Privacy Issues in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment: Information Sharing Between Providers and Managed Care Organizations: Final Report. Background

01/17/2003

Confidentiality is one of the basic principles of mental health and substance abuse treatment. In the course of therapy, clients reveal personal, highly sensitive information about themselves that they may not reveal to anyone else. Clients trust that the information they reveal in the course of treatment will be kept confidential by the clinician, subject to the patient-doctor privilege. However, when clients request reimbursement from a third-party payer, the payer has a right to know that the services being requested are appropriate. To pursue that knowledge, the payer may request that the clinician provide information about the client's symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and progress.

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