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J. Emergency Medical Services records

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  • Alabama

    There is no statutory or case law addressing this specific issue. However, an audio recording of a 911 telephone call may not be released to the public absent a court order finding that the right of the public to the release of the recording outweighs the privacy interests of the individual who made the 911 call or any person involved in the facts or circumstances relating to the 911 call. Ala. Code § 11-98-12.

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  • Alaska

    The Department of Health and Human Services is responsible for development, implementation, and maintenance of a statewide comprehensive emergency medical services (EMS) system. The DHSS is required to establish a format for data collection for a patient information system.  AS 18.08.015. The department may not acquire identifiable health information without complying with the provisions of AS 18.15.355--18.15.395 and regulations adopted under those statutes.  Also, the Department must acquire, use, disclose, and store identifiable health information in a confidential manner that safeguards the security of the information, and must expunge, in a confidential manner, information collected when the use of the information no longer furthers the public health purpose for which it is required.  AS 18.15.365.  A person who intentionally discloses identifiable health information in violation of this section is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.  Id. Patient information transmitted between health care providers and EMS providers in the course of providing emergency services to a sick or injured persons must be limited to those that are necessary for this purpose.  AS 18.08.087.  A person to whom confidential records are disclosed under this section may not further disclose the information to a person not legally entitled to receive that information.  Id.

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  • Arizona

    (This section is blank.)

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  • Arkansas

    Medical records are exempt from disclosure under the FOIA. Ark. Code Ann. § 25-19-105(b)(2). Ambulance and other EMS records that contain “specific information related to an individual’s diagnosis and treatment” are exempt. Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. No. 99-110; 2002-064. Ambulance logs and other records maintained by an agency providing emergency medical services should be examined on a case-by-case basis to determine whether they are exempt as medical records, or whether they can be produced with medical treatment or diagnosis information redacted. See Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. No. 99-110; 2002-064.

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  • California

    Generally exempt. No provider of health care shall disclose medical information regarding a patient without first obtaining authorization as required by statute. Cal. Civ. Code § 56.10; see also The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 ("HIPAA"), 42 U.S.C. § 1320d (governing use and disclosure by a covered entity of personally identifiable health care information relating to an individual). However, medical records of a tort claimant against a public agency are not exempt from disclosure because claimant by filing claim places alleged physical injuries and medical records substantiating them at issue. See Register Div. of Freedom Newspapers Inc. v. County of Orange, 158 Cal. App. 3d 893, 902, 205 Cal. Rptr. 92 (1984).

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  • Connecticut

    There are no specific provisions on this topic.

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  • Delaware

    State law strictly limits release of health information. See Lawson v. Meconi, 897 A.2d 740 (Del. 2006).

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  • District of Columbia

    The privacy exemption, § 2-534(a)(2), 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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  • Florida

    Section 401.30(4) of the Florida Statutes provides that “[r]ecords of emergency calls which contain patient examination or treatment information are confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1) and may not be disclosed without the consent of the person to whom they pertain, but appropriate limited disclosure may be made without such consent:

    (a) To the person’s guardian, to the next of kin if the person is deceased, or to a parent if the person is a minor;

    (b) To hospital personnel for use in conjunction with the treatment of the patient;

    (c) To the department;

    (d) To the service medical director;

    (e) For use in a critical incident stress debriefing.  Any such discussions during a critical incident stress debriefing shall be considered privileged communication under s. 90.503;

    (f) In any civil or criminal action, unless otherwise prohibited by law, upon the issuance of a subpoena from a court of competent jurisdiction and proper notice by the party seeking such records, to the patient or his or her legal representative; or

    (g) To a local trauma agency or a regional trauma agency, or a panel or committee assembled by such an agency to assist the agency in performing quality assurance activities in accordance with a plan approved under s. 395.401.  Records obtained under this paragraph are confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a) Art. I of the State Constitution.

    This subsection does not prohibit the department or a licensee from providing information to any law enforcement agency or any other regulatory agency responsible for the regulation or supervision of emergency medical services and personnel.”  Fla. Stat. § 401.30(4) (1999).

    An entity subject to Chapter 119 can ensure proper patient consent, including requiring a notarized signature, prior to disclosing records of emergency calls that contain patient, and other, confidential information though section 401.30(4) does not require notarization.  Lee Cty. v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 634 So. 2d 250, 250-51 (Fla. 2d DCA 1994).

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  • Georgia

    The Act exempts medical records, but that exemption does not justify non-disclosure of records relating to a public hospital’s ambulance service.  Griffin-Spalding Cty. Hosp. Auth. v. Radio Station WKEU, 240 Ga. 444, 241 S.E.2d 196 (1978) (permitting any medical history information in such records to be redacted).

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  • Hawaii

    Information relating to medical, psychiatric, or psychological history, diagnosis, condition, treatment, or evaluation, other than directory information while an individual is present at such a facility, is information in which an individual has a significant privacy interest and may be withheld pursuant to Section 92F-13(1) unless the public interest in disclosure outweighs the privacy interest. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 92F-14(b)(1).

    The OIP, however, has opined that 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 of hospital care and other medical records are generally exempt from disclosure, except to the extent that such records or information contained in those records are necessary for a background check on an individual that is required by federal law regulating the sale of firearms, guns or ammunition. Idaho Code § 74-106(13).

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  • Illinois

    Tapes of calls to emergency responders (911 calls) are not exempt from disclosure.  Again, privacy issues may allow some redaction.  2017 Op.Atty.Gen PAC opinion No. 17-011

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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).  See also Opinion of the Public Access counselor 17-PC-167 (2017) (concluding that 911 calls are generally disclosable public records).

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  • Iowa

    “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 (https://idph.iowa.gov/BETS/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

    911 tapes “qualify as a confidential communication” and are exempt from disclosure.”  Hill v. E. Baton Rouge Par. Dep't of Emergency Med. Servs., 925 So.2d 17, 21 (La.App. 1st Cir. 2005).

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  • Maine

    Emergency medical services records generally are confidential.  See 1 M.R.S.A. § 402(3)(H); 32 M.R.S.A § 91-B.

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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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  • Massachusetts

    “As a general rule, medical information [about an identifiable individual] will always be of a sufficiently personal nature to warrant exemption” under the privacy exemption. Guide to Mass. Pub. Recs. Law (Sec’y of State, rev. March 2009), at 11.

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  • Michigan

    Not specifically addressed.

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  • Minnesota

    Emergency Medical Services records are not specifically addressed under the Act.

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  • Mississippi

    If the records are maintained by public hospitals, they are exempt except the official minutes of the board of trustees and certain financial reports. § 41-9-68. Att’y Gen. No. 2009-160, May 1, 2009 to Sanders.

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  • Montana

    There are no statutory or decisional rules governing emergency medical services records, but because they generally contain private information, they are likely confidential.

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  • Nebraska

    No statutory or case law.

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  • New Hampshire

    Neither the Statute nor case law addresses this issue.

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  • New Jersey

    HIPPA prevents disclosure of certain medical information. To the extent any information in these records is exempted from disclosure by HIPPA, it is likewise exempted from the definition of “government record” under OPRA.

    See also, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1.1:

    A government record shall not include the following information which is deemed to be confidential for the purposes of P.L.1963, c. 73 (C.47:1A-1 et seq.) as amended and supplemented:

     

     

    any copy, reproduction or facsimile of any photograph, negative or print, including instant photographs and videotapes of the body, or any portion of the body, of a deceased person, taken by or for the medical examiner at the scene of death or in the course of a post mortem examination or autopsy made by or caused to be made by the medical examiner except:

     

    when used in a criminal action or proceeding in this State which relates to the death of that person,

     

    for the use as a court of this State permits, by order after good cause has been shown and after written notification of the request for the court order has been served at least five days before the order is made upon the county prosecutor for the county in which the post mortem examination or autopsy occurred,

     

    for use in the field of forensic pathology or for use in medical or scientific education or research, or

     

    for use by any law enforcement agency in this State or any other state or federal law enforcement agency;

    With respect to accident reports, N.J.S.A. 39:4-131 provides, in relevant part, that accident reports required to be forwarded by law enforcement officers and the information contained therein shall not be privileged or held confidential. Every citizen of this State shall have the right, during regular business hours and under supervision, to inspect and copy such reports and shall also have the right in person to purchase copies of the reports at the same fee established by section 6 of P.L.2001, c.404 (C.47:1A-5). If copies of reports are requested other than in person, an additional fee of up to $ 5.00 may be added to cover the administrative costs of the report. Upon request, a police department shall send an accident report to a person through the mail or via fax as defined in section 2 of P.L.1976, c.23 (C.19:59-2). The police department may require the person requesting the report to provide a completed request form and the appropriate fee prior to faxing or mailing the report. The police department shall provide the person requesting the report with the option of submitting the form and providing the appropriate fee either in person, through the mail, or via fax as defined in section 2 of P.L.1976, c.23 (C.19:59-2).

    The provisions of any other law or regulation to the contrary notwithstanding, reports obtained pursuant to this act shall not be subject to confidentiality requirements except as provided by section 28 of P.L.1960, c.52 (C.2A:84A-28).

    When a motor vehicle accident results in the death or incapacitation of the driver or any passenger, the law enforcement officer responsible for notifying the next of kin that their relative is deceased or incapacitated, also shall inform the relative, in writing, how to obtain a copy of the accident report required by this section and the name, address, and telephone number of the person storing the motor vehicle pursuant to section 1 of P.L.1964, c.81 (C.39:10A-1).

    Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1.1, victims’ records are not government records, except that a victim of a crime shall have access to the victim’s own records.

    Regarding victims, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1.1 contains the following definitions:

    "Victim's record" means an individually-identifiable file or document held by a victims' rights agency which pertains directly to a victim of a crime except that a victim of a crime shall have access to the victim's own records.
    "Victim of a crime" means a person who has suffered personal or psychological injury or death or incurs loss of or injury to personal or real property as a result of a crime, or if such a person is deceased or incapacitated, a member of that person's immediate family.

    “Victims’ rights agency” means a public agency, or part thereof, the primary responsibility of which is providing services, including but not limited to food, shelter, or clothing, medical, psychiatric, psychological or legal services or referrals, information and referral services, counseling and support services, or financial services to victims of crimes, including victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, violent crime, child endangerment, child abuse or child neglect, and the Victims of Crime Compensation Board, established pursuant to P.L.1971, c. 317 (C.52:4B-1 et seq.) and continued as the Victims of Crime Compensation Office pursuant to P.L.2007, c. 95 (C.52:4B-3.2 et al.) and Reorganization Plan No. 001-2008.

    Moreover, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-2.2:

    1. Notwithstanding the provisions of P.L.1963, c. 73 (C.47:1A-1 et seq.) or the provisions of any other law to the contrary, where it shall appear that a person who is convicted of any indictable offense under the laws of this State, any other state or the United States is seeking government records containing personal information pertaining to the person’s victim or the victim’s family, including but not limited to a victim’s home address, home telephone number, work or school address, work telephone number, social security account number, medical history or any other identifying information, the right of access provided for in P.L.1963, c. 73 (C.47:1A-1 et seq.) as amended and supplemented shall be denied.
    2. A government record containing personal identifying information which is protected under the provisions of this section may be released only if the information is necessary to assist in the defense of the requestor. A determination that the information is necessary to assist in the requestor’s defense shall be made by the court upon motion by the requestor or his representative.
    3. Notwithstanding the provisions of P.L.1963, c. 73 (C.47:1A-1 et seq.) as amended and supplemented, or any other law to the contrary, a custodian shall not comply with an anonymous request for a government record which is protected under the provisions of this section.

    N.J.A.C. 10A:22-2.1 provides:

    (a) Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 47:1A-2.2 , a person convicted of any indictable offense under the laws of this State, any other state or the United States shall be denied access to a government record if the record contains personal information pertaining to the person's victim(s) or family member(s) of a victim(s).

    (b) An exception to (a) above may be made only if a court, upon motion by the requester or his or her representative, has determined that the information is necessary to assist in the defense of the requester. The inmate or representative thereof shall submit the determination by the court to the custodian of records for review and release authorization determination.

    Additionally, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1.1 exempts from access:

    “emergency or security information or procedures for any buildings or facility which, if disclosed, would jeopardize security of the building or facility or persons therein;” and “security measures and surveillance techniques which, if disclosed, would create a risk to the safety of persons, property, electronic data or software.”

    See also, Gilleran v. Township of Bloomfield 227 N.J. 159 (2016) - Supreme Court of New Jersey determined that security camera footage of municipal parking lot was exempt from access under OPRA due to the two security exemptions in OPRA.

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  • New Mexico

    Individual medical information is not subject to disclosure.  NMSA 1978 § 14-2-1(A).  Beyond that, some "hospital reports" will be public.  See NMSA 1978 § 14-6-1, which has been identified as prohibition against releasing any "health information."  The statute, however, is ambiguous, and customarily hospitals give out the name of the patient and a general health status report.

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  • New York

    No law speaks directly on the issue, however portions of such records, such as those which identify to whom medical services were rendered, their ages and descriptions of their medical problems or conditions, could be withheld under N.Y. Pub. Off. Law § 87(2)(b) on ground that disclosure would constitute unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, for disclosure of name coupled with those details would represent personal and somewhat intimate event in individual’s life. Comm’n on Open Gov’t FOIL-AO-7532 (Jan. 21, 1993).

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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

    Unpublished names and telephone numbers generated by or provided to an emergency services communication system coordinator or public safety answering point are confidential. N.D.C.C. § 57-40.6-07(1). Published names and telephone numbers are exempt. N.D.C.C. § 57-40.6-07(2).

    Records which reveal personal information or the identity, address, or telephone number of a person requesting emergency service or reporting an emergency are exempt and may be redacted before being released. N.D.C.C. § 57-40.6-07(3). Additionally, the medical condition of an individual, medical treatment provided to an individual, and the name of an individual who received medical treatment from a public entity during an emergency medical response is an exempt record. N.D.C.C. § 44-04-18.22.

    An audio recording of a request for emergency services or of a report of an emergency is an exempt record; however, upon request, a person may listen to the audio recording, but may not copy or record the audio. N.D.C.C. § 57-40.6-07(4). A person may also request a written transcript of the audio recording, which must be provided to the person within a reasonable time. N.D.C.C. § 57-40.6-07(4).

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  • Ohio

    Emergency medical services records that are “medical records,” i.e., a record “that pertains to the medical history, diagnosis, prognosis, or medical condition of a patient and that is generated and maintained in the process of medical treatment” are not public records. Ohio Rev. Code § 149.43(A)(1)(a); State ex rel. Natl. Broad. Co. v. Cleveland, 82 Ohio App. 3d 202, 214, 611 N.E.2d 838, 845 (1992), cause dismissed sub nom. State ex rel. Natl. Broad., Inc. v. Cleveland, 66 Ohio St. 3d 1428, 608 N.E.2d 758 (1993). When an emergency run sheet pertains to a deceased individual, it is not a “medical record,” and is subject to disclosure absent another exemption. Id.

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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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  • Pennsylvania

    Aside from “time response logs,” emergency medical service records are exempt from disclosure.  See 65 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 67.708(b)(18)(i); Cty. of York v. Pa. Office of Open Records, 13 A.3d 594 (Pa. Cmmw. 2011) (ruling that address information was not exempt from disclosure).

    The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”) required that regulations be adopted concerning the disclosure of protected health information. HIPAA protects all “individually identifiable information” from disclosure without the release of the patient. 45 C.F.R. § 160.103. De-identified health information may be disclosed. 45 C.F.R. §§ 164.502 and 164.514. Identifiable health information may be disclosed without a patient release in limited situations. 45 C.F.R. § 164.502(a)(1). In general, state laws that are contrary to the HIPAA privacy rule are preempted by the federal requirements. 45 C.F.R. § 160.203.

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  • South Carolina

    To the extent such records would be construed medical records they would be exempted from the definition of a public record and thus not responsive to a valid SC FOIA request.  S.C. Code Ann. § 30-4-20(c). Audio of the final statements of a dying victim in a call to 911 emergency services may be exempted and withheld from disclosure unless the privacy interest is waived by the deceased's next of kin. S.C. Code Ann. § 30-4-40(a)(2).

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  • South Dakota

    Presumably closed as medical records.  SDCL 1-27-1.5(2).  See also SDCL 1-27-1.5(17).

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  • Tennessee

    Records related to 911 calls are public, but there are several statutes protecting medical information generally.

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  • Texas

    Texas Health & Safety Code § 773.091 makes records created and maintained by EMS personnel confidential, and exempt from disclosure under Section 552.101 of the Act, except for 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.”  See also Tex. Att’y Gen. Op. 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. § 7059(c); see also 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

    If the holder of information requested under the FOIA falls within the Act's definition of  "public body," its records would be accessible to the public unless it is covered by a statutory exemption. No West Virginia statute, rule or case law addresses disclosure of emergency medical services records. Possible exemptions that might be claimed for emergency medical services records include the personal privacy and the law enforcement exemptions. W. Va. Code §  29B-1-4(a)(2) and (4).

    Under the provisions of the Local Emergency Telephone System statute, the West Virginia Legislature has found that “information pertaining to numbers of customers and revenues collected by CMRS [commercial mobile radio service] providers is obtained and maintained in a competitive environment and that information pertaining to the providers' subscribers could be used to the disadvantage of the participating CMRS provider[.]” W. Va. Code § 24-6-11. Accordingly, the legislature has exempted proprietary “information provided by the public service commission and any county or enhanced 911 program” from disclosure under the West Virginia Freedom of Information Act. Id.

    While “calls for emergency service to a county answering point are not confidential[,] [a]ll calls for emergency service reporting alleged criminal conduct which are recorded electronically, in writing or in any other form are to be kept confidential by the county answering point receiving the call and may be released only pursuant to an order entered by a court of competent jurisdiction, a valid subpoena or through the course of discovery in a criminal action requiring the release of the information[.]” W. Va. Code § 24-6-13. However, the county answering point may release “information to a responding agency as may be necessary for that agency's response on a call or the completion of necessary reports relating to that call.” Id.

    All calls made to the mine safety anonymous tip hotline are confidential and not subject to the provisions of the West Virginia Freedom of Information Act. W. Va. Code § 15-5B-6.

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  • Wisconsin

    Most emergency service medical records are considered confidential health care records. Wis. Stat. § 256.15(12)(a). However, an ambulance service provider may make available some basic information concerning an event, including the date, time, location, and reason for the ambulance dispatch, and the name, age, and gender of the patient. Wis. Stat. § 256.15(12)(b).

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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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