CHAPTER 177

FORMERLY

HOUSE BILL NO. 276

AS AMENDED BY HOUSE AMENDMENT NOS. 1 AND 4

AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 99 OF TITLE 16 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO HEALTH CARE INFORMATION.

BE :r ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:

Section 1. Amend Title 16, Chapter 99, Delaware Code by adding thereto a new subchapter Ill to read as follows:

"Subchapter III. § 9220. Purpose.

(a) The purpose of this subchapter is to create a public instrumentality of this State known as the Delaware Health Information Network ('DHIN') under the direction arid control of the Delaware Health Care Commission ('Commission') to promote the design, implementation, operation and maintenance of facilities for public and private use of health care information in the State.

(b) It is intended that the DHIN be a public-private partnership for the benefit of all of the citizens of this State.

(c) The DHIN shall ensure the privacy of patient health care information

§ 9921. Creation of Delaware Health Information Network.

(a) There is hereby established the Delaware Health Information Network which will he managed and operated by a Board of Directors consisting of at least 13 and not more than 21 members. It is intended that the membership of the Board reasonably reflect the public-private and diverse nature of the DHIN. Up to 6 members of the Board shall be appointed by the Commission to serve at its pleasure for a term to be determined by the Commission. The chairperson of the Board shall be elected by a majority of the members appointed to the Board.

(b) The remaining membership of the DHIN Board shall be appointed as follows: the Commission will appoint an additional 3 members from Delaware authorized health insurers, HMO or Medical Service Corporations; the Association of Delaware Hospitals and the Medical Society of Delaware or their successor entities may each appoint up to 3 members; the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce, the Delaware Health Care Coalition, the State Budget Director, the Insurance Commissioner, the Secretary of Health & Social Services and the Director of Public Health, or their successor entities, may each appoint I member.

(c) The Commission and other appointing authorities are authorized to appoint State officers and employees and other individuals to the Board, and no State officer or employee appointed to the board or serving in any other capacity for the Board shall be construed to have resigned his public office or employment - by reason of such appointment or service.

() The Board is authorized to conduct its business by a majority of a quorum. A o rum is a simple majority of the members appointed.

(a) The Board may propose the adoption or amendment of rules or regulations to the Commission for implementing and operating the DHIN, including but not limited to. the establishment of staggered terms for the Board chairperson and members.

§ 9922. Powers and Duties.

(a) In furtherance of the purposes of this subchapter, the DHIN shall have the following powers and duties:

(1) Develop a community-based health information network to facilitate communication of patient clinical and financial information, designed to:

(i) Promote more efficient and effective communication among multiple health care providers, including but not limited to, hospitals, physicians, payers, employers, pharmacies, laboratories, and other health care entities;

() Create efficiencies in health care costs by eliminating redundancy in data capture and storage and reducing administrative, billing, and data collection costs;

(i) Create the ability to monitor community health status; and

(ii) Provide reliable information to health care consumers and purchasers regarding the quality and cost-effectiveness of health care, health plans, and health care providers;

(2) Develop or design other initiatives in Ihrtherance of its purpose;

(3) Report and make recommendations to the Commission; and,

(4) Perform any and all other activities in furtherance of the above or as directed by the Commission.

(b) To carry out the above duties, the DHIN is granted all incidental powers, including contracting with others to perform its duties and employing sufficient staff The DHIN is authorized to establish a non-appropriated special funds account in the Commission's budget in order to receive gifts and donations. All of the above are subject to the Commission's approval and control.

§ 9923. Immunity from suit; Limitation of liability.

(a) All members of the Board of Directors of the DHIN and all members of the Commission, whether temporary or permanent, shall not be subject to, and shall be immune from claim, suit, liability, damages or any other recourse, civil or criminal, arising from any act or proceeding, decision or determination undertaken, performed or reached in good faith and without malice by any such member or members acting individually or jointly in carrying out the responsibilities, authority, duties, powers, and privileges of the offices conferred by law upon them under this chapter, or any other Stale law, or duly adopted rules and regulations of the aforementioned committees, good faith being presumed until proven otherwise, with malice required to be shown by a complainant. All employees and staff of the DHIN and the Commission, whether temporary or permanent, shall enjoy the same rights and privileges concerning immunity from suit otherwise enjoyed by State employees pursuant to the Constitution of this Slaw and Title 10 §§ 4001 through § 4005.

(b) The DHIN is not a health care provider and is not subject to claims under 18 Del. C Chapter 68. No person who participates or subscribes to the services or information provided by the DHIN shall be liable in any action for damages or costs of any nature, in law or equity, which result solely from that person's use or failure to use DHIN information or data that was imputed or retrieved in accordance with the rules or regulations of the DHIN as approved by the Commission. In addition, no person shall be subject to antitrust or unfair competition liability based on their membership or participation in the DHIN which provides an essential governmental function for the public health and safety.

§ 9924. Property rights.

(a) All persons providing information and data to the DHIN shall retain a property right in that information or data, but grant to the other participants or subscribers a nonexclusive license to retrieve and use that information or data in accordance with the rules or regulation promulgated by the Commission.

(b) All processes or software developed, designed or purchased by the DHIN shall remain its property subject to use by participants or subscribers in accordance with the rules or regulations promulgated by the Commission

§ 9925. Regulations; Resolution of disputes.

(a) The Commission is hereby authorized to promulgate rules and regulations under and pursuant to Subchapter II of 29 Del.C. Chapter 101 to carry out the objectives of this subchapter.

(b) To resolve disputes under this subchapter, or the rules and regulations promulgated herein among participants, subscribers or the public, the Commission is hereby authorized to hear and determine case decisions under and pursuant to Subchapter III of 29 Del. C. Chapter 101.

(c) Any person aggrieved by the unlawfulness of any rule or regulation of the Commission herein, or any person against whom a case decision has been decided, may appeal to the Superior Court in accordance with Subchapter V of 29 Del. C. Chapter 101.

§ 9926. Privacy; Protection of Information.

(a) The Commission shall by rule or regulation ensure that patient specific health information be disclosed only in accordance with the patient's consent or best interest to those having a need to know.

(b) The health information and data of the DHIN shall not be subject to the Freedom of Information Act 29 Del. C. Chapter 100, nor to subpoena by any court. Such information may only be disclosed by consent of the patient or in accordance with the Commission's rules, regulations or orders.

(c). Any violation of the Commission's rules or regulations regarding access or misuse of the DHIN health information or data shall be reported to the Office of the Attorney General, and subject to prosecution and penalties tinder the Delaware Criminal Code or federal law.

§ 9927. No Pledge of State Credit; No Assumption of Liability By State.

The DHIN shall have no power, except where expressly granted by separate act of the General Assembly, to pledge the credit or to create any debt or liability of the State or of any other agency or of any political subdivision of the State, and the State shall not assume or be deemed to have assumed any debt or liability of the DHIN as a result of any actions by the DHIN.

Approved July 15, 1997