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Monday, May 2, 2016

Mental illness: Families cut out of care

Liz Szabo
Originally posted April 14, 2016

Here is an excerpt:

The federal law, called the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, forbids health providers from disclosing a patient’s medical information without consent.

Unlike patients with physical conditions, people with serious mental illness often need help making decisions and taking care of themselves, because their illness impairs their judgement, says Jeffrey Lieberman,chairman of psychiatry at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and director of the New York State Psychiatric Institute. In some cases, patients may not even realize they’re sick.

Excluding families can have a devastating impact on patients like these, Lieberman says.

Many health providers don’t understand what HIPAA actually allows them to say. As a result, they often shut families out, even in circumstances in which they’re legally allowed to share information, says Ron Manderscheid, executive director of the National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Directors.

The article is here.