The HIPAA Privacy Rule ensures clients’ privacy rights and protections regarding their health information. Nevertheless, the Privacy Rule recognizes when health information may need to be shared to make sure clients receive the best treatment and to ensure the health and safety of the client or others.
Sharing information related to mental health
HIPAA permits mental healthcare providers to share protected behavioral health information in the following instances.
- Communicate with a client’s family members, friends, or other responsible parties directly involved in the client’s care. You should get the client’s written consent first, if possible.
- Communicate with family when the client is a dependent adult or a minor.
- Consider the client’s capacity to agree or object to sharing information. Per HIPAA, this could include when a client is “unconscious, experiencing temporary psychosis, or is intoxicated and cannot agree or object.”
- Involve family members, friends, or other responsible parties when clients fail to adhere to medication.
- Listen to family members about clients receiving mental health treatment.
- Communicate with family members, law enforcement, or others if the client poses a “serious and imminent threat of harm to self or others.”
- Communicate with law enforcement about the release of a client brought in for an emergency psychiatric hold.
HIPAA Privacy Rule allows disclosure of mental health information for treatment in the above situations and other purposes with appropriate protections.
- Disclose only the minimal amount of information necessary for the intended purpose.
- Psychotherapy notes get heightened protection by the Privacy Rule, which restricts them from release.
- There may be federal regulations governing alcohol and drug abuse confidentiality, and state laws may offer more stringent protections.
If you’re faced with a medication compliance situation with a client, you may communicate with family members or other responsible parties about the compliance issues. This can help you guide your client towards medication compliance and a better outcome for treatment.
On the other hand, only divulge the minimum amount of information required. Be cognizant of both the Privacy Rule and the restrictions on protected mental health information.
The Remarkable Health difference
Remarkable Health’s flagship platform, CT|One, offers a fully integrated behavioral health EHR platform that offers medication compliance and safeguards to help you properly treat your clients with minimal risk.
CT|One has a drug/drug and allergy interaction alert that activates if a known interaction exists. It alerts the user as well as provides information on the specific interaction and the resource from which it came. The interaction alert recognizes minor, moderate, and severe levels, and you can configure it to suppress alerts.