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M.S.A. §144.294

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Records Relating to Mental Health

If a spouse, child or other individual submits a written request to receive information regarding a patient who is being treated for a mental illness, the provider must ask the patient if he wants to authorize the disclosure of information to that particular person.  If the patient authorizes it, the provider may communicate with that authorized person about the patient’s treatment. 

A provider must disclose health records about the mental health of a patient if law enforcement provides the name of the patient and states that the patient is currently involved in an emergency situation with law enforcement and disclosure of the health records is important to protect the health and safety of the patient or other person.  The scope of the disclosure is required to be the minimum necessary for law enforcement to respond.  Law enforcement that gets this information must keep a record of the provider, requestor and patient’s name.  The information received by law enforcement cannot be used for any other purpose. 

A provider of mental health care can release information about a patient’s treatment to a family member or person who requests it in writing, if the family member is directly involved in the care taking of the patient and can be verified by the patient’s mental health provider, and is noted in the medical record.  Before the disclosure is made, the patient must be informed in writing of the request, and the patient must either agree or not object to the disclosure, or is unable to consent.  The disclosure must be necessary in the treatment and care to be given to the patient.  The information disclosed should be  limited to the diagnosis, treatment, medications prescribed, and summary of discharge plan.  However, if the provider determines that providing the information to the family member or caretaker would be detrimental to the patient or would cause him to inflict harm on himself or others, the provider must not disclose the information.

Current as of June 2015