Health Information Management

HHS releases new HIPAA Privacy Rule FAQ for mental health

HIM-HIPAA Insider, March 3, 2014

Want to receive articles like this one in your inbox? Subscribe to HIM-HIPAA Insider!

HHS recently released new HIPAA Privacy Rule FAQ on sharing information related to mental health. The guidance clarifies the following:

    • Providers may communicate with a patient’s family members, friends, or others involved in the patient’s care when the patient has the capacity to make healthcare decisions as long as the patient does not object
    • Providers may communicate with a patient’s family members, friends, or others involved in the patient’s care when the patient is incapacitated if the provider determines doing so is in the patient’s best interest
    • Providers must obtain a patient’s authorization prior to disclosing psychotherapy notes for any reason
    • Providers may disclose PHI that is directly relevant to the patient’s care to the patient’s family, friends, or other persons involved in the patient’s care or payment for care in emergency situations
    • Providers may disclose general treatment information of a minor patient to a parent, guardian, or other person acting in loco parentis except in situations when the parent is not the minor child’s personal representative
    • Providers may not provide a minor patient’s parents copies of psychotherapy notes, but may provide a parent who is a personal representative a copy of his or her child’s mental health information contained in the medical record, including information about diagnosis, symptoms, or treatment plans
    • Providers may disclose information to family members of an adult patient who has capacity and indicates that he or she does not want the disclosure made if the provider perceives a serious and imminent threat to the health or safety of the patient or others and the family member is in a position to lessen the threat
    • Providers may disclose necessary information about a patient to law enforcement officials, family members of the patient, or other persons, when the provider believes the patient presents a serious and imminent threat to self or others
    • Covered entities may disclose certain PHI, including the date and time of admission and discharge, to law enforcement officials upon request for the purpose of locating or identifying a suspect, fugitive, material witness, or missing person
    • Under limited circumstances in which the HIPAA Privacy Rule may apply to health information in a school setting, disclosing information to parents of a minor patient or to law enforcement officials is permitted
 
This article originally appeared on HCPro’s HIPAA Update blog. Stay up to date on all things HIPAA by signing up for e-mail updates from this blog.

 



Want to receive articles like this one in your inbox? Subscribe to HIM-HIPAA Insider!

    Briefings on APCs
  • Briefings on APCs

    Worried about the complexities of the new rules under OPPS and APCs? Briefings on APCs helps you understand the new rules...

  • HIM Briefings

    Guiding Health Information Management professionals through the continuously changing field of medical records and toward a...

  • Briefings on Coding Compliance Strategies

    Submitting improper Medicare documentation can lead to denial of fees, payback, fines, and increased diligence from payers...

  • Briefings on HIPAA

    How can you minimize the impact of HIPAA? Subscribe to Briefings on HIPAA, your health information management resource for...

  • APCs Insider

    This HTML-based e-mail newsletter provides weekly tips and advice on the new ambulatory payment classifications regulations...

Most Popular