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General requirements – Wis. Admin. Code DHS §92-03

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All treatment records (for mental illness, alcohol or drug abuse) or spoken information that identifies a patient are confidential.  Personal notes or personal health information shared with others must be put in the treatment record and made part of the person’s record.  Personally identifiable information may not be disclosed, not even through oral communication.  Each provider must designate a person as custodian of records, and must have a notice outlining the treatment record access policy.  If federal restrictions governing the disclosure of alcohol and drug related services have greater protections than those provided by the state, the federal law applies. 

The law prohibits the re-release of personally identifiable information contained in a treatment record unless specifically authorized by the informed consent of the patient.  Any disclosure of confidential information must have attached a form that states that disclosure without patient consent is prohibited by law.  Anytime information is released, the information should be limited to only what is necessary.  Treatment records must be securely and safely kept to ensure their confidentiality.  

Student records of children in treatment facilities may not contain any information from their treatment records in them unless authorized through informed consent.

No person can disclose whether a patient has or is receiving treatment unless the patient has given informed consent to do so.  All treatment facilities must develop procedures to deal with such inquiries. 

Patient informed consent must be in writing and must be voluntarily given by a patient who has a clear understanding of the information. A guardian may give informed consent on behalf of a minor patient or if the patient is unable to understand.  The law limits informed consent to the time frame specified by the patient in the form.  A patient has the right to receive the informed consent form and one copy must be kept in the patient’s treatment record.  Patients or their representatives may refuse or withdraw authorization to disclose information. 


Current as of June 2015