and (5).

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  • Tennessee

    Generally treated the same as non-emergency records, which are generally closed.

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  • Texas

    Personal information regarding patients attended by emergency medical services personnel may not be accessed, as such information is made confidential by the Health and Safety Code and Transportation Code. Butler v. State, No. 14-00-01186-CR, 2003 WL 253296, at *7 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] Feb. 6, 2003, no pet.). Information regarding the presence, nature of injury or illness, age, sex, occupation, and city of residence of a patient who is receiving emergency medical services may be released. See Tex. Att’y Gen. OR2017-28782.

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  • Utah

    GRAMA classifies as private “records containing data on individuals describing medical history, diagnosis, condition, treatment, evaluation, or similar medical data.” Utah Code § 63G-2-302(1)(b).

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  • Vermont

    Not specifically addressed. However, Vermont directly prohibits disclosure of “[i]nformation relating to customer name, address, and any other specific customer information collected, organized, acquired, or held by” the entity operating a public safety answering point or administering the Enhanced 911 database.  30 V.S.A. § 7055(b). This type of information in the hands of an emergency service provider is not public information and is exempt from disclosure under 1 V.S.A. chapter 5, subchapter 3.” 30 V.S.A. § 7059(c).

    Further, “[a]ll persons receiving confidential information . . .  shall use it solely for the purposes of providing emergency 911 services, and shall not disclose such confidential information for any other purpose.” 30 V.S.A. § 7055(b).

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  • Virginia

    Patient information submitted to the State Health Commissioner and other persons under the statewide EMS plan is confidential.  Va. Code Ann. § 32.1-116.2.

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  • Washington

    No specific statute or case law. Likely subject to the exemption for health care information, which is exempt except for certain directory information. RCW 42.56.360(2).

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  • West Virginia

    (This section is blank. See the point above.)

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  • Wyoming

    Currently, emergency medical services claim that public access to their records are prohibited by HIPAA.  The claim has not yet been litigated.

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