June 05, 2020

2nd District candidate seeks change in confidentiality law

AUGUSTA — Jean Hay, Democratic candidate for Congress in the 2nd District, has called for changes in federal confidentiality rules to allow some public review of the workings of state social service agencies.

Hay said her proposal was needed because of the confidentiality surrounding such cases as the recent starvation death of 5-year-old Tavielle Kigas of Bangor.

Hay’s proposal came one week after her Democratic primary opponent, Rep. Mary Cathcart of Orono, introduced a bill calling for a special panel to be created to review confidential files in child death cases. Cathcart’s panel would report back to the Legislature and the public on the effectiveness of child protective efforts.

Hay said her proposal was better than Cathcart’s because it would change federal laws, rather than try to circumvent them.

Hay would lift federal confidentiality rules when a child died and also when clients of the Department of Human Services voluntarily waived their confidentiality rights.

“If federal regulations are the problem, federal regulations ought to be addressed, and I intend to do just that when I get to Congress,” said Hay.

Hay and Cathcart are competing to see which one gets to challenge Republican Rep. Olympia J. Snowe in November.

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