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Mental Health Information

Mental Health Information

HIPAA rules ensure the privacy, confidentiality, and protection of patient information, including mental health and behavioural information. The HIPAA rules ensure that healthcare workers only share patients’ health information for treatment purposes to ensure good patient outcomes. HIPAA has extra protections for mental health information. HIPAA provides extra protection for psychotherapy notes  (“HIPAA for Professionals”, 2020). Psychotherapy notes are taken by mental health care professionals, such as therapists, during a session with the patient. These notes are meant to be private and accessed by only the therapist or mental healthcare professional who wrote them down. Psychotherapy notes exclude any information that can be found in a patient’s medical record, such as the treatment plan, diagnosis, progress, symptoms, prognosis, and functional status.

HIPAA rules protect psychotherapy notes differently because they are private, contain extensive and sensitive information from the therapist, and are not necessarily useful in patient treatment. Although HIPAA rules protect mental health information, no health record is entirely immune to disclosure. HIPAA highlights when healthcare workers can share a patient’s mental health information with other mental health care professionals, the patient’s friends, and family. HIPAA privacy rules acknowledge the great impact a patient’s friends and family have on a patient’s recovery journey. HIPAA rules outline exceptions when psychotherapy notes can be shared by the originator of the notes with other mental healthcare providers. Healthcare providers must obtain patients’ consent through a covered entity before sharing the patients’ psychotherapy notes (“HIPAA for Professionals”, 2020). Sharing a patient’s medical information must be strictly for medical purposes to ensure good patient outcomes. State laws vary on disclosing patients’ psychotherapy notes and other medical information.


HIPAA for Professionals. (2020). Retrieved 29 September 2022, from


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Mental Health Information

Mental Health Information

According to the information in this article, are there extra protections associated with mental health information as opposed to medical information?

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