A Delicate Balance

Behavioral Health, Patient Privacy, and the Need to Know

About the Course:

Finding the correct balance regarding patient safety, quality of health care, and privacy of health care information is a major challenge for health care practioners and institutions. While knowing about a patient’s history of mental illness and/or substance use is vital to proper care, disclosing such information carries significant risks. This course explores federal and state laws governing health information privacy as related to treatment for mental illness and substance use disorders, focusing on privacy and information-sharing in the context of treatment. Recommendations are provided for reducing the risks of potential misuse of information and inappropriate disclosure, while simultaneously promoting patient safety and the quality of health care.

Journal/Publisher:

California Healthcare Foundation

Publication Date:

2008

Recommended For:

This course is recommended for health care professionals, especially psychologists, counselors, social workers, and nurses who seek knowledge about health care quality, behavioral health policy, patient safety, and health information privacy. It is appropriate for all levels of participants’ knowledge.

Course Objectives:

  1. Discuss the social and legal traditions of protecting health information.

  2. Define and discuss HIPAA, FERPA, and the Privacy Rule as applicable to mental health professionals.

  3. Discuss recommendations for mental health providers regarding the manual or electronic sharing of personal information related to treatment for mental illness and/or substance use disorders.

Exam Questions

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