§ 5100.32. Nonconsensual release of information.

 (a)  Records concerning persons receiving or having received treatment shall be kept confidential and shall not be released nor their content disclosed without the consent of a person given under §  5100.34 (relating to consensual release to third parties), except that relevant portions or summaries may be released or copied as follows:

   (1)  To those actively engaged in treating the individual, or to persons at other facilities, including professional treatment staff of State Correctional Institutions and county prisons, when the person is being referred to that facility and a summary or portion of the record is necessary to provide for continuity of proper care and treatment.

   (2)  To third party payors, both those operated and financed in whole or in part by any governmental agency and their agents or intermediaries, or those who are identified as payor or copayor for services and who require information to verify that services were actually provided. Information to be released without consent or court order under this subsection is limited to the staff names, the dates, types and costs of therapies or services, and a short description of the general purpose of each treatment session or service.

   (3)  To reviewers and inspectors, including the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Hospitals (JCAH) and Commonwealth licensure or certification, when necessary to obtain certification as an eligible provider of services.

   (4)  To those participating in PSRO or Utilization Reviews.

   (5)  To the administrator, under his duties under applicable statutes and regulations.

   (6)  To a court or mental health review officer, in the course of legal proceedings authorized by the act or this chapter.

   (7)  In response to a court order, when production of the documents is ordered by a court under §  5100.35(b) (relating to release to courts).

   (8)  To appropriate Departmental personnel §  5100.38 (relating to child or patient abuse).

   (9)  In response to an emergency medical situation when release of information is necessary to prevent serious risk of bodily harm or death. Only specific information pertinent to the relief of the emergency may be released on a nonconsensual basis.

   (10)  To parents or guardians and others when necessary to obtain consent to medical treatment.

   (11)  To attorneys assigned to represent the subject of a commitment hearing.

 (b)  Current patients or clients or the parents of patients under the age of 14 shall be notified of the specific conditions under which information may be released without their consent.

 (c)  Information made available under this section shall be limited to that information relevant and necessary to the purpose for which the information is sought. The information may not, without the patient’s consent, be released to additional persons or entities, or used for additional purposes. Requests for information and the action taken should be recorded in the patient’s records.

Notes of Decisions

   Duty to Report

   Mental healthcare workers do not have an affirmative duty to investigate and report possible crimes involving their patients. Hennessy v. Santiago, 708 A.2d 1269 (Pa. Super. 1998).

   Release of Information in Response to Medical Emergency

   Regulations which provide for the nonconsensual release of confidential information when release is necessary to prevent harm or death in response to medical emergency may include situations wherein a psychiatric patient’s threats to harm a third party are disclosed. Ms. B. v. Montgomery County Emergency Service, 799 F.Supp. 534 (E.D. Pa. 1992), affirmed, 989 F.2d 488 (3d Cir. Pa. 1993); cert. denied, 510 U. S. 860, 126 L. Ed. 2d 133, 114 S. Ct. 174 (U. S. 1993).

Cross References

   This section cited in 55 Pa. Code §  3800.20 (relating to confidentiality of records); 55 Pa. Code §  5100.4 (relating to scope); 55 Pa. Code §  5100.31 (relating to scope and policy); 55 Pa. Code §  5100.34 (relating to consensual release to third parties); 55 Pa. Code §  5100.90a (relating to State mental hospital admission of involuntarily committed individuals—statement of policy); 55 Pa. Code §  5200.41 (relating to records); 55 Pa. Code §  5200.47 (relating to other applicable regulations); 55 Pa. Code §  5210.26 (relating to records); 55 Pa. Code §  5210.56 (relating to other applicable regulations); 55 Pa. Code §  5221.52 (relating to notice of confidentiality and nondiscrimination); 55 Pa. Code §  5230.17 (relating to confidentiality); and 55 Pa. Code §  5320.26 (relating to confidentiality).

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