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SC Data Oversight Council

III. Release of Confidential Data

Confidential data will only be released if a mandate has been established by statutory law. Confidential data elements for inpatient hospitalizations, emergency room visits, observation stays, ambulatory surgery, services requiring a Certificate of Need and home health visits include, but are not limited to, patient name and address (except as otherwise provided herein) and patient zip-code (digits 6-9).

A. Release of Data to Entities as Required by Law

If an entity obtains statutory authority for the release of restricted and/or confidential data elements, that entity must submit to the RFA:

  1. Written statutory evidence indicating entitlement of access to the data and
  2. A copy of or citation of the statute(s) and/or regulation(s) that requires the entity to maintain the confidentiality and security of the data that satisfy the intent of Section 44-6-170, or
  3. If statutory and/or regulatory requirements for the maintenance of the confidentiality and security of the data do not exist or do not satisfy the intent of Section 44-6-170, as amended, Code of Laws of South Carolina, 1976 and in Final Regulations, Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office, Chapter 19, Statutory Authority: 1976 Code Section 44-6-170, Article 9, “Data Release For Medical Encounter Data & Financial Reports,” all persons (including staff, subcontractors and committees) with access to the data will be required to sign a confidentiality contract supplied by the RFA. These contracts shall be available upon request by the RFA.

Statutory law must mandate release of confidential data elements for follow-back investigations. The DOC encourages entities performing follow-back investigations with confidential data to adopt the DOC’s policies for follow-back investigations.

The RFA recognizes that DHEC has a public health responsibility based on legal authority that requires the receipt and use of data maintained by the RFA. Therefore, the RFA will provide data for DHEC’s surveillance activities and epidemiological investigations, as required by law.

State agencies and other organizations that have a mandate established by statutory law to access these data will be provided technical assistance for linking data sets and will be encouraged to use the RFA for data set linkages.