Advocacy Alert: August 2014

Release of Patient Records: Psychologists Have New Rights

Bobbie_CBy: Bobbie L. Celeste, PhD, OPA, Director of Professional Affairs

Psychologists can now avoid giving treatment records to patients if there is likely to be an “adverse effect on the patient.” Sub. HB 232 passed the Ohio legislature in April and became effective on July 10, 2014. To give patient’s access to their own records, psychologists must send records to another provider of the patient’s choosing. The change was part of a larger bill that updated the social worker, counselor, marriage and family therapists law. Attorney Glenn Karr, was instrumental in adding this section to the bill. An analysis and the full language of the new law is listed below.

According to a summary of the bill prepared by the Legislative Service Commission, “The bill expands an exception to a patient’s access to his or her records that under current law applies only to a physician or chiropractor. Under the bill, a psychologist, licensed professional clinical counselor, licensed professional counselor, independent social worker, social worker, independent marriage and family therapist, or marriage and family therapist (in addition to a physician or chiropractor) who has treated a patient and determines that disclosure of a record is likely to have an adverse affect on the patient must provide the record to a physician, psychologist, licensed professional clinical counselor, licensed professional counselor, independent social worker, social worker, independent marriage and family therapist, marriage and family therapist, or chiropractor designated by the patient.”

Ohio Revised Code Sec. 3701.74
(A) (14) “Authorized person” means a person to whom a patient has given written authorization to act on the patient’s behalf regarding the patient’s medical record. (B) A patient, a patient’s personal representative, or an authorized person who wishes to examine or obtain a copy of part or all of a medical record shall submit to the health care provider a written request signed by the patient, personal representative, or authorized person dated not more than one year before the date on which it is submitted. The request shall indicate whether the copy is to be sent to the requestor, physician or chiropractor, or held for the requestor at the office of the health care provider. Within a reasonable time after receiving a request that meets the requirements of this division and includes sufficient information to identify the record requested, a health care provider that has the patient’s medical records shall permit the patient to examine the record during regular business hours without charge or, on request, shall provide a copy of the record in accordance with section 3701.741 of the Revised Code, except that if a physician, psychologist, licensed professional clinical counselor, licensed professional counselor, independent social worker, social worker, independent marriage and family therapist, marriage and family therapist, or chiropractor who has treated the patient determines for clearly stated treatment reasons that disclosure of the requested record is likely to have an adverse effect on the patient, the health care provider shall provide the record to a physician, psychologist, licensed professional clinical counselor, licensed professional counselor, independent social worker, social worker, independent marriage and family therapist, marriage and family therapist, or chiropractor designated by the patient. The health care provider shall take reasonable steps to establish the identity 0f the person making the request to examine or obtain a copy of the patient’s record.(C) If a health care provider fails to furnish a medical record as required by division (B) of this section, the patient, personal representative, or authorized person who requested the record may bring a civil action to enforce the patient’s right of access to the record.(D)(1) This section does not apply to medical records whose release is covered by section 173.20 or 3721.13 of the Revised Code, by Chapter 1347. or 5122. of the Revised Code, by 42 C.F.R. part 2, “Confidentiality of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Patient Records,” or by 42 C.F.R. 483.10.(2) Nothing in this section is intended to supersede the confidentiality provisions of sections 2305.24, 2305.25, 2305.251, and 2305.252 of the Revised Code.

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