Florida Senate - 2011 SB 1192 By Senator Rich 34-00603A-11 20111192__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to public records; amending s. 3 1004.55, F.S.; providing an exemption from public 4 records requirements for all records that relate to a 5 client of a regional autism center, the client’s 6 family, or a teacher or other professional who 7 receives the services of a center or participates in 8 center activities; providing for release of specified 9 confidential and exempt information by a center under 10 certain circumstances; providing for review and repeal 11 of the exemption; providing a statement of public 12 necessity; providing an effective date. 13 14 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 15 16 Section 1. Subsection (6) is added to section 1004.55, 17 Florida Statutes, to read: 18 1004.55 Regional autism centers; public-records exemption.— 19 (6)(a)1. All records that relate to a client of a regional 20 autism center, the client’s family, or a teacher or other 21 professional who receives the services of a center or 22 participates in center activities are confidential and exempt 23 from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State 24 Constitution. 25 2. A client who receives the services of a center, if 26 competent, or the client’s parent or legal guardian if the 27 client is incompetent shall be provided with a copy of the 28 client’s individual records upon request. 29 (b) A regional autism center may release records or 30 information contained in records made confidential and exempt 31 under paragraph (a) as follows: 32 1. Records may be released to physicians, attorneys, and 33 governmental entities having need of the record to aid a client, 34 as authorized by the client, if competent, or the client’s 35 parent or legal guardian if the client is incompetent. 36 2. Records shall be produced in response to a subpoena or 37 released to persons authorized by order of court. 38 3. A record or any part thereof that is abstracted in such 39 a way as to remove any personally identifiable information may 40 be disclosed to a qualified researcher, the State Board of 41 Education, or the Florida Board of Governors when the director 42 of the center deems it necessary for the treatment of the 43 client, maintenance of adequate records, compilation of 44 treatment data, or evaluation of programs. 45 4. Information from the records may be used for statistical 46 and research purposes by the director of the center or designee; 47 provided, however, that any personally identifiable information 48 is removed in the reporting of such statistical or research 49 data. 50 (c) This subsection is subject to the Open Government 51 Sunset Review Act in accordance with s. 119.15 and shall stand 52 repealed on October 2, 2016, unless reviewed and saved from 53 repeal through reenactment by the Legislature. 54 Section 2. The Legislature finds that it is a public 55 necessity that all records that relate to a client of a regional 56 autism center, the client’s family, or a teacher or other 57 professional who receives the services of a center or 58 participates in center activities be held confidential and 59 exempt from public-records requirements. Matters of personal 60 health are traditionally private and confidential concerns 61 between the patient and the health care provider. The private 62 and confidential nature of personal health matters pervades both 63 the public and private health care sectors. For these reasons, 64 the individual’s expectation of and right to privacy in all 65 matters regarding his or her personal health necessitates this 66 exemption. The Legislature further finds that it is a public 67 necessity to protect records regarding clients of a regional 68 autism center, the client’s family, or a teacher or other 69 professional who receives the services of a center or 70 participates in center activities because the release of such 71 records could be defamatory to the client or could cause 72 unwarranted damage to the name or reputation of that client or 73 the client’s family. Information contained in records and 74 communications of a regional autism center relating to the 75 condition of autism or related disorders contains sensitive 76 personal information that, if released, could cause harm to a 77 client of the center or his or her family. Protecting such 78 records and the identity of a teacher or professional who 79 receives the services of a center or participates in center 80 activities ensures an environment in which the discussion of the 81 condition of autism or related disorders can be conducted in a 82 free and open manner, thus enabling individuals with autism and 83 their families to receive appropriate diagnostic and treatment 84 information and cope more effectively with the enormous 85 challenges posed by neurodevelopmental disorders and sensory 86 impairments. 87 Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2011.