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Maintenance and Confidentiality of Clinical Patient Records – N.Y. Mental Hyg. Law § 33.13

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Each facility licensed or operated by the office for people with developmental disabilities must maintain a clinical record for each patient or client at the facility.  The record must contain information on all matters relating to the admission, legal status, care, and treatment of the patient or client and must include pertinent documents relating to the patient or client.  The commissioners may require that statistical information about patients or clients be reported to the offices; in such cases, the names of patients or clients will not be required.  Information about patients or clients is not a public record and may only be released outside the offices or facilities in the following circumstances: 

  • Pursuant to a court order;
  • To the mental hygiene service;
  • To attorneys representing patients or clients when involuntary hospitalization or assisted outpatient treatment is an issue;
  • To the commission on quality of care for the mentally disabled and any person or agency under contract with the commission;
  • To the medical review board of the state department of correction when the board has requested the information with respect to the death of a named person;
  • To the medical review board of the state department of correction when the board has requested the information to perform its required functions, and the patient or client consents;
  • To an endangered individual and a law enforcement agency when a treating psychiatrist or psychologist has determined that a patient or client presents a serious or imminent danger to the individual;
  • With the consent of the patient or client or someone authorized to act on his behalf to persons or entities that have a demonstrable need for such information;
  • To the state board for professional medical conduct or the office of professional discipline or their respective representatives to perform a required function;
  • With the consent of the appropriate commissioner, to any of the following:
    • Governmental agencies, insurance companies and other third parties requiring information necessary for payments;
    • Persons and agencies needing information to locate missing persons;
    • To governmental agencies in connection with criminal investigations;
    • Qualified researchers;
    • A coroner, county medical examiner, or the chief medical examiner for New York City upon request;
    • Appropriate persons and entities when necessary to prevent imminent serious harm to a patient or client or another person;
    • A district attorney for a criminal investigation;
    • The attorney general, case review panel, or psychiatric examiners to perform a required function;
  • To a correctional facility, with respect to a named inmate; and
  • As otherwise required or permitted by law or regulation. 


Any disclosure made must be limited to the information necessary in light of the reason for disclosure.  Any information disclosed must be kept confidential by the party receiving the information.

Current as of June 2015