Privacy Issues in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment: Information Sharing Between Providers and Managed Care Organizations: Final Report. A. Lack of Consumer Awareness

01/17/2003

Despite the federal and state laws designed to protect patient confidentiality, there are numerous problems associated with the ways patient information is disclosed to managed care firms today. The first is that consumers are often unaware of the significance of the consent forms that they sign upon enrollment (Davidson and Davidson, 1995). Because insurers often require that consumers sign consent forms as a condition of enrolling in the plan, or of paying the claims, clients may feel that they have no choice but to sign them. If consent forms are linked to other forms, such as authorizations for treatment, clients may not read or comprehend the forms as clearly as they should. Finally, they may be unaware of the number of people who may have access to the medical and psychiatric records.

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