4757.38 Conduct of investigations.

(A) The counselor, social worker, and marriage and family therapist board shall investigate alleged violations of this chapter or the rules adopted under it and alleged irregularities in the delivery of services related to professional counseling, social work, or marriage and family therapy by persons licensed or registered under this chapter. As part of its conduct of an investigation, the board may issue subpoenas, examine witnesses, and administer oaths.

(B) All of the following apply under this chapter with respect to the confidentiality of information:

(1) Information received by the board pursuant to a complaint or an investigation is confidential and not subject to discovery in any civil action, except that the board may disclose information to law enforcement officers and government entities for purposes of an investigation of either an individual who holds a license or certificate of registration issued under this chapter or an individual or entity that may have engaged in the unauthorized practice of professional counseling, social work, or marriage and family therapy. No law enforcement officer or government entity with knowledge of any information disclosed by the board pursuant to this division shall divulge the information to any other person or government entity except for the purpose of a government investigation, a prosecution, or an adjudication by a court or government entity.

(2) If an investigation requires a review of patient records, the investigation and proceeding shall be conducted in such a manner as to protect patient confidentiality.

(3) All adjudications and investigations of the board are civil actions for the purposes of section 2305.252 of the Revised Code.

(4) Any board activity that involves continued monitoring of an individual as part of or following any disciplinary action taken under section 4755.36 of the Revised Code shall be conducted in a manner that maintains the individual's confidentiality. Information received or maintained by the board with respect to the board's monitoring activities is not subject to discovery in any civil action and is confidential, except that the board may disclose information to law enforcement officers and government entities for purposes of an investigation of an individual holding a license or certificate of registration issued under this chapter.

(C) The board may receive any information necessary to conduct an investigation under this section. If the board is investigating the provision of services to a couple or group, it is not necessary for both members of the couple or all members of the group to consent to the release of information relevant to the investigation.

(D) The board shall ensure that all records it holds pertaining to an investigation remain confidential. The board shall adopt rules establishing procedures to be followed in maintaining the confidentiality of its investigative records. The rules shall be adopted in accordance with Chapter 119. of the Revised Code.

Amended by 130th General Assembly File No. TBD, HB 232, §1, eff. 7/10/2014.

Effective Date: 2002 HB374 04-07-2003