Feb 19, 2015 1:02 PM by News Staff
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The California Supreme Court says the state health department may only withhold the names of patients when it makes public the citations issued to hospitals and nursing homes serving mentally ill and developmentally disabled people.
The seven-member court ruled unanimously on Thursday that the California Department of Public Health improperly redacted other kinds of information from four years' worth of citations obtained by the Center for Investigative Reporting under the California Public Records Act.
State health officials had maintained a 1967 law required them to censor the documents to protect patient confidentiality. A mid-level appeals court had agreed in part, ruling that patients' names, diagnosis, medical history and the harm caused by the cited offense could all be withheld.
But the Supreme Court says a later law makes clear that only patient names may be withheld.
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