Release of Information in Mental Health and Development Disability Cases

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In the event of releasing any patient information it is important to make sure that all of your T’s are crossed and your I’s are dotted before the transaction is complete. However, because specialized patient records, such as Mental health or substance abuse cases, contain not only strictly medical information, but also therapeutic mental and emotional information, the release of this type of information could cause some damage to the patient (McWay, 2010, p. 227). This is why the release of information concerning this type of patient records is different from that of a patient record without delicate information in it.
In a general medical record a patient is entitled to a copy of his or her record, the only thing they would have to do
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According to HIPAA “the disclosure of PHI is prohibited, except when the patient has signed a release of information form that authorizes PHI to be released or disclosed to a specific party (Sheahan)”. With the release of information there are different rules that need to be followed in order to protect the patient’s privacy. With mental health information in a patient’s medical record, it makes the release of information more difficult and there are different rules that need to be followed in order to protect the patient’s privacy.
“Patient-specific information recorded and communications made in the course of providing mental health or developmental disability services are considered confidential and may not be disclosed except as provided by law (McWay, 2010, p. 239)”. A patient’s medical record is property of the hospital or the facility that created the record. However, the information held in the record is the possessions of the patient, and a copy of the record (with a mental health or development disability case) can be released to the patient as long as he/she is twelve years old. Also a patient who is twelve years old has the power to consent to release information to a third party. The release of a health record, with a mental health or development disability issue, can be permitted to the patient’s legal guardian without the consent of the patient, if the patient is under the age of twelve years old. However, if a
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