Welfare and Institutions Code – WIC § 9724

Notwithstanding Part 2.6 (commencing with Section 56 ) of Division 1 of the Civil Code, in order for the office to carry out its responsibilities under this chapter, the office shall have access to the medical or personal records of a patient or resident of a long-term care facility that are retained by the facility, under the following conditions:

(a) If the patient or resident has the ability to write, access may only be obtained by the written consent of the patient or resident.

(b) If the patient or resident is unable to write, oral consent may be given in the presence of a third party as witness.

(c) If the patient or resident is under a California guardianship or conservatorship of the person that provides the guardian or conservator with the authority to approve review of records, the office shall obtain the permission of the guardian or conservator for review of the records, unless any of the following apply:

(1) The existence of the guardianship or conservatorship is unknown to the office or the facility.

(2) The guardian or conservator cannot be reached within three working days.

(3) The office has reason to believe the guardian or conservator is not acting in the best interests of the ward or the conservatee.

(d) If the patient or resident is unable to express written or oral consent and there is no guardian, conservator, or legal representative, or the notification of the guardian, conservator, or legal representative is not applicable for reasons set forth in subdivision (c), inspection of records may be made by ombudsmen when there is sufficient cause for the inspection.  The licensee may, at his or her discretion, permit other representatives of the office to inspect records in the performance of their official duties.  Copies may be reproduced by the office.  The licensee and facility personnel who disclose records pursuant to this subdivision shall not be liable for the disclosure.  If investigation of records is sought pursuant to this subdivision, the ombudsman shall, upon request, produce a statement signed by the ombudsman coordinator authorizing the ombudsman to review the records.

(e) Facilities providing copies of records pursuant to this section may charge the actual copying cost for each page copied.

(f) Upon request by the office, a long-term care facility shall provide to the office, within 24 hours, the name, address, and telephone number of the conservator, legal representative, or next-of-kin of any patient or resident.