I have to agree with you about
trying to keep this info. private. Psychotherapy notes are very different from most other doctor's notes, and are basically designed to be for clinical purposes to help the therapist and the client. Sadly, too many people forget that. And outside organizations - including other doctor's offices (non-psychiatric) most often do not know how to manage such delicate info. Once it's out of the therapist's office, there is nothing the therapist can do to contain the info., because other entities may not be covered by HIPPA protections. Also, these notes then go into the public record unless sealed by court order.
You're not trying to withhold diagnoses or basic info., etc. but the details do NOT need to be released. Is your psychiatrist in a solo practice, or a small private group practice? If so, I'd ask what his/her/their policies are in this regard. Most places will be fine with the summations, etc., including SSD.
Last I knew HIPPA as applied to psychotherapy notes was being interpreted to mean a different FILE, NOT a different section of the chart, which is how most places do it. Sounds like that's also how your psychiatrist does it, which is why it's important to discuss this soon, before things are released. Once they're released, they're gone. If you have an attorney they can petition the court to have these sealed but with SSD I don't know how well that would work considering what a mess it all is, and how many hands will likely see those notes before they get in front of a judge. But also, your psychiatrist should know that he/she is liable for releasing info. about
anyone without that person's permission. Fact is, it shouldn't even be recorded except in a general way, but it's tough not to be able to put the puzzle pieces together even if names aren't mentioned if someone has seen you over time. You don't want all the work you've done ruined because sensitive info. got in the wrong hands.
Just call your psychiatrist if you haven't already and leave a message that you do not want psychotherapy notes released, and for this to be considered a verbal authorization that overrides any releases you signed for SSD until you can talk in person.
Post Edited (PAlady) : 6/4/2010 5:17:02 PM (GMT-6)