Notice of Uses and Disclosure and Client Consent

Giving Notice of Uses & Disclosures &
Getting Consent for Network Data Sharing
General Tips:
Get to know the client and their needs before introducing the ECM so you can explain
ECM-HMIS in the context of their specific situation and/or needs. Give examples of the
potential benefit of the system that relates back the client’s needs and goals.
If a client expresses concern about having their information entered into the ECM-HMIS,
having an open record, or consenting to network data sharing, follow-up and ask what
his/her specific concern is. Their concern may be based on a misunderstanding of how
the system works. Remember:
If a record is “open” basic identifying information is all that is available to
another agency without further written permission. The purpose of making the
basic identifying information available to other agencies is to avoid creating
duplicate client records.
 Even if the record is “open” no information is provided about where the client
has received services without further written permission.
 Only basic identifying information supplied at the originating agency is
available to other agencies, e.g., even though social security number is one
of the fields included in basic identifying information, the client has the option
not to provide that information.
If a record is “hidden,” other agencies will not be able to access the basic
identifying information through a search.
If a client consents to network data sharing, any general client information
collected by this and other network agencies will potentially be available to
another agency, but only if a client goes to that agency and enrolls in one of their
 Case notes are generally kept private and would not be available through
network data sharing.
 Protected Information, which includes information on special needs and
clinical assessments is never shared through network data sharing.
Be careful to phrase things in such a way that emphasizes the potential benefit and
doesn’t create the expectation of a negative response from the client, for example:
Negative: “The government is making us use this computer system.”
Positive: “This system was created with your best interests in mind and a lot of careful
thought went into ways to protect your information.”
It may help to remind clients that entering information into a computer database is
common at most agencies and businesses these days. Some examples include when
you apply for a drivers license, or any form of public aid, and when you get a
prescription filled at Walgreens. In each case information is entered into a computer
database. (Note: Use your judgement on this based on clients concerns. While this is
certainly true it may serve to fuel the client’s insecurities about computer databases.)
Talking Points for Giving “Notice of Uses & Disclosures” and the “Special Notice
for Persons who may be Victims of Domestic Violence”
In order to help us serve you, I will be asking you for some information about yourself
and your needs. I will be entering that information into the computer system that our
agency uses.
The purpose of the computer system is to help us serve you better. Using the system
o we can better coordinate services that we provide to you;
o we can easily refer you to another agency for services that our agency doesn’t
provide; and
o eventually, working together with other agencies, we expect to be able to increase
services that will reduce the occurrence of homelessness.
With this computer system, you have the right to request a copy of your record at any
time, and you have the right to file a grievance if you have any concerns
Most of the other agencies that are part of the Chicago Continuum of Care, the network
of agencies that serves persons who are homeless, at risk of homelessness or formerly
homeless, also use this computer system.
Unless you request that your information be hidden in the system, your basic identifying
information, such as name, birth date, and social security number can be made
available to other agencies that you go to for services. This will reduce the time
required for intake and you may not need to repeat information.
Your basic identifying information is the only information that another agency would
have access to without your written consent for [network data sharing] or a referral
which we will talk about more later.
Before I go on, I want to talk about one other issue. Sometimes our agency serves
persons who may have been abused either physically or verbally, e.g., being punched
or hit, by a spouse or boyfriend or other person in their household.
In a case like that the abuser may try to find the person when they leave and that person
may fear for their safety.
Is that a problem for you? Is anyone looking for you that might try to harm you?
o If the person answers yes:
 Our computer system is very secure and only authorized persons have access to
the system, but no computer system is 100% secure.
 If you feel that someone may be looking for you, you will want to think carefully
about how your information is handled in the system.
 You can choose to not have your information entered in the computer system at
all, or you can choose to have the information entered, but request that it be
hidden which would mean that only persons at this agency and a limited number
of staff at the City who manage the database would have access to your
 Please review this form and indicate how you would like to have your information
o If the person answers no, continue . . .
You will not be denied services if you choose not to provide any particular information
unless it is required to determine eligibility for the program you are applying for.
This is a copy of our Notice of Uses and Disclosures which gives more detail about the
computer system that we use, which is called the ECM-HMIS.
o Would you like to take a few minutes and look over the notice?
o Do you have any questions?
o Do you have any need to have hour information hidden in the system? (If they
want their information hidden you may want to probe to find out what’s the
concern behind that request and remind them that agencies in the Continuum will
be better able to serve them if the information is not hidden.)
> > > Continue if Your Agency is Part of the Data Sharing Network < < <
Talking Points for Asking for Consent for Network Data Sharing:
Our agency offers certain services but it is likely, as you work toward various goals, like
getting into permanent housing, getting employed (mention items personally relevant
to the client), etc., that you will need to go to other agencies.
Our agency is part of a Data Sharing Network in which we collaborate with over 40 other
agencies to try to provide a range of services to persons who are homeless or at risk of
homelessness or formerly homeless.
You have a choice about whether you want to participate in the Data Sharing Network.
This is how it works:
o As you work with a case manager here, they will gather information about your
needs and goals, e.g., if you are interested in becoming employed, they might gather
information about your educational background and employment history; or if you
are interested in permanent housing, they might gather information about your
housing history (mention items personally relevant to the client). This is called
General Client Information.
o If you give your consent to participate in the Data Sharing Network, and you go to
another agency that is part of the Data Sharing Network for services, e.g., for
employment training, when you enroll in their program, the staff at that agency will
have access to the General Client Information that was collected at our agency.
o This way you won’t have to repeat the same intake at each agency and the agencies
that are serving you can better share your accomplishments and coordinate
This is a copy of the Client Consent for Network Data Sharing. Towards the bottom of
the form you will see the list of information that is included as General Client Information.
Also attached to the form is a list of the 40+ agencies that are part of our Data Sharing
You will note that private case notes and protected information such as information
about special needs and clinical assessments are not included in the information that
can be shared with another agency.
You are not required to give consent to be part of the Data Sharing Network. You will
not be denied services if you choose not to participate.
If you choose to participate it could help our agency and other partner agencies to serve
you better.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Question: “Who will see my information?”
In general, your case manager and staff at this agency as well as a limited number of
city employees and contractors that help to administer the database can view your
information. Depending on the choices you make, selected information can also be
made available to staff at other agencies that you go to for services.
Question: What will the information will be used for?
Primarily the information will be used for case management purposes so we can help
you meet your goals. It is also used to provide the information required by our
funders to show the services that we are providing. Non-personally identified
information will also be used to help us understand the causes and patterns of
homelessness so we can design services to prevent homelessness.
Question: “Can I change my mind and stop sharing my information later?”
Yes, you can stop sharing at any time. You will need to sign a form requesting that
your consent for network data sharing be revoked. Additional information will not be
shared after you have revoked that consent.
Question: “Will DCFS (or other government agencies such as IDHS or Social Security) be able
to see this information?”
No. The system is not linked to any state or federal agencies.
Question: “Will my parole officer (or other law enforcement agencies such as the police or
immigration) have access to this information?
No. Your information can only be disclosed for law enforcement purposes in
response to a lawful court order, court-ordered warrant, subpoena or summons
issued by a judicial office or a grand jury subpoena.
Question: “Will I be denied services based on my past history and/or use of services”
The system has not been set up to deny you services. As always, each agency has
it’s own policies and procedures for handling a situation in which a client is abusing
services or has unacceptable behavior..
Question: “How long does information stay in the system?”
Your information stays in the system for 7 years after the last addition or change has
been made to your record.
Amanda Deisch,
HMIS Project Leader
[email protected]
Christopher Kralik
HMIS Project Associate
[email protected]
Sally Stovall, Director
HMIS & RealBenefits™
[email protected]
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