If the Mental Health Task Force does recommend making investigation reports open to the public, it will likely consider how other state departments handle sensitive information. Health Department officials handle a number of investigation reports in a number of ways. David Durbin is the director of the Division of Regulation and Licensure at the Department of Health and Senior Services. Drubin is also a member of the Mental Health Task Force. Durbin explains that state lawmakers, not department officials, decide which records are open and which are closed. State law requires reports on investigations of long-term care facilities be open. Those facilities, most notably nursing homes, are not the same, but are similar to the Mental Health Department’s habilitation centers. There are some similarities in population. The Health Department has licensed facilities for Missourians 60-years-old and older. Missourians between the ages of 18 and 59 also can be eligible for such care if they have a disability, again, not the same as those treated in habilitation centers, but similar. Investigations of community based health care are closed, except to certain officials and to the person involved or their legal guardian. Durbin notes investigations of in-home service providers are generally closed, unless the department determines disclosure is necessary to prevent further abuse, neglect, misappropriation of funds, or falsification of any documents verifying service delivery to an in-home service client. Even if records are made public, confidential information is kept secret.
Related web sites:
Mental Health Task Force