Posted on Jul 18, 1995 in Formal Opinions

Opinion Letter No. 95-16
July 18, 1995
UIPA Exceptions to Disclosure Do Not Create Privileges

[OIP Op. Ltr. No. 05-03 partially overrules this opinion to the extent that it states or implies that the UIPA’s privacy exception in section 92F-13(1), HRS, either prohibits public disclosure or mandates confidentiality.]

The OIP opined that the UIPA’s exceptions to disclosure do not afford a basis to object to discovery requests under the Hawaii Rules of Civil Procedure (“HRCP”). Because the UIPA and HRCP are separate bodies of law that apply to different situations, exceptions to disclosure and discovery are not interchangeable.

Thus, an agency that receives a clerk-issued subpoena for medical records is not required to file written objections to production unless the records are protected by (1) privileges the HRCP recognizes; (2) specific confidentiality statutes; or (3) statutes which specifically recognize discovery privileges for government records. But because disclosure of a person’s medical records might violate his/her constitutional privacy right absent his/her consent or court-ordered disclosure, an agency receiving a clerk-issued subpoena should make reasonable attempts to notify the person affected which allows them to seek the appropriate judicial relief or protection under the HRCP.

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