The Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) serves the Office of the Secretary, but is also a resource for the whole Department. OLC provides legal services and advice to the Department. To accomplish this, OLC provides formal and informal legal opinions; litigates contested Department actions in administrative hearings; assists the Department of Justice in court litigation; provides training and guidance in investigation methods and legal issues; oversees the Department's administrative rulemaking efforts; oversees and facilitates implementation of new or updated HIPAA rules; and coordinates caregiver rehabilitation reviews.
Programs and Services within the Office of Legal Counsel
Administrative rules are policies that Wisconsin state agencies issue on a variety of subjects and have the full force of the law. Each administrative rule must be authorized by statute. Once they are authorized by law, administrative rules become part of Wisconsin's Administrative Code. The Department's Administrative Rules Manager is located in OLC and is responsible for reviewing all administrative rule related documents at various stages before rules are circulated for external review.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) protects the privacy of an individual’s health information under state and federal law. HIPAA also requires health plans to let individuals know how their medical information may be used and released to others, as well as their right to access or request changes to their health records. In addition, HIPAA is designed to improve the portability and continuity of health insurance as well as reduce administrative costs for providers and payers while protecting the privacy of health information. The Department's Privacy Officer is located within OLC and, among other things, is responsible for oversight and facilitation of the implementation of new or updated HIPAA rules. The privacy officer is also responsible for managing the development and operation of compliance incident tracking mechanisms and tracking of disclosures.
The Wisconsin public records law, Wis. Stat. §§ 19.31-19.39 authorizes requesters to inspect or obtain copies of “records” maintained by government “authorities.” This page contains information about how to request Department of Health Services public records.
All caregivers who have been convicted of a “bar with rehabilitation” crime or who have a finding of abuse, neglect or misappropriation (including child abuse or neglect) may request a Rehabilitation Review with the Department. The review is an opportunity for a caregiver to provide clear evidence that a reoccurrence of the conduct that led to his/her conviction or finding is not likely and that clients will remain safe under his/her care. The Department's rehabilitation review process is coordinated through OLC. Coordinators prepare packets of materials for department staff who serve as panel members who review and determine whether an applicant should be approved.
Office of Legal Counsel
P.O. Box 7850
Madison, WI 53707-7850