Week Nine 3/16-3/22: Policy Governing Access to Data in an Electronic and Genomic Age

Arizona Statues 36-509 on Confidential Records; Immunity (n.d.) states that a health care entity must keep patient records confidential. Records should only be disclosed to providers or entities that provide health services involved in patient care, third party payers, lawyers of a health care entity if needed for legal advice, auditors or accreditation committees if they remove personal identifying information (i.e. name, address, birth date, social security number, any identification number, etc.), persons authorized by court order, persons involved in research activities following federal or state laws and institutional review boards, persons permitted by federal regulations on alcohol or drug abuse treatment, persons who maintain public health statistics, state prison officers if the patient is a prisoner, law officers in relation to a patient that may be a danger to the public, is involved in a crime, or one who left unauthorized. Patient records may also be released to the State Board if they are investigating complaints of negligence. A provider should only disclose patient information to family members after talking to the patient or their decision maker first and making sure that they do not object to disclosure. If there is an emergency situation where the patient or their decision maker do not have the chance to object, then the provider may release patient information to the best of their judgment. Health care entities cannot be sued for damages from breach or disclosure of protected health information, because they are presumed to have acted in good faith, unless there is evidence that this was not the case (Confidential records; immunity, n.d.).

In Arizona, medical marijuana dispensaries need to keep track of how much marijuana has been dispensed to a cardholder and make sure it is not over the legal limit for possession. Dispensary agents register with the Arizona Department of Health Services to access the ID Card Verification System online. The ID Card Verification System is only for the use of law enforcement and dispensary employees and employers to verify a registry identification card (Verification system, n.d.). Verification must be done over an encrypted connection and if the user fails to type in their correct log-in information or an incorrect identification number five times, then they will have to contact the Arizona Department of Health Services to verify their identity and reactivate their account (Verification system, n.d.). Cardholder identification and records are protected under law and cannot be disclosed except to carry out business related to the Arizona Medical Marijuana Program, such as applications, renewals, etc. or when needed to report fraudulent information and criminal violations (Confidentiality, n.d.). Providers may also be reported to their licensing boards if they do not comply medical marijuana certification rules. There is an annual report generated by the Department of Health Services, but identifying information about cardholders, dispensaries, and physicians are not revealed, they are only identified as numbers (Annual Report, n.d.).

There are some states that made it illegal for their state department to track identifying information, because cardholders, dispensary agents, and other stakeholders fear discrimination. Under Arizona Legislature, Discrimination is Prohibited (n.d.), schools and landlords cannot refuse to enroll, lease, or penalize a person because of their cardholder status unless it violates the rules and regulations of a federal program that they are participating in. Employers also may not discriminate a person based on their cardholder status or if they test positive for marijuana on a drug test. However, the person can be subjected to termination if they bring or use marijuana into their workplace. The cardholder may also use their marijuana if they are authorized to do so by a physician in a medical facility (unless the facility is involved in a federal program). In addition, cardholders cannot be denied custody or visitation with a minor unless there is evidence of child endangerment (Discrimination prohibited, n.d.).


Annual report. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.azleg.gov/FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=/ars/36/02809.htm&Title=36&DocType=ARS

Confidentiality. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.azleg.gov/FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=/ars/36/02810.htm&Title=36&DocType=ARS

Confidential records; immunity. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.azleg.state.az.us/FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=/ars/36/00509.htm&Title=36&DocType=ARS

Discrimination prohibited. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.azleg.gov/FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=/ars/36/02813.htm&Title=36&DocType=ARS

Verification system. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.azleg.gov/FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=/ars/36/02807.htm&Title=36&DocType=ARS


5 thoughts on “Week Nine 3/16-3/22: Policy Governing Access to Data in an Electronic and Genomic Age

  1. The information presented was very thorough. I found the information on policy of information on marijuana dispensaries and cards very interesting as I didn’t have any knowledge of any of the regulations.


  2. Lynn,
    It is interesting that the privacy rules vary from state to state in terms of tracking the information of MJ card holders. It must be difficult for clients when they move from state to state. You also mentioned that there are some states that made it illegal for their state department to track identifying information, because cardholders, dispensary agents, and other stakeholders fear discrimination. Is Arizona one of them?


  3. I agree with the states that have made it illegal for the state department to track identifying information due to discrimination. I believe that the only reason there are so few medical marijuana card holders in this state of is because they fear being tracked and placed on a special government radar list. This group can be paranoid for a reason. I recently looked up a CSPMP on a patient and their medical marijuana card showed up on the report. Should these things be open for all to see or should there be some privacy for patients. I feel like once a patient reports something like this, the privacy is out of their hands. I felt as a provider that I did not need to know this information and wasn’t looking for it. I see both sides of why it is listed, but at the same time, it is not a prescription that was filled and provided no other information other than this is a marijuana card holder. It would be very interesting to discover if a provider would now be biased after learning that their patient might be using medical marijuana.


  4. I feel marijuana card information should be tracked but only for demographic, future reporting and or research information. Unfortunately there is a high tendency to be discriminated against if you are suspected of using marijuana and if you are a cardholder but this should not be the case. There should be more education given, maybe in the form of advertisements etc, in an effort to educate the public about the possible benefits of marijuana while still balancing that information with the negative effects of it. We may be getting to the age of a media campaign about the positive effects of using marijuana that is prescribed medically and not just for recreational use.


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