Confidentiality and Mental Health

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The MHS ensures the privacy and confidentiality of consumers and carers. Criteria 5. Notes and Examples: MHS policies available on request, information about privacy and confidentiality is available in a variety of languages and variety of media, use of accredited interpreters. Research, information systems, case registers are subject to full ethical review and clearance.

Are mental health records confidential? - FREE Legal Information | Legal Line

Notes and Examples: A visitors' room, single room accommodation, private waiting space and private counselling rooms. Notes and Examples: Consumers in counselling rooms cannot be seen or heard from outside, no personal information elicited in waiting rooms.

Your Confidentiality in Therapy? Kati Morton - Kati Morton

Notes and Examples: Private waiting areas, reception, room size, numbers in rooms, outdoor space in inpatient units, compliance with Building Code of Australia and other guidelines for health care facilities. Notes and Examples: Opportunity to select decoration, arranging of furniture, who comes and goes, daily routine, personal and lockable cupboards, own or shared room in residential facilities including inpatient units as desired by the consumer and consistent with best clinical outcome and safety. Notes and Examples: Includes options for anonymity such as a suggestion box, satisfaction surveys and independent reviews.

Notes and Examples: The MHS continually monitors and reviews policies and procedures relating to privacy and confidentiality. Cross References: Rights 1 , Supported Accommodation Although a written summary cannot substitute for the dynamic and interactive presentations, this article provides an overview of the event. She represents clients at the trial and the appellate levels and has extensive prior experience with housing and poverty legal issues and has conducted direct legal outreach at homeless shelters.

As she opened the program, Goeben emphasized the significance of confidentiality. She noted that mental illness is a leading cause of disability in the United States and poses issues for lawyers across numerous practice areas. Joseph T.

Carers and confidentiality in mental health: Issues involved in information-sharing

Monahan represents approximately 70 hospitals in the Chicago metropolitan area and has successfully argued multiple cases in the Illinois Supreme and Appellate Courts on matters of confidentiality, mental health and child advocacy. He assembled and provided a comprehensive outline. Monahan commented that all mental health records are confidential; however, the confidentiality is limited by waivers, exceptions and our expanded notion of when we can share, due to the Health Information Exchange.

He advised counsel to obtain a court order when accessing records under an exception to the Confidentiality Act. He also informed that the mere fact that a person receives mental health treatment is, itself, confidential. He introduced the process in which an attorney seeking records must file a notice of petition to a provider, notice to the person whose records they seek, and then obtain a court order. For example, the Probate Act provides specifically for a guardian ad litem to access records but does not specifically state that counsel has access to records.

Also, an independent examiner may have access. Further, counsel might want to access records from other hospitals. He advises counsel to get written authorization to access the records of any other treatment providers. He shed light on some mental health statistics. One in 20 adults live with serious mental illness such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

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Fifty percent of mental illnesses begin by age 14 and 75 percent of mental illness develops by age He also gave some relevant facts, stating that mental illness ranges from serious mental illness to personality disorders and encompasses an array of diagnoses in between. Mental illness issues arise in multiple practice areas, including probate, criminal, domestic relations, juvenile court, estate planning and business law.

He advised that the American Bar Association provides attorneys with excellent guidelines for assessing their clients, who may view the mere request for assessment as traumatic. Monahan also turned to the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct. He reminded that they provide guidance on how to navigate confidentiality in light of a client with diminished capacity. Specifically, Rule 1.

They illuminate when a lawyer may reveal information and when a lawyer shall reveal information. Focusing on some of the settings in which the mental health records are not confidential, Monahan discussed Johnston v. Weil , Ill. In this case, the court determined the records were not confidential because no therapeutic relationship existed. Further, court-ordered evaluations are not confidential.


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He said that when a provider refuses to tender personal notes, they must go to a judge who will decide whether they meet the necessary content criteria of personal notes. He noted that attorneys must sometimes make decisions about whether they should disclose confidential information. Under some circumstances, you may disclose to law enforcement and under others, you must disclose to law enforcement. Elder abuse law now includes persons with disabilities. So professionals must also report abuse of disabled individuals.

Monahan warned that people erroneously believe the HIPAA order gives them the right to access confidential information. He advised of some other special instances where confidentiality is not outright and some additional areas of concern. For example, year-olds have a right to consent to disclosure in many instances, though this right is not carte blanche.

He advised attorneys who represent two individuals in the same matter to consider whether a conflict of interest exists and recommends they get a waiver from both people.

What information is confidential?

He advises therapists to maintain separate records for each individual person they treat in a group therapy setting. Some medical issues intersect with mental health issues and garner higher protections than mental health records.

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Professionals are not allowed to re-disclose records unless the order is very specific. Attorneys Robert J. Connor, Patricia A. Werner, and Andreas M. Liewald spoke about different facets of whether the information should be disclosed. They individually presented and then collectively fielded questions. Robert J. His rich experience includes work in areas such as mental health law, developmental disability and rehabilitation service laws. His expertise is in the area of confidentiality of records. He has conducted legal review of the new databases which aggregate the private data of mental health consumers.

He believes the Act is a template for what will probably happen to the Mental Health Code. He provided a couple examples of exceptions that do exist, such as disclosures for coordination of care. If state law is stricter, then courts will apply the state law. The Confidentiality Act for mental health records is, indeed, stricter. Research and data are becoming increasingly important in the medical field. Data collection poses risks in terms of protecting the data once it enters a database.

Connor advised on a remedy that will become very significant when new exceptions to the Mental Health Confidentiality Act are implemented. Data from mental health records often results in scoring or ranking patients in terms of various factors, such as their likelihood of recidivism or re-hospitalization. Yet, Connor pointed out, patients are unable to access their own data and the scores that may result from it. He suggests we introduce a patient bill of rights, similar to a consumer bill of rights, whereby patients would have rights to see their own metrics analysis.

In terms of mental health records flowing from one medical provider to another, Connor favors carving out an exception for this limited treatment purpose. However, he believes we need to preserve all of the other protections. Patricia A.

Werner, associate general counsel at Presence Health, was the next presenter. Having worked at Community Integration at Access Living as a managing attorney, and at the Legal Advocacy Service of the Illinois Guardianship and Advocacy Commission, she has devoted a significant part of her career to representing people with mental illnesses and developmental disabilities. Werner began by sharing that the World Health Organization estimates that by the year , mental health and substance use disorders will surpass all physical diseases as a major cause of disability worldwide.

She underscored the importance of privacy: as an essential element in the therapist-patient, it promotes treatment. Patients would benefit from treating mental health care more like the rest of healthcare. Werner mentioned various instances where law enforcement involvement may or may not be best. Even in cases where illegal substances are involved, hospitals and mental health care providers maintain a unique role from the police. Werner informed that some instances permit providers to disclose to law enforcement.

For example, in the case of a missing person, providers may tell law enforcement that the person is under their care. In any event, providers should first try talking to that patient and offering that the patient, himself, notify law enforcement. Such a measure is one way to help preserve patient dignity. Providers may disclose to law enforcement that they are caring for a patient who matches the description of a felony or sex offense case perpetrator.

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