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§2.61 Legal effect of order.
(a) Effect. An order of a court of competent jurisdiction entered under this subpart is a unique kind of court order. Its only purpose is to authorize a disclosure or use of patient information which would otherwise be prohibited by 42 U.S.C. 290ee-3, 42 U.S.C. 290dd-3 and these regulations. Such an order does not compel disclosure. A subpoena or a similar legal mandate must be issued in order to compel disclosure. This mandate may be entered at the same time as and accompany an authorizing court order entered under these regulations.
(b) Examples. (1) A person holding records subject to these regulations receives a subpoena for those records: a response to the subpoena is not permitted under the regulations unless an authorizing court order is entered. The person may not disclose the records in response to the subpoena unless a court of competent jurisdiction enters an authorizing order under these regulations.
(2) An authorizing court order is entered under these regulations, but the person authorized does not want to make the disclosure. If there is no subpoena or other compulsory process or a subpoena for the records has expired or been quashed, that person may refuse to make the disclosure. Upon the entry of a valid subpoena or other compulsory process the person authorized to disclose must disclose, unless there is a valid legal defense to the process other than the confidentiality restrictions of these regulations.
[52 FR 21809, June 9, 1987; 52 FR 42061, Nov. 2, 1987]