SD4 - Information Sharing Process Between Jails and Community Service Boards Pursuant to SB1644 (2019), (Chapter 685, 2019)

Executive Summary:

SB1644 (2019) required the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) to convene a work group to include representatives of the Office of the Attorney General, Community Services Boards (CSBs), local and regional jails, and such other stakeholders as it deems necessary to study the issue of and develop a plan for the sharing of protected health information of individuals with mental health treatment needs who have been confined to a local or regional jail in the Commonwealth and who have previously received mental health treatment from a Community Services Board or Behavioral Health Authority (BHA) in the Commonwealth. SB1644 specified that the plan shall include a mechanism for (i) determining if an individual confined in a local or regional jail has previously received treatment from a Community Services Board or Behavioral Health Authority in the Commonwealth and (ii) in cases in which such person has received such treatment, transferring protected health information related to such treatment from the identified Community Services Board to the sheriff or superintendent of the local or regional jail in which the person is confined. SB1644 required DBHDS to report by October 1, 2019, to the Governor and the General Assembly on (a) development of the plan, (b) the content of the plan, and (c) the steps necessary to implement the plan, including any statutory or regulatory changes and any appropriations.

DBHDS reviewed several possible strategies to create a statewide sharing system to include existing data sharing systems used by different entities, the procurement of a commercially available data sharing system, and the repurposing of an existing data matching system for the new purpose of identifying individuals in jails who have previously received services from CSBs. Each option had its own benefits and risks/limitations. A workgroup of subject matter experts was convened and it was decided a pilot of expansion of the use of an existing data matching system would be useful and could help guide the development of a future, robust data matching system. The pilot project would also allow DBHDS to identify the true costs and barriers of operating such a system. In order to create this pilot project, however, an infusion of both one-time and ongoing funds would be needed. One time funds of $144,000 and ongoing funds of $65,000 would be essential as DBHDS currently lacks the resources to support the development and operation of the proposed system. DBHDS also identified a legislative change that, regardless of whether or not the project is funded, would facilitate the sharing of prior treatment records with jails. The following report provides the framework for a plan for sharing Protected Health Information (PHI) of individuals with mental health treatment needs who are incarcerated in Virginia’s local and regional jails and who have received services from a Community Services Board or a Behavioral Health Authority.