(a) Disclosure prohibited; exceptions
(1) No disclosure of any return or portion of a return (including information returns and other written statements) filed with the Commissioner of Internal Revenue under Title VIII of the Social Security Act [ 42 U.S.C.A. § 1001 et seq. ] or under subchapter E of chapter 1 or subchapter A of chapter 9 of the Internal Revenue Code [of 1939], or under regulations made under authority thereof, which has been transmitted to the head of the applicable agency by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, or of any file, record, report, or other paper, or any information, obtained at any time by the head of the applicable agency or by any officer or employee of the applicable agency in the course of discharging the duties of the head of the applicable agency under this chapter, and no disclosure of any such file, record, report, or other paper, or information, obtained at any time by any person from the head of the applicable agency or from any officer or employee of the applicable agency shall be made except as the head of the applicable agency may by regulations prescribe and except as otherwise provided by Federal law. Any person who shall violate any provision of this section shall be deemed guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $10,000 for each occurrence of a violation, or by imprisonment not exceeding 5 years, or both.
(2) For purposes of this subsection and subsection (b) of this section, the term “applicable agency” means--
(A) the Social Security Administration, with respect to matter transmitted to or obtained by such Administration or matter disclosed by such Administration, or
(B) the Department of Health and Human Services, with respect to matter transmitted to or obtained by such Department or matter disclosed by such Department.
(b) Requests for information and services
Requests for information, disclosure of which is authorized by regulations prescribed pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, and requests for services, may, subject to such limitations as may be prescribed by the head of the applicable agency to avoid undue interference with his functions under this chapter, be complied with if the agency, person, or organization making the request agrees to pay for the information or services requested in such amount, if any (not exceeding the cost of furnishing the information or services), as may be determined by the head of the applicable agency. Payments for information or services furnished pursuant to this section shall be made in advance or by way of reimbursement, as may be requested by the head of the applicable agency, and shall be deposited in the Treasury as a special deposit to be used to reimburse the appropriations (including authorizations to make expenditures from the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund, the Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund, the Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund, and the Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund) for the unit or units of the applicable agency which furnished the information or services. Notwithstanding the preceding provisions of this subsection, requests for information made pursuant to the provisions of part D of subchapter IV of this chapter for the purpose of using Federal records for locating parents shall be complied with and the cost incurred in providing such information shall be paid for as provided in such part D of subchapter IV of this chapter.
(c) Cost reimbursement
Notwithstanding sections 552 and 552a of Title 5 or any other provision of law, whenever the Commissioner of Social Security or the Secretary determines that a request for information is made in order to assist a party in interest (as defined in section 1002 of Title 29 ) with respect to the administration of an employee benefit plan (as so defined), or is made for any other purpose not directly related to the administration of the program or programs under this chapter to which such information relates, such Commissioner or Secretary may require the requester to pay the full cost, as determined by such Commissioner or Secretary, of providing such information.
(d) Compliance with requests
Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, in any case in which--
(1) information regarding whether an individual is shown on the records of the Commissioner of Social Security as being alive or deceased is requested from the Commissioner for purposes of epidemiological or similar research which the Commissioner in consultation with the Secretary of Health and Human Services finds may reasonably be expected to contribute to a national health interest, and
(2) the requester agrees to reimburse the Commissioner for providing such information and to comply with limitations on safeguarding and rerelease or redisclosure of such information as may be specified by the Commissioner,
the Commissioner shall comply with such request, except to the extent that compliance with such request would constitute a violation of the terms of any contract entered into under section 405(r) of this title.
(e) Public inspection
Notwithstanding any other provision of this section the Secretary shall make available to each State agency operating a program under subchapter XIX of this chapter and shall, subject to the limitations contained in subsection (e) 1 of this section, make available for public inspection in readily accessible form and fashion, the following official reports (not including, however, references to any internal tolerance rules and practices that may be contained therein, internal working papers or other informal memoranda) dealing with the operation of the health programs established by subchapters XVIII and XIX of this chapter--
(1) individual contractor performance reviews and other formal evaluations of the performance of carriers, intermediaries, and State agencies, including the reports of follow-up reviews;
(2) comparative evaluations of the performance of such contractors, including comparisons of either overall performance or of any particular aspect of contractor operation; and
(3) program validation survey reports and other formal evaluations of the performance of providers of services, including the reports of follow-up reviews, except that such reports shall not identify individual patients, individual health care practitioners, or other individuals.
(f) Opportunity for review
No report described in subsection (e) of this section shall be made public by the Secretary or the State subchapter XIX agency until the contractor or provider of services whose performance is being evaluated has had a reasonable opportunity (not exceeding 60 days) to review such report and to offer comments pertinent parts of which may be incorporated in the public report; nor shall the Secretary be required to include in any such report information with respect to any deficiency (or improper practice or procedures) which is known by the Secretary to have been fully corrected, within 60 days of the date such deficiency was first brought to the attention of such contractor or provider of services, as the case may be.
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