(a) No person shall have access to individually identifiable data held in the WCIS except as provided in this section and subdivision (c) of section 138.7 of the Labor Code.
(b) The Division of Workers' Compensation may obtain and use individually identifiable information for the following purposes:
(1) To create and maintain the WCIS, including the selection of claims to survey in order to obtain information not available from the data elements provided by claims administrators.
(2) To help select claims administrators for audits under section 129 of the Labor Code.
(3) To report the promptness with which claims administrators make payments.
(4) To electronically import names, addresses, and other information into Division of Workers' Compensation case files which would otherwise have to be key entered by agency staff.
(5) To conduct research related to the workers' compensation system for the purpose of carrying out the duties of the Division of Workers' Compensation or the Administrative Director.
(c) The following agencies may obtain individually identifiable information from the WCIS, in the manner set forth in a memorandum of understanding between the Administrative Director and the agency, for the purposes specified:
(1) The Division of Occupational Safety and Health may use individually identifiable information to help select employers for health and safety consultations and inspections.
(2) The Division of Labor Statistics and Research may use individually identifiable information to carry out its research and reporting responsibilities under Labor Code sections 150 and 156.
(3) The Department of Health Services may use individually identifiable information to carry out its occupational health and occupational disease prevention responsibilities under section 105175 of the Health and Safety Code.
(d) Upon written request to the Administrative Director, researchers employed by or under contract to the Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation (CHSWC) may obtain individually identifiable information from the WCIS, in the manner set forth in a memorandum of understanding between the Administrative Director, the commission, and the person or entity conducting research, for the purpose of bona fide statistical research.
(1) Any request from the CHSWC for individually identifiable information under this subdivision shall include the identity of the person or entity conducting the research, the purpose of the research, the research protocol, the need for individually identifiable WCIS data, and an anticipated completion date for the research.
(2) Researchers under contract to the CHSWC seeking individually identifiable WCIS data under this subdivision shall also submit to the Administrative Director written approval of the research protocol by an Institutional Review Board in the same manner as required under subdivision (e). If the researcher under contract to the CHSWC is the University of California or a non profit educational institution, the researcher shall comply with the provisions of Civil Code section 1789.24 subdivision (t).
(3) Individually identifiable information obtained under this subdivision shall not be disclosed to the members of the CHSWC.
(4) No individually identifiable information obtained by researchers under this subdivision may be disclosed to any other person or entity, public or private, for a use other than that research project for which the information was obtained.
(5) Researchers obtaining individually identifiable information under this subdivision shall notify the Administrative Director when the research has been completed. Except as required by researchers subject to subdivision (f), within 30 days thereafter, the CHSWC shall present evidence to the Administrative Director that the data collected has been modified in a manner so that the subjects cannot be identified, directly or through identifiers linked to the subjects.
(e) Individually identifiable information may be provided to other persons or public or private entities for the purpose of bona fide statistical research which does not divulge individually identifiable information concerning any employee, employer, claims administrator, or any other person or entity. Any request for individually identifiable information for this purpose shall include the identity of the requester, the purpose of the research, the methods of research, and the need for individually identifiable WCIS data. The requester shall also submit written approval of the research protocol by an Institutional Review Board, under Title 45, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 46, Subpart A. "Approval" means a determination by the Institutional Review Board that the research protocol was reviewed and provides sufficient safeguards to ensure the confidentiality of individually identifiable information. Any agreement to permit use of the data shall be in writing between the requester and the Administrative Director. Note: The Division shall make available upon request a list of Institutional Review Boards known to the Division that have the authority to grant the required approval and that expressed willingness to review research proposals under this section.
(f) The University of California or any non profit educational institution conducting scientific research must comply with the provisions of Civil Code section 1798.24 subdivision (t).
(g) Each agreement or memorandum of understanding entered concerning the use of individually identifiable information by any agency, entity, or person shall specify the methods to be used to protect the information from unlawful disclosure, and shall include a warning to the receiving party that it is unlawful for any person who has received individually identifiable information from the Division of Workers' Compensation under this section to provide the information to any person who is not entitled to it under this section and Labor Code s 138.7.
(h) Nothing in this section shall be construed to exempt from disclosure any public record contained in an individual's file once an Application for Adjudication has been filed with the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board. This includes any data from an individual's file that are converted to or stored in an electronic format for the purpose of case processing and tracking.
(i) Nothing in this section shall be construed to exempt from disclosure WCIS data in a format that does not contain individually identifiable information.
Authority cited: Sections 127, 133, 138.4, 138.6 and 138.7, Labor Code.
Reference: Sections 129, 138.4, 138.6 and 138.7, Labor Code; and Section 1798.24, Civil Code.
1. New section filed 10-6-99; operative 11-5-99 (Register 99, No. 41).
2. Amendment filed 3-22-2006; operative 4-21-2006 (Register 2006, No. 12).