Governor Deval Patrick's Budget Recommendation - House 2 Fiscal Year 2013

Governor's Budget Recommendation FY 2013

Outside Section 6



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Improve Services to Children, Youth and Families

SECTION 6.   (A) Chapter 6A of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 16F the following section:-

Section 16F 1/2. (a) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the executive office of health and human services, or departments within the executive office designated by the secretary may, subject to appropriation, develop and implement activities to improve services provided by the commonwealth for children, youth and their families and the delivery of those services. Subject to the approval of the secretary, these activities may include, but may not be limited to, implementing recommendations developed by the Children, Youth and Families Advisory Committee, including those related to improving coordination and integration among the commonwealth's child-serving agencies, data sharing and other activities to improve access to services, customer service, care coordination, and accountability for child outcomes.

(b) For the purpose of improving services provided by the commonwealth to children, youth and families and the delivery of those services and notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, including but not limited to any privilege created by statute or common law relating to confidential communications, each agency or other entity within the executive office, including but not limited to any department, commission, office, board, division, or institution, shall, as directed by the secretary, disclose to the executive office and other agency or entity within the executive office data and information, including personally identifiable information, as defined under relevant federal law, and personal data, as defined in chapter 66A, about individuals who have applied for or are receiving benefits or services from any agency or entity within the executive office. The purpose of any such disclosure and subsequent use shall be limited to: (1) identifying individuals receiving benefits or services from more than 1 agency or entity within the executive office, (2) coordinating or managing the programs, benefits, or services in human services agencies available to or received by those individuals, and (3) creating and maintaining a non-duplicative client identifier system across all agencies and entities within the executive office.

Personally identifiable information as defined under relevant federal law, and personal data as defined in chapter 66A, shall be used and disclosed pursuant to this section only to the extent reasonably necessary to achieve the purposes stated in this section. This personal data shall not constitute a public record and shall not be disclosed outside the executive office and its agencies and entities except as otherwise permitted or required by law. This subsection may be implemented only to the extent consistent with federal law. The executive office shall adopt additional regulations as necessary to effectuate the purposes of this section, and where necessary under federal law, the regulations shall require that parental consent be obtained.

(c) (1) For the purpose of improving educational opportunities for children and students receiving services from agencies within the executive office of health and human services by making more effective use of data, the executive office of health and human services and the executive office of education shall, after consulting the applicable agencies within their executive offices, adopt regulations authorizing the sharing of personally identifiable information, subject to 20 U.S.C. section 1232g, between their executive offices, agencies within their executive offices, and local education agencies. Where necessary under federal law, the regulations shall require that student or parental consent be obtained.

(2) The regulations shall describe what data can be shared, the circumstances under which it can be shared, with whom it can be shared, and how it can be used. The regulations shall be focused on establishing a developmental and educational framework for all decisions regarding children and students so that these decisions are made in children and students' best interests.

(3) In developing the regulations, the executive office of health and human services and the executive office of education through their agencies shall seek comments from the Children, Youth and Families Advisory Committee, parents, teachers, administrators, students, health and human service providers, early education and care providers, local education agencies, applicable member groups and advocacy organizations.

(B) The executive office of health and human services shall file with the state secretary its initial regulations required by subsection (b) of section 16F 1/2 of chapter 6A of the General Laws, as proposed regulations requiring a public hearing under section 2 of chapter 30A of the General Laws, within 90 days after the effective date of this act.

(C) The executive offices of health and human services and of education shall file with the state secretary their initial regulations required by subsection (c) of section 16F 1/2 of chapter 6A of the General Laws, as proposed regulations requiring a public hearing under section 2 of chapter 30A of the General Laws, within 90 days after the effective date of this act.
 
 

Summary:
This section authorizes the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) to better coordinate its agencies' activities to benefit children, youth and families, and authorizes appropriate data sharing among those agencies. Additionally, in order to improve educational opportunities for children and students receiving services from EOHHS agencies by making more effective use of data, the section authorizes health and human services agencies, state education agencies and school districts to share certain data, subject to federal law. Regulations governing this data and the manner in which it can be shared are to be proposed for public comment within 90 days after enactment.



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